Question: Passover is a special holiday. Everybody respects it, both secular and religious people. Everybody gets ready for the Passover Seder (festive meal), cleaning the house, buying new clothes, inviting guests and contemplating how to better celebrate a Passover Seder.
I want to understand the essence and symbolic meaning of this holiday. The most important Passover symbol is Matzah. What does it denote?
Answer: Matzah symbolizes the state in which we use only our vessels of bestowal without interference of our ego, our will to receive. We are prohibited to use egoistic desires since they are Pharaoh’s property. We must rise above them. Detachment from our egoistic desires signifies the “frugal bread” or Matzah.
We have to relate to each other only with love and bestowal to the extent it is available to us. We are not ready for it yet, nor do we fully understand what it means. Passover is a “small state” (Katnut) that is associated with the lack of energy. The holiday signifies our exodus from the built-in power of egoism and transitioning to the jurisdiction of unity and love among us.
The name of the holiday, Pe-sach, means transition, leaping from egoism to love and bestowal. This crossing is a symbol of the holiday.
Passover is a celebration of freedom; it’s a runaway from the devastating ego that buries us alive. As a result of redemption, we get to be a free nation in the free land, meaning independent of our desires (country or Eretz derives from Ratzon or desire). We stop “gobbling” each other up as before. Rather, we strive to become the people of Israel, to unite and become one whole.
This is what the exodus from Egypt is. It is not a geographical or physical notion; it’s an internal sensation of reaching inner freedom from the angel of death. Our everyday life is proof that our evil nature works as an angel of death that buries us. It doesn’t let us receive pleasure and constantly forces us to fight and quarrel, and even leads us to international wars.
Egoism is not about our desire to receive standard pleasures from the family, children, good food, vacations, or travel. Ego stands for a bad attitude of one human being towards another human. It’s a desire to receive pleasure at the expense of others. This explains why exodus from the ego means an escape from hating our neighbors, from constant jealousy, our inability to tolerate others, detachment and splitting into numerous parties, and sectors.
Question: Does it require us to give up anything?
Answer: You should reject your ego that is measured only by the degree of your negativism towards others.
Question: In the long run will I win or lose in my internal sensation of happiness and contentment?
Answer: I am absolutely positive that we can only win and have nothing to lose. We suffer damages because we treat each other badly.
Question: If we return to the symbols of Passover, what does Matzah mean nowadays, in Israel of 2015?
Answer: We have to start treating each other well. It will trigger a special, good atmosphere among us. At first, our future relationships will seem too “simple” since they will lack many nuances and tastes that result from our endless arguments and misunderstandings.
We will be like good kids whose mothers beg them not to fight with each other, but they don’t feel life in peaceful behavior. Only after they get involved in conflicts with their friends do they get colorful impressions.
This is why at first it is called “frugal bread” or Matzah. Later, we start developing our relationships that not only allow us to detach from wickedness by diminishing ourselves to the degree that we no longer treat our neighbors badly, but promote abstinence in others that lets us reach good, benevolent relationships among us.
It’s as if we crawl through a narrow tunnel and gradually reach a powerful, wide road of benevolent relationships among all of us. Then, the “frugal bread” turns into the best cake, the so-called “bread of love.”
From KabTV’s “A New Life” 3/24/15