So here in the midst of asking, “what’s the difference?”, you inevitably come face to face with
Right here, waiting what seems like forever to gobble up your Bubbe’s yummy sweet kugel;
Right here, slogging through page after page of broken Hebrew—first your Grandpa’s, then your Dad’s, then your little sister’s rendition of the 4 questions;
Right here, as wine flows joyously into glass after glass, then soberly drips into saucers.
Your attention moves from the familiar seder plate with its familiar artifacts:
-parsley in honor of Springtime,
-charoset, that delicious mix of fruit, nuts, and sweet wine symbolizing the mortar used by the slaves in Egypt
-maror, horse radish representing the bitterness of slavery
-roested egg standing in for the festival sacrifice
-broiled beet or shank bone representing the Pesach sacrifice
And you can’t help thinking about all the matzah you will consume for the next 8 days, the many matzah toppers and creative desserts– not to mention the countless innovations for making due without Chametz you have encountered in your lifetime, recipes handed down ldor vdor just like the words of a prayer.
You see yourself reflected in the faces of your family. You hear your voice in the tangle of voices singing Halel and Chad Gadya. You feel the cords of tradition and family tugging you back and back, binding you close to your people then and now, stretching far ahead of where you sit at your seder table,
And you know who you are.