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Passover: One Great Holiday! Part One

03/29/2017 02:05:10 PM

Mar29

There are many things that I love about the Jewish year but the Passover Seder might be at the very top of the list! I look forward to Passover on so many different levels. For me, Passover ranks just below Yom Kippur in holiness and just above every other holiday in meaning. Why you ask? Good question!

On its most simplistic level, Passover is the holiday of the coming of Spring. I am simply not a Winter person. I do not appreciate cold, wind or snow. Ice falling from the sky is an anathema to ne. When Passover arrives, I know that it will not be long before the winter blues are completely behind me. I have a sort of fascination with the buds of Spring. I love the first daffodils as they push up from the recently frozen earth. The eating of the parsley at the Seder confirms to me that I am not alone. Our ancestors were equally taken with the arrival of Spring and created the ritual around the parsley as a way to that God for the coming beauty and warmth of the Spring Days.

I love Passover because it reminds us of the greatest story ever told. Cecil B. DeMille realized this and created one of the most popular movies that has enlightened several generations. I still secretly envision Moses to look remarkably like Charleton Heston. But DeMille and Heston aside, the story of the Exodus from Egypt speaks to us all. We can argue it's historical accuracy but we cannot argue its historical impact. In part, Jews are who they are today because of the great power of this story. We learn thatt our roots are humble and humility must always play a role in our lives. We grow to understand that God is our Savior in ways that we may not be able to detect at the moment. We rejoice as we leave the "fleshpots" of Egypt and set out for a new life. We can feel the fear in our ancestors as the Egyptians change their mind and begin to pursue the people. Dancing with Miriam on the dry land after passing through the Sea of Reeds is a joy that arises from deep within our being. There are few stories that continue to interest me year after year but this one does. The Exodus from Egypt is our own story and it deeply resonates with me.

More than the story however, I love the symbolism, pageantry and the rituals. There is something magical (not tasty) about that first bite of matzah. Reminding us not to be "puffed up", the matzah is the "ego leveler" of our people. Once a year it reminds us that there is no good place for an inflated ego. I love hiding the afikomen and seeing the face of the children as they look for it. No matter how out of tune or how many mistakes they make, the voices of the children singing the Four Questions is one of the sweetest sounds of the year. Even the eating of the horseradish is special. It not only clears the sinuses but helps to form the tears in our eyes that brings us a little closer to our ancestors. 

Stay tuned next wee for Part Two of Passover - One Great Holiday!

Wed, January 23 2019 17 Sh'vat 5779