minutia press.

Last night I observed the first night of Passover with my family, at my in-laws' house. Passover is my favorite Jewish holiday. It's unusual, in that there is almost no connection with a Temple or Synagogue: it's a personal observance celebrated in the home. Passover follows the tried and true formula of most Jewish holidays:

  1. They tried to kill us;
  2. We won;
  3. Let's eat

In this case, it was our spirit they tried to kill, with the role of "they" being played by the ancient Egyptians. We were slaves and spent most of our time building pyramids and other tributes to the Egyptian monarchy.

So like most holidays, Passover involves serious amounts of food. In this case, the food cannot have any leavened bread or dry leavening products in it. I think Jewish cooks take Passover as a personal challenge: those who abstain from baking all year get it into gear for Passover and try to produce something edible.

Like most kids, I found the plagues pretty intriguing when I first learned about Passover. There were 10 plagues thrown at the Egyptians to try to convince Pharoah (their king) to set the slaves free. Nine of the ten can be explained through science. Those plagues involved water turning to blood (red), lice, cattle getting sick, darkness, etc.

The 10th plague, however, is distinguished in the story and to this day cannot be explained by science. The first-born child of every household that didn't smear (lamb's) blood on the door was fatally sickened.

I think it's cause for celebration whenever any enslaved people find liberation. Enslavement is not just of the body, but also of the mind and spirit. Here's hoping we can all find liberation for ourselves and promote the liberation of others.