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A Passover Like No Other

April 5, 2020 | by Emuna Braverman

Everyone is working harder than usual this year. And that will make their Passover experience more meaningful.

Here we are, approaching a Passover like no other. The good news is that we are all in the same proverbial boat and we are all strategizing together about how to make the most of the holiday. There isn’t much I can add to the stories, cartoon and memes that are making the virtual rounds. I can’t even keep up with them.

There’s a special connection with Jewish women throughout the world in the weeks and days before Passover, a connection borne of effort, of scrubbing and shopping and cooking.

One of the new phenomena occurring across the globe is that of young (and not so young) couples “making” Pesach for their first time. (A friend told me that her 48-year-old daughter is one of those!) While we would all prefer “normal” circumstances and we’ll certainly miss having our kids and grandkids around our tables, I think there is something wonderful about the idea (I know most of my daughters disagree with me!). Since I actually love the process of getting my home ready for the holiday, I am glad they get to experience it as well. There’s a special connection with Jewish women throughout the world in the weeks and days before Passover, a connection borne of effort, of scrubbing and shopping and cooking, a connection only available to those who are participating in the cleaning of their homes and the making of the seder.

It’s wonderful to go to parents but you miss this connection. It may be wonderful to go to Pesach programs, but you miss this connection. This year, almost every Jewish woman throughout the world will participate, will be connected. It will be, more than ever before, a truly global experience. And, despite all the exhaustion and expense and effort, it will be rewarding. It will be a Pesach different from the ones in the past (and hopefully from the ones in the future as well) and we should take advantage of this opportunity.

Yes, everyone is working harder than usual. Yes, it’s particularly difficult for those with young children underfoot. Yes, I’m grateful I’m no longer in that phase of life! But when Passover comes, everyone will have a real sense of accomplishment. They didn’t just pack a suitcase and get on a plane (I know those plane rides can sometimes be more difficult than cleaning a kitchen!); they immersed themselves in the preparation for the holiday. And as every student of Judaism knows, the more you give, the more you care. The more you invest yourself in something, the more important it becomes to you.

No question I will miss those cute little faces around my Seder table, I’ll miss all their Hagaddahs made at school, all their questions and all their answers. I’ll miss our family Pesach traditions (which just won’t be the same with a significantly smaller group), I’ll miss watching the cousins interact and my children enjoy being with each other. I’ll be making less food and buying fewer items to liven up the experience of the plagues (no COVID-19 jokes please) and checking a lot less romaine for bugs. It will be a little easier for me – and, based on the above-stated principle, a little less rewarding. But it will be worth it if my daughters (and all the Almighty’s daughters) get to experience the pleasure and satisfaction available in creating a home free of chametz and a Seder experience that is all their own.

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