The Jewish people celebrate Pessach (Passover) to commemorate the story of the Exodus, their liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt and their birth as a nation under the leadership of Moses. According to the Bible, God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery by inflicting ten plagues upon the ancient Egyptians: the Plague of blood, frogs, lice, flies, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts*, darkness and the death of the firstborn. (*I’m not superstitious but Egypt and Israel had a big plague of locusts just last week, weird) The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb so that God knew to pass over these homes and spare them from the curses, hence the name of the holiday. It is said that when the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). Therefore, during the eight days of Passover, no leavened bread is supposed to be eaten, only Matzah.
The rituals unique to the Passover celebrations commence with the Passover Seder. In our family tradition we celebrate the seder with never less than 25 people, gathering over a big meal and some adapted Haggadah reading and singing. In Tel Aviv the Holiday is both observed and ignored, as usual in paradoxical Tel Aviv. On a daily level this mainly means that locals are going away on vacation, tourists are taking over the city, inaugurating beach season and that way too many youngsters from out of town (B&T) come in to party. I like some of those annual traditions; the family Seder, remembering school memories and childhood traditions; where was I last year, what has changed since. It’s always a good occasion for some in(tro)spection. Passover also symbolizes the celebration of freedom. Inner freedom means personal happiness. We don’t have control on most things in life, but the part we do have in our hands, is the liberation from our own barriers, monsters, defenses, roles, patterns and expectations. Being free means being you, the true you.