By Lisa Sandler
Each week our family celebrates the holiest day of our calendar, Shabbat. Three generations, enjoying each other’s company, the holiness of Shabbat and the blessings that surround us.
Hashem blesses us to celebrate our holidays throughout the year when families and friends gather at shul and celebrate together building a family community.
As we approach Pesach this 5778 I find the innate need to cleanse my spiritual and physical world —my mind, my body, and our home (both the emotional and physical sense). I truly believe, this natural cycle is how Hashem planned for us to cope in this crazy world we live in. He / she keeps bringing us back to the family unit, remembering our ancestors and passing our knowledge to the next generation; the essence of our existence.
My two teenage children find the experience somewhat different. Although they enjoy the family togetherness, reading the Haggadah and the fun-filled Seder, they find the dietary restrictions challenging. Obviously! I explain to them that for 1 week out of 52 weeks they will survive, and not only will they survive they will thrive. This is part of living life as a Jew. It will build character and strength for life. This will give them the opportunity to understand, with a 21st century mindset, the hardships our ancestors experienced and the faith they had in their leaders and Hashem to believe they would SURVIVE and THRIVE.
I encourage these values in my children, values my parents instilled in me and my three siblings. The belief in prayer, tzedakah and chased.
Growing up, my mother would always include members of our congregation who did not have a place or family to celebrate with. This true example of mitzvah was naturally instilled in us at a very early age, and now our homes are filled with sharing the love and essence of family life, inviting members of our congregation and friends who may be alone at Pesach or Shabbat or any other Jewish holiday. As we say in our Haggadah “at Ha Lachma Anya — let all who are hungry come and eat”.
I believe this was Hashem’s plan for being Jewish, to build us as a nation, to keep us together, from generation to generation.