Hi and welcome to a look inside Israel today, as our sis in Jerusalem shares about the Passover preparations! Thank you and God bless you as you read and pray! Now, here she is . . .
Beloved sisters and brothers,
I look forward to sitting down to write to you because I picture you – and over the years I have grown to stand in love with the body, His body, more and more in wonder. May each of you be blessed and encouraged in Him. May we all draw nearer to Him in spirit and in truth. May His Word be our delight and daily food and may we walk in it for His glory alone, particularly as the time grows short.
I’ve had a repetitive ‘message’ in my heart lately, actually growing in intensity, ‘to be ready’- ‘prepare’. That is the wonderful thing about The Lord; I don’t need to know ‘WHAT’ exactly it is that I must be ready for, but He leads in the preparations of heart and path ANYWAY. That gives me such peace! I have ‘suggestions’ in my heart, and some understanding, but most real to me in this time is:
“Trust in The Lord with all of your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all of your ways acknowledge Him and He WILL direct your path”. Proverbs 3:3-5.
These ‘instructions’ that I have felt so deeply in my heart of late are reflected in the natural as well, as it is time to prepare for Passover – Pesach in Hebrew.
Pesach begins a month after Purim. If you have been reading these letters over the past 18 years, you know that the preparations for Pesach are INTENSE! Several years ago the rabbis grew alarmed that so many women were having nervous breakdowns and even committing suicide during this preparation season of cleaning and ‘koshering’ the home, and they realized that many women became deeply burdened trying to remove every possible crumb of leaven from their homes. When I say ‘intense’ I mean that people on the third floor were removing screens from windows and boiling them, least there have been a ‘dust of leaven’ caught in the screen. Scrubbing every crack in the home with toothbrushes when you have 8 or 10 children can be quite a challenge. Many people felt compelled to REPLACE sofas, refrigerators, stoves…and for some…ALL furniture, because there MIGHT be some leaven stuck somewhere. The ‘joke’ was; ‘And we thought we were slaves in EGYPT!’, but there was much more truth to that then ‘joke’. Then there is the replacing of all of the food and the cooking for 20 or more people…the list drove many women to true madness. THANKFULLY, the rabbis began to speak with one mouth the message that God was more interested in the leaven in the heart then a possible crumb in an undiscovered corner…AND…encouraging women to remember that dust is not leaven. In other words, preparing the house for Pesach does not necessarily mean that it needs to be immaculately clean. The commandment is simply that there is to be no leaven seen in our homes for 8 days. It has not done away with all striving, particularly in the most religious communities, but it has seemed to lessen the panic as Pesach rapidly approaches.
Pesach is perhaps the most significant of all of the prescribed holy days in Judaism for many reasons. What a beautiful and deep study the study of Pesach is, and it is surprisingly marvelous to many at just how much the observance of Pesach has remained the same since it was commanded by God to the Jewish people some 5,000 years ago.
I myself look with wonder as the preparations begin yearly…seemingly planted into our very genetic material…similar to the migration of animals; they lift their noses to the wind and ‘know’…it is time to move. So it seems with us. ‘Prepare for Pesach!’
All of the foundational meaning and directions for the observance of the holyday are found in the book of Exodus, clearly laid out. During the years that we raised our children in the ‘diaspora’ or ‘exile’ (how BLESSED I was to be ‘exiled’ in such a wonderful land!) we used the book of Exodus as our ‘haggada’ during our Pesach ‘seder’. A haggada is a small book read through the ‘seder’ meal – which literally means ‘order’ (as there is a prescribed ‘order’ to the meal and ceremony). The content of the haggada has changed over the years and each community has their own style and content, although they all contain the basic story of Passover. History and traditions of each community is added to their haggada over the years (sometimes they don’t change their haggada for 100 years or more and continue the reading of the teachings of the old sages as they wrote many years before) but the little beautifully illustrated ancient books are used in each home during the seder meal. As I said…we used the book of Exodus and we added in the fulfillment scriptures proclaiming The Lamb of God Who came to take away the sin of the world. We wondered at the Precious Blood that spoke of better things then the blood of Abel and washed our sins away as the blood of lambs and goats couldn’t do…The Blood that, applied to the doorposts of our hearts, prevails even today…and we worshipped The Risen Lord even as we ate the unleavened bread and recounted the extraordinarily intricate perfect plan of God from its inception! It is quite a vivid revelation to understand that sin costs dearly…that God gave us a perfect picture of just how awful sin is in His sight- and how loudly blood speaks!…that the death of a pure innocent lamb was needed to cover the awfulness of sin…and it still is…but has been paid once and for all at the cost of even greater pain. What a mystery, so full of love and pain and exquisite wisdom that His children would follow Him in His way! And yet we haven’t. How can this be?
Oh, but I am WAY ahead of myself! Forgive me for getting caught up in the meaning of Pesach. It is part of the preparation of my heart personally.
(Stay tuned for part 2!)