Tag: passover

It’s Officially Spring !

 

“The supermarket is a wonderful invention – efficient, convenient, virtually unlimited choice, and everything squeaky-plastic clean. Here you see the delightful weekly alternative: the weekly market in the village of Cucuron, where the stalls are set out around the shimmering rectangle of one of the biggest ‘bassins’ in Provence. It’s true that you won’t find here the essentials of modern life. This isn’t the place to come for canned and deep-frozen products, dishwashing liquid, pre-packed dinners for two, or deodorant.

But if your shopping list includes fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, local cheeses, the odd curious kitchen gadget, a variety of sausages, ham on the bone, and wine from the village ‘merchand de vins’, you won’t be disappointed. And even if you buy nothing except a cup of coffee in the market cafe, you will have spent the morning in lyrical surroundings you won’t forget for a long time.” from My Twenty-five Years in Provence by Peter Mayle.

Happy First Day of Spring!  Plant some herbs, visit a park, bring some early flowering branches indoors. Buy local produce this year and cheer the season of renewal with a glass of wine!  See you next year Punxsutawney Phil!

What Was So Good About Friday?

 

Lights on HilltopsThe western churches are celebrating the beginning of Easter season, while the Orthodox Church marks the beginning of Holy Week with Palm Sunday, a matter of differing calendars. At the same time, Jews have been marking Passover, which Christians believe to be both a historic event and a prefigurement of the events commemorated in the highest holy days in the Christian faith. While we are constrained by government, for the first time in modern history, from gathering together in fulfillment of religious obligations and in communal affirmation of our faith, congregations are still celebrating the ancient truths, perhaps more than ever, as “virtual” attendance anecdotally exceeds the usual physical attendance. Our current circumstances may make us reflect more closely on the habitual rituals and readings.

Recall that the first Passover found families sheltering in place in their homes. On the instruction of their leaders, each family had selected a lamb, killed it, painting the doorposts and the lintel, the cross-member framing the top of the doorway, with the lamb’s blood. The family was eating the roasted lamb with their traveling clothes on, ready to move out when ordered, after the Angel of Death had passed them by.*

So, that first Passover would have been quite dark, quite scary. After all, they were warned of a great plague, and had only the blood-stained doorway between themselves and that killer. Yet, that darkest night was also a time of hope based in a promise. They were all dressed for a speedy departure because they were promised liberation in the wake of the plague.

Passover: The Nature of Modern Slavery

 

Passover has become a very special time for me. Not only do we celebrate the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt, but it arrives at a time of new beginnings: springtime.

This year, Passover time fills my heart with mixed emotions. I will not be able to celebrate with the @iwe family in Baltimore. They have grounded my Passover observance in holiness and light, and they were central to my own personal spring/rebirth, my return to Judaism. This year I have asked my husband to participate in a mini-Seder, just the two of us, so that we might observe not only the Jews’ freedom from slavery, but also how we are called to pay attention to the real and imaginary ways that we enslave ourselves, and how we might transcend those limitations.

This year many of us feel like we are captive to a dangerous oppressor, the coronavirus. It demands at the very least that we recognize the societal costs and the steps we can take to protect ourselves and others. Even though we realize the importance of these steps, it only makes sense that our first instinct is to rebel at least emotionally against the limitations that the government and our neighbors have asked us to observe. We have come to take our freedom for granted. We might be tempted to act like rebels against our enslavement. We might want to “break the rules,” demand our freedom, and rail against the narrow lives we feel compelled to follow right now.

Passover, Houses of Worship, and Intimacy

 

On Passover/Pesach I spent a sweet and deeply moving (and fun) time at the @iwe family seders. It’s not unusual for them to last until 1:30 to 2 a.m., and I’ve been told those are short ones! As always, they were inspiring and educational, and I’ve so enjoyed being with the iwe family for Pesach over the last four years.

During the seder, we spend a lot of time asking questions and discussing many aspects of the exodus from Egypt and the purpose of the rituals we practice. At one point (although I don’t remember the specific context), the topic came up of the Beis HaMikdash, the Second Temple built by Herod, expanding on the ruins of the first. Consider that Herod’s purpose was not just to bring people together and to honor G-d, but to build a magnificent monument to Herod’s power and glory. In fact, the Second Temple was a huge facility but might have lacked spiritual warmth. That might not have been the kind of building that G-d had commanded to be built.

I thought about this comment and realized that Herod’s Temple may have been more about Herod than G-d, and it lacked one very important ingredient to connecting with G-d: intimacy.

Quote of the Day: Death and Delivery

 

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound’ring like a man in fire or lime.—
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

Sharing the Sacred

 

I’m flying out very early tomorrow morning (my husband calls it the middle of the night!) to fly to the @iwe family for Passover. I want to wish all my Jewish friends a very special celebration for this time commemorating freedom, connection, and holiness. I also want to wish my Christian friends a very blessed Easter celebration.

Although our holidays are different, we all share a love of G-d, a spiritual connection and the joy of living in a country that allows us to worship as we choose. May we all appreciate that which we share together, as well as those things we honor that are uniquely part of our traditions. Blessings all!

