Sunday, April 16, 2006

Passover... The Circle of Life

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Passover is one of those "family" holidays -- eat, drink, sing, read, sleep, eat, drink, sing, read, sleep...and somewhere in the scenario is synagogue and visiting...oh, of course, and MORE EATING.

But Passover is one of those "family" holidays that is based on memory. As we sit in our homes conducting seders and hosting guests, or sit as guests at other seders in other homes, we remember.

We remember the story of the Exodus, and in reading the Haggadah, are retelling the story. Okay, not all of us are actually old enough to remember the actual Exodus, but some of us feel like we were there...or there are so many people who have experienced their own personal exodus--within their families, within their countries and culture.

We remember the seders of years past -- the grandparents and long-gone relatives and the customs they upheld; the sights, sounds and tastes of our seders of yesteryear.

And oftentimes, we remember to give thanks when and if we are all together again for seder. My father and mother joined us for the second seder. A month ago, my father lay in a hospital bed, and we thought it was the end of of him, or at least as we know him. People all over blogland and beyond were praying for his well-being.

When my father and mother arrived on Thursday night at our home, and my father began to climb the many stairs that lead up to my front door, I was elated. I called out that my father should say a "Shehecheyanu"; I knew that I was saying a silent one and meaning it. I was more than thankful that my father and mother were able to join us yet again for seder, that my father was able to partake in the rituals and read portions of the Haggadah to us in his 1920's cheder Hebrew. It was I as a child who would laugh at his foreign-to-me Hebrew pronounciation; it was now my daughter who was laughing at his pronounciation. It was now my two sons who were finding funny-sounding words when they were reading from the Haggadah, and laughing hysterically at the same spots in the Haggadah on both seder nights. And it was me, remembering how I did the same as a child.

Seder = order.
Order = details.
Details = memory.
Memory = family.
Family = holidays.
Holidays = eating.
Eating + Family + Drinking + Reading + Sleeping + Synagogue (repeat) = Passover.

The Circle of Life.