My grandchildren will be here for Passover! Oh, yes, and so will their parents! My two-year-old grandson has been practicing the Four Questions and my infant granddaughter will gurgle during her first seder. I’m planning to make all kinds of kosher for Passover treats and can’t wait to mess up my kitchen as soon as it’s cleaned and “kashered!” We will put tiny plastic frogs on the seder table alongside winged gossamer insects and cotton balls representing hail. There will be huge pots of soup on the stove, stories to tell, songs to sing and the same fruit slices my parents and grandparents before them served at the close of this marathon dinner.
What will be the very best part of this “gantza” production? Why, being together, of course!
On the Hebrew, or Jewish, calendar, there are so many dates to celebrate. We have holidays almost every month, Rosh Chodesh (welcoming of the new month) every month and Shabbat every week. It would be wonderful to see the faces of my children and grandchildren at the table every Friday night, to light Chanukah candles with them every year and to dress up together for Purim annually. I would love to tell the story of how our ancestors were redeemed by G-d’s outstretched arm and open hand every year at the seder table with all of them and to build a sukkah together every fall. But, as our family has grown and we have been blessed with amazing new machuteinum, our children must navigate this newness, too, and spend some holidays with each of us. Disappointing? Could be.
What makes for a holiday? The calendar is a good start, but even in the days of our ancestors, we could never be certain of an event’s date—hence, the two-day celebration of so many of our chaggim.
As we have become more and more accustomed to having to share our children, I decided to declare a holiday every time we are together. We can bless our children in myriad ways beyond Shabbat and we can mess up the kitchen baking animal-shaped cakes whenever the grandchildren arrive. We can dance and sing and run and play, not only because our children include a dancer, singer, musician and athletes, but because we feel joy whenever all the beds are again occupied.
So, what makes a holiday? The definition may differ for each of us. Perhaps it’s a special date in our planners, the first sight of decorations downtown, the smell of pumpkin in the air, the hammering of nails as we build our sukkot. Maybe it’s finding the best buy on matzoh or fruit slices. And, perhaps, it’s being with the people you love most and thanking G-d for that moment.
Wishing each of you and those you love a zissen Pesach—the sweetest of Passovers
Chag Pesach sameach,