The title is very serious but it shouldn’t be surprising. I believe that everything in life can be compared to baseball in one way or another. But, the connection with Pesach is particularly noteworthy since most years, and this year is no exception, the holiday coincides with the opening of the baseball season.
In a book called Take Time for Paradise, Americans and Their Games, Bartlett Giamatti wrote about the fact that baseball is all about seeking to come home. He spoke about a runner on the long journey around the basepaths searching for home after being so far away and how this is an experience which is so primal, so foundational for each human being.
It has often occurred to me that the Pesach seder is, in so many ways, a time for coming home.
First, there is the simple fact that so many people try so hard to “be home” for the Seder if at all possible. Of course it often is impossible to be “home” but that is why our Rabbis stressed the fact that a group that sits at the Seder is, in fact, a havurah, a community all its own. For that evening, if one can’t be home, home is whatever seder table one happens to find herself at.
Secondly, the whole story of the Exodus is a story of coming home, taking the “long way around” as a runner does as he or she circles the bases. The entire story is meant to emphasize the need for human beings to reconnect with their past and make it part of their future.
And finally, it strikes me that sitting at the Seder for so many of us is a sense of “coming home” to Jewish ritual. For those who do not engage in significant Jewish ritual through the year (and even, quite frankly, for those of us who do), the Seder reminds us of the power that the ritual can have. The taste of the maror, the washing of the hands, the opening of the door, the first taste of Matza, all remind us of days past, of family members no longer with us and of family and community celebrations. But these rituals also remind us of the power that our Jewish rituals have in our own lives today and how deeply our lives can be touched by the sounds and smells and tastes of our history. Sitting at the Seder feels like home in so many ways and reminds us of the unique place our rituals have in our hearts and our minds.
I wish you a meaningful Seder, one which d satisfies your hunger for freedom and one which reminds you that at any Seder table, you are home.