In Every Generation—Shit Happens


2015-04-05 – I was doing last minute preparations for the Passover Seder Friday when I did a “final” count of the expected guests and was shocked that the original 20 had swelled to 27. I was short some dishes and silverware even for the 20. The new count was apocalyptic.

So I ran to the dollar store for salvation.

As I was checking out, the clerk asked if I was getting ready for Passover, an apt question in my neighborhood. She said that she was Christian and she loves Passover for what it meant to her Lord Christ. We had time to chat. I bought water glasses and wine glasses and big plates and small plates and knives and forks. And she was carefully wrapping each item with pages from a Spanish newspaper.

A nice way to recycle, I told her.

Then she told me that she was concerned about the world we live in and that she was afraid. It’s gotten so bad that we can’t even discriminate.

“In every generation they rise against us to destroy us.”

That’s a line from the Passover liturgy. I used to think it was an expression of Jewish paranoia. But as I was talking to the dollar store clerk, it struck me that it’s an antidote to apocalyptic fear.

You think you have it bad, well let me tell you . . .

You have a nice home and plenty of food. You have a job. You have more entertainment available to you for free than you could ever want. You apparently have a church that makes you feel good. You have health insurance.

It’s not the apocalypse.

“In every generation they rise against us to destroy us.”

People have fears. If their lives aren’t threatened, they find other things to worry about. This line from the Passover Seder calls for perspective. If you think you have it bad, generations of people before you had it worse. And it wasn’t the apocalypse.

For the Jewish people, even the apocalypse wasn’t the apocalypse. So what are you complaining about? Shit happens. Your life is not at stake. Nor is your liberty. Get a grip. Chill out.

Our Seder was very nice and lots of fun. The final, final count was 19. I shouldn’t have gotten so excited when I thought I didn’t have enough utensils. But you have to be prepared for the apocalypse, right?

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