Thoughts on Pesach 5777
In the presence of Yeshua it seems that ignorance has become an opportunity to teach rather than an occasion for taking offence.
Each year as I approach Pesach (Passover) I begin to think about the yeast that I will need to remove from my home. I start to make a mental note of the loaves of bread remaining in the cupboard and the yeast supplies for my challot (Sabbath Bread). I recall small amounts of yeast granules that I know I’ve spilled on the shelf as I’ve hastily collected the ingredients for the weekly challot. I begin to clean the spills and remove the loaves and other yeast filled items and deposit them in the brazier outside my house.
I’m aware that yeast is a symbol of sin and wrong action, a manifestation of the yetzer ha-ra (evil inclination), and I am then reminded of an article I once read concerning the natural forms of yeast that are present in the atmosphere. After all my work and all the cleaning and burning I’m left with this realization: nothing I can do will ever completely remove sin and wrong action from my life (house), I need help.
Where will my help come from? It has come from HaShem. How does my help come, given that there is no longer a Temple or an operational sacrificial system? HaShem says that the life is in the blood and that He has given the blood on the altar for the covering of sin. How now am I to see my sin covered? The answer is both spiritually and historically clear: The King Messiah walked the land of Israel in the first century CE prior to the destruction of the Temple (70 CE). He was and is the promised Son of David and the Suffering servant of Yishaiyahu (Isaiah) 53. He led a sinless (spotless) life and sacrificed that life for our sake. His shed blood is an everlasting covering and the complete removal of sin for all who receive His blood cleansing. Yeshua is the answer to my conundrum. His is the blood that covers my sin. His is the blood that purges even the atmosphere.
So I chant Bedikatz Chametz and watch the fire consume the yeast and I imagine even the lifting ash being consumed by light, death swallowed up by victory. I’m ready to eat the Pesach meal with my King Mashiyach, I’m excited to drink the cup of Redemption and eat the Afikomen (He is come). I remember His death until He comes. But it doesn’t end there.
The days that follow the Seder meal are seeded with self-denial. I’m limited in my cooking and food preparation because in addition to the usual dietary laws I also choose to remove yeast from my diet for a period of seven days. I soon realize that these limitations have brought me freedom. I am inventing and creating and finding new ways, ways that I might never have found if not for the limitations. Hinei (Wow, now, behold), I realize that I have entered true freedom within the limitations of Pesach, a far greater freedom than I had ever known in times of abundance. I am aware that this has become a picture of the Instruction (Torah) of Hashem. I am set free by the borders He has set in place. This Torah, this beautiful work of art has led me here to gaze upon a resurrected Pesach Lamb. I now see the goal of the Torah, His Name is Yeshua (Redemption/Salvation). It seems that the tomb is empty and the Afikomen (Bread without yeast/sin) has been transformed. The Creator has redeemed creation. If only she would awake to her redemption. Hineini (Here I am, ready, believing, willing, in awe, receiving, trusting).
And there is yet more. The Mashiyach sits on the beach with matzot and fish frying in a pan. I am transported to Yam Kineret (Lake Galilee). We sit together, we sit with my son at my side tugging on my sleeve, asking questions about the majestic figure Who is preparing the meal beside us. A well-meaning Goy (Gentile) passes by and asks about the chocolate Matzot that I’ve brought to share with the other Yehudiym. “That can’t be kosher?” he says. I’m surprised at myself when I realize I’m not offended by his ignorance. In the presence of Yeshua it seems that ignorance has become an opportunity to teach rather than an occasion for taking offence. “Friend” I say, “The idea that because something is sweet and dark, it must not be kosher, is one built on the false perception that God is interested only in observances that require self-denial and even self-flagellation.” The man appears puzzled by my response, and I’m equally surprised at the words coming from my lips, “There is no sense of discernment in obligatory religion,” I continue, “It is a device of human control rather than a guide to freedom. God is good and He has appointed occasions of both sacrifice and joy. Chocolate matzot is a product of the beautiful limitations of Pesach. And yes, it is kosher.” After a moment of intense contemplation the man asks, “May I try some?” I break him a piece and say, “Once you’ve finished this go over to the fire and ask The Rebbe for some matzah. He has matzot that will change your life”.
Pesach begins with the befriending of an innocent and spotless lamb, it continues with the death of that lamb and the blood covering of a household. From bondage we break free and the enemies of God are struck down. We are given bread from heaven for our wandering, Torah as our fuel and The Malakh HaShem (The Angel of The Lord) as our guide. Finally, Pesach begins anew with the resurrection of The Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world and like Joshua, He leads us across the Jordan and into the Olam Haba (World to come). Mashiyach was and is and is to come. Mashiyach Achshav (Messiah Now)!
© 2017 Yaakov Brown
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Founder of the Beth Melekh International Messiah Following Jewish Community,