Passover: A Time for Renewal and Reflection
As a member of the Jewish tribe, I see the spring holiday of Passover as a week of celebration and renewal. Passover not only commemorates the Jewish people’s declaration of independence from slavery in Egypt, but being that it always falls on the first full moon after the spring equinox, it’s also about honoring the renewal of the sun. But this year's holiday celebration has brought a different kind of renewal both to my annual celebration, and in regards to the very fabric of my life.
Passover in many ways was all about my dad, who sadly fell gravely ill during Passover of 2011. He took such pride in creating the most enviable Seder plate- lovingly crushing walnuts and adding just the right amount of wine to produce a Charoset that would net a blue ribbon, were blue ribbons awarded for such delicacies! It was almost as if during the holiday of Passover, as my father sat at the head of our table regaling us with the plight and eventual triumph of the Jews over the Egyptians who enslaved them, and all the miracles which ensured and during those moments my dad was utterly in his element. He was a story teller at heart ( I still remember staying up into the wee hours on Friday nights listening to him recite mythological tales and Grimm fables) and well the Passover holiday is all about sharing the story of the Jews and their arduous travails through the desert and acceptance of God's love, and their consecration as a nation.
While the religious aspect of my father's obvious love for Passover always seemed to reignite my love for it as as well- more than anything what I loved most about Passover was my father being at the helm of it all, doting over all of us, sharing his knowledge of ancient Jewish texts, laughing at me for getting tipsy on too much wine, hiding the afikomen with my kids and smiling at us while we all got rowdy and drunkenly belted out our Seder tunes. So this year, being the first of all my 38 on this planet that I will not have the distinct privilege of sharing a Seder with my father, will be extremely bittersweet. It feels impossible to recreate the magic he brought to these meals and religious events, and yet I also want my kids to claim some of his customs and traditions as their own.
It is ultimately benchmark moments like this that have me wishing I would have been more vigilant and ensured my kids watched my dad during all these monumental preparations. Still, rather than look back, as a family we will attempt to look forward and begin to create some inaugural Passover traditions of our own. And while I'll be busy crushing walnuts for my own Seder Charoset, some small part of me hopes my dad will be watching and smiling.