Every family has a story
Of pristine white tablecloths
And royal dishes, silver bechers, and traditions
From generation to generation.
Soon it will be your turn to make the memories
The ones your children will talk about
Around their Seder tables
In the not-so-distant future
A Loaf of Bread
As a six-year-old, I thought the most exciting part about the days before Pesach was getting to eat meals outside in the hall with all of my neighbors. It was a lot of fun. We’d trade desserts and leave as many crumbs as we wanted. We were given strict instructions, however, to brush off every last bit of crumbs before reentering our chometz-free homes.
I was very proud of all the help I contributed. I had washed all of my toys and even cleaned some shelves. I was the youngest in my family, and while I couldn’t do what my older sisters did, I had my own share of chores. I’d watch in awe as my sisters, who were usually busy studying or chattering on the phone, huffed and puffed through closets and drawers. The kitchen, however, was my mother’s domain, and she seemed to be cleaning it all day and night, especially the fridge and freezer. As the door of our apartment was in the kitchen, I was given repeated instructions not to drag in any chometz.
Finally, Pesach arrived, and I basked in the freedom of being allowed to drag whatever I wanted into our perfectly chometz-free home. I missed eating in the hall, though! On the last day of Pesach, when there was hardly any food left in the house other than a package of lady fingers and a few oranges, I was hungry and bored and rummaged through the freezer to check if there were any of my mother’s cookies left. I frowned — nothing left. Then I saw a black bag on the bottom shelf. I decided to take a peek inside. What I found was a white bag and inside another black bag, and inside… a loaf of whole wheat bread. I felt my heart skip a beat. “Mommy!” I shouted. “There’s chometz in the freezer!” My whole family came running. Their faces were frozen, and then slowly, they all started laughing.
“How could I forget about that bag?!” my mother said, wiping her tears. “I left it there, carefully triple wrapped, so we’d have bread until the last day before Pesach. How did I forget to take it out?”
My mouth hung open. I couldn’t understand how all the adults weren’t sad as I was. I brushed off all of my crumbs so many times, I thought. I washed all of my toys. Had it all been for nothing? After all that, we had chometz — bread! — in our house!
Now, many years later, I can understand why my family wasn’t as sad as I. Because it hadn’t all been for nothing. We scrubbed. We washed. We sweated. We tried our best. Because the truth is, all we can do in this world is try. It’s Hashem who determines the outcome. Now, whenever I look back at that Pesach, I think about that loaf of bread and the little girl who learned a big truth.
(Excerpted from Teen Pages, Issue 757)