Happy Pesach- the festival you love to hate. It would not be Pesach without some healthy kvetching and complaining about the stress of preparation, the cost of product and the food (either because we find it inedible or because we eat way too much).
Maybe that’s because, thirty-three centuries later, we still retain some slave mentality. Not are we often stuck in money/ work/ appearances/ technology addictions (I’m not sure how many plagues it would take Moses to destroy those Pharaohs), but we tend to be slave to an expectation that life should always be comfortable and convenient.
Pesach is far from convenient (ever tried a Pesach picnic with the kids?). It’s not that comfortable either (think: objectionable relatives at the Seder and matzah lunches at work ). Despite that, Pesach remains one of the most celebrated Jewish events of the year.
That just goes to show: Jews are motivated by meaning, not convenience (which might explain why Yom Kippur is the other most-observed annual Jewish event). We’re moved when we engage with family more than when we sit passively entertained. We are hardwired with angst to make a difference, instead of to wait for our next life-upgrade to come online.
Others might be satisfied living in the prison of convenience. Pesach illustrates that Jews prefer the richness of meaningful challenge. So, we sit through a protracted seder, hating and loving every moment. We moan about matzah, as we munch on a fresh one. We celebrate liberation, and appreciate that true freedom is to escape life’s humdrum to sweat through discomfort to discover value.
If we could just carry that over into the rest of our year…
We would, if not for our slave-voice that pipes up: Maybe next year. In Jerusalem.