The countdown has begun. There’s about two weeks left until the Passover holiday begins.
Supermarkets in major Jewish cities are in a frenzy. Shelves have been cleared of cakes and snacks, and are now covered with shelving paper and stacks of kosher-for-Passover holiday foods. Incredibly, the day after Passover, none of these expensive products will be worth their wrapping. But for now, consumers can’t get enough.
For the last while, too, I’ve been catching intense snippets of conversations from other Jewish women I bump into. Sometimes their conversation centers on new Passover recipes, other times it’s about the cupboards in their homes that still need to be cleaned, and yet other times it’s about where they will be spending the Seders.
Passover is the most celebrated Jewish holiday. It’s the holiday when we became G‑d’s chosen people. G‑d tangibly conveyed His love for us in that crucial first year as a nation.
On that first Passover in Egypt, we had not yet received the Torah with its many commandments. We had not yet accepted any of G‑d’s rules or laws, or the covenant as His chosen people. Nor had we become a light unto all the nations, who would teach morality and goodness in every country where we would eventually sojourn.
But on Passover, in our youthful years as a nation, just as our self-image was being forged, G‑d wanted to convey His infinite love for us. Not because of our dedication, self-sacrifice or commitment, but—just as we do with our own young children—just because we were His.
Perhaps that is why, of all the many Jewish holidays, the one that is most observed is Passover. For it represents G‑d’s love and connection to us that is timeless, unchanging and unconditional.
This innate love and self-worth has helped us to survive and thrive throughout all the centuries until today, amidst growth and prosperity, as well as suffering and persecutions.
So, on this special holiday when G‑d showed his unconditional love, let’s reach out to someone who may be alone, and invite him or her to celebrate our nationhood together.
And, as the clock ticks, tell me, what are you up to in your Passover preparations? Have you tried any new recipes? Where will you be spending the Seders?
I’d love to hear!
P.S. Our hearts go out to the Sassoon family upon the tragic loss of their seven children, killed by a fire that tore through their Brooklyn home. In these hectic days before Passover, let's take a moment to hug our children more tightly, say Psalms for the surviving mother and sister who are in critical condition, and do an extra good deed in merit of these precious souls.