There really is only one thing to write about this whole week – in case you’ve been under a pile of chametz, it’s Passover this Shabbat. So, not only does the parasha schedule change, but our entire outlook and surroundings change, too. Even if you don’t do the whole changing dishes thing, you’re still shopping differently, cooking differently, eating differently.
There is a change – an obvious break from the regular. We make internal shifts, too. After all the cleaning and cooking, we move from the narrowness (metzar/Mitzrayim/Egypt) to liberation, an exhalation. We try to remove our own personal “chametz”…the stuff that’s puffing us up, that’s keeping us beholden and enslaved. That’s harder than scrubbing any floor, I’ll tell you.
There is one thing that has been bouncing around my head all day, though (at -2 days and counting). Today the Federal Reserve announced that (finally) a woman was going to be on USA currency. Harriet Tubman will be on the front of the $20 bill. Interestingly, the slave owner and perpetrator of the Cherokee Trail of Tears, Andrew Jackson, is going to the “back of the bus”, I mean, the back of the bill.
How fitting. The woman who brought countless slaves to freedom, this honor is bestowed upon Harriet Tubman, known as the Moses of her people. She led them out of their oppressive slavery, north to freedom. She heard her people cry out, and wasn’t satisfied to have escaped herself. She had to bring the others out,too.
Friday we will tell the story, our story of freedom. We must remember to tell the story of others. Every story of freedom is ours, as is every story of slavery. For “we were slaves in Egypt”. And we know, we know.
And, since we learn daily from the Torah of musical theater, I offer this to you from “Once on this Island”
Life is why we tell the story
Pain is why we tell the story
Love is why we tell the story
Grief is why we tell the story
Hope is why we tell the story
Faith is why we tell the story
You are why we tell the story
So I hope that you will tell this tale tomorrow
It will help your heart remember and relive
It will help you feel the anger and the sorrow and forgive
For all the ones we leave and we believe
Our lives become the stories that we weave
Happy and Sweet Passover to you and your dear ones.