Pesach Ponderings, Year 2

  • The Pesach hotel experience is new to me. It has its definite pluses, but also some drawbacks. Some of the drawbacks are definitely avoidable, and some are not. Having a Seder with little kids in a big room is definitely not avoidable as far as the hotel is concerned. If I ever do this again, I’m bringing my own food for the Seder and then having a Seder in my own room. I like to tailor the Seder to trying to communicate yetziat Mitzrayim to my kids – like what the mitzvah really is, and it’s just really hard to do that with a lot of noise and a lot of people around.
  • A significant portion of the hotel’s clientele for the Seder night was religious, as is to be expected. Of the five elevators, only one was a Shabbat elevator. Furthermore, rather than stopping at every floor in only one direction, it stopped at every other floor all the way up and all the way down. It cuts the time down as effectively, but really doesn’t help those with strollers or wheelchairs, of which there were several.
  • Then, on the second day of Pesach, there was a small minority of hotel guests who were keeping a second day of Yom Tov. They must have asked to keep the elevator in Shabbat mode, because it stayed like that until the following nightfall. That ticked me off because people keeping a second day in Israel can explicitly ask bnei Eretz Yisrael to do melacha for them. There’s no issur of amirah le-Yisrael in a case where the other Jew is acting permissibly (another example is when one who already accepted Shabbat, who can ask someone who has not accepted Shabbat to do melacha). To make matters worse, another of the elevators was out of order, leaving just three for the rest of the guests. It was not pleasant. Did I mention that the hotel has 18 floors? I don’t think this hotel ever really had much of a frum crowd before. They’ll learn.
  • Speaking of elevators, we visited the Azrieli Mall in Tel Aviv today. It was mobbed. Like at the hotel, the elevators were packed an one often had to ride up just to gat a space for the way down, etc. We were on the way out of the mall, and I was pushing a stroller (with 9-month-old). There was some room in the elevator (and I didn’t want to carry the kid on the escalator for 5 flights down to where we were parked) so I pushed my way on w/ the stroller (the wife and kids took the escalator) even though there were some teenagers who stepped on just before us (and who had gotten to the elevator after us). One girl started complaining that I was taking up too much space. I told her that she has two good legs and could have taken the escalator (I hope my Hebrew was correct and I didn’t tell her that she has ‘nice legs’). Some guy asked me to move over, I was crowding him. I told him there was nowhere to go. Then some guy starts saying how it’s impossible to argue with Americans. I responded that it’s impossible to argue with people pushing strollers. To my great surprise, at this point another Israeli woman on the elevator took my side and said that people with strollers should have the right of way on elevators, and that I was absolutely correct. Meanwhile, the baby was cooing and giggling at everyone, which has this amazing effect of dissolving tension. It’s also amazing how one tough Israeli woman can put a whole group of bozos in their place. I love that.

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