I fell in love with Judaism through a certain hippy spiritual branch of it, and many of my perspective on it are colored with that lens. It is only when I leave that environment or straighter people come into it that I realize not everybody thinks like we do.

To that end, here are some rambling last minute Pesach thoughts for you.

The exodus from Egypt is of the corner stones of the Jewish narritive. We return to its theme every Shabbat, every time we bentch after meals, in every amida. I always found it interesting that we celebrate and commemorate not finally getting to Israel, but the beginning of the journey there.

They say that while self refinements are possible any time, there are certain times of the year that are significantly more condusive to certain things. Like how Tshuva is easier to accomplish in Elul when “the King is in the field”. Pesach is the time of leaving things behind us. Leaving our own Mitzraim’s, or places or narrowness, to begin our journey to our own personal promised land.

It’s about getting free of slave mentalities, the attitudes and perceptions that we thing protect us but actually hold us back, and taking on the burden of freedom. The “insecurity of freedom” as Heschel called it.

The perpetual film geek in me also can’t help but revel in the story it self. Such drama! You get to see this amazing character arc of Moses, leaving home, finding his voice, going up against not only the most powerful empire in the world, but the very home that raised him in a heartbreaking effort to save a people who barely know they need saving. How can you not love that conflict?

I think Pesach may very well be my favorite of our holidays. There are so many themes, so much symbolism and so many questions to ask regarding the Pesach story and the Seder itself, I get excited every year anew when I remember what and intellectually stimulating holiday it is for me.

Here’s to us all leaving our narrowness, our baggage, and our insecurities behind us, and relishing the journey forward.

See you on the other side everybody!

About the author

Laya Millman


  • You’re so awesome…here’s to leaving baggage behind, yes. But not at the baggage claim. Just metaphorically.

    Hag sameah!!

  • And the wisdom of the rabbis to gurantee that if you can’t leave it ALL behind you can at least dress up like Casper and kvetch to God on Yom Kippur about your near misses. We’ve got a good thing here. Nice post Laya.

  • When I was a kid I was so caught up in the Pessah story, I really felt I had gone out of Egypt, personally myself. Also the Iraqi Jewish custom is to put some matzah in a large scarf/ handkerchief and tie it on the back of the youngest child, and they wear it during the entire meal. Of course my sister, being the younger of the two of us always got this priviledge. But it really made one feel the symbolism of the Israelites running out of Egypt.

  • More often than not I feel like reading blogs, etc., is highly evolved form of TV watching. Not a great feeling (procastination…please let me fight thee. And how the hell do TM, Laya, CK get any work done anyway?)

    Anyway, in the process of preparing for my to Toronto, I haven’t had, or wanted to, prepare for Pesach. I was just going to let it happen. Laya’s post reminded me to put some effort into it. To not let this opportunity pass me by.

    So there ya go. Sometimes, rarely, web surfing/blogging has some merit. Sometimes.


  • I’m in Montreal and Passover is my favourite holiday too. When I was a kid it was because I got to sing Mah Nishtanah and hide the afikomen (and because my grandmother’s cooking is FANTASTIC). Now at age 21 I still love this holiday, because I appreciate spending time with the family and re-enacting the exodus story. I still sing Mah Nishtanah though. *sigh* (another reason for my mother to start hinting about grandchildren)

    Laya’s post is a great way to kick off this holiday. Chag Sameach to you all!

  • So where can we find out more about this hippy judaism!? Its always been my fantasy to be all hippy and dati!

  • Laya,

    Lovely post, and I am another one who needed to be reminded that this is davka a great time to say “good bye” to bad baggage and bad habits and so on and so on! Thank you!

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