As we get closer to Passover, many off us are looking for ways to make our Seders more meaningful. Ideally the messages we transmit and receive during this wonderful celebration will hopefully become a part of our lives.
Just as we race to find the Afikomen… chasing the other kids down to be the first to find that hidden piece of matzah, so should we be striving to take away a life lesson… something for us to share and for us to live by.
Most holidays follow the same pattern… They tried to kill us, we won, let’s eat. (An old joke I cannot claim as my own… but a good one, still!)
Passover is always my favorite holiday, from a story telling and culinary point of view… but to really delve into it… to understand it… to make it so essential to who we are as a people is a relatively new concept for me.
Hey, what can I say… You read this blog… You know I’ve been wandering in the desert for 40+ years! I am finally coming home!
To that end, I have started the habit of reading one Psalm and at least one passage from the book Kabbalah 365, every morning after I pray.
Here is Day 127’s brilliant lesson… and the inspiration for today’s post. And the more I read, the more I realize what a fan of Rabbi Nachman of Breslev (Z”L) I am! Such brilliance, insightfulness and spirit!
“There are a number of different ways of believing. There is a faith, for example, that is solely in the heart. But the main principle is that a person’s faith ought to be so great that it fills the entire body.
As is written in the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (16th Century), one should raise the hands with palms facing the head following the ritual of washing the hands before bread. This, he taught, is in order to channel the holy. So you see how one needs to have one’s faith not only in one’s heart, but also in one’s hands! – One needs to believe that by raising one’s hands with palms facing the head, one channels holiness.
As it is written about Moses when he raised his hands to bring victory to his warriors: “And his hands became faith.” (Exodus 17:12)
(Rabbi Nachman of Breslev in Likuttei Ha’MaHaRaN Tania, No. 9)
Having faith in one’s hands… Wow. This concept blows me away. It is taking and idea, a soulful thought and putting it into action… and accepting and knowing that Hashem is with us… beside us… guiding us…
We can channel holiness by raising our hands.
I do not think I will ever wash my hands again on Shabbat without doing this! The idea of raising your hands and taking that moment… to pause… to be holy…. or even holier… this is a pretty holy act to begin with… but to truly connect with and feel Hashem. Wow.
And Moses’ hands became faith.
Stop for a minute. Think about that. So many historical and Biblical images come to mind.
While we cannot all part the Red Sea… not all lead our people through the desert to Jerusalem… to the Promised Land… we can find holiness… we can connect ourselves to Hashem… and it can happen in our hearts, our souls and our hands.
So for all of us, as we celebrate Pesach… let us all open our hands, just as we would our hearts and our minds. Ideas and thoughts… to speech… to action.
Allow our hands to be filled with the hands of another… to pat someone on the back… to shake a hand… to hug or caress… or to lift someone up, that may need lifting.
Let our hands become faith.