By Desrae Saacks, Acting Editor Cape Jewish Chronicle
So its Pesach again! A more sociable, less restricted, less fearful and less separated Pesach than we’ve had for the last two years!
This time we can share our seder tables with family and friends, travel, be outside without a mask, and all those normal things that we took for granted in the distant days before Covid. Not that this is the post-Covid era — its the get-vaccinated-be-aware-and-live-with-Covid-era.
(Relative) freedom at last! Well it certainly feels like freedom. Compared to ‘before’. And therein lies much of what has emerged from the pages of this issue of the CJC on the subject of Pesach and its overarching theme of freedom.
What has come to light this month is the feeling of optimism, evidenced in the many articles that focus on new beginnings and plans for the future.
Our simcha pages are once again bursting with wedding photos — after two years of lockdown where such events were hardly heard of, and subdued if they did take place. It feels as if the world is waking up!
How fitting to celebrate Pesach at this time of renewal. Pesach is the spiritual new year of the Jewish calendar. A celebration of our exodus from Mitzrayim (Egypt) to freedom. But did you know that according to the Zohar (the text on Jewish mysticism), the name Mitzrayim is derived from m’tzarim, meaning ‘narrow straits’ (mi — ‘from’, tzar — ‘narrow’ or ‘tight’)? Evidence of our communal emergence from the ‘narrow place’ of Covid can be found on these pages.
There is a corollary to the freedom referred to above — it is never absolute. Anton Katz explains how freedoms sometimes clash (p46 or click here); while Rabbi Greg writes about the seeming contradiction between striving for better while recognising when you have enough (p18 or click here). On page 45 and here, Rabbi Liebenberg exhorts us to recognise the limitations on our freedom — although they might not be obvious — and to have the courage to take action toward truly freeing oneself.
While Pesach provides many opportunities to stretch our intellects and feed our souls, it likewise presents opportunities to indulge our senses. With this in mind, we have gathered an assortment of tried and tested recipes (pages 41 and 50 and here) that hopefully will delight the senses, awaken some memories and create some new ones.
From all of us at the CJC, we wish you a Chag Pesach Kasher V’Sameach.
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