Thursday, April 28, 2011
Happy Passover (late)! This year I was able to go home to New Hampshire and spend the first seder with my family. I took the train from Funkburg and spent a lovely night at home. Jerry and Deborah always lead such a wonderful seder and EVERY YEAR have something new to teach and some new way of understanding the relevance of the holiday and its traditions- as they relate to our current lives. I will now relay a mini history of the Passover holiday so that those who dont know about it...can.
In 1450ish BCE the Jews were enslaved in Egypt. According to the Pharoah Ramses, Egypt was becoming overpopulated with Jewbies (Jew Babies) and so he began to kill them. A little boy named Moses was sent away in a basket down the Nile by his mother in order that he be saved. Moses is snatched up by the Pharoah's daughter who raises him as the Prince of Egypt. Moses watches his own people suffering and dying and decides to go see God. God tells Moses that he has been chosen to free the Jews. "Your kidding.." he says to God. "Damn Straight" says God. "Well shit" , says Moses, "Maybe you can help a brother and send some plagues down on Egypt so that Ramses will be forced to free my people." "Sure" said God. And so a series of 10 plagues were cast upon Egyptian lands. ( at the seder we commemorate the 10 plagues by dipping our pinky into wine and dropping 10 drips onto our plate as we say each plague..by doing this we see the red wine and remember the bloodshed). The big-whopper-icing-on-the- cake- Plague was when God sends the Angel of Death over Egypt to kill the first born boy of each Egyptian family. Finally Ramses had enough and let the Jews go. The Jews then hurry and gather their belongings and flee Egypt. (We didnt even have time to let our bread rise!...Hence the reason we must go bagel-less for 8 days) Just as the get to the Red Sea, Ramses changed his mind and sent soldiers to go get all of the Jews back. The Sea parts and the Jews safely make it accross the ocean and just as the last Jews step onto land, The sea waves crash down and wipe out all of the Egyptian soldiers. The Jews are saved and continue on into the Dessert for 40 years until they reach their homeland. The end.
Not the end. What Passover teaches us is that the Jews Exodus in 1450BCE is our own Exodus; our own freedom from the bondage that we consider ourselves to be slaves of- our minds, our jobs, our worries etc.
This year my dad read an article entitled "Pass-over Hurdles" from a Lubavitch newspaper published in Brooklyn, NY:
"Together we can transform the historic liberation into the celebration of our ultimate redemption", it said.
And throughout the seder, the prayers, the songs, I reflect on the idea of my own Exodus
While not bound by shackles, I must admit to some enslavement of the mind this past year; worry and stress that keeps me from being free. The adjustment from being out of school has been ironically not freeing at all. The lack of structure is hard for me to embrace, let alone- understand. A year has past since graduating and I am looking for the right job that I love. I am just beginning to enjoy my non-hectic, unstructured school life. I am thinking a lot about my career-as a Designer and Artist and just beginning to understand the implications of not having a due date and a professor to "ok" my ideas and work. I realize now that I was afraid of leaving the shackles of school; that I needed them in some way to keep guiding me. But as I involve myself in new and exciting things: a new series of illustrations, singing more music and yes...my part time job at Paper Source that I really love...I can see that this freedom is quite incredible. Scary, yes. But how exhilarating to begin an exciting career and create my life! Like the Haggadah said "We are like the Matzoh, incomplete. There is always something to be found."
I will leave you with a final experpt from my family's seder, one that preceded a ridiculously huge feast of turkey, stuffing, Grandma HIndy's Farfel, potato kugel and a passover-friendly chocolate birthday cake...all cooked and prepared by my lovely mother. A prayer that sums up my feelings about this years Passover and that is especially relevant this year:
I am a jew because the world is not yet completed; we are completing it.