CLERGY CORNER: Three necessary items for internal liberation: Wine, Maror, Matzah

Posted on 04 April 2019 by LeslieM

The three most important ingredients at the seder table [for Passover] are the wine, matzah and maror (bitter herbs) for these three items capture the three foundational ideas that can allow us to set ourselves free.

A) The first step is wine. Wine possesses deep potency.

“When wine enters, secrets come out,” says the Talmud. 

Wine represents the “secrets” in us — for wine itself is a “secret:” It is initially hidden and concealed within the grape, and it takes much labor to extract it from the source; the grapes have to be crushed and the wine to ferment. Wine, an intoxicating beverage, represents the deeply concealed powerful forces lingering within the human psyche.

The first step in setting yourself free is realizing how much more there is to you than what meets the eye. You must recognize your potential — what you were really meant to be, what you are capable of becoming — for you to break out of the chains.

B) This comes together with step two — maror, which represents the bitterness caused by slavery. In order to set yourself free, you have to be able to stare the pain you endured in the face. Repressing pain and making believe it does not exist, only buries it deeper into our psyche. On the night of our freedom, we have to return to the “maror.” We must gaze into our pain, feel it, sense it, grieve for our hurt and, then, as we are staring into the pain, we will find the inner, secret spark of hope and light buried within it.

If we avoid the pain, we can’t discover its inner light. Only when we gaze at it, can we extract the ember hidden within the ashes.

C) Then we have the critical step of matzah. We eat the matzah, says the Haggadah, because the Jews did not have time to wait until the dough had risen; they rushed out of Egypt. I want to ask you … They waited for 210 years… They could not wait another few hours? What was the rush? And even if they were in a rush, why is that such a central theme in the narrative that for thousands of years we are eating only matzah and avoiding all leavened bread? What happened to the virtue of patience?

Answer: The greatest enemy to setting yourself free is delaying things: tough decisions and bold moves. The message of matzah is when it comes to setting yourself free, you have no time to wait even an extra 18 minutes. Do it now! Make that call now. Send that e-mail now. Make that move now. Set up that meeting now. Make that decision now. Start the new behavior now. Confront the situation now. Start doing it now. If it is worth doing, then do it now. Because, as my Rebbe would say, “We want Moshiach NOW.” We want redemption now.

Community Passover Seder — R.S.V.P. at www.JewishLHP.com.

Rabbi Tzvi Dechter is the director of Chabad of North Broward Beaches, located in the Venetian Isle Shopping Center at 2025 E. Sample Rd. in Lighthouse Point. For all upcoming events, please visit www.JewishLHP.com.

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