Humor Column: Pesach


Humor Column: Pesach

Rebecca Klempner

I don’t mind all the cleaning and shopping and cooking that leads up to Pesach – I just tell myself that seder is coming, my favorite night of the year. Knowing that work has a purpose makes me (mostly) happy to scrub and schlep and bake a hundred meringues. No, my grumbling commences once yom tov hits.

Before I married my husband, he informed me he was a Levi. One of the jobs of the Leviim in the Temple was to sing and play instruments while the priests brought the sacrifices to the altar, and even now, Leviim have a reputation for being musical. “Singer” is in fact a last name often given to members of the tribe.

Thus, I was surprised to discover that my husband is not much of a singer.

Wanna guess who leads our seder?

Kadesh, urchatz…” generally goes fine – the kids know the melody well even if my husband loses the tune half-way through – and the kiddush over the first cup of wine is nearly identical to that said on the other holidays, so he has practiced that plenty. And of course, the Four Questions have been mastered by my kids for many years.

But somewhere around “Ha Lachma Anya”, my husband launches into a tune only to lose the melody moments later. Oblivious, he keeps singing, convinced he’s singing correctly until everyone else stops singing and starts staring at him.

A few pages later in the haggadah, he’ll get a look on his face like I do when I step into the kitchen and then can’t remember why I headed there in the first place. What am I doing here again?

My children are getting older, and they can often rescue our noble-hearted but somewhat tone deaf seder leader – if they can only agree on the same tune to use. (You wouldn’t believe the debates they have over Hallel.)

Another irritant: picky eaters. As hard as it is to feed [name redacted], whose list of preferred foods is only about ten items long and includes several decidedly chometzdike items, it’s even harder to feed said child during Pesach.

There are the squabbles over where to go during chol hamoed and the temper-tantrums by the losing side during extended games of Seven Wonders and Catan.

I blame the yetzer hara entirely. We’re supposed to be happy on Jewish holidays – it’s an actual mitzvah! Clearly the yetzer is out to prevent us from being happy.

So, I’m making a plan to defeat him. It involves a daily walk (alone), a new pair of earrings (a vintage shop score), and a visit to the beach (let’s hope that the unseasonably late rains here in L.A. have wound up by yom tov).

It may also include meringues. Lots of meringues.

Hopefully, this will result in a happy Passover and the creation of many humorous memories to savor in columns to come.