Of course preparation for Passover is a crazy time of year as is many holidays. Yet, there is something very special about it. Yes, there is a week without bread and other foods we refrain from eating, and for many, it is difficult; but after cleaning out homes and cars; experience our Passover seders, there is a sense of renewal, reJEWvination, and reunification. I feel all of this with my communities and within myself. I feel a high.
I officiated and co-officiated eight seders containing participants from two years old through seniors. Of course each was different depending on age, school, community and our own seder. I felt so blessed to be sharing the holiday with so many people. Out of curiosity, I estimated how many people I was with for the holiday and it was approximately, 500 people. Many of these include children who may not have experienced a seder at home or with any family; many of them seniors who would not have experienced a seder with their own families.
I so enjoy the music of Passover. I am not into the parodies so much, but the classic musical pieces like B’chol Dor vaDor, V’nomar l’Fanav, Ha Lachma, Dayenu, Let My People Go; and some of today’s contemporary pieces, I thoroughly enjoy and look forward to sharing them with others. I want my students to learn yesterday’s and today’s, and I love to listen to the seniors sing yesterday’s. At the Relgious School I teach at V’nomar lFanav, Let My People Go, and Crossing At the Sea by the Allards became big hits this year. Watching the kids sing AND dance, just made my day with them!
Our seders at home are very musical. I have been getting a little restless with our seders, so I tried something new. I put 25 small items in a bag, for example: toy ambulance, calculator, rubber glove, miniature toy frog, caluclator, sun glasses, and more. Everybody had to blindly pull an item out of the bag and relate it to the Passover story humorously or seriously. It was great! At first, people seemed a little intimidated, but by the third person or so, it was great. We will se what next year brings.
I got to chant chapter 4 of Shir haShirim this past Shabbat. Not only is the trope so beautiful, but Song of Songs, is one of the most beautiful books of the Tanach (Bible). Whether you believe it is a love story that King Solomon wrote about his or another man’s lust for a woman, or if it is about our love for Israel, it is so richly written. The melody and text helps me with my rejuvenation.
Spring Break is almost over. How fortunate it was that we had off from Public and Private Schools during Passover this year. I can go back to work this week and feel renewed and feel fortunate that new people are coming back into my life or coming into my life for the first time as private students and to give a new baby her Hebrew name.
I hope you feel the sense of renewal and rejuvination I feel with spring finally here. God in the Torah tells us that the month of Nisan (Aviv in the Torah) is the first month of the year. I understand why. We celebrate our freedom and coming together as a Jewish nation. As we celebrate these things, please do not forget them so quickly as to keep us together we need to remind our children and grandchildren of what originally unified us so we can continue to be a people. Also, take time to experience the renewal outside with the spring flowers blooming, the trees, the grass greening up and so much more.