If you have been wondering why I haven’t been doing any painting recently (or blogging a lot either) it is because Pesach is in the air.
Pesach is the Jewish festival that commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. For those unfamiliar with the story, the family of Jacob went down to Egypt where in the course of a couple of generations they were enslaved by the Pharoah. After a couple of hundred years, God called on Moses to take the people out of Egypt and lead them back to Israel. Pharoah refused to let them go, God sent 10 plagues until the Egyptians ejected their Hebrew slaves and the march to the promised land began.
As with all Jewish festivals there is the historical story on the one hand and the inner meaning on the other. So what is Pesach really all about? It is about the belief that there is right and wrong and that evil empires and their emperors do not have a divine right to rule. It is about the belief that there is meaning to history, right will prevail and that there is a basis for hope. It is also the birthday of the Jewish people as a nation and a time to look at the relationship we have with God.
So why is this stopping me from painting?
Unlike some people, I haven’t been busy making my own Matza, but getting ready for Pesach is always a busy time.
First there is the yearly battle to clean the house of Hametz (crumbs and bits of anything leavened). You may think this is easy, but this has become the annual spring clean (nothing to do with Hametz) – with a deadline by which time all the house must be spotless. Later this week I do the real cleaning bit and kasher (make kosher) the kitchen for Pesach which is a whole exhausting day’s work.
Secondly preparing for the Seder. This is a big family meal held on the first night of Pesach where the eating is in fact the less important part, but rather the telling over the story of the Exodus based on the traditional text of the Hagadah way into the night. This is Jewish-family education’s big night. In order to prepare well for this I have had to do a lot of reading to get back up on the subject matter.
All in all a busy time.