Recently I read an article online that touched a nerve: it was about the pressure to have a memorable, wonderful, meaningful seders for Pesach. And if you don't, and only achieve a so-so seder or, God forbid, have a below-par seder, will you be scarred? These thoughts have stuck in my craw because this year I hosted the first seder and quite frankly, it was not all that good.

First of all, one guest never showed up. An old friend, non-Jewish, he said that he and his car were stuck for hours at a car repair shop. So of course I had lots of leftovers. Two, my younger daughter was in a contrary mood, and she walked away from the seder table in a huff. Twice. Third, my mother-in-law irked with me with a few comments and I snapped back at her, criticizing the hagaddah she uses (a Reform version that scrambles the order of the seder service and adds a lot of extraneous material). Oh, and I burned my right arm removing food from the oven, and gave myself a nasty cut on my left pinky, while scraping vegetables.

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Last year and for at least the past few years, the seder that I hosted had been a fun, interesting affair with a decent amount of singing and spirit. This year, very little. But one thing did make this seder a bit upbeat and interesting. I started a new tradition. The idea for it came to me earlier in the day prior to the first seder. I was doing some chores when this thought popped up: why not dip our matzo in honey at some point during the seder?

Nissan really is the first month of the year, and by dipping our matzo in honey we would be echoing the Rosh HaShana tradition of dipping our challah in the honey. Sweetness, renewal, tasty treats...a winning combo with spiritual uplift and more. So I suggested that everyone at the table pour some honey on their matzo after we made the brachot over the matzo. I tried it first and decided it was a pretty good idea. Then my older daughter (who was pretty much dutiful about reading parts of the seder) poured a dollop of honey on her matzo piece and pronounced it "pretty good."

I am still thinking back fondly on this new tradition that I have brought into my Pesach observance. There may be other people who already do this but I had not been aware of it, so I feel like this is my stamp of personality on the standard seder service. It links hagim, it is brief but fun and tasty, it can be discussed and analyzed or it can be a quick nod to updated tradition. Happy and sweet Pesach to you all, and dip the matzo in the honey.

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