Passover is nearly here, and I’m trying to clean and put things in “order.” I put the clothes neatly back in the closet. Then I leave the room for a minute, and I come back to find everything lying in a jumbled pile on the floor. I look to the right, no one. I look to the left.The floors are sticky from wine and grape juice There’s the culprit. My toddler flashes me a smile. He, too, wants to take part in the cleaning.

I sigh to myself, “Will I ever be able to make order here?” He flashes me one more smile. The smile that says, “Mommy, you made sure that there is no chametz (leaven) here, but do you think that you’re also going to get order?” My heart melts, and the sigh turns into a smile.

At the Seder, this child doesn’t want to sit and that child is already hungry. This one leans too far back to the left and falls off his chair. The toddler is trying to climb up onto the table to dance. I get up from the table to distract him so that he’ll come down. The floors are sticky from the wine and grape juice that spilled everywhere. The one who can’t sit is now standing on his chair and starts to sing at the top of his lungs: “Mah nishtanah halilah hazeh . . .

We’re not at that part yet.

In Hebrew, Seder means “order.” I listen to the words my son is singing: “Why is this night different from all other nights?” Yes, Elana, why is this night different from all other nights? Did you really think that you control the results, and that there would be order?

I look at my children—sticky, stained, standing, twirling, singing. None of them are doing what they should be doing. Or are they?

I can just imagine the scene: The Jewish women in Egypt are preparing their bread to take with them on the journey. “G‑d, You want us to go right now? This moment? But the bread isn’t done; it hasn’t risen enough! I need more time,” they sigh. And what does G‑d tell them? What does He tell us? Now is the time! The order that you thought—that you would make the dough, the bread would rise, you would bake it and leave when it’s ready—that’s not “The Order” of the redemption. That’s the order of slavery. That’s the order that leaves no room for expansion and growth. It’s the order of Egypt, Mitzrayim, which also means “restriction,” “a narrow place.”

Tonight, on the night of the Seder, I sit with my family and listen to the questions asked. “Why is this night different from all the other nights? Why do we lean to the left? It’s a way of sitting that is so out of order! Why do we eat unleavened bread (matzah) when the preparation of this type of food differs from the usual order? Why is everything in this night—this night of order, so different and out of order?

Because that is The Order. The Order of redemption, the Order of freedom. G‑d runs the show, and this is His Order.

Women call me asking for advice as they near labor. I have a “toolbox” full of laboring techniques to alleviate pain and help labor along. But I’m also humbled at how much I don’t know. The books say one thing. Protocol says one thing. But in reality, as I’ve seen over the last eight years of assisting with births, is that G‑d is in control. Nothing goes according to the plan or “order.”

“What do you think? When will it be? How long will it be?”

All I can do is answer: “I don’t know.”

When is the baby born? How does she come into this world? Not according to this one’s plans, nor that one’s. As King Solomon teaches: “There are many thoughts in a man’s heart, but G‑d’s plan—that shall stand.”1 The baby is born precisely at the moment that G‑d wills it.

We have absolutely no control. This realization is the best tool that I can offer any woman. It’s the most reassuring, relaxing, liberating technique that I teach.

When Moses tells Pharaoh about the final plague and the night when the Jews would leave Egypt, he says: “So says G‑d, ‘At about midnight I [G‑d] am going out into the midst of Egypt.’”2 To Pharaoh, to us, to man, it’s “about.” Time is not and cannot be exact. We can’t have everything in order.

On the other hand, G‑d’s time is precise. “It came to pass at midnight, and the L‑rd smote every firstborn in the land of Egypt.”3 At midnight. It was exact. It was His plan, His order.

Passover, birth, life—the lesson I learn over and over is: “There are many thoughts in a man’s heart, but G‑d’s plan—that shall stand.”

Liberate yourself. G‑d runs the show.

You did everything that you could and still got there late? It’s OK. Liberate yourself; G‑d runs the show. You put all your effort into making a delicious meal, and it didn’t turn out so great? It’s OK. Be free; G‑d runs the show.

Tonight is the night of Passover, the night of Seder, The Order. It’s the night of freedom and relinquishing control.

I take a look at my children, my greatest teachers of life. They are sticky, stained, standing, twirling, singing in joy and laughter. They are all doing what they are supposed to be doing—what a beautiful night!