Wednesday, April 04, 2007
I had a thought at the first seder:
When I was growing up, sedarim were fun. OK, they weren't kosher. We barely read from the hagada. But we told jokes, and Mom made great matzo balls. There was Pop-Pop, in his satin yarmulke and all my cousins. Uncle Jay cracked jokes, and I read the 4 questions like a star.
Now Pesach has become serious business. We're religious. Now there is a certain amount of matzo we are required to eat. We have to drink 4 cups of wine. We read the entire hagada, and the seder lasts at least 5 hours. The preparations for pesach are laborious.
At the seder, we're in a good mood. We still sing and enjoy, but there's a lightheartedness that's gone. It's a religious and spiritual event, involving work and responsibility. Now my children read the 4 questions, in hebrew and yiddish. It's startles me.
I can't go back to the casual passovers of my youth, where we'd eat at restaurants (but avoid the breadbasket). I can't go back to the Maxwell House hagadas and the Manischewitz. I can't shake the line from the hagada that says, "If G-d hadn't taken us out of Egypt then, we'd still be slaves there now."