In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at dusk, is the Lord’s passover. On the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread.Leviticus 23:5-6
One could say Passover is the most significant among the Festivals, because the Torah always begins the list of Festivals with Passover.Yoma 2b
Beginnings are important, and the stories of our own beginnings are the stories that not only stick with us, but also stick with other people we meet along the way.
When I meet another person for the first time and I really want to get to know them, the first question I ask is, “Where are you from?”
When my wife and I find ourselves at a social event, seated with another couple we don’t know, in her wisdom she always asks, “How did you two meet?” With one question, you can usually get two back-stories in addition to good insight into the arc of their relationship.
Not to mention: Every superhero you know, real or fictional, has an Origin Story, and if you don’t know it, you don’t really know the superhero. If you do know it, you know everything: not only what her superpowers are, but why it’s so important to her to use them.
Passover is the Jewish Origin Story. In learning the first few chapters of Exodus, we see how we grew from a family into a people, and more: from a people with problems into a people with a purpose.
But what does that have to do with Leviticus, Chapter 23?
Here we have a list of our five biggest holidays of the year, after Shabbat. One might think it would start with Rosh Hashanah – the Jewish New Year – but it doesn’t. You might think it would start with the first festival in the new year, Sukkot, but it doesn’t. It doesn’t even begin with the holiday commemorating the revelation of the Torah (kind of a big deal) which is Shavuot. Instead, it starts with Passover.
In fact, as the Rabbis of the Talmud observe, every singled time the Torah lists all the holidays, the list begins with Passover. I believe that this is because Passover is our Origin Story as a people, and the event it describes is was the catalyst that transformed our experience from persecution to purpose.
Question of the day: What’s your Origin Story? Where are you from and, if you will, what gave you your superpowers? Please let me know in the comments below.