On a spring morning in my Eagle days I walked to Temple Anshe Amunim to talk with Rabbi Josh Breindel. It was a few days before Passover, Pesach, and I remembered sharing seders with old friends.
Pesach celebrates a time when everything changes, they told me. Everything is new, and you can’t see ahead. People leave their homes and their kneading troughs and walk out into the desert. Listening to their reflections, I had a sense of standing on the shore and listening to the sea, gathering the confidence to set out.
Talking with Rabbi Breindel recalled that feeling. He sang the driving and joyful dayenu and a quiet, resonant psalm he said his father used to sing when he was a boy. And he made the excitement of the holiday tangible.
We talked about throwing open the windows, cleaning house, making matzah by hand. We talked about the anticipation of family and the soaring high glee that came with knowing that somehow today would be different.
And I thought about my own holidays, baking sweet rolls with homemade orange peel before Easter. My spring holidays have meant family, too, and newborn lambs or kid goats at my grandparents’ farm. Some years they have meant old friends helping to get the garden ready to plant the peas. Some years they have meant a walk on a raw day and wind off the mountains.
And they’ve meant stories of renewal, of grief, of a time when you lost everything — and then gained more than you knew you could — and suddenly everything was new, everything had changed, and you believed you could make things happen. This year, we may need that. I hope it’s a moveable and shareable strength.