I absolutely love long Jewish holidays like Pesach. I know that many folks canít wait for it to be over, whenever someone says that on shabbos I want to smack them, you canít talk about such holiness like shabbos and say that you want it over with already Ė why are you keeping shabbos if you hate it and donít believe in itís healing properties? But Pesach heartache is understandable, people just canít go that long without pizza, can they? I surely can (I haven’t had milchigs in 2 months, I miss it dearly), yes itís a royal pain to eat overpriced chocolate bars for energy on long distant hikes and bike rides, but I deal and I love Pesach in all of its 8 days of glory. I also work for a company that gave me off for all of Pesach, I could understand the pain that people have when they have to use up all of their vacation days for Jewish holidays, although they might want to have the thought that they wouldnít have that job unless God wanted them to and therefore God knew they would have to give up their vacation days willingly to please him.
I used to hate the seder, I think it could be better, probably because most people donít really do the seder right, they tell technical divrei torah which have nothing to do with telling the story of leaving Egypt and then they sing traditional songs while the people who can read super fast go about it on their own. I guess I wish sedarim were a bit more interactive and actually did make children ask question Ė because I have seen that maybe twice, it seems that children only ask questions because in yeshiva they tell you that children are supposed to ask questions.
Think about it, the story of the Jews leaving Egypt is probably the most kick-ass story in biblical Judaism, Chanukah, Shavuos and Purim donít come close to Pesach, they donít have as much action going down. I like to think that the story of the Jews leaving Egypt starts with the story of Yosef and his brothers, which could be made into a movie, simply amazing the drama of that story. Then the pharaoh getting all hard on the Jews, flip flopping his political views kind of like Obama on Israel and then we build the pyramids which are super cool, although using babies as stones isnít cool. The plagues, holy crap people, I canít believe that during the seder, the attention of the plagues is lost on a little dabbing of wine and proclaiming the plagues Ė we should talk about this stuff, itís super cool and everyone out of yeshiva doesnít talk about it for 2 months leading up to Pesach.
What I really want to know is what other plagues were there? I always hear about these midrashim that say there were a slew of plagues besides for the ten biggies. Did everyoneís clothing burn up in the middle of the marketplace forcing everyone to walk back home naked? Did the camels start eating people? Maybe they ran out of parking spots and everyone had to circle their camels for days just to find one.
ďLet My People GoĒ is probably the most bad-ass line in the whole torah, itís not even made up, itís right there in the scripture, not some Charleton Heston line. Did you ever think about the fact that pretty much everyone was black in Egypt, wasnít Moshe Rabeinu black, that means everyone was way cooler than we can even imagine.
The splitting of the sea, that alone is enough to excite any scientist into explaining the prevailing winds and how they must have blown hard enough to split the sea. I do love how non-believing scientists have tried to explain how splitting of the sea were possible in a book they view as mythological, do their endowments and grants fund mythological explorations? I remember sitting in ninth grade learning about how any Jew could reach into the water and pull out whatever they wanted, I was sitting in class daydreaming about walking on the sea bed, chugging a mountain dew that I had just pulled out of the wall of water and thinking about which Ben and Jerrys flavor I wanted to pull out next, as I was day dreaming I was wondering if the ground was muddy and if the Jews were all wearing Tevas or Birkenstock sandals.
I also look forward to Peach because to me itís like having a bunch of shabbosim in a row. I know a lot of people donít like the whole shabbos chol hamoid thing because they want to be able to hit p as many Boro Park carnivals, Lipa Schmeltzer shows and kosher circuses as possible. I wonder if the ďthings to do on pesach sectionsĒ in those free community advertisement books they have in heimishe establishments are cut down this year, although they usually include the same things every year. I can sum it up for you, you can go to the Liberty Science Center, Ellis Island, The Tenement Museum, The Museum of Natural History and Uncle Moishes Carnival on 13th avenue and 44th street.
Pesach has a shorter less physically intensive davening than succos, although I still love succos and itís my favorite holiday for obvious reasons (outdoors nut and honey on challah lover here) I still like Pesach for its length, one of the reasons I dislike shavuos and Rosh Hashanah are their lack of length, the first day is always warm up and by the time youíre in spiritual high mode everyoneís making havdalah, I know that both Shavuos and Rosh Hashanah have the days leading up to them that are supposed to put us in that frame of mind Ė but I need a little more starting time. Of course Pesach has starting time because of shabbos hagadol (where I was this shabbos doesnít even have shul on shabbos afternoon) and cleaning my car and apartment for chometz got me in the Pesach frame of mind hey isnít that a Billy Joel song?
I am not one for spending holidays with family, mostly because my family lives in a place I find kills my spiritual state and makes me hate being religious, except before my dad got remarried and I would take him with me to my friends houses. Actually one of the things I dread about marriage is falling in love with a girl from a place that I donít care for. The last two years I did Pesach with one of my best buds in Denver, he would set up all the meals so that we could get the best food and company at the same time Ė I am the same way with meal settings, there is a lot of detail that goes into spending shabbos or a holiday somewhere, itís never simple. This year I am staying in Northern California and looking forward to my first two days in San Francisco, and the last two days in the Sierra Nevada near Tahoe where I plan to try out my hand at gold panning.