I find it hard to imagine that God and Moses really cared if we drank the Kosher for Pesach Diet Coke or the everyday regular stuff. I find it impossible to believe that Moses, or even Mrs. Moses for that matter, (her name was Zipporah-just in case you thought that my Bible skills were left wanting!!) cared what brisket recipe we used or if Aunty "Golda" will be offended because we are letting Aunty "Basha" make the fish this year. Does anybody honestly believe that our ancestors intended for us to spend thousands of dollars "koshering" our home for the holiday, simply because some maven somewhere determined that this brand of matzah was the "only" brand of matzah, or that the Israeli matzah meal (which is many dollars cheaper!) is not kosher enough? I cannot fathom that my foremothers and forefathers even knew what rice and corn were, (not a lot of that stuff hanging around in the desert!) let alone consider their prohibition. (The whole issue of the kitniyot is a discussion that I plan to take up before the start of this year's holiday, so please check back.)
No, Pesach is not about all of that stuff, at least it shouldn't be. Pesach is a spiritual and a physical reawakening. We as Jews need to look at Pesach as a basic evocation of why we are still here, what we as a people have been through and what we need to achieve in order to move forward. We need to remember what the purpose of the seder is (to teach our children and remind ourselves of our history) and not to see how fast Uncle Moishey can get through it so that we can finally eat. We need to look at the Haggadah as a living and breathing document that includes all and requires revision on a yearly basis (within its set framework of course!) in order to incorporate the every changing circumstances in which we find ourselves. We shouldn't be looking for ways to "cheat" the system by buying into the "matzah bagel" mentality, but rather taking the time and energy to understand why it is we do what we do. Pesach isn't about deprivation, it is about renewal. It isn't about denial, it is about affirmation. It isn't supposed to be stomach churning, ulcer inducing, or soul crushing. It is supposed to be spiritually uplifting. Let's all try and remember that as we enter into our preparations this weekend.
(By the way-please follow me on twitter! @dawnbe1229)