Sunday, April 20, 2014

Finding The Afikomen In The Easter Eggs

I remember scurrying around the church grounds when I was younger looking for those little plastic eggs filled with assorted sweets. Looking back it is fascinating to think about how all the kids around me and I were so focused on a singular objective to find those mythical embryos. Fed by competitiveness and sugar, there was nothing stopping any of us until we were certain that all of those pastel containers were scrounged up and piled high in our baskets. In that moment, Easter was not a religious holiday it was simply an afternoon scavenger hunt.

These days, much like the Christmas holiday, Easter is a time to spend with family. As a Jew there is nothing that really appeals to my religious side but being able to spend time with everyone is something that makes me look forward to this time of year. Of course, seeing the little kids with that same singular objective in their eyes does make me think back to those afternoons and is also a reason why I enjoy this day. I guess you could say that his epitomizes the difference between watching or seeing and observing.

There are many holidays that happen around us every year, even within our own families, many of which we see all around us and we enjoy watching all that happens during those times of year. There are also times when we observe our holidays and the roles within our families are reversed. And there are times when I find doing a little bit of both during many of the Jewish holidays as I try to build a mental database of memories of all the different holidays and ways that people and families observe them.

This is something that many people who were raised in a faith take for granted. Seeing the different holidays from the very beginning you build upon a series of memories in youth which influences the way that you observe the holidays later in life. As converts we have a bit of a mixed bag in that we have those mental records from another faith but observe completely different holidays later in life. While it takes a little more effort during our chosen holidays, the memories of those former holidays easily surface during various times during the year.

The trick is harnessing those memories of childhood, accepting them, and looking for a ways to embrace some of those moments, like searching for eggs, and applying them to your chosen holidays. Maybe Easter has made us better as hiding the Afikomen. Maybe that need to search, that desire to see things to the end, lead us to take a lead of faith, search for, and find our faith. Maybe that Easter egg hunt was only the beginning of our search. Maybe that is the reason why those memories are so intense and the emotions tied to this holiday, for me, are absent of religion. Beyond the questions, it is a great day to spend with family and that is really what the focus should be on during all of our holidays.