Friday, April 22, 2005

Why is this weekend different from all other weekends? (a.k.a. The Passover Post)

My mother’s sister is having Passover this year on Saturday night. I’ve chosen not to attend. I have no problem attending a function that my aunt is at somewhere else but I feel that going to her house means that I want to be included in her life and that I want her in my life and I don’t want either of those things. I have no ill will towards her but for numerous reasons I just choose not to associate with her and so rains down the guilt storm from my mother. In her mind I should just go ahead and attend because what’s one night of being somewhere I don’t want to be? She will be there and so will my grandparents who are getting older you know… And it’s important to them and so on. I make a concerted effort to see my grandparents every week and a half to two weeks. I do not feel that I need to sit in a room where I don’t want to be eating dry crackers, bitter herbs, and the turkey my grandmother successfully drains every ounce of moisture out of for every Jewish holiday in order to show them that I love them.

Many see Passover as a time when we deprive ourselves but you know what? It’s not. It’s a celebration of our freedom. We follow the Haggadah (telling of the Maggid or the story) for the Seder in order to arouse questions and answers. This night will be different than the others for me because, for once, I have some answers. I’ve resisted the lure of the better position at my current employer and will be moving on in several weeks. I have not based my decision solely on what my income will be and know that I’ve followed my heart and made the choice that I believe will bring me the most personal satisfaction. I have a plan for the other changes that I’d like to make right now and how I’d like to go about making these changes. While I still continue to question organized religion, and even the existence of the G-d I’m not sure I believe in every single day, I think I can safely say that I’m also at a point where my faith has never been stronger. Spending the evening somewhere that will culminate with three grown children searching for the Afikomen my grandmother will insist on hiding has no relevance to any of this.

My intent is not to mock those who choose to have a traditional Passover Seder or to urge anyone to take a less traditional path but to attest to the fact that faith and observance come in many different forms. That’s the telling of my story and I wish you a Happy Passover with a lot of insightful questions and fruitful answers.