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Friday, May 6, 2016

Reflections on Passover

Once again the week of Passover has come and gone, and once again I have managed to mistakenly eat hametz.  This time my excuse is that I woke up from surgery and the only thing that was appealing on the list of possible things to eat was graham crackers.  I was well into my second bite before I realized and switched to ice cream.  I have had a much more celebratory holiday season since I started eating kitniyot two years ago (which means that I am only avoiding the 5 grains that the Torah says to avoid--wheat, spelt, barley, rye, and oats--rather than all the legumes and additional assorted grains, as the Ashkenazy tradition has dictated for eons.  That is a game changer.  It means that Mexican food (corn) and Asian food (rice) are on the menu, and it is less of a hardship and more of a holiday.  But it still means that I think about the restrictions for eight days, and with that I think about the toll that slavery takes.  We are in the midst of a resurgence in open prejudice in the United States.  Some people want to blame immigrants and those living in poverty for their life troubles, rather than those who make literally thousands of dollars an hour balking at paying a minimum wage of $15/hour to their employees.  It is absurd in the extreme.  The theme of personal freedom and social justice run rife with the Passover story, and while I am not a huge fan of matzah and I am surprised each year by how hard it is to keep Passover, it is well worth the time to think about these themes while enjoying the fourth or fifth matzah ball of the week.

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