On the Seder night, we proudly announce to our kids, עבדים היינו – “Avadim hayinu” – we were slaves to Pharoah in Egypt.
For many Jews, especially housewives, it’s a bit hard to say all of this with a straight face.
Endless hours of cleaning, cooking and shopping create a sense of real “avdut” – of slavery.
Isn’t it ironic that the chag that is supposed to trigger such deep feelings of freedom is looked upon with dread by so many, because of the amount and intensity of the preparation?
Now, maybe this is what our sages had in mind! In every generation, on the Seder night , we have to feel as if we left Egypt. Perhaps the idea is: Overwork yourself till Erev Pesach. Be your own self-imposed taskmaster…. until the night of the Seder.
Now, lean back, relax and enjoy…. Tonight, you are free !
Another, more reasonable suggestion: Let’s re-examine our priorities. The Jewish world, including religious communities, have been swept up in the insanity of modern life. And Pesach preparation has not been spared: The kilos of meat consumed, the cake mixes, the cheeses, the fruit jellies, the candies. The list goes on….
Matzah is a simple food – flour and water. Sure, we’re scrupulously fulfilling the letter of the law, but the spirit…..?
The need for Kavod Yom Tov – honoring the chag – must be balanced with a focus on a return to our essence: the Torah and its program for self-improvement, a commitment to halacha and to the study of Torah.
The chag is the framework.