Posted 6 April 2006on:
Next week we will be celebrating the festival of Passover or Pesach. No other festival more powerfully embodies the Jewish experience than this one. It is when we remember the time that the children of Israel became a people. We remember the slavery and the oppression of our ancestors in Egypt and all the miracles that led to their redemption. We recite the story of the journey of a people across the wilderness in search of their physical and spiritual home.
But Pesach is more than this. It is not old history ~ it is a continuing story ~ a story of the Jewish people that will never end. We are told in the book of Exodus ….. “That you may remember the day of your going out of Egypt all the days of your life.”
The preparations for Pesach seem to me every year to be a form of *slavery* and, oh how I moan about it, but the difference, the big difference, is that I can savour the freedom to observe this festival. This particular festival is one I observe *to the letter* ~ to me it represents more than just the household cleaning, but there is a sense of spiritual cleaning too. If you are interested in the laws and customs of this festival you can find out more on my *My Religion* link.
The question is asked, “Why is this night different from all other nights?” It is answered by narrating the story from a book called the *Haggadah* from the Hebrew word ‘lehagid’ which means ‘to tell’ and refers to the biblical commandment “And you shall tell your children on that day.” (Exodus). At the end of the story we say the words “Next Year in Jerusalem.” Every year it is my custom to add a new Haggadah to my collection, one with different commentaries and perspective to provoke discussion and thought.
BUT for me this year is a first. “Why is this year different from all other years?” Because this year will be the first time I will be in Jerusalem for Pesach. This year will be the first Pesach I will not be celebrating in my own home. This year will be the first Pesach without my father. This year will be the first Pesach with my grandson, all my children and my mother, four generations together. This year, please G-d, may it be a special Pesach.
I depart Saturday night and will be back just over two weeks later. Enjoy the peace and quiet. I’m sure you will; a rest from my nonsense. No more silly mrsbg stories, no more boring Friday posts, like this one. Gosh, what’s that I hear? I do believe it’s a very large sigh of… erm… relief…. hmmm. Okay, got the message.
In the meantime, a wonderful weekend to everyone and Shabbat Shalom; and for next week, Happy Easter and Chag Semeach.