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Meaningful Passover

Thursday, 7 March, 2013 - 8:28 am

Question

Dear Rabbi,

Thank You for putting together the arrangements for the HarfordKosher.com website. I made my first order. BTW I wouldn't have done it if not for your "kosher email" a few weeks ago.

Now that I’ve got the Shmurah Matzo, meat and haggadah, I’m all set for the seder, Any advice on making Passover more meaningful for my family?

Thanks Again,

A new kosher meat buyer :)

 

Thanks Again,

A new kosher meat buyer :)

Answer

Have you ever heard of Divine providence? Its the concept that every event in the universe and every experience in a person's life, and their every aspect, is specifically guided and determined by the Divine will.

Well i got this email from my brother in Atlanta and i think it can answer your question.

Usually it's dusty boxes of Matzah, some Tam Tams and an aging jar of Manischewitz gefilte fish that occupies the shelf of the "kosher section" of our local Publix.  But every year right around Passover a full display of Kosher for Passover items takes center stage.  This year is no different, and as I entered the store last Friday a full display greeted me.

And that's where I saw it.  I did a double take and the continued walking preoccupied with what I had just seen.  It wasn't that there was anything wrong with it, nor was there specifically anything right about it.  It was just odd! Boxes of Matzah and a bunch of Yurzeit candles.

And it got me thinking.  What is the connection between Matzah and Yurzeit candles?  My upbringing was one of constant analysis of life's experiences.  For in our Chabad teaching everything that one sees or hears needs to serve as a lesson in the service of G-d.  So what is the message or lesson that I can take from this seemingly strange or odd set up at Publix?

And then it struck me.  Passover and Matzah can be a dead experience or we can bring life and light to it.  Just like a candle can be lit to memorialize someone or it can be lit to bring light and life into the world.  Passover is now the most widely observed Jewish holiday - which is a good thing.  But in the constant generational roller coaster (one generation observes, the next rebels against their parents observance and observes very little, the next rebels against the watered down experience of the prior generation and observes again) we need to make sure that our Passover experience is a real one, not an oppressed one nor a meaningless one.  It needs to be an experience that has substance and content but is enjoyable.  The difference between the light of a Shabbos candle that brings light into the world or the light of Yurzeit candle that commemorates the past.

Some ideas: Plan some exciting but not superficial activities for the kids, prepare some stories and insights and don't rush through the Seder but don't drag it out too much either. Also, it is important to actually do the "steps" of the Seder including drinking the four cups of wine/grape juice, eating the Matzah, bitter herbs and Charoset.  It is the physical acts that remain in the nostalgic memory of the child that will motivate them to relive them in adulthood.

Have a great week!

Rabbi Kushi Schusterman

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