Seventh Day of Pesach

Pesach teaches us absolute certainties. Absolute separation between hametz and matzah echoes a total, unrelenting commitment to choosing good over bad, right over wrong, creating joy rather than sadness. The distinctions are so sharp because the categories are so similar: matzah and hametz have the same ingredients, they almost have the same letters. Learning differentiation is essential – but after Pesach comes a process of integration. Both Shakespeare and the counting of the Omer declare: “Let mercy season justice!” The Shavuot sacrifice contained bread, and the thanks-offering both bread and matzah, perhaps as a counterpoint to the strict dichotomies of Pesach. “Wrong” challenges, informs and expands “Right”; sadness tempers and enriches joy. A choice of one shouldn’t always negate the other.

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[Inspired byLikutei Halachot, Orach Hayim, Pesach 3:2; Leviticus 23; Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice 4:1; and The Pancake Bakery by Pieter Aertsen.]

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