Happy Pessover. I hope the holiday is treating you well and that your seders were great. There are so many family traditions associated with this festival. For several years we have done something with the Elijah’s cup. We may have “borrowed” this from someplace, I forget, but it has become kind of a tradition with our family. We start the seder with an empty cup and at the appropriate time, we pass the cup around to all those in attendance and ask them to pour a small amount of wine in the cup and speak something that they are thankful for from this past year, from last Pesach to now. By the time we finish, that cup of life is fillwed with expressions of thanks and gratitude. A pefect invitation for Elijah!
I paid particular attention this year to what people spoke about as there were many “issues” represented at table this year. Once again, what people spoke about never touched on the material aspects of life, rather, there were expressions of thanks and blessing for the relationships that people had; relationships that had, in some cases, been tested in this past year, but had, nonetheless, provided a foundation for those relationships.
This may seem “obvious” to some, however, I think it speaks to a much more profound issue which is one of the markers of this festival. It is our connections with people, our relationships that continue to be the main element in our lives that transcend material issues. These relationships, along with health, become–especially as we age–THE most important things in life. Passover celebrates that reality and, we are reminded of those relationships that have been changed by loss when we pause at the festivals end for a memorial for those no longer with us. When we light that “yizkor” candle we are, in a very real way, reminding our self of those relationships that continue in memory. I would imagine that many uf looked aorund that seder table this past weekend and had a moment of memory when we reflected on those who used to be at the table. Seder is one of those moments that bring home the reality of tradition’s “from generation to generation” (“l’dor v’dor”)
May we all use this season as a time to celebrate the relationships we have that help bring definition and meaning to our life.
Rabbi Richard F Address. D.Min
Rabbi Richard F. Address, D.Min, is the Founder and Director of www.jewishsacredaging.com. Rabbi Address served for over three decades on staff of the Union for Reform Judaism; first as a Regional Director and then, beginning in 1997, as Founder and Director of the URJ’s Department of Jewish Family Concerns and served as a specialist and consultant for the North American Reform Movement in the areas of family related programming. Rabbi Address was ordained from Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion in 1972 and began his rabbinic career in Los Angeles congregations. He also served as a part time rabbi for Beth Hillel in Carmel, NJ while regional director and, after his URJ tenure, served as senior rabbi of Congregation M’kor Shalom in Cherry Hill, NJ from 2011-2014.