At sundown tonight, the week of Passover begins. This is probably one of the most widely celebrated Jewish holidays. Passover commemorates the biblical story of Exodus, when Hebrew slaves were released from bondage in Egypt. Jewish people everywhere will sit down at there dinner tables and retell the ancient-old Passover story at their Seder. One of the hallmarks of this holiday is highlighting how Jewish people do things differently during Passover. In fact, the youngest member at the Seder asks "the four questions" in hopes to have them answered ... basically, there is only one main question that seeks to find out why this night is different from all other nights? As the Seder continues, each of the four answers will explain why something is done differently during Passover.
To give you an idea of some actions that may be stopped during Passover... on all other nights we eat bread or matza, while on this night we eat only matza (so, no bread-eating or chametz is allowed). On all other nights, we eat while sitting upright, but on this night we eat reclining (yes, we are relaxing at this dinner table!). Passover is a story about freedom. The Jewish people take time to reflect upon their days as slaves and then rejoice that they are now free. Part of this reflection is realizing that we are no longer prisoners... that we are free to make choices about how to live our lives. Passover also recognizes that spring is here. A time when many people feel renewed and restored. This got me thinking (I know, a scary thought)...
- How many of us are doing things in our everyday lives that could benefit from, what I would like to call, a Passover Intervention? -- Think about it, during the Passover Seder, it is stressed over and over again about why this night is different from other nights and thus why we stop doing things that we may normally do, and rather, act in different, more meaningful ways.
I think the Jewish people may be up to something here. Let's break this down for a moment:
- We are FREE to make our own decisions.
- It is a time for renewal.
- We are forced to acknowledge behaviors that are not included during these celebrations and instead, focus on the special behaviors we do that sets the Passover night apart from all others.
If you add this equation together, it makes me stop for a moment to reflect on some of the choices I have made in my life. It seems, we hear so much about what we should be doing for optimum health, but there's much less focus on the things we should stop doing. For ages and ages, the Jewish people have recognized that you may just have to literally ask out loud about behaviors that set the Passover holiday apart from everyday life... "Why is this night different from all other nights?" Well, for my Passover Intervention, I am asking the same to all of you. Let's celebrate our freedom to make choices, let the beautiful springtime rejuvenate us, and now we must each ask one of our own 4 Questions:
- Why is today different from all other days? And (I'll give you a clue...your answer isn't going to be that on all other days we don't dip our vegetables in salt water, but on this day we dip them twice) -- no, your answer will be something like this -- on all other days, I have chosen to: (fill in the blank) - quit smoking, suffer from arthritis, deal with breast cancer, go to Yoga, want to lose weight, be stressed, want to live longer. But TODAY, I make the choice to identify the 10 things that I must stop doing to make this day (and all the ones to follow) special and different.
I encourage you to try my Passover Intervention, and hopefully you can finally celebrate your autonomy over your health and make every day different and meaningful by not repeating the same self-defeating behaviors that can be getting in the way of your optimal health.
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Passover Seder Photo Courtesy of Tom Le Goff/Photodisc/Getty Images