Passover is when the Jew comes out. Not just out of Egypt. Out of hiding as well. Hiding from the Jew within.
According to the people at Pew, somewhere around 7.5 out of 10 Jews will be sitting at a Passover Seder this year. There are Jews that may not fast on Yom Kippur—but Passover? It just pulls.
Because it’s an identity thing. It is not just any another night. It is who we are.Identity is one of those essentials in life. An elephant that identifies as a daffodil will likely be missing out on a lot in life. So too, we human organisms crave identity.
If you’re Italian, that’s simple. You live in Italy, so you’re Italian. You leave, two generations zip by, no Italians.
But a Jew lives inside a story. What geography is to everyone else, the story is for a Jew.
Only that geography has its borders. The story goes on forever and encompasses everything.
When does the Jew go back to that story? On the night of Passover, when we sit together, tasting the bitterness of oppression as we bite into the bitter herbs, sinking our teeth into the bread of poverty called matzah, drinking the four cups of wine of freedom, and retelling our story of liberation through wonders to our children and friends.
It is not just any another night. It is who we are.
The Story That Never Ends
What is the story, really? What makes it still alive?
We all know the themes: Nothing changes until someone feels chosen to make that change.Oppression versus freedom. Tyranny versus covenant. Destruction versus tikun. Ego versus love. The sword versus the written word, and the powerful wisdom of the word.
Those struggles are certainly still alive. They dominate global concerns. They take front and center of our personal everyday lives. We all have our Pharaoh who enslaves us, our chains of slavery to unlock and break free.
Which means that the plot is as yet unresolved. Pretty soon, we have to get ourselves all back to the Promised Land, and the entire world back to the Garden. And yet higher. And that never ends.
That’s why it’s such a crucial story—for everyone on this planet. Because it’s vital that every one of us get that message—that sense that the Creator-of-This-Amazing-Place-Who-Really-Cares-About-It-All is pointing at you, in your face, and saying, “Hey little guy, I’m leaving it up to you. If you don’t do it, no one will.”
Because that’s the only way anything can get fixed—if every individual feels, “It’s up to me. I’m the crucial character in this story.”
Turns out that the essential power of freedom, of tikun, of healing, and of changing anything at all, can all be summed up in one word: Chosenness.
And that is Passover.
Be a Star
So a Jew comes to the Seder. And the Jew is there in one of four modalities of Jewishness—described in the Haggadah as “The Four Sons.”
There’s the wise, know-it-all Jew. The kicking, screaming Jew. The just plain Jew Jew. And the apathetic Jew.
But they all have one thing in common: They’ve all been chosen to star in this story.
Without the Jew, there is no story.
Without the story, each Jew is just another grain of sand on the beach.
Inside the story, we are all stars in the night sky, guiding the world to its Be a star. Be at the seder. And bring those other 2.5 Jews with.destiny.
Be a star. Be at the seder. And bring those other 2.5 Jews with.