Preface: I probably should have posted this earlier this week so that my Jewish readers would keep this in mind during seders. However, I’ve been extremely busy doing absolutely nothing these past few days, and came back from Boca Beach Club and Resort a bit too late to post in time. Touche. Nonetheless, I offer you some insight about one of my favorite holidays, Passover. Better late than never, am I right?
Every year, we celebrate Passover and recall the story of redemption. We were slaves in Egypt for many years and finally freed, beginning our long journey into the land of Israel. Passover has been one of my favorite holidays for as long as I can remember. No never-ending, boring temple services, like Yom Kippur, and no feeling like Christmas was so much cooler, like on Hanukkah. During the seder, five year old me would use puppets to animate the ten plagues. (I swear, there is even a stuffed ‘boil’ that’s white and pus-filled. It’s awesome.) Eight year old me would dunk everything on the table into the salt water and find it hilarious. Twelve year old me would laugh at my younger sister, because she was finally able to sing the Four Questions by herself, and that meant that I didn’t have to do it anymore. And seventeen year old me happily enjoys four cups of wine. Overall, Passover is just a good time. My family always makes it special, whether it’s my grandmother putting a sheet over her head while pretending to be Elijah the prophet, or my stepdad singing Diyenu with ridiculous facial expressions. And I know matzah may get old after a week, but that first seder night, it’s actually very exciting. And who doesn’t love charoset, are you kidding?
But there’s more to Passover than the twenty bucks you win for finding a cracker with a weird name (Be proud, I actually found the Afikomen this year.) The story has always been one to resonate with me personally. We may not be physical slaves in the land of Egypt anymore, but we each are bound by personal chains, slaving away to the world around us. We all have something that holds us back from living our lives to the fullest and from beginning the exodus to our own personal promised land. Maybe it’s a busy work schedule that prevents us from spending the time we wish we could with family. Maybe it’s the loss of someone or something significant to us that seizes us from adjusting to everyday life again. Maybe it’s the stress of school that makes us forget more important things in life, like happiness. Maybe it’s the inability to recognize what makes us unique, and use it as something to motivate, and not hinder us, in this world. And to be honest, I don’t know what we’re waiting for. Are we expecting a burning bush to capture our attention and tell us the right path? Okay, so maybe that’s a stretch, but you catch my drift. Our ancestors may have needed G-d’s mighty hand to cross the sea and fulfil their destiny. But the truth is, in order to stop internally slaving away, all we really need is to do is to look inside of ourselves.
To me, Passover is also a time to celebrate diversity. I once read about a discussion in the 1980’s at Oberlin College. It was suggested that a crust of bread would be placed on Jewish lesbians’ seder plates, which was sought to convey a previous statement made suggesting that in the Jewish religion, lesbians belonged as much as bread does on Passover. I freaking love how bad ass this is. If placing chametz on the table in a household that was just cleaned to be made kosher for Passover isn’t the best way to go about this, that totally makes sense. But I do urge you to try being the bread on the seder plate of life, if you will. Be outrageous, own what makes you unique, and show the world that you absolutely belong in your community.
Happy Passover from a proud bread on the seder plate, xo