It’s erev Purim. Shouldn’t there be an exclamation point after that statement? Isn’t our joy supposed to increase in Adar? Well, yes. I just re-watched the Maccabeats’ Purim video, I made some delicious (gluten-free!) hamataschen, and I do miss having anyone around to dress up for the Purim parade. (Even the dog won’t cooperate.)
But for those of us who host seders, we see Purim a little differently. Purim means four weeks till Pesach. (Is “Holy Moses!” the correct interjection?) As I was reviewing my hamantaschen recipes last night, I realized that just under the Purim file was the Passover pile. And my yearly bout of Purim Passover panic set in.
Even though I keep a record of what I served the year before for both Rosh Hashanah and Passover, I live in fear of the dreaded three-peat, or even four-peat. I have the same members of the family for both holidays and I like to mix it up. And so the annual quest for new, different, and hamatz-free begins.
What am I really looking for, in addition to yummy food the family will enjoy? I want them to enjoy being together. I want them to return to celebrate the season of our redemption, to want to be at the table for the maggid, the telling of the story.
We don’t have small children with us right now and I feel the urgency of wanting the 20-somethings to find meaning for themselves in the rituals and the spiritual depths behind those rituals. I want the 50-somethings to have the same thing. I can’t ensure any of that, although we work hard at adapting the seder for our very American Jewish family.
So I obsess about the food, thinking that at least there’s something I can control. Maybe it’s time to turn the seder over to the family and see what they want to bring to the table. After all, they have four weeks to figure it out!
Wishing you joy in Adar and always.