Passover is here. It is my second most favorite holiday after Sukkot. On the simplest level, building a sukkah and shaking a lulav is much easier than cleaning the cupboards to the last crumb and then going many days without some of my favorite foods (eg. bread without which a meal doesn’t seem like a meal.)
This year I have noticed what I think is a side effect of all the turmoil around the WH and domestic politics in general. In the past, before Pesach my Inbox always filled with Passover humor and music and stories and recipes, besides all the fundraising appeals that Jewish organizations generate around every excuse for an appeal. This year very little Pesach “enrichment” showed up. (Not to worry, the appeals were at their usual strength.) Why the change?
I don’t think Pesach is any less important. I think instead our energy is so focused on the drama that surrounds this WH, or in the resistance to the values this WH projects around issues like gun control and immigration, that we have little or no creative bandwidth left. If I am right, it’s then one more side effect of the angst that rules our land.
Interestingly, I have noticed that Passover enrichment that comes from our brothers and sisters in Israel has not diminished in quantity or quality. Israelis have their own angst, their own leadership turmoil, and security issues that we could not imagine tolerating, and yet they refuse to let all that serious static rule their lives.
What to do? Make Passover a time to park the angst and enjoy family and the blessings we all have. Think about when you had to ask the Four Questions. Share good memories of those who used to be at the table. Appreciate the amazing freedom we ex-slaves, we recent immigrants, enjoy here. We betray the memory of our ancestors, whether they were wandering through the Egyptian desert millennia ago, or making the trip from Europe to America on steamships only a century ago, if we forget where we too came from, and it wasn’t the Mayflower. Lastly, understand that there is a time and place for everything, that whatever resistance or campaigning or demonstrating or just plain bemoaning the current situation pulls on us all the time can be set aside for a few days to connect with our roots and our people, and then taken up again with renewed strength.
Best wishes for a chag Pesach sameach. Bill Rudolph