From Dahlia Lithwick’s excellent
d’var torah article, “The Fifth Passover Question: Who’s going to lead the Seder?“
Passover is really the only Jewish holiday in which most households tap some layperson to be professional clergy for a night, and—as my friend Lisa observed yesterday—it’s thus apt that this holiday celebrates one of the most reluctant leaders in all of biblical history. Here is poor Moses, begging to be relieved of the responsibility of Sherpa-ing his people from one dusty place to another—pleading unfitness, a speech impediment, and the absence of meaningful leadership qualities. And here we all are, thousands of years later, pleading unfitness, performance anxiety, and the absence of meaningful leadership qualities.
Stop me if this is starting to sound familiar.
Maybe the real lesson of Passover is that nobody—in any generation—feels fit to lead a bunch of other people, but they do it anyway, because in the end somebody has to. Maybe it’s not just the story of the Exodus we are passing down from generation to generation, but the trick of leading, when all you ever wanted to do was follow.