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    A month before Pesach

    “Don’t remind me!” I said the other day to someone who told me, “Pesach is just around the corner!”

    The Sulzbach Haggadah, 1755

    Actually I was wrong to respond as I did. There is an important tradition that thirty days before the festival people should already be asking questions about the theory and practice of Pesach.

    At the same time the Pesach spring cleaning has been under way in some houses since before Purim, and the shopping expeditions are not far off.

    Of course the bookshops are busy arranging their displays of Haggadot and Pesach plates, and the publishers have probably produced new editions of the Haggadah in the hope of attracting those who are looking for a new format and new ideas.

    So are these comments merely journalistic reportage describing the onset of the increasingly frantic activity of the coming month?

    Not entirely; symbolically they are a reminder that any important moment in life needs to be prepared for. Marriage is top of the list; it is nothing short of amazing how many couples go into marriage without adequate preparation.

    Every life-cycle event likewise, even the end of life. “Prepare to meet your God, O Israel”, says the prophet (Amos 4:12). If this applies to death, it also applies to life.

    There are two views as to how a human has a God-experience. One is that it bursts upon you when you least expect it, the other that you can make yourself receptive in advance and can, as it were, set up the shidduch. Both views have validity.

    On the Amos principle, a person can go seeking God and find Him nearer than they thought.

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