As the seder begins, we say metaphorically, "This year, we are slaves. Next year, may we be free people." Let us hope that by next Passover, our feasts of liberation will be made without slave labor and that more people will be free.
While the reasons for fasting are varied -- whether it's to purify, connect with a higher spiritual power, atone, or to practice self-control and abstinence -- these spiritual rituals also create a sense of community with fellow observers.
For a normal woman, any rupture to her beauty routine will make her as pleasant as Pharaoh on a bad day. But for the kosher ladies of Passover, overhauling their cosmetics caddy is an undertaking of Biblical proportions.