ROBERT SHRIMSLEY: A Passover wish: next year, all back together
This year there was a sad symbolism to the Passover meal, since it brutally brought home all that we take for granted, which is suddenly missing from our lives
It is traditional for Jews celebrating the festival of Passover to offer up the incantation, “Next year, in Jerusalem”. Few of us really mean it; if we did we’d be there already. It is a reflection of the story being commemorated in the festival, that of the escape from slavery in Egypt. But when families sat down for the first night meal — or seder — on Wednesday, the expressed desire to be somewhere else and in better times had a particular resonance.
Passover, like so many festivals, is centred on the home and the family, every bit a cultural as a religious event. The first night meal is often a huge and rambunctious affair. Families and friends travel to be together. Grandparents and adult siblings arrive with their children. Young children are at the heart of the event, since the premise of the evening is the precise telling of the Passover story to the young so that they may one day pass it on to their children. The moment when the youngest in the house asks the four que...