Monday, April 14, 2014

Passover Blessings

           I’ve been blessed over the years to attend my fair share of Passover seders and find the ceremony one of the most touching of all of religious faiths. (Granted they can run long.) I’ll never forget the time a gust of wind blew the door open just as we were welcoming Elijah. (In case you’re unfamiliar, it is tradition to leave the door cracked and a cup set for Elijah the prophet to come join you after reading a certain number of Psalms, but let a door fly open in the middle of things and it will grab your attention for sure.)
            There is something about ritual and symbolism that I fear we are losing in this culture. Passover (or Pesach if you’re Jewish) is the holiday commemorating the Israelites freedom from Egypt, brought about by Moses (before wandering in the desert for 40 years, and receiving the 10 commandments). If you’ll recall, there were many plagues that hit the Egyptians (10 to be exact), last of which was the killing of firstborn sons, which the Israelites were protected from if they placed lambs’ blood on their door posts. (This part makes my goats nervous, but I assure them this is why we separate our sheep from our goats.)  The significance, of course is to let the Angel of Death “pass over” thus sparing the Israelites sons from this plague.
            I’m intrigued by every facet of these rituals, such as unleavened bread (commemorating the Israelites hasty departure from Egypt once Pharaoh finally freed them, suggesting that their dough didn’t even have time to rise) to the dipping the karpas (symbolizing Joseph’s coat being dipped in blood by his brothers which is what got them stuck in Egypt in the first place). I personally think it would behoove us all to re-read the story from time to time and refresh our own memories as to why it’s so significant.
            But of all the parts I liked the most about seders, it’s involving the children, as questions are a big part of things and keeping them curious, and woven into the entire evening is a big plus.  (Did I mention seders can run long?)
            Don’t know if today’s modern kids can hang long enough without their texting devices to read through the four questions (not to mention asking a few of their own) but there’s something about coming to the meal with the mind of a child that resonates with me.

            To those tonight celebrating this wonderful feast, G-d bless. Here's wishing you a most peaceful Passover season, and to my Christian friends, a blessed Easter in the days ahead.

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