Neither packing nor a pandemic can stop Pesach for me.
The wine-stained,, dog-eared Maxwell House Haggadahs I have used for 60 years sit on my table like always, but things are not like always.
Setting my Passover table for the last time in this house I am filled with so many feelings.
Though it is a small seder meal with Hersh and Stanley, the spirit of all who have shared this table over these many years is deeply felt.
On this holiday more than others I am reminded of the balebosteh’s in my family whose traditions I lovingly carry on still. My table is filled with memories of all those who have physically sat here and those whose presence is always felt from beloved objects that were once theirs.
Now my table is set with the tangible evidence of holidays past, and in the flurry of packing, I made sure to leave out just the right amount for my seder. There is china from grandmothers, mothers in-laws, great aunts, and great grandmothers; the sterling I will use was my grandmother’s, the same ones she used at holidays when I was a child and which she entertained with as a young woman in the 1930’s. The ceremonial Miriam’s Cup is from a beloved aunt and my great grandfather, whose life-size painting hangs over my fireplace, will have his polished silver kiddush cup grace the table. This year the seder plate I will use is purposely my deeply missed mother’s.
Though my table is just for 2 this year, it is truly quite filled. My traditions are here with me. And they will come with me wherever I go.
To all who celebrate, I wish you a joyous, meaningful, and reflective seder.
Sally, thank you for a beautiful column about family keepsakes and tradition.
Last year at this time, when we all celebrated our first Zoom seders, it felt like we were at the banks of the stormy Red Sea, hearing the Pharoah’s chariots pounding behind us, wondering how we were going to escape. This year, many of us will likely again celebrate an oddly constructed seder, but now we are crossing the Red Sea and feel close to achieving freedom on the opposite bank. Perhaps at the close of this year’s seder, we’ll be able to say, “next year in person'” as was uttered by the leaders of Doug Emhoff’s White House seder celebration a few days ago. Spring is here. The sunshine is warming. Hope springs anew. Happy Pesach to all who celebrate.
Thank you for your beautiful words and analogies. Next Year in Person is just perfect and it will be a true miracle if that happens. That Passover occurs in spring, the most wonderful time of transition and renewal is most fitting.
I enjoy learning of your traditions and am reminded the Jewish people have had many sad times to endure yet manage to maintain their faith and celebrate their holidays as best they can. Happy Passover indeed! My best wishes for the holiday, your family, your fellow celebrants! So much of American culture, humor, science and more come to us through the Jewish people, and I am glad to know you are fellow Americans! When I Googled for advice on the proper way to wish Jewish friends on this holiday, I got “chag Pesach kasher vesame’ach”.
Thanks, Doug for your holiday wishes, and for your kind effort in googling the proper expression!
Little effort was expended and it was worth going a bit farther finding the proper way to greet my Jewish friends on this major holiday on the Jewish calendar, Sally! I love how easy it is to answer my questions on the internet.