“Let’s go to one of our children for the Seder next year.”
I was amazed when my husband said that at the end of Pesach two years ago. We had stayed at home for Pesach our entire married life, which was more than 40 years. As my husband had been the rav of a shul when we were first married, we had never been able to go away for Yom Tov, not even the first year, when most young couples go to one of their parents. Right from the very beginning of our marriage, we hosted local families from our kehillah, people with either no Seder to go to or no idea how to run one. There were also families who had never experienced a Seder, or had barely even heard of the concept, that were thrilled to be invited for a taste of some real Yiddishkeit.
Though since making aliyah the needs of the kehillah no longer kept us tied to our home over the chagim, most of our family lived on the other side of the world leaving us to stay at home with our children, occasionally with other more distant relatives, friends, or new Russian immigrants – but always at home. Now as our family had grown, our children were all married, and the number of grandchildren was, Baruch Hashem, growing with each year, the number around our table had also grown. It was now at the point where it was no longer possible to have all our children and grandchildren stay together in our home. We would have two children with their families each year for the Seder, and see the rest of the family during Chol HaMoed and/or on the last day of Yom Tov. Sometimes our children would go to their in-laws for the Seder if they weren’t with us, but as their families grew, more of them were now making their own Seder.
So what had caused this sudden change of plan? Well my husband, quite rightly, pointed out that it would be a treat to see how our children made their own Seder and with our eldest granddaughter approaching 18, we ought to start soon before the grandchildren started marrying and making homes of their own as well.
“We won’t go away every year,” he added. “Just say once every two or three years, and the rest of the time we’ll still be home for the kids to come to us.”
So some time after Pesach we mentioned the idea to our eldest daughter, Gila, who was the first one we hoped to spend Seder night with. Both she and her family were delighted at the prospect of our joining them the following year, but that was long way ahead.
About 6 months later, Gila told us that, Baruch Hashem, she was expecting another child, their 9th. Everyone was delighted, and as she was feeling fine, I asked for no more details at this stage. As the year progressed, I asked her when her due date was but she nonchalantly pushed me off, saying she wasn’t really sure. As months went by it became more difficult for her to ignore the question. Eventually she said, “Mum it is the most amazing siata di’shmaya. I’m due on Erev Pesach. Under normal circumstances I would never have thought to ask you to come to us for Pesach because I know just how much everyone looks forward to coming to you when it’s their turn. But Hakadosh Baruch Hu obviously knew I’d be having a baby just at this time this year when he put the unlikely idea into Daddy’s head that you’d come to us for Pesach. Now I don’t have to worry about leaving the other children, possibly before or even in the middle of the Seder or over Yom Tov, because I know they’ll be in wonderful hands. You’ve no idea how much easier this makes me feel.”