The Oys and Joys of Pesach - Thursday, March 22

Thu, 03/22/2018 - 10:12am -- Rabbi Shalom Lewis

Rabbi Shalom LewisIt’s an old classic. A prince prohibits his Jewish subjects from practicing their faith. The rabbi of the oppressed community implores the tyrant, year after year, for leniency. Finally, the prince relents and tells the persistent rabbi that the Jews may once again observe, fully, their traditions. The good news is greeted with appreciation but the rabbi makes one additional request. He asks that the decree of tolerance be issued after Pesach. The chuckle, is of course, for one more Passover without the back - breaking preparation.

This is the season of moans, groans and sacred drudgery. The schlepping up and down of tables. Chairs. Pots, pans, silverware, bowls, plates. Haggadot. It is the time of tedious drives to distant places and pauper cries of ‘Crazy prices. Limited inventory.’ We Yankee expats long for Shoprite and Waldbaums. We chop apples. Marinate brisket. Roast eggs. Scour the city for a shank bone. Furniture is rearranged. Table assignments made. And then, enduring the powerful ‘short seder lobby’. The early risers who want to speed it up. The dramatically starved who want to eat. How much English? How much Hebrew? And then the attempt to balance it all with the pietists who insist on reciting and chanting every word. Put it all together and the annual, frazzled post Pesach, Leshana Haba’ah chatter, speaks of Kosher cruises and Miami hotels. Dayeinu. We’ve had enough and swear on Bubbie’s knaidelach that next year we padlock the house and let Royal Caribbean or the Hilton do all the work.

Yes, it’s costly and exhausting but the memories are long enduring. Every credit card maxed out. Every hike up and down the steps. Every farfel crumb buried in the carpet. Every Manischewitz stained table cloth. Put it together and we can proudly claim a loyal, direct link to Sinai and to our ancestors. Our kvetching is a holy part of the holiday. And when we sit at our children’s tables, not so many years from now, listening to the MaNishtana and opening the door for Elijah, we will finally get it. Our hearts will smile and softly we’ll happily mumble, ‘It was all worth it’.

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