Holiday Tradition – Jewish

“For every minute you remain angry, you give up sixty seconds of peace of mind” (Emerson).

The Jewish holiday of Passover tells the story of how the Jewish slaves escaped from Egypt. They were in such a hurry to leave and escape their enslavement that their bread was unable to rise. As a result they had unleavened bread. It has become a tradition that when Passover comes around each year the Jewish people not only recite the Passover story but also do not eat leavened bread for eight days in commemoration of the exodus from Egypt. The product that it is eaten in lieu of bread is termed matzah. This unleavened product is also eaten at the Jewish Seder. Seder is a Hebrew word which translated in English means order as the night follows a specific order and is repeated in this order in all households. Towards the finalization of the night the matzah is hidden and the young children will vehemently rummage through the house to try and find it. A small gift is then given to the person who finds the hidden matzah. Depending on the family the gift can range from a monetary reward to simply a verbal congratulatory remark.

There are no people under the age of thirteen (bar mitzvah) at the Seders that I attend and as a result everyone is considered an adult. Since there is no one of the correct age left to search for the matzah a new tradition has been started in my family. Each person is given a type of “matzah sandwich”. Instead of a filling being placed in between the two matzah pieces, a significant quote is placed inside. Although these quotes have nothing to do particularly with the Jewish religion, they are selected with the sole purpose of making us reflect on our lives and find the connections with the Passover Seder.

My sister, Megan Lichter began this tradition a few years ago and since then it has become a standard part of the Passover evening. She wanted to find a way to have all people involved. Not everyone that attends our Seders is a practicing Jew and there are even a few people that attend that have no affiliation to Judaism at all. As a result these secular quotes can be understood by all attendees of the Seder. Although the quotes are carefully selected to relate is some way to the Passover story, people will interpret the connection in varying ways regardless of their religious connection.

The quote featured above by Emerson was a quote that was included in the matzah sandwiches this year. Upon discussion the group came to the conclusion that instead of living life with anger and regret, one should embrace each moment. It is similar to the idea of “living each moment as if it was your last”. We only have a minimal amount of time to live and therefore one should not waste the precious moments with anger. My sister, Megan found it to have a relation to Passover in that we were an enslaved population for many years. This holiday is about remembering but it also embraces our freedom. We should utilize and live each moment as we are so blessed to be given freedoms. I agree with her analysis as it logical and has a legitimate connection to the Passover Seder.

Annotation: For more information one can read the Haggadah by Moshe Lazar. Matzah is mentioned throughout the entirety of the Haggadah.

Lazar, Moshe. Ladino, Passover, Haggadah. Los Angeles, 2006.