Passover Snow and Other Questions

The holiday of hope, eternal Spring and extreme tradition is starting in a few hours and …it’s snowing?


Admittedly, Passover kind of snuck up on me this year for a variety of reasons. March 25 is certainly on the early side, and March Madness has only had a chance to whittle its way to a Sweet 16. When was the last time that LaSalle University was still playing meaningful basketball games…NCAA tourney games…during Passover? Ever? And with snow on the ground—if in fact there will be some snow remnants in about five hours? Never.


The Phillies still haven’t finalized their 25-man roster to take north, so I don’t have the dilemma of whether to watch a Phillies game during a Passover seder. Just two years ago, I wrote this piece about a Phillies-Brewers game that was played on the second Seder night—on April 20. I even used the Four Questions motif in my piece. It’s among my favorite short baseball pieces, even if hardly anyone read it. It’s kind of funny, shows some baseball knowledge and—truth be told—I never watched the game but pieced the piece together by listening to the  postgame show and scrutinizing the box score.


Did I mention that not too many read the piece? To spoof the Four Questions, Why was this piece different from all other pieces?


But, isn’t that the point of the First Question? This night-to-be is so different because it is almost always the exact same thing. The very same questions will be asked/chanted by the youngest child present at the table (within reason) and we will eat the same foods—including matzo—and feel bound by both the tradition and the harsh diet. Celebration and constipation at once? Sign me up.


Okay, that paragraph was as harsh as the Passover diet can be. In another slice of irony, Passover celebrates freedom from the bounds of tyranny and more specifically, the bounds of slavery that the Jews experienced in Egypt, yet we feel obligated to do and eat the same things. It is an annual reminder that we should think of all those who do not live in freedom and also try to lend a hand to them. It is the ultimate family holiday—a Jewish Thanksgiving of sorts. Without the football games, and this year, without a regular season baseball game or early Spring-ish allergies or sinusitis. I speak from many years of experience.


As a family event, this year’s Seders will present a challenge. With all thanks and gratitude to two families who invited us to join them for their Seders, there is a tinge of sadness to this year’s festivities. My mother-in-law passed just two-and-a-half weeks ago, and her presence in our lives is sorely missed. It has been a few years since my late father was able to join us for a Seder, and 11 years since the last one with Mom. Why is this night different…


But, life, change and tradition all roll on like heavy matzo balls, (yeah, that was a little lame, but go with it) despite some of the harsh realities that accompany us. And one of those traditions is being with people who are meaningful to us and participating in all of those new things as we have done around the world for thousands of years. One of these is getting the youngest child—for both seders, my four-and-a-half year-old son, Benny, will (apparently) do the honors—prepared to sing the Four Questions.


As the youngest of three sons (no daughters) in my own family, I did the honors well past what should have been my expiration date, but almost all of our Seders were at home—and with no other kids present. The charm of having a teen or a 20-something sing the Four Questions was certainly lost on me, if not everyone but Mom.


As an only child, depending on who we invite to future Seders, Benny may have been born into that same status. He got an early start two years ago, although he passed on (passed over) the opportunity to chant them at our home Seder. So, guess who had to do them yet again. Yep. He did make up for it by singing a question or two like a duck (for real, his idea) during the dinner phase. Last year, he came through pretty well at both Seders, and tonight…and the next night…who knows? He is a wonderful and willing performer. No, make that a wonderful and willful performer; we mostly play by his rules. Would I have it any other way? No, not really. Why is this night different…


So as only a few more hours or so remain to eat pasta, bread and pizza before Passover arrives, it’s time to wrap this up. Time to eat some chametz, brush up on the Four Questions with Benny and even brush some snow off my windshield.


And in just a few more nights, while presumably eating matzo and macaroons, I’ll root for the LaSalle Explorers to extend their March Madness into a rare-as-Passover-snow appearance into the Elite Eight. And why should I care?


Do I really need to repeat the question? Again?!


I know you're not a follower, but please follow me on Twitter

My Facebook Fan page is right here.

To order my new (co-authored) book, please click me.


Comments are closed.