Please enjoy these reflections on Pesach from Rosh Shoafim 2015 and 2016, Daniel Warshawsky. A lifetime Ramahnik and alumnus of the Nativ program, he is a senior at Indiana University majoring in Telecommunications and Jewish Studies and minoring in Marketing. Last year Daniel was an inaugural Nachshon Fellow, and next fall he is planning on making aliyah with Garin Tzabar.
Reflections on Pesach
by Daniel Warshawsky
It seems that I always get to write for HaMirpeset Shelanu during my favorite holidays. The last time I wrote was about community and family on Thanksgiving, and now I get to write to all of you before Pesach, one of my favorite Jewish holidays. The Pesach seder is filled with a plethora of important themes that we can all discuss over the course of the holiday, but there are two particular ideas that always stand out to me at this time of year that I would like to share with all of you.
Every year in the Warshawsky household, our tradition is to read through the Hagaddah, allowing each guest at our seder to bring in their own personal insights to the Pesach story. My brother Josh always has five Haggadot out that he reads simultaneously in order to enlighten us with the most interesting commentaries that he can find. Every year during the Maggid section of the seder, after singing “The Ballad of the Four Sons” (found on page 4 of the Warshawsky Seder Song Packet), my mother always turns to me to bring in my bit of wisdom to the seder, something that I learned in fourth grade at Solomon Schechter Day School.
Our Haggadah has an artistic interpretation of the four sons that shows four different colored silhouettes, each with elements of the other colors:
It may be obvious to those looking at the picture, but we always learned that each person, whether she is wise, simple, wicked, or does not know how to ask, has elements of the other three in them, and within each person is the capacity to act in each of those four ways.
This year, however, I look at this picture through a camp-oriented lens. In any eidah or Tzrif at camp, there will be different chanichim who at any time will make up a combination of the traits of the four children. At different points in the summer, they will all exhibit these four characteristics in some way, and will each see these traits in one another.
The second part of the seder that I want to highlight is when we open the door for Elijah. This, along with the idea that we are supposed to invite any and all guests to our seder, also reminds me of how members of the Camp Ramah community act towards each other throughout the year. During the off-season, our doors are always open to each other. Friends visit each other in different cities, traveling families stay at families of their children’s friends’ homes for Shabbatot, and more. At camp, our doors are always open to more families and more communities, and the hearts of our children are open to making new friends each summer.
Whether it is when playing basketball on the migrashei sport, talking to each other on the Kikar, or on Friday night during good and welfare before going to sleep, one of the beauties of Camp Ramah is each person’s ability to see himself or herself in others, just as we see each of the four sons in their siblings. My wish for all of you this Pesach is to see yourself in those around you, to open your doors and your hearts, and to remember the importance of this constantly growing community that we all hold so dear.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!