Passover: A Powerful Family Memory for All

Passover table setting.

Ask any Jewish person about their favorite and most memorable family holiday, meal, or ritual of the year, and most will say a Passover Seder. Celebrated amid the hubbub of family and friends, the Seder holds first place in many Jewish hearts–not our birthdays, not Chanukah, not Rosh Hashanah [New Year’s Day].

Passover is the Jewish people’s oldest continuously celebrated ritual, commemorated for over three thousand, three hundred years. Let’s find out why.

What is the meaning of Passover?

This year’s Seders will be on the evenings of April 22 and April 23 in the diaspora. On these two nights, the story of the Exodus, in which G-d frees the Jewish people from Egyptian bondage, is retold in the Haggadah. The Passover Seder is re-lived each year through its narrative, prayers, rituals, and songs. While we hold Seders on the first two nights, the entire eight-day holiday lasts from sundown on Monday, April 22 through nightfall on April 30.

Why is Passover such a big deal? In addition to strengthening family bonds, the holiday is pivotal to the very identity of the Jewish people. To cement Passover’s prominence, the Sages created an experience bursting with symbols and practices that even small children will remember—and recreate for their own children and grandchildren. 

As Rabbi Yehuda Loewe, rabbi of 16th century Prague, wrote, at the time of the Exodus the Jews became essentially free beings, so that even under the worst oppression, our souls remain essentially free.

A shared memory and hopes for the future

Passover can be considered the birth of the Jewish nation, leading them to receive the Ten Commandments. The Hagaddah’s narrative is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. It contains grief for the sorrow of bondage, gratitude for freedom and G-d’s goodness, and prayers for future redemption. We are supposed to feel it as if we ourselves were there and if our ancestors had not been redeemed from Egypt then we would still be slaves.

A well-run Seder should be enjoyable for all, especially the children who will continue the tradition in years to come. While the Haggadah provides the overall framework, we can inject it with creativity, variation, and a sense of drama. After all, there’s an intriguing story, heroes and villains, props, and even an intermission (a very tasty one!).

What to expect at a Seder

As with most big celebrations, the festival meal is a centerpiece that divides the Seder into two distinct parts. The first part tells the narrative of the Jews leaving Egypt. After the meal comes the second part, when we praise G-d and sing Passover songs.    

If you’ve never been to a Seder, you may have heard many things: Lots of food (think chicken soup, brisket, and matzah balls), four glasses of wine, the Seder plate filled with symbolic Passover items, and more. Some Seders have a sense of organized chaos with lots of children running around. Other Seders, especially smaller ones without many children, may be more contemplative and calm. No two Seders are exactly alike, nor should they be. What’s important is that the Seder be relevant for all the guests around the table.

Whether you’re a veteran Seder participant or a first-timer, Passover is so multi-faceted that there’s something for everyone. There’s a great story, a tantalizing feast, tangible symbols, and the connection of family and friends. The takeaway is that while the Seder consists of many parts, it forms one cohesive and meaningful shared experience.

Children are center stage at the Passover’s Seder

Yes, the Seder is about the Passover story, the grand meal, and giving gratitude to G-d. And there’s another essential piece—the children. The crux of the Passover Seder is transferring memory from one generation to the next. A central theme in the Haggadah is the Hebrew phrase L’Dor Vador, translated as “from generation to generation.” We personally make time to discuss our individual family’s personal Exodus. This includes how our parents and grandparents made their miraculous journey from Eastern Europe to Canada.

Because we want to form powerful family memories that stick with us for our entire lives, the Seder shouldn’t be stuffy, where children perceive they are imprisoned in their seats and must behave like little adults. We want them to ask questions, sing, and feel included. At the same time, the Seder is a sacred ritual deserving respect. Seder hosts have the sometimes challenging job of balancing tradition and creativity, laughter and gravity.

Not all my guests are observant   

Many of our Seders will include friends and family whose lives have taken them far from their Jewish heritage and traditions. We welcome these visitors with open arms, allowing them to reconnect or make new connections to the story.

The Seder can be relevant regardless of a guest’s personal or religious background. The Passover story contains many features that intersect with personal concerns and struggles, not to mention the circumstances of the larger world.  

We at Elite Roofing wish you and your family a meaningful, enjoyable Passover

The Elite family wishes everyone a Happy Passover and Chag Kasher veSameach (Happy and Kosher Festival). We have run a family business for the past three generations and make every effort to pass our values along to each generation, as well as to our employees, customers and suppliers. The entire Elite family makes every effort to act with integrity, appreciate each other, and give back to the community through contributions and volunteering. This Passover, as we express gratitude to G-d, we also thank our employees, customers, and business partners and pray for bright future.

The roofing experts at Elite Roofing look forward to being your partner on your commercial, industrial, or institutional roofing project in the Greater Toronto Area. Contact us today to find out about about our wide range of high-quality roofing services.