Reconnecting to Passover's Roots

Spring greening.

Print this page Print this page

Hametz as a Metaphor

Even before Passover begins, the act of removing hametz from our homes offers other opportunities to connect to the natural world. This period of “Jewish spring cleaning” requires us to shake out our sheets and round up any bread or crumbs hiding in our kitchen cupboards. But removing hametz from our homes can also remind us to get rid of the excess “stuff” clogging up our lives--to liberate ourselves from any emotional or spiritual baggage from the year, and send bad habits packing.

It is a perfect time to recycle the stack of junk mail piling up on the desk (and stop more from coming), plant seedlings in the garden, start composting, switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, or volunteer for a cleanup day at a nearby river, beach, forest, or park. It also offers a great opportunity to plan ahead, in order to avoid the all-too-common overuse of disposable dishware during Passover. As you clean out your kitchen cabinets, stock them with light-weight, recycled dishes and cutlery, like the stylish offerings from Preserve, which store easily and can be reused year after year.

While these actions might seem like a distraction on an otherwise busy pre-Passover to-do list, integrating them into our holiday preparations can imbue our celebration with deeper significance that lasts beyond the holiday.

During Passover, all Jews are challenged to remember the Israelites’ journey from slavery to freedom, and feel as if they went through it themselves. But for those willing to dig even further, the story of Passover is not simply historical. It is rooted to the land, the giddy joys of spring, and to the reminder that after every period of dormancy and every experience of suffering, new life awaits just under the soil. 

Find more practical resources and ideas for “greening Passover” at The Jew & The Carrot, The Nation, and The Kitchn.

Did you like this article?  MyJewishLearning is a not-for-profit organization.

Please consider making a donation today.

Leah Koenig

Leah Koenig is a freelance writer whose work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, Gastronomica, Jewish Living, Lilith, Culinate, Beliefnet and other publications.