Passover is a family festival where grandparents, parents, children and friends reenact ancient rituals and for the lack of a better word, all “eat history.” In the Torah we are instructed to observe the Passover Festival, as it is written: “It shall come to pass when your children shall say to you, ‘what mean you by this Service’ and you shall tell the story to your children.” The emphasis is on telling and learning. But its emphasis is not on the leader, the head of the household or the rabbi, the whole text of that night, the Haggadah, is intended to build a pathway to a child’s heart.
Our tradition is such that there is a foundation upon which human life itself either becomes blessed or loses its possibility for regeneration. During the Passover Sedarim we, as Jews, as parents, as grandparents, have the obligation and privilege to communicate our heritage to our young, to share with them, to respond to them with the values so precious to us.
There is a great Chassidic story about a Rebbe and his disciples. One of the disciples was asked to open the door during the Passover Seder for Elijah, the prophet, to come in. When the disciple returned from opening the door, everyone noticed that his face was quite pale. When asked why he was so moved, the disciple responded, “When I opened the door, I felt that there was a strong possibility for Elijah to come in, and I was afraid.” Hearing these words, the Rebbe responded to him “You don’t have to be afraid, When Elijah will come in, he will come not through the door, but through your heart.”
We hope that Elijah will come to our Passover celebration, to our Seder, because he is the symbol of the reconciliation of the generations. When the generations understand each other, when the young are willing to learn from the experience of the elders, and when the elders are willing to rejoice with the enthusiasm of the young, then, will have arrived to an age of fulfillment.
The Seder table is a table of learning, a table of mutual love and a table of appreciation of the freedom we acquired that night. The Seder is our precious possession we are committed to enhance and expand, let us celebrate with family and friends.
In order to realize the thoughts expressed in this article and help you increase your Passover celebration, I would like to invite you to two Passover study sessions. The first one will be about the “Seder and its Symbols” on March 3 at 1:00 pm in the Beit Cafe and the second is titled “No bagels, no pasta, no afikoman?” on March 24 at 1:00 pm in the Beit Cafe.
From our home to yours, Silvana, Ethan and Lara join me in expressing our very best wishes for a Kosher Passover, a happy one. May our learning about Passover and Elijah the prophet enter our homes and our hearts. Amen.