Remembering is central to Passover. We remember the miracles by which God brought the Israelites out of Egypt. We remember the courage of our ancestors who ventured forth toward an unknown land. We remember the teachings of our sages who illumine the Seder rituals.
On Passover, we also remember our loved ones who are no longer alive. We carry fond memories of Grandma’s matzah ball soup and Aunt Edith’s carrot tzimmes; as well as Grandpa’s beaming at his grandson’s recitation of the Four Questions. We remember our parents who taught us the essential lesson of what it means to be a mensch.
At our Passover tables, we experience both the absence of our loved ones as well as their presence. Though there is no set time during the Seder to remember our departed, you may choose to include the following reading by Rabbi Jennifer Gubitz:
It’s in these moments, joyous holiday meals and family celebrations, that we remember them. It is in the smell of spices so fragrant, the taste of sweet wine and the shadow of candles flickering, that we recall the days when they sat next to us and sometimes we can still feel their warmth.
As we recall the story of the Jewish people, of our redemption from slavery in Egypt, we remember also the story of our own families: the journeys and experiences that shaped us, the people and places, and the faces that sat across from us, shared meals with us, shared the story with us – for so many years.
We can’t help but want to set a place for them at the table, hoping that they will walk in the door. We can’t help but want to hear their voices singing and laughing.
We can’t help but want to smell their perfume, to taste their cooking, to see their smile. While our memories are but meager substitute for the warm hug we so long to experience, may we find solace and comfort in knowing that while they may be gone, our memories endure.
May your Passover be sweet and meaningful. Chag Sameach.