“Because of our traditions, we’ve kept our balance for many years” -Reb Tevyeh , Fiddler on the Roof
Pesach is one of those funny holidays where, if you walk into two different homes, you’ll see different customs, different foods, different strigencies. You don’t find this with any other holiday. Sure, the matzah and the maror is the same, but with Pesach the traditions are so important in making the holiday what it is.
So many things in the Hagadah we do, not because they are the law, but because we want our kids to ask why. We want our kids to perk up and say, “hey, whats going on? Why are we doing all these weird things?” We do them because we want to make a lasting impression on our children.
Pesach is a holiday that can easily make us feel resentful. There is so much work that needs to be done. From the cleaning and scrubbing, to the shopping, cooking, it’s not one of our easier holidays that’s forsure. And if we’re not careful, we can easily feel resentful and prepare for the holiday begrudgingly. When we feel this way, our children WILL pick up on this attitude.
Therefore, it’s so important for us to remember the whole reason we do this amazing holiday in the first place. So that our children learn our history and we do this by creating traditions.
One of the ways to create traditions in your home is by adding a sense of fun and whimsy to the whole process. These are the things that stick with us as kids, and give us those warm and cherished memories as we get older and make Pesach in our own homes. Truthfully, anything can become a tradition if you do it more than once. My friend still remembers how she and her brother would sit on their back porch peeling potatoes while listening to music together. My mother in law makes a traditional “orange” soup that its just not Pesach without it, and now all the married children make this same soup recipe as well.
Writing it Down
Another tradition my family has, after Pesach we write down “predictions” for the coming year along with funny things that happened over the holiday. We put these notes into our Pesach boxes and we open them the following year and see how many predictions we got right! How fun it is to look back on the funny memories from the years past.
In my friend’s family, it is their custom to only use freshly squeezed juices on Pesach. One year, her husband came home with kosher l’Pesach orange juice. He wanted to help alleaviate his wife’s work, and not having to squeeze oranges, and instead use store bought. My friend refused. It wasn’t that they didn’t trust the kosher status of the orange juice. She felt it “just wasn’t Pesach with store bought orange juice.” Sure, her workload could have been less, but to her, it was so important to uphold the traditions that she had grown up with, and wanted her children to see the same.
Traditions can be big or small, like the annual family Chol Hamoed trip, or going to the pizza shop as a last meal the night of Bidekas Chametz. These are the things that stay with us. These are the things that give us that warm and fuzzy feeling when we think of Pesach growing up. And all you need is a shift in attitude, looking at Pesach as a fun holiday as opposed to a one of great burden. When we realize that infusing the holiday work with fun, it allows us to take a step back and realize that these seemingly unimportant things are actually the things that make it feel like Pesach, then we can relax about how much work there needs to be done and the never ending to do list. We can soften our attitudes because we acknowledge that the work isn’t hard , but ultimately meaningful instead.
Getting into the fun Pesach spirit:
- Putting music on when cleaning makes it into a Dusting Dance Party
- Giving out prizes (to yourself as well) for accomplishing specific tasks
- Slurpee runs at the end of the day
- Special new toy for the holiday
- Write down funny memories that happened over Yom Tov
- Create photo contests with friends or family members: “Funniest items found during Pesach Cleaning.”
Anything can be fun if you simply allow it to be.
When Pesach is over and put away, we are all left with the memories and feelings – either how difficult it was or how joyous and fun it was. As we recognize that the traditions are what imbue our children with a love of our holidays, we can begin to delight in the “difficult” preparations of Pesach, not as hardships but as the building blocks of our children’s happy Pesach memories.
What are your favorite Pesach memories? Share in the comments below!
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