This Pesach was the first one I’ve observed not being an idolator. What does this mean? I was able to fully participate in the Seder on its own terms. Jesus/Yeshua had nothing to do with it or Pesach at all. Christianity was not there to reinterpret the Seder elements or to usurp the power of G-d’s gift of freedom to worship Him then and now. For once the matzoh was full of meaning without it having anything to do with a false messiah. The cups of wine were not the “bris chadashah” that the New Testament lies about. The enormity of the miracles of yetzias Mitzrayim were not overshadowed by the bogus Christian narrative of a man-god system of atonement and redemption.
I no longer felt confused and conflicted as I had for the last eight years about what should capture my attention: Should I be overwhelmed by the power of Hashem and His love for Israel? Or should I give in to the guilt I felt for being moved by that and have kavanah instead for the “spiritual” meaning of it all and focus on the fact that the “resurrection of the messiah” was the real point? This year I was flooded with joy because I serve the G-d of Avraham and was energized to see how He created and continues to maintain the Jewish people.
I was freed this year. Our Rabbi wisely encouraged us to focus on the simcha of connecting with a people and a tradition that go back 3,900 years. He said to feel simcha for being able to serve Borei Olam in a personal and intimate way as He responds in kind. It really worked. Like the Israelites, the people I so desire to join, at their first Pesach, I slaughtered my “lamb” for the Egyptians to see showing them that he is no god; he has no power; he is dead and buried in the sands of time.
I don’t fancy myself a poet but after processing the Seder for a few days some words came to my mind:
For the first time I’m worshiping You directly through no intermediary. It’s intimidating, it’s thrilling. It’s also confusing and scary because I don’t know if I’m doing it right and I know it really counts now. Am I going to mess this up? Am I really directly worshiping You? Is it really possible? Or is it just my imagination like all the rest has been? It’s so big I feel like I need to deny it. What do You think of me anyway? I’ve been taught so many lies. You are too intense. There’s an advantage to false gods. You can hide behind them. But I don’t really want to–not any longer. Heaven help me!
Now I’m counting the Omer and I’m hoping to elevate myself to a place where I can participate in Shavuos in a way that I never have before. May we be cleansed and sanctified with His holiness on high, all of us who proclaim His Oneness and who seek Him sincerely.