A Bisl Torah – What’s Missing?

April 14, 2022
Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images

One of the main themes of Passover is humility. We eat matza that is flattened as a reminder to calm down our often puffed up egos. But I think we forget to concentrate on that which is missing: the yeast.

As many bakers witness, yeast is activated by triggering agents. Hot water and sugar allow those familiar bubbles to emerge in the beginning process of baking bread or challah. It takes an activator for the dough to rise. There are particular ingredients that cause the yeast if you will, to come alive.

Spiritually, our egos may not be so different. When engaged with what feels like threatening situations, our chests puff out, activated to protect our seemingly fragile hearts. When someone shakes up what feels comfortable, disturbs the status quo, pushes boundaries or offers what may be an unwelcome change, we react. We rise up, sometimes with anger, bravado, words we didn’t mean, actions we later regret. We’re activated. And sometimes, we’re out of control.

Passover is a lens into those agents that trigger activation. The personalities that tend to cause our hearts to race. The environments that confuse us. The patterned moments that turn us into characters we don’t recognize. What agents should we name, remove or even confront so that we remain steady, calm, humble and true to ourselves?

Matza is the goal. But imagine the impact Passover will have if we consider how matza is made. Not letting the ever present yeast and activating agents in our world control who we are and who we want to be.

Enjoy your matza-filled Pesach. Crunchy, humbling, and good for the soul.

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach

Rabbi Nicole Guzik is a rabbi at Sinai Temple. She can be reached at her Facebook page at Rabbi Nicole Guzik or on Instagram @rabbiguzik. For more writings, visit Rabbi Guzik’s blog section from Sinai Temple’s website.

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