At this time of year I’m reminded of the fable about the pauper who once had the opportunity to taste a high end dish: A delicious cheese blintz (not a very Passover-like food, but hear me out anyway).
He was so excited by the delectable dessert that he had experienced, that when he got home he begged his wife to replicate the same dish for him. He really wanted to indulge in the enticing taste once more.
He happily supplied the recipe and his wife got to work. But a moment later she looked up from her place and said to him, “Uh, this recipe calls for eggs and we don’t have any.”
“I guess we’ll have to manage without the eggs,” came his reply.
“Well,” said his wife, “it also calls for flour and we don’t have any of that too.”
“Do we have corn starch? Use that instead,” he suggested.
And so it continued, skipping an ingredient here and substituting one there. Until the “blintzes” were ready.
With great anticipation he sat down to eat. Knife and fork ready; napkin folded neatly on his lap. He cut for himself a nice piece and took a mouthful. The “blintzes” tasted surprisingly like the baked potatoes he was used to eating each night.
Turning to his wife, he remarked, “You know, these blintzes are so overrated! I don’t know why people make such a big deal about them.”
Of course, we smile when we hear this story – it’s humorous and entertaining. But it has a deep and important message, especially at this time of the year.
You see, Passover is about personally experiencing the transformation from a state of “slavery” (i.e. a state of constraint and limitation) to a state of “redemption” (i.e. overcoming our personal limitations).
All too often, however, I hear comments from people saying that the Passover Seder doesn’t “do it” for them. Somehow they go through the steps of the seder rituals but they don’t feel the transformation.
Here’s my message: if you want to truly experience Passover, you must stick to the recipe as it’s been handed down throughout the generations: Begin the seder at the appropriate time, not too early. Eat the appropriate foods, drink the right amount of wine (or Grape Juice) and spend the time actually discussing – and personalizing – the Exodus narrative.
And one more thing – don’t forget, Passover isn’t only about the Seder. Passover lasts for another 8 days (in Israel 7 days) – observe the holiday: only eat Kosher for Passover foods and don’t miss the holiday prayers.
This Passover, make it real.