The month of April has a very important holiday for the Jewish people, called Passover. On Passover we eat a special food called matzo. LET MY PEOPLE GO by Tilda Balsley, tells the story of why we eat matzo and much, much more. The story begins when Moses sees a burning bush and God appears, and tells him he must free the Jewish people who are enslaved in Egypt. Slaves are people who are held against their will and must spend their lives working for someone, and not be free to live as they choose.
Thousands of years ago, all of the Jewish people were slaves to the Egyptian Pharaoh. At first, Moses didn’t want to take on this challenge because he stuttered, but with the help of his brother Aaron, he did it. He went to Pharaoh and demanded, “Let My People Go!” Pharaoh said, “No, No, No.” So Moses said, “Then God will send down a plague.” He turned all of the water in Egypt to blood so it was undrinkable. Moses went to Pharaoh again and said, “Let My People Go!” Pharaoh said “No, No, No.” So God sent down a total of 10 plagues: Blood, Frogs, Lice, Flies, death of Livestock, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness and finally the Death of the Firstborn. It wasn’t until the 10th plague, the killing of the first born sons of the Egyptian people, that finally the Pharaoh set the Jewish people free to live their lives.
You might ask, why didn’t Pharaoh let them go if it was causing his people to suffer? Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. It was filled with hate, which brings up one of the greatest morals of this story. I will explain at the end. The reason Jews eat matzo today during the Passover celebration, is to remind them of the bread the Jews ate after they had to flee Egypt so quickly. Matzo is unleavened bread and is flat like a cracker. Finally, with the help of God, Moses parted the Red Sea so the Jews were able to walk on to land, to freedom.
So, my precious Elena, today we remember this miracle and celebrate Passover. On the same two nights of the year, Jewish families all over the world have a special meal. This idea that Jewish families the world over are doing the same thing at the same time is very meaningful. They use a book called a Haggadah that tells the story of how Moses freed the Jewish people and brought them out of Egypt. As the story is read, it is accented by the eating of specific foods, representing different parts of the story. Eating matzo is a big part of the meal.
There are several important morals to this story. The first is about how Moses felt he was unworthy of God’s task because of his speech impediment. It shows us that even if you have some handicap, you can still be the person chosen to do something very great, something that is your destiny, that which God has planned for you. The second moral regards the heart of Pharaoh that has hardened, not only against the Jewish people, but his fellow Egyptians as well. His heart became completely stiff, not allowing love to exist in it. The heart is the part of us that loves. If he loved the Jewish people he wouldn’t have enslaved them. If he loved his own people he wouldn’t have made them suffer the plagues.
Dearest Elena, I hope you will try your hardest never to let your heart harden, to be open and caring of others. It is always the right thing to approach people with love in your heart and to keep those channels, deep in your heart, free and clear. Mommy feels there is never a good reason to let your heart harden, and close off others.
I love you from the bottom of my heart. My heart is bursting with love for you. I hope I always treat you with love and respect, and give you as many hugs and kisses as you could ever need. I can’t wait to share the Passover Seder with you.