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    It was surreal to get a text from a friend that Notre Dame Cathedral was on fire as we were driving to the funeral home. I saw the headline and shut off my phone. My mother-in-law passed in the early morning hours of Monday, April 15th, our last remaining parent. It’s been months […]

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For some Jews, the Passover or Pesach holiday in the Spring is one of the most treasured of all the Jewish holidays. The celebration of G-d’s freeing the Jews from the Egyptians is called “seder,” which means “order.” In part, the name suggests that a particular order is followed for this meal at this auspicious […]

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Next Year in Jerusalem!

 

I had no sooner walked through the front door with Son #1 when I was attacked and hugged by a delighted child, Son #5. I have never, ever been greeted so enthusiastically, anywhere. Son #5 had seen me the past two years when I went to the @iWe home for the Passover/Pesach celebration. He was either very pleased to see me (or was counting on my reading him some stories during my stay). Then Son #1 instructed him matter-of-factly to take my carry-on bag and backpack up to my room, two and one-half flights up. And this same Son #5, uncoached, pulled out my chair for me at the Seder meals. Did I mention he is seven years old and 4’1” tall (so he tells me)?

When I entered the iWe home, I had entered the space of timelessness and antiquity, of celebration and remembering the suffering in leaving the slavery of Egypt. This Pesach celebration, like the past two years, was a time of sweetness, poignancy, history, and memories. The iWe family takes both seriously and joyfully their celebration of Pesach, and I can’t imagine being anywhere else to connect to my Jewish roots with both moments of sadness and much happiness.

Although I’ve only been to one other orthodox Seder, I believe iWe when he says theirs is not the ordinary Seder. We follow the order of the meal (seder means order), but everyone is encouraged to ask any question about Pesach. Silly questions don’t earn a piece of candy, but good questions do. I even asked a pretty good question this year, and iWe kindly acknowledged its relevance (although I suspect he says that to all his guests). The three oldest boys carried on a fascinating discussion about one portion of the Exodus story, running up and down the stairs to bring Jewish source books to back up their arguments. Their joy in possibly identifying a new way of looking at this 3,000-year-old story was palpable. (It’s hard to know if anyone outside the room would have accepted their theory, but it was very bright and creative.) And the singing, ah, the singing. When iWe sings with his older boys in sweet harmony, we are all transported to a time of deserts, hardship, freedom, and joy.

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No, this is not the cover of the Haggadah my sister downloaded from the Internet for this year’s meal, but it is pretty. The “regular” one my sister normally uses dates from the early 1980s, and she thought she’d bring our Seder into the 21st Century this year. Now, my sister and her family are […]

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Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is one of the most important celebrations of the Jewish people. Like so many of the holidays, it focuses on engaging the children at every level: the sensory, the emotional, the sacred, and the story. It also calls us not just to remember the suffering of over 400 years of slavery […]

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My husband and I had dog duty this weekend for a sweet couple that went out of town for an event. My husband designed the landscape at their beach home and I, for awhile, checked on their property on a regular basis. After the alarm went off when they failed to give me the constantly changing security […]

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Frequently my immediate family and I gather with other family members for the first night of Passover, or sometimes we have guests, but this year it will just be the seven of us, with our oldest away at college, so we’ll try at least one new recipe. My menu currently is: Israeli salad, with cucumbers, […]

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It was a total immersion into the experience of the Passover. From the moment I stepped off the plane in Baltimore and was picked up by iWe#2 son, then entered the iWe home, I stepped into a different world. In one sense, Orthodox Judaism was a foreign and unfamiliar world. This past week-end I did […]

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Tonight we host the biggest collection of Ricochet-members to date at our Seder! We have iWe, kidcoder, I Shot the Serif, #2 son (who only lurks, but has a blacksmithy-type-handle), with a guest starring role for the 5th Rico-person… I’ll let her speak for herself as and when she chooses to do so! The table […]

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The story of the Exodus is fascinating, the liberation of a people three thousand years ago. The story of the story of the Exodus is far more fascinating, and it is still being written and told. “The single most important thing you can do for your family may be the simplest of all: develop a strong […]

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Deadlines are malleable, flexible. Most people recognize, after a lifetime of “fake” deadlines, that deadlines are really just artificial targets, goals rather than ultimatums. If not outright falsehoods, deadlines are at least “padded”; think of the admonition to “arrive 2 hours before the flight.” These deadlines are a way of forcing people to get their […]

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Last night I attended a wonderful men’s group where we consumed a wide array of single malts and bbq meats. #feelinglethargic. Over 40 of us ‘men of a certain age’ were provided an insight into how to better lead our family passover service, as we learned how to share stories which can impact the younger generation. If you […]

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Here at Toad Hall, we love watching Jewish holiday videos from AISH. Don’t know much about the group other than that they make some rockin’ videos to some trashy pop music that are always much better than the actual music they are parodying. Here’s this year’s offering: Preview Open

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I’m in a mixed marriage. My wife and I both grew up loving animals, but the animals I loved most were stuffed or fried. She’s a pet lover, and now, a vegan. There are two extremes in discussions of animal welfare. Both ultimately reject human exceptionalism. One insists that animals are humans’ equals, if not their betters. The other insists that humans […]

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