By Nissen Goldman
The sweetest memories I have from my childhood are of Pesach.
It was the only time of year my whole family would be together around the same table. That was really special because I didn’t get to see my siblings the whole year. See, I come from a family of 11 siblings Thank G-d. I am the second youngest child. Number ten.
So having all my older siblings home was lots of fun. Just in case you can’t relate to what that’s like, I’ll share with you a small memory of my childhood. When I was a kid, my older brothers and sisters were learning overseas in yeshiva. When they would call home, I would ask them “do you want to speak to my mother?”. Of course I knew we were siblings and that we shared the same parents, I just didn’t register in the same way one would when you’re living in the same house always together. Now, we are all adults, most with our own families, all over the world. I have siblings in Hawaii, Australia, Uruguay, New York, Philadelphia, Johannesburg and Cape Town so it’s practically impossible to coordinate being together around the same table. The only time we are together is when one of us gets married. (nine down, two to go!)
The last three years my wife and I have been privileged to lead student seders in Cape Town through Chabad on Campus and although technically some of our guests may be strangers, the truth is we are actually family. It’s mind boggling to think that 3000 years after our family left Egypt we are still getting together to relive the traumas and tell the story.
Last year at the Samson Student House we celebrated as a global family. We hosted students from Israel, Australia, Russia, America and South Africa. The ma nishtana was recited in six different languages (English, Yiddish, Hebrew, Afrikaans, Russian and Mandarin).
I’d like to give us all two blessings. One: May we all merit to internalise this truth,: no matter what kind of Jews (any of the four sons) we are surrounded by this Seder, we are all actually family.
Two: May we merit to transmit the beautiful memories we hold of Pesach to our kids and they to theirs. May we celebrate the ultimate exodus and be redeemed from this exile to Jerusalem where we will celebrate Pesach as one family.