I generally keep religion out of this blog. This post is not *about* religion, but rather about reasoning and motivation. For those of you who do not know, I am Jewish. I keep passover.

If you do not know what Passover it is, it is a major Jewish holiday – commemorating the liberation of Israelis from Egyptian slavery. It lasts ~ 8 days and during the period of Passover, one celebrating cannot eat leavened bread, among other things including: rice, corn, beans, nuts, etc. While there are a wide variety of interpretations and enforcements to these restrictions, that is effectively the major concept of it. There is of course, more to it, but what i am focusing on today is the challenge I see with keeping passover.

For the past 7 years of my life (since turning 13), I have “kept Passover.” In other words, I have given up eating starches and nuts etc. for 8 days each and every year.

Why do I do this?

Every year, my friends who do not keep Passover think this is stupid. They have a right to. I think everyone should think and decide for themselves.

One of the biggest reasons I do it is to challenge myself. I want it to be hard. I am ‘signing up for this’ because it is hard.

If it were easy for me, I probably would look for a greater challenge. But keeping Passover – just an 8 day experiment – provides me with a serious exercise in mental acuity and toughness.

I am keeping Passover this year while traveling in Thailand and Cambodia. This is really hard. I love Thai food. It is some of my favorite.

But I am not eating a single starch. A single Pad Thai. Etc.

And no I do not get any sort of prize for this. There is no tangible reward waiting for me at the end.

I keep Passover to remind myself that if I cannot maintain this simple diet for just 8 days – what can I do? This is a doable, actionable sacrifice that I know – with a bit of suffering – I can accomplish.

The only thing that would stop me from being able to keep Passover would be my own willpower failing me. If I get lazy, I will break it.

But I will not get lazy. I need this workout.