Passover is a gathering of families remembering a shared Jewish history on a specific full moon, all over the world. We pledge to remember and remind to fight slavery and oppression, for we were slaves in Egypt once, and knew the bitterness of bondage.
We, my ancestors, were fleeing Egypt once on this date. Was the air warm and soft like it is tonight? Did the scent of jasmine and honeysuckle infuse their senses like it did to me tonight? The full moon shines its blessing now as it did then. I remember that my people were slaves in Egypt, a country I still feel kin to. A country of past lives.
I know the water was warmer there than here, for I have swam in her waters, bathed by foam and salt. On a night like this night they followed Moses into the water, parted by the tides over sandbars, and they passed out of Egypt and slavery. With them they carried their half-made bread, the unleavened cracker we call Matzo. It reminds us at Passover, of our ancestors’ haste to finally flee the Pharaoh. Tonight, I remember the story while eating the Matzo.
I imagine the bitter root and charoset, the cruelty of slavery and the sticky sweetness of the fruit and nut mortar connecting us to the bricks of our past.
Tonight, I almost forget parts of the Seder, parts of the story or a meaning. As the years pass and I skip formal Seders, my son, on the other side of the country, carries the tradition. In his childhood, I led the Sedars. Now the memories mix in my being; I see and feel the pictures of the Passover story, being in two places at once, a different understanding born of seventy-three years of opening, born of the ancestors joining me, of honoring this ritual of Passover every year of our lives.
Does the hardboiled egg, placed on a platter next to the parsley and salt water, symbolize spring and birth? The shank bone reminds us how our forebears smeared blood above their doors and the sickness passed over them, during the time of the plagues. Does my love of lamb come from my ancestors, passed like a memory, through generations?
Passover –a gathering of families remembering a shared Jewish history on a specific full moon, all over the world. We pledge to remember and remind to fight slavery and oppression, for we were slaves in Egypt once, and knew the bitterness of bondage.
©2018 Marianna Mejia