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Life With a Soundtrack

04/23/2019 10:46:00 AM


Welcome to Chol HaMoed Pesach, essentially meaning, the “Holy Normal.”  Whereas Shabbat and the chaggim (the first and last days of Pesach and Sukkot, and Shavuot) are considered the most holy days of the year, and most other days are considered chol (normal, everyday), the days in between the first and last of Pesach and Sukkot fall into this category of chol hamoed (the holy normal days of this season).  Why do they carry this distinction?  Because they are the “regular” days during which we are to try to put into practice the central teaching of the chag.  In this case, Pesach or Passover, is a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt, or in Hebrew, Mitzrayim. Literally, meaning “the narrow places,” this ancient Hebrew appellation for Egypt is more than just a “historical” note in the story of the Jewish people.  It is a meditation, a practice, meant to help us become aware of the blinders that settle upon us just by virtue of living our lives.  Too often, we come to tell ourselves stories that lead us to blame, shame, and one-dimensionalize others – often the people with whom we are the closest and others whom we have never met.   We do this, Pesach re-teaches us each year, because our responses to life get mired in the past, in Mitzrayim, the narrow-mindedness of a practiced nostalgia.  Nostalgia not for what was good about the past, but nostalgia for what makes us feel in control.  Our beliefs about others’ intentions and impulses are too often a safe place to land rather than acting with curiosity, asking questions, and being willing to receive others with a different sensibility.  Meeting them and us in the present is the true act of “exodusing” from Egypt, from Mitzrayim, from the narrow places in our minds where we are sure about others, to the open and free but often, scary spaces of the wilderness, where our surety disappears. Bamidbar, in this wilderness, is where we can be present, and respond to others where they are, in the present.  No, we don’t know what will be here.  But wouldn’t you rather be where you are than where you are no longer?  What if curious questions replaced accusations and assumptions, along our well-trodden paths with our loved ones?

These are some of the meditative thoughts that I invite you to invite into yourself this week, during these chol hamoed, these normally holy days.  And as you consider these trains of thought, perhaps as you walk, run, exercise, meditate or drive, I’ve made you a playlist of some of my favorite modern Jewish music to inspire you along the way out of MitzrayimClick here to listen.


Events for the Week of 4/23/2019

  • Shabbat at the Merfish - April 26 - More info + sponsor an oneg
  • Kosher Pretzel Yoga - Saturday, April 27 -  More info
  • SEARCH Homecoming Dinner - Tuesday, April 30 - Volunteer + Sign Up to Bring Dishes or Home Items
  • Annual Meeting + Shabbat - Friday, May 17 - Save the date!
  • Rock 'n' Roll Shabbat Starring Kelly Dean, Jeremy Samuels, and Lenny Golub - Friday, May 24 - Save the date!​​​​​​​
Thu, June 4 2020 12 Sivan 5780