Thursday, April 16, 2009

Our First Pesach as Israelis

I admit it: I engaged in a guilty pleasure over the chag. Whenever I spoke with someone in the States, I would ask them how they enjoyed their "three day Yom Tov", with no small amount of glee in my voice. To me (and I'm sure most of you), three day Yom Tov's never seemed to end. It just felt like an endless cycle of shul, eat, sleep, shul, eat, sleep -- and then getting up and doing it all over again. I don't think that it's possible to miss a three-day Yom Tov.
I also didn't miss a second Seder. I will grant that at times the second Seder went better than the first; after all, you've had a chance to sleep during the afternoon of the first day, so you can actually keep your head up on the second night. (This year I just didn't have a chance to rest before Pesach. Combining that fact with the four full cups of wine this year - no grape juice - and getting through Nirtzah was a minor miracle.) Still, the second Seder always had a deja-vu kind of feeling to me. Wasn't I redeemed last night? Why then am I a slave all over again?
Still, the seven-day Yom Tov ended rather abruptly. It seemed strange - and just shorter than we were used to. And although it was so much work, Pesach's exit brought with it a sense of melancholy: did I experience redemption? How so? What will the coming year bring? After all the preparation and build-up, blessing the sun and kashering and cleaning the house, Pesach seemed to end not with a bang, but with a whimper.
Maybe an eighth day would have softened the landing.