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[Dvar Torah] Pesach

Pesach, also known as Passover, is a special and significant holiday in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and the beginning of their journey towards freedom. In the Torah, we read in Exodus 12:14, "And this day shall be unto you for a memorial, and you shall keep it as a feast to the L-rd; throughout your generations, you shall keep it as an ordinance forever." This verse emphasizes the eternal nature of the observance of Pesach, reminding us of the importance of passing down our traditions from generation to generation. 

Rabbi Moses Maimonides highlights a specific point of the Passover story in shaping our identity as a people. He stated, "The miracles and wonders performed for our ancestors in Egypt were not intended solely for their sake but also for ours. Every Jew is obligated to see themselves as if they personally went forth from Egypt."

During Pesach we also read about the ten plagues that affected Egypt, finally leading Pharaoh to release the Israelites from bondage. But there is a particular commandment that is central to the observance of Pesach, and that is the mitzvah of eating matzah, the unleavened bread. Why do we eat matzah? Matzah serves as a powerful symbol of humility and strength. When the Israelites were told that they would be leaving Egypt, they did not have time to wait for their bread to rise. They had to take what they had and leave immediately, trusting in G-d’s protection and guidance. 

This teaches us an important lesson. We are reminded that sometimes, in our own lives, we must act with courage and faith, even if we don't have all the answers. We must have the strength to let go of our attachments to the familiar and the comfortable, and embrace the unknown. The matzah also represents the simplicity of life. It is a humble reminder that true freedom comes from focusing on what truly matters, rather than being consumed by material possessions and ego. 

So, as we celebrate Pesach, let us not only retell the story of our ancestors' liberation but also reflect on our own personal journey towards freedom. May we be inspired to let go of the burdens that hold us back, to embrace the simplicity and humility that matzah represents, and to live lives of purpose, integrity, and gratitude.

Shabbat Shalom.

Sadie, Grade 10