By Mendy Pellin
What was your most memorable and favorite Seder?
My favorite #Pesach #Seder was spent in a Crown Heights Mikvah when I was 8 years-old.
As was often the case, my father was running late to shul the first night of Pesach. On the way to shul, we made a stop at the Union Street mikvah for a quick pre-holiday dip. Actually, in my family there was no such thing as quick.
One of my brothers wanted to break his record and immerse 101 times in the holy water. I took forever to get dressed after my dip. My oldest brother didn’t have time to wait and went ahead to 770. By the time we were ready to go, we were the last ones there.
That’s when we realized we were locked inside the Mikvah. The management must have thought it was empty and locked it from the outside.
My father didn’t panic.
As we heard people walking home from Shul to their meals, we started banging on the door. No one heard us.
That’s when my brother, Yaakov, decided to try out his karate aspirations on the Mikvah door. He ran up, did a jump kick – and flew backward – hitting the light switch on the wall opposite the door. Even his great karate kick was no match for a New York deadbolt mikvah door. Now we were all in the dark.
My father still didn’t panic. He figured my brother, Levi, would eventually connect the dots and come check on us.
A few hours passed.
Most people on the outside were unlocking their doors for Eliyahu. But we were sitting in a dark, chlorine-filled, dressing room having – the best seder of my life.
It was as though nothing in the world existed but us. We had no distractions. No comfortable couches yelling for us to escape the endless Hagaddah. No guests chewing up our parents’ attention.
We were free.
Free to share stories with each other. Free to sing songs. Free to tell jokes. Free to talk about the story of Pesach. Free to laugh at our situation.
My father didn’t preach faith that night in the Mikvah. He showed us faith. Faith that everything happens for a reason. Faith to know that there will always be light no matter the dark situation we are in. Faith in ourselves to find freedom within.
My brother eventually found us and went to the home of someone that worked in Shul to get the keys. We went home to find a very concerned mother and starving guests. That’s when we began the traditional seder. Funny, I don’t remember a thing about that one.
This Pesach, don’t forget what it’s all about. That’s the only way for your kids not to forget either.