Word of Torah

Word of Torah: Passover Edition 

Written by: Oren Schragger 

For some reason, January to April is usually the time of year where I demonstrate some of my worst eating habits. I over indulge on desserts and treats, things like candy and or popcorn.  This could be because I’m ready for spring arrive so I’m eating out of spite for winter, or it could be that my secular new year’s resolution of losing 10 pounds goes out the window when I realize that attempting to cut cheese and beer out of my diet is futile.  Then Purim rolls around and I dig into Hamantaschen and Manischewitz like they are water. After Purim is the time when my body starts to fight back; I feel slower and heavier, but the real health kick in the tush doesn’t come for about a month after Purim. 

It’s lucky for me that Passover arrives about a month after Purim to help remind me that moderation is a thing. After all overindulging on Matzah does not a pleasant trip to the bathroom make. So for me, Passover has become the first life checkpoint of the secular year. It begins with spring cleaning.  Hunting for Chametz and getting rid of all that bread, is a great reminder that if you haven’t yet, you should start clearing out space in your home that is filled up by useless gear/stuff.  For us in the mountains, it’s also a good reminder that you should go get you summer equipment checked, get you bike tuned, get your paddle board out.

Then after the quick clean of the house, we sit down for our Seder in what looks like a feast for the ages.  Food all over the table (at least 4 courses) including: soup, gefilte fish, brisket, and dessert (among other Passover specialties.) Not only do we have a plethora of food on the table but we are told to drink, sit back, recline, and essentially feed our hedonistic desires (minus bread,) cause we are no longer slaves in Egypt! For me, meals like this are usually a wakeup call. Afterwards I have trouble fitting into pants or really just getting up from the table.  So times of the year like this, serve as a wonderful motivator to get your life in gear. Summer is fast approaching so if you want to look good in the bathing suit it’s time for some pushups buddy.

I like to search for the true meanings of holidays, and for Passover I typically think the true meaning is our freedom, freedom to eat, freedom to sing, freedom to stress about our family coming in for another major holiday. Never again shall we let someone enslave us like Pharaoh. But what I realize as holidays roll on, is that by overindulging I enslave my own mind to the stress of wanting to be healthy. Passover does remind me that I am free, but specifically it usually reminds me that I am free to get healthy and organized.  As you celebrate with your family and friends this Passover remember that indulging in our freedom can be done in many ways, but that one of the most important ways, is the freedom to practice moderation.