Being Zayde


Yes, it is that time of year again. Something we look forward to during the short days of winter. It is precisely the anticipation of spring that awakens the soul and gives us the realization that we made it through another winter to enjoy the fruits of spring and summer — but it’s more than that.

The anticipation of Passover begins as we read the Torah portions that truly demonstrate the anticipation Jews enjoyed as they prepared the Mishkan and the Jewish people for what was surely a celebration of celebrations. Hearts filled with love, joy and thankfulness to Hashem and each other not just for survival, but for the hope of a full life with promises made and promises fulfilled.

While it is true we give thanks to Hashem for passing over us while we were slaves in Egypt and leading us into the desert into freedom, remember, there was nearly a generation that wandered the desert to find the promised land, all the while finding ways to fill their hearts with the anticipation of a better life, a life with G-d, family and freedom.

We may look at Passover differently these days, but it is worth considering the thoughts of our ancestors as they prepared initially for their journey to freedom during this time, only to find out days, weeks and years later that it was truly a journey for a generation — a journey filled with challenges, celebrations and the guiding light to direct our lives to an everlasting peace within us.

As we discuss the story of the Exodus, the salvation from Egyptian slavery and the coming together of the Jewish leaders we celebrate even today, we must give our children a better understanding of the true makeup of the Jewish people. Give our children a sense of who they are, where they came from and what their ancestors have overcome. Doing so will empower them to respect their heritage and feel the confidence that comes when you know you cannot fail if you don’t give up. Doing so will empower them to respect their heritage and feel the confidence that comes you know you cannot fail if you don’t give up. You cannot be defeated if you fight for what is right. Mostly, we cannot fail if we are true to ourselves and to Hashem. We cannot fail if we teach our children who we are, who they are and who we came from.

Being a zayde reminds me that I have so much to give to my children and grandchildren that I pray for many Passover nights with family and friends, sharing our story in ways to engage each other. Anticipating Passover, anticipating the spring season and the life that flows should rejuvenate our spirit and our love for each other.

Vito Simone is a Pikesville resident and a member of Moses Montefiore Anshe Emunah.

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