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How Passover and Mediation Might Be Alike

April 18, 2019


Most of us undoubtedly know the story of the exodus from Egypt. As you probably also know, Jews all over the world retell the story annually in the spring, in their observance of Passover [Pesach]. Passover begins tomorrow night and I have been thinking of how Passover and mediation might be alike.

In a remarkable paragraph of a volume in my own library, I think I found the answer. The paragraph reads:

The central meaning of Passover [Pesah] is liberation … [it being called] the season of our liberation. Another name for Passover is … the holiday of spring…. The watchwords of both spring and Pesah are rebirth and hope. Thus, the spirit of renewed optimism … [is] reinforced in a Jewish context by Passover with its trumpeting of the possibilities of liberation. Passover reminds us annually that no matter how terrible our situation, we must not lose hope.

(Strassfeld, Michael. The Jewish Holidays: A Guide and Commentary. New York: Harper & Row, 1985, pp 6-7.)

So let me cull out a few concepts here.

“No matter how terrible our situation…” People do not come to mediation unless they are in the midst of a dispute or at least a serious conflict, which may eat at them, day and night, distracting them continuously from their family life, work life, social life, and so forth. It is usually a terrible situation. They may even feel enslaved (another Passover concept), unable to foresee any release or relief from their predicament, their anxieties, uncertainties, even nightmares about their set of circumstances.

Renewed Optimism” and “Hope.” Mediation generally, and mediators in particular, can bring optimism and hope to the table, helping people to sort out their difficulties and enabling them to see a future without the relentless pain or distraction of the conflict.

Liberation.” Mediation “trumpets the possibilities of liberation” from all of the foregoing. It gives an opportunity, in private, for people to learn more about themselves, about each other, about the problems they face and their fears, and about the possible solutions to those problems. Even if mediation does not resolve their problems then and there, it often leads to a resolution at a later time.

Rebirth.” Perhaps “rebirth” is too grandiose a word for mediation, but there is the possibility, even the probability, nevertheless that things will improve as a result of mediation and that therefore peoples’ lives will be better, even renewed, thereafter.

In the final analysis, I love the observance of Passover. I even wrote some haiku about it years ago. See,

And I love mediation, its magic in helping people, and its possibility for improving their lives. Which is why I write about it too. See, e.g., ; ;, and so many other posts at .

Wishing my readers who observe Passover, a happy holiday, and to everyone, a happy life (through mediation or otherwise).


David I. Karp is a full time independent mediator of real estate and business disputes in Southern California. His website is at .

*This post is marked “Advertisement” so as to comply with the State Bar’s Rules of Professional Conduct if applicable.


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