Thursday, March 29, 2007

Pesach's Downside

Despite the RWAC Pesach lovefest in the air, I feel it important to bring up a downside of Pesach. No, I'm not referring the cleaning aspect of the holiday, "Dust isn't Chametz" but something a lot more disturbing.

Pesach is a holiday for the Jewish People, a national celebration of liberation from slavery, culminating is receiving the Torah and our acceptance of the laws and responsibilities of Judaism. That galvanizing experience molded us into a nation.

The authentic Pesach experience of the Jewish people in their homeland, involved the "Chabura" and eating of the Korban Pesach, the Passover sacraficial lamb. The "Chabura" aspect, was that families and friends would eat the Korban Pesach together. An entire lamb was too much for a single family, and groups and groups would join together, and experience their seder toegther.

That was classical Pesach.

Unfortunately, the downside of Pesach today is an insularity among many parts of the frum community due to Pesach kashrut observances. Chumrot and Minhagim isolate families from their friends to the point that I commonly hear, "We don't eat over by anyone on Pesach."

Don't get me wrong; I'm not attacking the Ashkenazic ban on "kitnoyot" at all.

Yet if we look at the spectrum of chumrot and minhagim about Pesach including, but not limited to:

Mei Kitnityot
Kitniyot which changed their form
Lecitin (yes or no?)
Only Hand Shmurah Matza
Only "Chai Regaim" Shmura Matza
Only Machine Shmura Maztza (if using machine baked matza)

...we see that the possibility of returning to the "Chabura" communal aspect of Pesach is impossible in this day and age.

The Pesach Seder "Chabura" pictured here in the Temple Haggada.
(link in English or Hebrew...hmmm, can't find the hagadda link
in Hebrew, but it exists, and is excellent...I own one)

When people refuse to eat by friends (or even family) because of too many chumrot and minhagim, then in my humble opinion, we are losing out on a crucial aspect of Pesach.

And that's a huge downside.

Therefore, I'm happy to report that we WILL be having a joint seder at our friends and neighbors home this year...unless of course, we merit to have our Chaburah Seder with the Korban Pesach in Yerushalayim with a rebuilt Beit HaMikdash.

A Chag Kasher vSameach to all our readers!

Jameel & Co.
The Muqata

Lexicon (no time to get hyperlinks for them, so here's a quick, off the cuff listing)

Halacha: Jewish Law
Chumorot: Personal stringencies going above the basic required Jewish law.
Minhagim: Personal Customs, not Jewish Law, but a personally accepted (or inherited) custom.
Kitniyot: Legumes, not outright Chametz.
Mei Kitniyot: Oil from Kitniyot
Gebrochts: Any combination of baked matza and liquid, whether baked or eaten together.
Chametz: Google it yourself :)

Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael


the sabra said...

doesn't it say in shluchan aruch that it is customary not to eat in anyones house on pesach?

Anonymous said...

"Dust isn't Chametz and your children aren't the korban pesach"
-R'MM Schneerson ZT"L

Scraps said...

That minhag never made it to my hometown, thank G-d. We have guests and go to others' houses as usual. :)

Jack Steiner said...

I am starting a new minhag. Everyone is welcome to send me a check for $100. Believe me, I'll put it to good use.

Unknown said...

There is actually an idea that Pesach is supposed to be family-centered. The idea of Minhag Avotechem on Pesach is much more than any other time.
Almost everyone has their own ideal Seder with certain tunes, and customs, which does isolate from the bigger group, but brings the smaller together that much more. In the times of the Temple, the groups were not totally random, but with friends and family. Those who isolate themselves are concerned for personal minhagim, as well as the extra chumrot of Pesach. Many are to be commended for these practices, as long as it is not something crazy, i.e. something I agree with.

Anonymous said...

Headed in the right direction as usual, Jameel! :)

I'm just wondering which Muqata kid will sing Ma Nishtana this year?

JoeSettler said...

I'm having Seder with a large group this year. I've requested a private table. :)

Jacob Da Jew said...

"Yet if we look at the spectrum of chumrot and minhagim about Pesach including, but not limited to:"

Hey, Don't forget the "Weed" thingie.

Now who will eat all those awful cakes that Bubby makes if not the stoners?

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