Hanoch Daum
Photo: Rafi Deloya

No need for coercion

Everyone in Israel celebrates seder, showing that Orthodox coercion is needless

I remember the seder meal at my father’s place like one remembers a sweet melody: Singing, children running around, afikoman, haroseth. In the last years of his life, my father would wear a festive white robe for the seder. There was something impressive and touching about it, which served to glorify the occasion.


Allow me not to be cynical, and put aside the sometimes common inclination to slam everything that is beautiful around here, and be touched by the fact that Saturday night almost all the Jews that live in this country will sit together with their loved ones, eat the matza (which certainly has something romantic about it despite its unexciting shape,) and read some truly amazing texts in the Haggadah.


I think that the fact that everyone, and I truly mean everyone, will be holding a seder is the true answer to all the ugly struggles we have seen at the Knesset around the eating of chametz (leaved foods) in Passover.


There is something almost calming in the knowledge that on Yom Kippur we can still hit the roads with our bicycles because there will be no cars there, and that on the night of the seder there is nobody out on the streets and everyone is singing the same songs, and sometimes gracefully putting up with the presence of the same demanding aunts, who insist on finding out how many times a week you call grandma.


The fact that on Saturday all of us, Orthodox, religious, and completely secular Israelis will sit down, read the Hagaddah, and eat the same foods (with the required ethnic differences) proves that when there is no coercion in the air everyone has the desire to take part in the Jewish tradition, without being obligated to do so, and without ultra-Orthodox Knesset members over our shoulders.


Because Passover is just like hummus: You either make it with love, or you don’t do it at all.


פרסום ראשון: 04.18.08, 14:16
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