Is there anything more beautiful than Pesach? It’s all-inclusive and multi-generational. No matter what their level of religious observance, anywhere and everywhere in the world, Jews of all stripes sit down with their families for the Pesach Seder. The magnitude of that is completely awe-inspiring. Perhaps more than any other Jewish holiday, one feels a sense of redemption and destiny, and that one is a tangible link in the chain of the Jewish people since Sinai. It’s not just some esoteric platitude, it’s a connection to the past, present, and future made so very real.
Since our first year of marriage my husband has conducted our Seder.
But three years ago, about a month before Pesach, my daughter called.
“Would you mind terribly if we made the Seder at our house this year?” she asked. She has a lot of little kids, and the thought of walking 1.25 miles from our house back to her home at 1 a.m. with overtired, cranky kids was completely overwhelming (as of now she has seven children, and the oldest is 12 years old).
And so, for the past 3 years, it’s my oldest married daughter and her husband that have been the hosts for the first two nights of Pesach, with my son-in-law leading the Seder.
Post-Seder, on the first night, it was my husband and I who were walking the 1.25 miles back home at 1 a.m. We didn’t mind: after a long evening and a heavy meal, it felt good to walk in the brisk air.
“You know what’s interesting?” my husband said. “I felt such joy tonight. I was watching our son-in-law throughout the evening. He really involved the kids; he kept a nice pace yet encouraged their questions and made it entertaining and informative, yet relaxed and happy. The grandkids were so excited! I just kept thinking how much energy he has to keep the kids constantly engaged like that! I guess it’s a sign that I really am getting old, and maybe I should feel differently . . . but I didn’t mind not leading the Seder – – I was actually kind of relieved to have someone else do it!”
I thought about my husband’s comments. I’m sure many lesser “patriarchs” might have wounded egos or hurt pride, but in fact, my husband’s words were sincere and I agreed wholeheartedly.
“I think the reason you didn’t mind not conducting the Seder is because you passed the baton not through tza’ar (anguish or incompetence),” I replied, “but because it feels right. It’s a transition made with love and utter nachas.”
And that’s what it’s all about.
May all Jews everywhere spend Pesach next year reunited in the holy city of Jerusalem.