Jewish Spirituality

Thoughts on Passover

I’m trying to get into a Passover mindset, but I’m really having trouble with it this year. Eva and I have been so swamped we haven’t really done much about cleaning out the house. All of a sudden, we realized yesterday that seder was in 2 days (first seder is Saturday night). And we hadn’t begun to make plans yet. So, over IM, we planned a very simple seder menu in about 20 minutes. I’ll probably test drive the congregational seder service for Sunday night at our home on Saturday night. Somehow, it all feels a little ignored.

But. . .there is also something about it that feels distinctly right. The seder is suppose to recall the exodus from Egypt, which took place in a great rush, as the Israelites departed in a great hurry, hoping to get out while the getting was good. “They left with the clothes on their back. . .” Somehow, this last minute scurrying in some ways feels reminiscent of that original event.

Most years, preparation for a seder means days of cleaning, followed by days of cooking. It was surely the case that this is not what refugees fleeing in the night did. There were no elaborate plans, simply a need to move quickly and get out.

This year we will celebrate the Passover seder with a minimum of fuss and bother. We will have a few friends join us, and we will celebrate the freedom we have. We often think of that freedom in terms of freedom to practice religion, but in modern America, it is perhaps worth noting that it is also freedom not to practice religion, or to practice it in a way which feels appropriate at a given time.

For all you who are about to celebrate Passover: May it be a wonderful holiday, filled with exactly the significance you need it to have this year.