Wow how do I love this time of year! March Madness is heart racing, awe-inspiring and for some, even miraculous! Yes, there's the NCAA Basketball Tournament going on, but I am referring to Jewish homes around the world. Let me share with you a great example of 'Passover March Madness.' A couple of days before Purim, March 8th this year, I was finishing my shopping for the holiday at the local kosher market. After I placed my Hamentashen into the shopping cart, I turned down the next aisle where I would typically find breakfast cereals. Lo and behold no cereals were to be found. However, in its place were rows and rows of potato starch and matzah meal! March Madness was on!
The pre-Passover season is an amazing time. The freshness of the spring season, the cleaning out of the old chametz (leaven) and the feeling of a new beginning. I have always felt the term ‘spring cleaning’ came from Passover preparation; apparently there are historical sources to back up my hypothesis. According to Wikipedia, “the origin of spring cleaning can be traced to the ancient Jewish practice of thoroughly cleansing the home in anticipation of the spring-time memorial feast of Passover”. It seems that even in the realm of household chores, we are once again the trend setters.
Passover is so much about the preparation and anticipation of the holiday in order to appreciate the experience of Passover. Heinz ketchup had a slogan, “Anticipation is making me wait” with the tag line of “The taste that’s worth the wait”. That is also the message of matzah. In regards to the laws of Passover, one is prohibited to eat matzah on the day before Passover (many have the custom to refrain for multiple weeks) in order to enhance the excitement and desire to eat the matzah at the Passover table. In other words, like Heinz ketchup, we hold off from eating matzah until the seder in order to appreciate the ‘taste that is worth the wait’.
According to Tom Heyman’s book, The Unofficial U.S. Census Guide (1991), Passover Seder was the top ritual observed by American Jews at 5,400,000 (followed by Chanukah candle lighting…). This means that Jews from all walks of life wait and anticipate not only the taste of matzah, but all the experiences of the Passover Seder.
However, the reality is that many of us are on a college campus and can’t get home for Passover. Here, at NCSY Alumni, we want to make it possible for everyone to be at home for Passover, even if it is a home away from home. Please contact me if you are interested in being placed with a family for a Passover Seder. We have families from coast to coast who have called me looking to welcome you to their Seder!
Enjoy the video below to get into the Passover Seder mood, sorry this Seder table is already full, but there are others that are just as much fun! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qSXrnkSeKs
If you have any questions about Passover or just want to say hi: firstname.lastname@example.org or (212)613-8273
I wish you a happy and uplifting Passover,
Rabbi Yehoshua Marchuck