The clarity of how important it is to step back.
The Pesach whirlwind and the journey pulled us up and out of our routine. We stepped into a new reality.
Different tools, kitchen countertops, ovens, pots, tablecloths, and dishes. New daily routines.
We work hard to get there, and many times we build dreams and expectations while we work. Sometimes the dreams or expectations come through in ways beyond what we could have ever imagined. And sometimes not.
I got quite a lot of calls after Pesach. They ranged from “It was amazing” to “I want to disown my family.”
My dream, or fantasy, was always to have this kind of “ranch-style” family. Where everyone wakes up with the sun. Mom prepares some hearty breakfast with good smells that float up to the bedrooms. Everyone comes down showered, wide-eyed, and ready for the day. Then they all go out to harvest and sow, gather in the wisdom, and come back around sundown good and tired.
Well, here in Israel that kind of never happened.
Because everyone comes home at 1 p.m. For lunch.
I grew up where the main meal was at night when Abba gets home. Here in Israel, it’s in the afternoon. And not even exactly in the afternoon, because hungry people come in and out at different hours throughout the entire day. And I kind of just got into this thing where the kitchen was open for service 12/7. (Or 14/7 or 16/7 or 18/7 …) And the hot meal that was meant for the early afternoon somehow trickled over into the night because one son saw the next son eating, and decided to join him (though he’d just finished eating not long before) and it started all over again, until the pots were empty.
And if we ran out I ran out to buy more, and more, and ...
Sometimes we fall into cycles that we don’t like, and never really consciously agreed to, and they go on for years, for generations.
Well, this Pesach I took a step back.
I decided that whatever we bought and stocked was really more than enough, and this year I wasn’t running to the store, even if supplies ran low.
And they did.
But, you know what? We lasted till the last day.
We ate and were satisfied.
This really helped me see how trapped I was in a cycle I never chose.
I am trying to apply the step-back process on a daily basis. Get out of the marathon. To think. To analyze. To ask, “What’s working and what isn’t working here?” in relationships with children, spouses, work.
“Do I need more, or is what I have already enough?”
The mahn fell one day at a time.
Any mahn gathered that was beyond the person’s daily need turned wormy.
Notice that when we grab, when we want more than our portion, things turn wormy. When we take too much our bodies become out of proportion, and our behavior becomes out of proportion.
I took on, with Hashem’s help, to serve the main meal at night.
I know it sounds small, or insignificant, but it was a tremendous freedom for me.
To take two steps forward, we sometimes have to take one step back.