“The preparations of the heart are man’s.”

– Proverbs 16:1, JPS 1917 Tanach

Passover is around the corner; I imagine that this might be the most meaningful of all Passovers. For the intent of reading the Haggadah (Exodus narrative) at the seder meal, while partaking of symbolic foods is to relive the experience of our ancestors. This year, we are readily able to do so, because the passage of the ten plagues, in particular, will overlap with our current experience of reality.

Early on, within the framework of the everchanging coronavirus timeline, I realised that food stockpiling would not make sense, beyond a certain point with Pesach swiftly approaching. My staple foods are oats, rice and beans. Oats are classified as chometz, and for the Ashekenazi Jews, rice and beans are kitnios; they are not permitted to be eaten, nor even in one’s possession, during the eight days of Passover.

This dilemma creates an opportunity for a greater reliance on H’Shem, and trust in His provision. Not only will I trust that I’ll be able to purchase what I need for Passover; I also need to rely on His provision for me after Passover. I will not worry about what the health food store shelves will look like after Passover, when I will need to restock my supply of oats, rice and beans.

These are my usual day to day basic food items; yet, coincidentally, they may also be the most convenient foods for the necessity of preparing for a long term hunkering down scenario. Even so, I wouldn’t acquire more than I need, for 4-5 weeks at the most, purchased gradually, not all at once, because that would be inconsiderate of others. Ethics must play a role in prepping; otherwise, it is a slippery slope towards selfishness, lack of compassion, and disregard for our fellow human beings.

The preparation most necessary at a time like this is the “preparation of the heart.” If we turn our hearts toward H’Shem, He will meet us halfway (Talmud). He will free us from the shackles of confinement that may accrue upon our psyches, as each day passes. He will lead us out of our own personal Mitzraim (Egypt), so that we may walk through the waters of Yam Suf (Splitting of the Sea), when we experience a personal breakthrough in our lives. And, we will receive the words that He has spoken at Sinai, gladly in our hearts.

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