Passover began on Monday night. I celebrated it the usual way, inviting family and friends over for a feast. Let me be clear not a Seder, but a feast. I don’t think I’ve ever done an actual, full Seder. In recent years, we’ve gathered and cracked out some Haggadahs (sadly, not the Maxwell House ones from my youth), read a few pages in English, made the blessing over the wine and the matzo, and mocked my brother-in-law as he fumbled through the four questions.
This year, we forgot that we don’t have Haggadahs, and forgot to ask Husband’s parents to bring some. Instead of printing some up on the spot, we decided to forgo even that small ritual. We said the prayer over the wine, I googled the prayer over the matzo since we couldn’t remember it in full, and we ate traditional Ashkenazi Passover foods. I got all emotional while eating gefilte fish and Husband’s homemade matzo balls (no, this is not a pun or double entendre) because it reminded me of what I loved about Passover when I grew up.
I write all of this because I had a conversation the previous week with someone about Passover. When I asked her what she was planning, she told me that she wasn’t doing anything because she didn’t feel there was anything that would be meaningful to her kids. I was horrified. This is a person who works in public service. Even if you don’t have the religious fervor, even if you don’t have fond cultural associations, even if you don’t want to forge memories of family togetherness, Passover is at its heart a story about freedom and social justice. To not see that – or think that young people today find any meaning it in – just left me dumbstruck.
As always, I ate too much at my Passover dinner. We didn’t explicitly talk about the value of freedom or explore its parallels in modern society, but we knew it was there. I don’t believe that there was a baby named Moses lifted from the river by an Egytian princess who later spoke to God through a burning bush (and yes, the double entendre is cracking me up), then unleashed ten plagues upon the land, and then guided people through a parted Red Sea, but I value that family time, that tradition, and that opportunity to reflect on things bigger than me. I hope that everyone who celebrated had a lovely holiday as well.