19.04.2011 15.Nisan, 5771 Pessah 1
A group of Westerners with one thing in common found itself celebrating amid wild animals, frogs, boils, but thankfully no rivers of blood.
So what does Pessah mean to me? Another excuse to spend a stormy evening with the family whilst debating, arguing and agreeing on the finer points of our secular lives as well as the meanings held within the Haggada. The one time in the year that we lather multiple layers of chrayne onto our matza, knowing that Mum is expecting the tablecloth to be pockmarked with deep purple stains, so doesn’t mind it so much. A time when we all agree that a couple of boiled eggs swimming in saltwater is an hors-d’oeuvre worthy of the pharaohs, and always wonder why we don’t similarly supplement our main courses this way throughout the year. Enough of the anecdotes … what does Pessah really mean to me?
Like Rosh Hashana, it gives me a focal point to track my previous year and ponder over the forthcoming one. It signifies the physical, meta-physical, emotional and spiritual transition from a nation of slaves to a nation of free thinking, free living people. It includes a night (or two) when thousands of families are doing the same thing, at the same time, all over the world, and have done so for 3,000 years. It marks the first steps towards Israel as our homeland, irrespective of how you view that land today. And one particular year I found myself in Malawi….