Rabbinic Reflection: Rabbi Samuel Kaye
For me, it was the pickles.
During the fall, a bathtub full of cucumbers would greet me whenever I stepped into my grandparents’ home in Denver. The cucumbers would lie soaking in the guest bathroom, washed and gently floating before my family would slice and jar them up into spice-filled mason jars. Then, tucked away like miniature veridian treasures, they would be placed into the special refrigerator in the garage to wait, brine, and transform.
Passover was a big moment for me growing up, not only because of the family rituals and beautiful meals but also because it meant the pivotal opening of those pickle jars. Would they be ready for the seder? Were we opening them too soon, resulting in flat and bland pickles with too much snap? Or would we have missed the mark the other way, pungent biting blasts of spice and slightly mushy? Could I be so chutzpadik to claim that it was a miracle that every year they seemed to turn out just right- and that my memory of Seder is forever flavoured by near-perfect pickles?
I hope that each of us has our own unique memories of Pesach that warm our hearts and recall the generations who strived to keep our traditions vital. Pesach, perhaps more than any other holiday, is resplendent in the combined traditions of our greater Jewish people and our individual families. Whether that means an annual meal made perfect and identical from generation to generation, the special china and silver which only comes out once a year or a specific brand of gefiltefish/heaven forfend that it should ever touch your table; these are the sacred moments that make it ‘our Pesach.’
And that was what made the last few years so devastatingly difficult. These traditions, which were so vital, so alive, so core to us- were impossible to recreate in a world touched by a modern plague.
It is my most sincere blessing for each of us that whatever makes it ‘our Pesach’ should return to you this year. That the faces around the table should glow with love, pride, and reborn appreciation for what we are so blessed to have. That the memories of those who you wish were with you around that table, whose traditions you now carry on, shall remain an eternal blessing that fills your life with light and joy.
Next Year in Jerusalem!
Chag Kasher V’Sameach!
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