Sunday, March 24, 2013

Why I love Pesach

Up until the Seder actually begins, I can’t stand Pesach, with all of its stress. BUT, once we get to the Seder I love Pesach, because:

I get to spend time with the rebbetzin and my kids, especially on the long Pesach afternoons (yes, DST is appreciated here). Even with a nap, there’s still plenty of time left.

I love the taste of Shmurah Matzah.

Davening doesn’t involve the distracting complexities of Succos – no hoshanos, no naanuim, etc.

No meetings on Chol haMoed.

It’s corny, but connecting with thousands of years of Jewish history at the Seder is really amazing, if you stop to think about it. Yehoshua did it, they did it in Bnei Brak, they did it in Turkey and Spain and France and Yemen and Iraq and Iran and Brazil and Japan, and here I am doing it now.

I love the taste of Shmurah Matzah.

I can sit down to meals and eat and talk with my family without feeling rushed to go do work.

I enjoy lounging in my kittel.

Matzah with butter. Matzah with jam. Matzah with butter and jam. Matzah with scrambled eggs. Matzah with cheese. Matzah with schnitzel (but no cheese). Matzah with meatballs. Matzah with turkey. Matzah Matzah Matzah.

Dayyenu is the perfect time to stop and think about all the little things that go right each day, to enable us to survive. That sounds corny too, but it’s true.

There’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes, for me, if the seder goes well.

The anticipation of post-Pesach ice cream is delicious.

And for me, the high point of Pesach: Shir haShirim (Song of Songs) is beyond my ability to describe, it’s so passionate, so evocative, so wondefully descriptive of the beauty and pain of seeking Gd. As frightened as I get reading Koheles (Ecclesiastes) on Succos, that’s how inspired I am by reading Shir haShirim. I get teary every time I read the 5th chapter, especially, it’s just so heartwrenchingly beautiful, first the loss of Gd and then the description of Gd. There are no words in my lexicon.

Matzah Matzah Matzah Matzah Matzah!


  1. I second Neil's comment.

    Now, about "it's corny, but..." Shouldn't that be deleted? Isn't that kitnyot? Doesn't belong in an Ashkenazi blog... ;-) Hag sameah!

  2. Neil, R' Mordechai-
    And as far as the kitniyot - I am still expecting the Beis haMikdash to be rebuilt by Pesach, and then we will all become Sephardim...

  3. When you say you like the taste of "shmurah matza", I assume you mean hand-baked matza?

    (Yes what are the odds of finding hand-baked non-shemurah, but nonetheless I get nudniky about confusing a halachic term with a market one.)

  4. Can you offer some tips, a way in, a mehalach for appreciating shir hashirim? Even though I have a yeshiva background, I find the language very difficult, and the artscroll translation is no help, being based on rashi and not literal.

  5. Anonymous 11:19 PM-
    I hear the problem. It's likely too late at this point, but my recommendation would be to read it through beforehand with an eye toward getting the basic structure of its sections (which is not that basic in Shir haShirim, in truth). The point would not be to get the translation of every word, although that would be wonderful; the point would be to understand the flow of pursuit and loss and emotion. This may take a short time, and it may take weeks of a regular seder. Once you are ready to approach Shir haShirim with an understanding of the general flow of events, perhaps the emotional strength of the sefer will emerge.