Here’s What the Exodus from Egypt Smelled Like

Here’s What the Exodus from Egypt Smelled Like

In honor of Passover, my neighbor and teacher Shira Lichtig, took us last week on a spiritual-journey walk through the flowering Jerusalem Forest. It was a really powerful experience, I wish you could have been there with us…

The whole forest was exploding with blossoming mustard flowers…

As well as this flower below called a Spiny Broom (קידה שעירה in Hebrew–literally a “Hairy Curtsy”–making it the winner in the category of Strangest Israeli Flower Name.)

The amazing thing about a Spiny Broom, Shira told us, is that right after even a devastating forest fire, it recovers quickly and flourishes back again with a vengeance. I noticed many of Spiny Brooms underfoot as we walked behind Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Museum. And I thought about how Spiny Brooms are like the Jewish people…Rising from the ashes of the Shoah to establish the State of Israel and more yeshivot and seminaries than the world has ever known…

And we saw other pretty flowers (whose names I don’t know)…


And this cool plant with circle leaves which is called, fittingly, מצלתיים– cymbals.

And from the rock sprung forth…flowers!

And a very hungry caterpillar.


It was overcast and even starting drizzling at the end of our walk…

As we walked, I noticed how the clouds would cover the sun for a few minutes, casting dark shadows across the landscape, until the clouds floated away, letting the sun shine on the world again. And I thought of dark times in life, when Hashem hides His face from us…But Hashem is right there, like the sun hiding behind that cloud. But not for long…

And this was my favorite thing we saw…this is Hyssop! Hyssop or אזוב in Hebrew, is also known as zaatar. This is what the Jewish people used to spread blood across their doorways after we slaughtered sheep, the god of Egypt, and fled Egypt on that 1st Passover, with G-d’s mighty hand and outstretched arm guiding us, after 210 years of bitter slavery.

So I bent down to breathe in deep the smell of hyssop, the smell of zaatar (similar to oregano) and I imagined my great-great-great-great… grandmother smelling that delicious smell right before she escaped Egypt to the Promised Land…

When I looked at this tree below I thought of what Shira told us about the Jewish woman–she has her feet on the ground and her head in the Heavens. Transforming the cleaning, organizing, cooking of Pesach into the holy of holies, a pure Passover sacrifice for Hashem.




  1. wow! Channa Jenny, you’re a poet
    חג שמח!

  2. Thank you so much for this beautiful post and all the beautiful pictures! It is wonderful to share this walk with you!

  3. sheva lazaros

    i can almost smell your lovely post…. in my mind’s “nose” rather than in my “mind’s eye”.
    thank you chana jenny.

  4. Batsheva

    So precious, and thank you for sharing!! I love the pictures😀

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