17 April 2006

Who Knows Ten?

Ten years ago this Pesach - the first time I'm away from home for Pesach. In school. A cute red-head who has an Israeli flag on her ceiling arranges places for the two of us for seder at the Hillel house. She bails out; I wander in to the Chabad house, thinking it must be the right place - cuz' that's where the Jews are at. As we get up to wash our hands, one of the fellows in black asks my name and on the spot tells me that my name has numerical value 32, and there are 32 paths of wisdom in Jewish mysticism.

Jewish Mysticism?

Next semester I'm in a course titled 'Jewish Mysticism.' Fear and trembling in the student union. Hooked in by a midrash. Learning about the Chassidei Ashkenaz in the tender pre-dawn hours of morning and putting away my cigarettes, for good.

Nine years ago Pesach is the last time I made seder at my parent's house.

Eight years ago Pesach - having given up a host of other vices, cleaning for Pesach, clean out the treif along with chametz.

Seven years ago Pesach - in a kosher apartment. Cleaning for Pesach almost cleans me out - exhausted. Make seder for my family (and friends).

Six years ago, before Pesach - in the holy land. I'm asking whether I should be keeping one day or two. "You have to make the decision - where are you? Are you a Ben Eretz Yisrael, or a Ben Hu"L?" I wrestle. I visit Florida. It's clear. I keep one day.

Five years ago Pesach - still in Yeshiva.

Four years ago Pesach - I'm in Israel, working for a living, staying in Israel in spite of it all. I hear a bomb explode on the second day.

Three years ago Pesach - I'm in my own apartment. The holy rolling MCA is there. Friends crash out on the couches. We pray sunrise at the Kotel.

Two years ago Pesach - in my apartment in Israel. My parents come to stay. We clean, make Pesach together, eat off of plastic plates.

One year ago Pesach - we drink the fifth cup.

And this year? And this year?

May it be a redemption for us all.


Tamara said...

Wow, I loved this. The path is so clear. I can relate in many ways.

Kalman Rushdie said...

Very clever way of charting progress.

Next year, I expect you to personalize had gadya. Looking forward to reading it.