Divrei Hayamim II – Thirty: Passover

This whole chapter is about King Hezekiah’s attempt to restore the practice of the Pesach (Passover) sacrifices at the Temple in Jerusalem. The people, over the generations, had stopped following these commandments and adhering to the ritual, and the king was trying to bring them back into the fold, so to speak. “And a huge crowd assembled in Jerusalem to observe the Festival of Matzot in the second month, an exceedingly large assembly (Chronicles II 30:13).” This verse made me think about Pesach in Israel, and made me realize how I’m such an anomaly, because it’s the one holiday that I actually enjoy more in America. Everyone I know loves spending Pesach in Israel – it’s easy, restaurants are open that are kosher, with food good enough that you barely notice what’s not on the menu. But that’s exactly why I don’t like it. While everyone else flocks to Jerusalem happily, I love the marked difference that Pesach in America brings to my diaspora Jewish life. Growing up, it would be the one week of the year that we would only eat at home. Special foods, dishes we only saw annually, and the family togetherness of home made Pesach a beautiful bubble, and being in Israel bursts that bubble for me because everyone else is in the same boat. I liked the special feeling of my family being ‘in it together,’ and as an adult found that I craved that uniqueness, rather than the ease with which Israeli Pesach can be observed. So with the masses flocking to Jerusalem, both in ancient times and today, I’m content to cocoon myself elsewhere.

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