Sunday, March 28, 2010

I need to suffer for my art

[This week’s Haveil Havalim is here]

I wrote a while back about having anxiety nightmares related to krias hatorah [Torah reading] and other public ‘performance’ situations. Those dreams often involve me suddenly “realizing” that it’s the first night of Pesach and I haven’t prepared any shiurim, or that it’s Succos and my succah isn’t yet complete, or that it’s Yom Kippur night and I’m drinking a bottle of Boost Plus.

But what I’m experiencing right now isn’t a dream. It’s the night before Pesach, I am fully awake, [or, I think I am, anyway… hard to tell after all of that driving] and I’m feeling very unprepared.

I have prepared, of course. I’ve read through the haggadah many times over; I’ve delivered a month of shiurim on the haggadah and the halachos of Pesach, you can hear them and read them on or We [read: The Rebbetzin] cleaned our house of real chametz and sold the pseudo-chametz that remains. We’re currently parked an hour or so from our Yom Tov destination.

But I don’t feel ready, at all.

Part of it is that when the rest of the world was doing bedikas chametz tonight, we were exercising the kids by walking them around the New Roc City entertainment area next to our hotel, watching teenagers play pool and littler ones ride a Merry Go Round.

Part of it is that when the rest of the world was cooking for Pesach, we were eating take-out from Eden Wok.

Part of it is the rootlessness of not being home, with my chevra and my sefarim and my life.

Part of it is that my haggadah classes this year focussed on spiritual elevation through the seder experience, and it’s hard to feel purified when I'm sitting in a hotel on the night before Pesach, not preparing eight days of derashos and shiurim.

And the biggest part is simply that my “If I’m not in pain it’s not Pesach” nerves, my version of the hausfraus’ clean-under-the-refrigerator reflexes, are kicking in. Pesach just didn’t hurt enough this year.

How do people do it, when they go to Pesach hotels?

My inner masochist is unsatisfied.

I’m just not ready for Zman Cheiruseinu, to feel liberated. I need to suffer more first.


  1. So, you're featured hotel holyday entertainment? Does the Rebbetzin enjoy it?

  2. My inner masochist is unsatisfied.

    Release him and be free. It should only be that easy. ;)

  3. Batya-
    Not this year, no; this year we're with family(first time since getting married 13 years back!). I was recruited by a Pesach hotel, and the idea was tempting, but I don't know that I would do it. Fodder for another post, perhaps.

    Indeed. Chag sameach!

  4. Pass on the hotel offers... The opportunity to give the grandparents nachas (after all these years) is priceless...especially since you may go back to the rabbinate at some point