Finally, after all these weeks of preparation, of buying and cleaning and cooking and worrying and planning and throwing out and panting and wailing and despairing – after all the slavery – the holiday of liberation is just a few days away.
It’s ironic, isn’t it – the work at times seems so overwhelming that by the time night falls and the first seder begins, it’s hard to remember its promise.
But we should.
And then the seder begins – and we do.
Last fall’s Pew Study, Bad News for Jews, documented terrible fall-offs in religious observance across most of the Jewish spectrum, but even so, it said, seven in 10 Jews go to a seder. Most of us remember the seders of our childhoods and we mark each year’s passage as familiar faces age and gray and then disappear, and other, younger ones babble and then giggle and then learn to read. There is something about the smell of a seder, its particular spices and richness and nuttiness (in every possible sense); something about the familiar wine and gravy stains in the Haggadahs, that link us to the selves we used to be last year. Each seder is different, of course, and each family has its own traditions; its own songs and soups and flash points.
And that is one of its main beauties. We are all doing the same things; we are each doing them ever so subtly in our own way. We are many people; we are all one people.
May we all have a sweet and liberating Pesach.