Rabban Gamliel says, “Whoever has not spoken of three things on Pesach has not fulfilled his duty; they are pesach (paschal lamb), matzah and maror“. Apart from its liturgical/ritual context, this famous statement suggests three things that should be part of every Jew’s thinking.
Pesach, from the word “pass over”, reminds us that God passed over many other peoples and singled us out. He gave us a way of life that sanctifies every moment, a faith that carries us forward, ideas that make sense of the world, a God who stretches our minds and moves our hearts.
Matzah, the bread of affliction, tells us that Judaism can be a resented burden, but it can also be a joy, an excitement, a source of exhilaration. We can complain that it is hard, but we know it is good. If we so decide, Judaism is not bread of affliction but bread of redemption.
Maror reminds us that life is not always sweetness. There are times when the going is tough. How mature we are depends on whether we handle adversity badly or well. If we merely say, “It’s not fair!”, we’ve solved nothing. We can get out of adversity only if we say, “Nothing will stop me believing in God, in human beings, and in myself”.