This year there was much study and prayer in preparation for our little Seder at home. The preparation really made a difference in me, and that made a difference in the Seder when I conducted it.
Congregational events are wonderful of course, but the intimacy of a small, family Seder with deep, prayerful preparation gives me (and you?) more opportunity to reflect and to receive. The night of Passover is not just about the food and the memories of being set free from Egypt centuries ago. It is a distinctive, meaningful, precious time for us to receive freedom in our own lives right now.
We wouldn't think of sliding into a booth at a restaurant and telling the server, "I'll have a big helping of Freedom today, please." No restaurant sells it, for one thing... But that's exactly what we do when we sit at the Seder table and move through the 15 steps of the Seder. We are asking for a nice, big helping of Freedom from all our limitations.
What a privilege to have access to world-class teachers this year, and also to have the time to study. I want to thank Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis, of blessed memory, and Rabbi Akiva Tatz, Rabbi Yitzchak Swartz, Yedidah Cohen, and Rabbi Alon Anava in particular. You have all blessed me and brought Shalom Bayit to our Seder table this year. Thank you all!