Pesach is my favourite holiday.
This is probably surprising given my otherwise enormous love of bread, beer, and other fermented grain products (many of which are distilled relatively near to my current home). But I enjoy the suspension of the normal order of everyday activities, the one week a year when I’m pretty much forced to plan ahead and eat at home, the special foods that only get made during that one week.
I love the cleaning, the pulling out fresh linens and special plates.
I love the seder liturgy. I often find myself arguing that everything you could want to know about Jewish belief and practice is embedded somewhere in the haggadah.
The holiday engages me on every single level.
Except, this year… not so much.
I’ve been kind of in the dumps since finishing my thesis back in January. Mostly, this is due to the difference between expectations and reality. I EXPECTED to finish the thesis and immediately depart for a week or so on a tropical island, resting, regaining mental equilibrium, and watching the ocean. Maybe sipping a few fruity drinks with umbrellas in them, and reading trashy detective novels. I kept that tropical island firmly in my mind while sitting in my office, swathed in scarf, fingerless gloves, and a hat (not saying the University turned the heat off, just saying they didn’t really turn it up to combat the drop in temperature), typing away till two or three in the morning while the snow swirled outside. That tropical island was the carrot that got me over the finish line. I developed a very intense relationship with the idea of that tropical island.
Instead, I turned it in and proceeded to stay in dark, cold, damp Scotland, teaching a class on Koheleth, which is possibly the most miserably depressing book in the Hebrew Bible… as if the weather weren’t enough on its own. So I was exhausted and a bit grumpy that I couldn’t give myself the tropical cookie I’d promised myself, and then I proceeded to work through a few more months, and now the teaching term is over and I have taken some time off but still not quite enough to recover my energy, though enough that I feel like I SHOULD have recovered, so what’s wrong with me?
Don’t try to answer that question.
So I started trying to look forward to Pesach, but couldn’t quite get myself psyched up for cleaning, and couldn’t manage to rally a big crowd of people to make seder for, and then found out that Mark’s parish grouping is doing services every single night this week, so even if we had people who wanted to come, seder couldn’t start till nearly nine at night and due to the oddities of Scottish tenement architecture our kitchen is directly above our downstairs neighbours’ bedroom, so starting seder at 9 on a weeknight is just not a good idea. So I didn’t really get excited about cooking, either, until about two o’clock this afternoon. (I’ll get more excited tomorrow. Mmmm, matzoh granola.) And did I mention that we’ve moved twice since December and are moving again sometime this summer, and nearly every nice thing we own is still in boxes because who wants to unpack and repack that many times–and, by the way, ‘every nice thing we own’ includes both of my seder plates? And because I packed those boxes back in November, when Passover seemed so very far away, they’re on the bottom of the boxes.
And to top it all off, IT’S FREAKING SNOWING.
On the first day of Passover.
I think I’m going to try this again tomorrow.
 OK, look, I love Scotland. Usually, I even love the variety in the weather. But this winter… this winter has been just a little bit much. Not saying I want to move to Morocco, or anything, just that I’ll be really, really happy when summer gets here. Any day now…
 Dear students, yes, it was an awesome class and you were a joy to teach. I just deeply wish that I could have had that joy after a brief holiday, not instead of a brief holiday.