The plagues

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

We are doing Passover this year.  We needed last year off but, we are excited to be celebrating again this year.  It really is my favorite holiday.  Monday night we will be at my father's house.  I am planning on making chocolate covered macaroons.  I hope that they turn out.  Homemade macaroons are delicious.  Then, the next weekend, Greg and I are doing our annual Seder....this year, at our house.   If the macaroons go well for Monday night, I'll probably do them again...along with Matzo Ball soup and other smaller dishes.  It will be our first Passover "in nature", as we plan on doing it on our deck. We are going to rent some heat lamps and light up our trees.  I think it will be really nice though I'm not sure what the best way is to warn our neighbors of the coming festivities - since I have literally never spoken to any of them.  I've only ever seen the neighbors on either side of our house once each.  I can't imagine we will be singing out there much past 9:30 or so but we get loud.  Although we will be a smaller group this year, wine + festive revelry generally equals loudness.

Deciding to do Passover again wasn't a decision that came easy.  Deciding to celebrate at all EVER is really hard...but life does continue and I want our traditions to be something that we can look forward to and eventually include Mo in as well.  When Greg and I first discussed bringing Passover back, he brought up a good point - one that I really don't know what to do with - the plagues. Throughout the Passover Seder, the 10 plagues that were brought on the Egyptians are brought up - we list them, talk about them, sing about them.  They include: blood, frogs, locusts, lice, and the plague that broke the pharaoh's back - death of the first born son.  If you know the story, you know that when the first born son's of Egypt were taken by the angel of death, it was finally more than the Pharaoh could take and the Jewish slaves were set free.  How can I sing about this plague?  This plague that brought the Jews their good fortune is the same plague which has been visited on my family.  I cannot sing about it...or list it...or recount it at all without wanting to shrivel up and die....without wondering WHY was this plague brought on us?  We thought about getting rid of the plagues.  Ted says we can't avoid them forever.  Perhaps for this one year, we can focus on the rest of the story and not this one part...and then review again next year.  It's not simple.  Nothing is.

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

How about a new tradition - that one plague can be changed to the plague of having your least fav politician in office or the plague of insensitive friends or ...

Abby, I follow you "religiously". Never sure whether what I would add would be useful so not being sure, I hold back.

You clarified grief for me in a way no one has - the pain, the horror, the loss never goes away but what changes is we go back less to the way it was, we adapt to what is...

xoxo,
CS

Becca said...

Maybe drop a note in the neighbors' mailboxes?

We will have Passover this year with a family whose son died in a car accident in August at age 25. I was thinking about the plagues for that exact reason...what to do? I think we will simply ask them beforehand how they want us to proceed. Would love to hear what you guys end up doing instead, if anything.

Anonymous said...

I've been thinking of you and your boys. No easy answer, except to say you do what you feel you want and need, especially in the moment. Maybe planning it ahead is too much. Maybe a new tradition, like CS stated. Maybe going for it head on and talking about Maxie and working him into your seder - from your blogs I guarantee it would be a beautiful part of the evening.
Thinking of you all and wishing you a peaceful seder, in whatever way you celebrate.

Lesley

SadMama said...

My husband and I have decided that we just cannot attend any Passover seders this year. Between the plagues (loss of firstborn son) and remembering all of our past celebrations and now having to do this without Graham, we just can't handle it. We are going to turn down the invitations that we've received. Unfortunately, this puts us back into the position of isolating ourselves, but maybe it's just too soon for us to participate in any celebrations, especially with other families. We feel broken and everything is a reminder of our loss.

By the way, you can use the website haggadot.com and create your own haggadah (if you like). Then you really can shape the seder the way you prefer.

Maxie's Mommy said...

I think you are right to skip. I'm so glad we sat out holidays last year. Jut knowing that other people celebrated was hard enough. Knowing that life continued. It's so hard...eventually I guess we figure out what feels right, even though nothing will ever REALLY feel exactly right again. Thank you for the website suggestion- sending you lots of love.

Maxie's Mommy said...

I like dropping a note. That's what I'll probably do. Thanks for the suggestion. I hope you have a nice Passover!

Tiffany Torres said...

I understand. It was incredibly hard to face this religious holiday. I've thought about it more now because our rainbow is here, and like you said, I want there to be some traditions. But I don't know if I'm fully up to it. I guess just the fact that I've considered it this year is progress.

Becca said...

I hope yours is nice as well!

Taryn Baughman said...

I am so interested how you chose to navigate this issue with your Passover celebrations this year. It sounded like you must have found some compromise, since you were able to enjoy your time with your friends celebrating, but I can see how that would be a VERY difficult holiday to celebrate in a traditional way. I'm sure there is a learning curve to all of this, what did you come away with from this year's celebration? This may be too personal, and I apologize if it is, but you raise such important questions, and I am genuinely interested how you (and Ted) reconcile your loss with the desire to maintain traditions for your family. I know my family has some modified traditions surrounding the death of my sister. Something that many people don't realize is that the loss of a loved one, affects even the very (happy) traditions of your family, often to an extent that you have to re-invent them to be able to continue carrying them on. This whole idea is kind of interesting since a tradition is, by definition, a set of rituals that is valued for being unchanging by a group of people. Sadly, death changes most everything--even long-held traditions that we once thought were unalterable. But I do believe our desire for unity and happiness in our families does not change, in fact, it may even intensify, so we continue on in our ‘traditions’ no matter how non-traditional they become.

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