This Shabbat we conclude our reading of Sefer Shemot and the Israelites' journey from Egypt , through the Sea of Reeds and the Sinai desert; their transformation from individual slaves to a people who freely accept the Torah and work together to construct God's sanctuary. It is somewhat paradoxical that just as we finish reading this account, we announce the month of Nisan which begins next Shabbat. For in Nisan we are instructed to recreate this journey for ourselves. It is easy to become overwhelmed by all the pre-Pesach preparations. I hope that there will also be time to clean out our own figurative chametz--the things that weigh us down and prevent us from experiencing the spiritual liberation of Pesach.