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Passover lesson in Oklahoma: Don't be 'puffed up'

Rabbi Vered Harris at Temple B'nai Israel in Oklahoma City said spiritual significance abounds in the rule against eating leavened products at Passover.
by Carla Hinton Published: March 23, 2013

Harris told temple members that leavened bread products can be seen as spiritual symbols of arrogance.

“All the things that puff up bread are symbolic of all the things that puff us up,” she said.

The rabbi said the Israelites left without leavening their bread just as “we are to leave our arrogance behind.”

Harris said Passover is a time to remember how God brought the Israelites out of slavery. Rather than boastful arrogance of this feat, there should be humility — and a commitment to helping free others who are enslaved today, whether it be through human trafficking, domestic violence situations, addiction or other forms of enslavement.

Free to worship

Harris said ridding the house of leavened foods and eating matzah is a “ritual reminder, a physical reminder, to be humble and remember our origins as a slave nation.”

“God freed us with a mighty hand, therefore keep your humility about you and help someone else,” she said.

Harris said individuals make numerous food choices every day.

“By making the choice to abstain from leavened foods, it forces you, on a continual basis, for a whole week, to think about the fact that we were set free for a purpose,” she said.

“Moses was a social justice hero. He stood up to an oppressor and said, ‘You've got to let them go so they can be free to worship their God.'”

by Carla Hinton
Religion Editor
Carla Hinton, an Oklahoma City native, joined The Oklahoman in 1986 as a National Society of Newspaper Editors minority intern. She began reporting full-time for The Oklahoman two years later and has served as a beat writer covering a wide...
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