When I went to Publix the other day, I got to the aisle where bottled water usually rests and found the shelves were filled with Passover supplies: matzohs, mixes, cookies, wines, etc. — you know, the usual stuff. I knew Passover was on the horizon; I just hadn’t put it in my calendar.
No one had called to remind me. What did I need to do to prepare? Sell my chametz? Only my wife and I will be at our Seder this year. Who is going to say the four questions? I need to find a Haggadah. A Seder plate. A kiddish cup.
My wife and I live in Jewish Florida, the Southeast Coast, where many Jews still go to die in the warmth. We don’t have family and haven’t made a lot of friends here. There are plenty of synagogues, but their Seders are timed to coincide with early bird specials and medication schedules. So we will do our own Seder as we have for several years -– on the both of the first two nights of Passover.
I lead; my wife Sharon reads the Four Questions, using the same voice she uses for the Teddy Bear she got when she was a baby. We wash our hands, light the candles and drink four glasses of wine. I make the charoset and grind fresh horseradish. She makes the dinner and rushes me the same way her mother rushed her father to finish up reading the Seder so that dinner could be served. The door opens after desert to welcome Elijah. Doing things right is as important as doing it at all.
During the Seder, we tell the story of the escape, drip the wine for the plagues and wish that next year we all will be in Jerusalem and hope there will be peace. We sing the songs and even hide the afikomen. A gift goes to charity.
Why do we do the ritual, especially since we don’t have to? It’s our story, our heritage, and we don’t care if it’s true or not true. Every time we hear it, year after year, we root for the Jews, hoping that there will be peace in the land of Israel.
This story "Why I Still Celebrate Passover" was written by Lorin Duckman.