By Eli Ajzenman
Phew! It’s 10.30 pm Tuesday night and the last of the Pesach bits and pieces are out. Tablecloth , wine cup….oh no I bought more plastic knives and forks and I still had plenty from last year. Oh well, this year I am going to make a list of what not to get next year. Hmm, I think I said that last year as well.
Oh well, the kitchen is all silver foiled , cupboards all taped up and marked sold. The funny thing is all this work and I am not even having a Seder at my place. In fact, all I have in the cupboard for food is Matzah, cheese and jam.
So why go to all this effort, when really I could get away with very little.
I realised a long time ago that Judaism is not about just turning up. It’s about participating, it’s in our actions that we define our Yiddishkeit, not just in the lip service of saying “well I am Jewish in my heart”
Whether it’s in our careers or relationships, in our hobbies or travels, we can choose to be passengers or active participants. How much we do certainly is our choice, but being a bystander is not one that at least I choose to make.
The sages in their wisdom, of course, knew all this, when they designed the Seder (the order) . Pesach is anything but being passive. The whole night is a play in 7 acts. Each one of us is invited to participate from children through to adults, in remembering our forefathers time in Egypt.
The night is laced with stories , song and drama , tragedy and redemption. Every part of the meal symbolising through our actions and words a moment of Jewish history and future hopes.
It is through this one night ( or 2 ) that Jews without fail have for 3ooo years been able to cement their beliefs and together with their brothers and sisters hope , pray and believe in a future more bright than the past.
Just turning up wouldn’t cut it for a Seder. The Jews would have long disappeared if that had been the case. Judaism is about taking the mundane, the ordinary and uplifting it with Kedusha. That is why we Jews bless every act , every meal, even the sight of a rainbow.
By doing so we connect all things to each other and ourselves. We connect with our world and that of the spiritual.
When we participate in the very acts of creation it defines who we are and gives meaning to our lives. To do otherwise, to sit back and be mere onlookers denies our very humanity and we might as well be rocks on the beach!
When you read the Haggadah this year, don’t treat as a Mills and Boon novel, read the words, think about what our sages are trying to teach us, discuss it , argue it but whatever you don’t let another Pesach slip by as if it were something you had to do.
May I wish all of you and your families a Chag Kosher Vesameach Yom Tov.
Next Year in Jerusalem