“Get rid of the old hametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened.”
~ First Corinthians 5:7a
In the last year, so much has happened for all of us both as a Congregation, but also for everyone - in every city and nation of the world. A year ago, we were all prepared to have our Corporate Seder as a community and only months before, COVID-19 struck and all of Florida with the nation went into lock down. As a result, at the last minute, we had to cancel our Seder altogether and for the first time ever we had to revert to an online, Facebook Live Passover celebration. For other Synagogue’s it was also done on platforms like Zoom and still others, streamed with YouTube and other Social-Media outlets.
Yet, even with the unexpected changes and inconveniences which kept us from gathering corporately, we were/are still commanded of Adonai to keep Pesach and observe this holy annual season of our deliverance. As a result, the Lord was with us all last year in a very special way, and I believe we grew stronger as Yeshua separated from our hearts the chaff from the wheat as He knit us together with even greater levels of Covenant Relationship and through Sacrificial-Love. When, in the flesh it would have been easier to just hold out and wait for “next year,” and celebrate Passover then, or abstain from fellowship altogether, we embrace a new (and somewhat uncomfortable online reality) and in the end, I am convinced it made us stronger! With this, we learned as a community the depth of our calling in Messiah support one another in times of hardship and to truly be the Body of Yeshua as we have been learning recently in 1 Thessalonians.
Yet, part of being the Body friends is found in both walking in the Lord’s commands personally and also exhorting one another to do the same. Where it might be easier to just blend in and be like the world, Yeshua declares over our hearts and lives that we must be salt and light, as He commission’s us in His love to reflect Him to one another, to our neighbor and to all the nations of the world. But in doing this, how should we reflect Him? … It is by being set-apart!
To this end, the B’rit Chadashah in 1 Corinthians 5 reminds us on how we are set apart, especially during this time of the year where Rav Sha’ul (Paul) compares sin to yeast or a batch of dough. In this, every baker knows that when bread is made, it first ferments and then spreads and grows, thus taking over the whole lump and reforming it! It is for this reason that the Torah tells us that during Pesach, leaven must be removed from our homes as an act of consecration and purity before Him. Where normally yeast is not a problem, during Passover it is in that as Rambam reminds that as a “negative” commandment we are to remove it from our homes, and as “positive” command, we must bring in the matzah (the pure bread).
It is for this reason that Rav Sha’ul’s words above carry such weight and importance, but not just we have yeast or leaven removed for just 7-days, but instead so that we would diligently seek to keep sin out of our lives every day for the whole of our lives.
In this, dear friends, as the weeks and days approach Pesach let’s all take the steps necessary to embrace a deep, more practical holiness - not out of rules, but instead - relationship so that we might be holy before the Lord and true reflection of His love, grace, and power to a lost and broken world.
Rabbi Mark Rantz
Beit Hallel Messianic Congregation
Erev Shabbat ~ March 12th, 2021 | 28th of Adar, 5781
Please follow our Rabbi's blog as he shares from our weekly Torah Portion from a distinctively Messianic Jewish Perspective! Shalom!