If you have made a trip to your local supermarket recently, then perhaps like me, your pre-Passover planning anxiety has also begun to take hold in a more serious way. In the various local Jewish social media groups and channels, in casual conversations, and especially here at Ezra, Passover is coming! For us, this means that our students and teachers are finishing up work on our Haggadah Supplement, and we are preparing our schedules for one of my favorite long-time Ezra traditions, Passover tutoring!
This special Ezra tradition, where older students help prepare our younger students to lead aspects of the Seder, was one of my favorite experiences as an Ezra student and one that I am so glad that we have kept going. This type of preparation for our holidays and celebrations is always important, but perhaps the Passover Seder is important in a different way because it is not a synagogue event, but a home/community-based one. As an educator, I love how Pesach is in-part about turning the dinner table into an experiential classroom banquet and I am thrilled that we are able to provide our students with multiple ways to bring their learning home!
Preparation and showing up in an excited way is also a theme that jumped out at me in this week’s double parasha, Vayakhel-Pekudei, the conclusion to the book of Exodus/Shemot. The Israelites are commanded to bring their holy gifts of fabrics, metals, and other specialty materials to contribute to the building of the Mishkan. These along with the presentation of the special uniforms to Aaron and the priests are among the final steps for the construction and preparation of the Mishkan. The descriptions of the materials as well as the process evoke a sense of excitement and the element of personal contribution paints a picture of a community poised to experience something totally awesome together. We each have our own gifts and ways to contribute to our celebrations, whether it is through song, art, sharing of our own learning, or my favorite, the asking of questions.
I want to suggest that we all take a piece of this narrative within us as we move towards our Festival of Freedom, Passover. We each have our own gifts, our own contributions and our own desires for the approaching holiday and I think that creating space to use the coming weeks to let the excitement build is really worthwhile. We spend the month of Adar, leading up to Purim, increasing our happiness, and while the build up towards our upcoming holiday may be a little different, I’m looking forward to continuing to share how we are preparing for Passover in an exciting way as we move towards the start of the month of Nisan next week. This Shabbat is also a Shabbat Mevarchim, when we recite a special blessing announcing the upcoming month and therefore, the beginning of the next part of our Journey towards the seders and liberation.
Wishing you and your loved ones a Shabbat Shalom and a restful weekend,