Rabbis Without Borders: Yes, It’s (Not) All About the Seder

April 11, 2017

"As a rabbi and hospital chaplain, I am awed to hear patients speak about their spiritual struggles, especially when illnesses have raised the specter of their mortality. They may express sadness, ambivalence, embarrassment and even anger about their lack of Jewish faith and knowledge, or their having been disappointed by God, or a rabbi, or a synagogue, or feel they have been driven into the wilderness by the high financial cost of Jewish life. Most of all, it is heartbreaking when they judge themselves harshly for failing in their struggle to access the spiritual.

And yet… they are very concerned with being home by Passover – whether they hope to attend a seder or not.

Some emotionally share memories of their youths at their grandparents’ seder tables. If they still attend seder, they are glad to pass this ritual to their children, even when they think the children just don’t grasp it. And if they are not involved, it is not unusual to witness expressions of heartbreaking regret and fear that the chain of tradition will be forever severed – even if they do not feel they ever had a firm grasp on it themselves. Either way… they can’t bear the idea of not being home for Passover, whether they will attend a seder or not...."

By Rabbi Eliana Falk, a Rabbis Without Borders Fellow, from the Rabbis Without Borders Blog on My Jewish Learning.com