Easter is not my holiday.
I am a Jew. And while my joy in the holiday is derived from the peace my friends who celebrate it find within it — and I do wish them much happiness in the celebration of their holiday — it is not mine.
But I haven’t always been Jewish. As a child, every year my Baptist grandparents dragged me — not necessarily kicking and screaming because doing so would have jeopardized the new dress they always bought me just for the occasion — to spend a morning with them in what I considered hell. Okay, they called it church. To me it was an attempt at a very long nap constantly interrupted by shouts of “Hallelujah!” and supposedly ‘happy’ old women falling into the aisles and shouting in tongues. But the day always ended with a wonderful ham dinner (I love ham) with candied yams (I love candied yams) finished off with a very big slice of coconut cake (I love coconut cake) washed down with a tall glass of very cold milk (I love very cold milk). I relished the Easter egg hunts — not for the brightly colored shells containing one of the vilest foods in all creation (I hate hard-boiled eggs) — but for the joy of finding the prizes (I love to win) and tossing them at the other hunters.
But I am a Jew. And my spring holiday — that began as Easter and took a brief detour, in the process changing its name temporarily to Spring Break — is now Pesach. Perhaps because Judaism is a path I’ve chosen for myself, there is very little about it that I don’t enjoy. Okay, sometimes the story of the Exodus grows somewhat painful as we approach that fourth cup of wine (and the reader — who has clearly had a few cups before the four — becomes annoying). And occasionally I want to bind and hang by the toes the spoiled, obnoxious little brat reading the four questions. And if I had to imagine a food whose flavor — such as it is, or not — most closely resembles wallboard, my vote would go to matzoh. But my personal Passover reward comes in the form of the very ugly stepsister on the Seder table — the apple/cinnamon/honey/walnut/raisin/wine concoction called charoset (I love charoset). According to the rabbis the charoset is meant to remind us of the mortar with which the Israelites bonded bricks while they were enslaved in Egypt. In my own humble opinion — and that of my far less than humble tongue — the purpose of charoset at Passover is to make matzoh palatable before I wash it down with my sickeningly sweet Mogen David Blackberry wine (I love Mogen David Blackberry wine).
(Note to self — or to my shrink: I — descended from slaves here in America — have adopted as a family a people who were once slaves in Egypt. Clearly a topic I’ll have to explore on her sofa).
Now that my path has taken a more spiritual fork in the road, I realize that the three — Christianity, Judaism and youthful hedonism — are not mutually exclusive. Perhaps the purpose of this holiday season is to remind me to relax and refresh. Perhaps this is a time to rediscover the purpose for my life and renew my enthusiasm for pursuing and fulfilling that plan. Perhaps it’s a time for me to wake up and enjoy my life and the people I’m so fortunate to have in it.
Maybe Easter is one of my holidays after all 🙂
חג פסח שמח
Live, Love and Laugh