Moshe and Aharon got off to a great start:
“And Moshe and Aharon went and gathered together all the elders of the children of Yisra᾽el:
and Aharon spoke all the words which the Lord had spoken to Moshe, and did the signs in the sight of the people.
And the people believed: and when they heard that the Lord had visited the children of Yisra᾽el, and that he had looked upon their affliction, then they bowed their heads and worshipped (Exodus 4:29-31).”
Then things became complicated:
‘And the officers of the children of Yisra᾽el saw that they were in evil case, after it was said, “You shall not in any way reduce your bricks or your daily task.”
And they met Moshe and Aharon, who stood in the way, as they came out from Par῾o.
And they said to them, “The Lord look upon you, and judge; because you have made us abhorrent in the eyes of Par῾o, and in the eyes of his servants, to put a sword in their hand to slay us “(5:19-21).’
Moshe did try again, but he failed:
“And Moshe spoke so to the children of Yisra᾽el: but they hearkened not to Moshe for anguish of spirit, and for cruel bondage (Exodus 6:9).”
There are no reports of any communication between Moshe and Aharon with the Children of Israel until the. People were to begin their Pesach preparations.
There are mentions of the people learning to communicate with their children,
‘And the Lord said to Moshe, Go in to Par῾o: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him:
and that thou mayst tell in the ears of thy son, and of thy son’s son, what things I have done in Miżrayim, and my signs which I have done among them; that you may know that I am the Lord (10:1-2).”
Where are all the interactions, all the conversations that took place between that moment of fury with Moshe and Aharon and the next instruction section that takes place months later before the Plague of Darkness?
Those are the Missing Conversations!
Those are the conversations, debates, and interactions of the Pesach Seder.
This morning, one of my daughters texted me: “_____ and his friends joke around a lot but sometimes I get worried they hurt each other’s feelings in the name of being macho or whatever. So I casually spoke to him about it (he’s best and most open with casual) and he said “we do ‘check ins’” basically he and his little friend group check on other to make sure everyone’s okay. So I said do you mind doing a ‘check in’ today? And he goes yeah no problem. He wasn’t defensive or upset at all.”
All those conversations that left someone upset or resentful that was not followed by what my grandson describes as a ‘check in,’ are Missing Conversations!
All those experiences that disturb our relationship with the Almighty that are not followed by a ‘check in,’ are Missing Conversations!
No wonder we conclude the Amidah – our formal conversations with God – with a ‘check in’ meditation:
“May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be acceptable before You Adonoy, my Rock and my Redeemer.
He Who makes peace in His high heavens may He make peace upon us and upon all Israel and say Amein.”
We do not forget to address the Missing Conversations.
I, after my first stroke certainly experienced a different type of missing conversation. Those are the words and information I could no longer call up as easily as I had in the past.
I know the words; they are in my head I simply can’t get them out of my mouth. It’s as if the words were somehow lost between my head and my tongue.
These are the the thoughts of my heart on which we mediate as we close the conversation of the Amidah.
There are feelings that we often experience intensely but we lack the words to express.
Those too are missing conversations.
Is this not why we add the biblical verses that hint to the essence of our names at the end of each prayer? They are filling in the gaps of silence, the empty spaces of the unspoken.
All of these missing conversations are addressed or completed over the course of the Pesach – The Mouth That Converses – Seder.
The Pesach Seder is not only to fill-in the missing words, it guides us in ‘checking in’ with God about our relationship.
A day, an hour, a minute, after being on the receiving end of an insult or unwarranted criticism, I often get the perfect response.
“I should’ve said…”
“I could have said…”
I think of those as Missing Conversations.
I think of Pesach Sheini as an opportunity to make up for those Missing Conversations, the “I should have saids…”
To be continued, I want to leave some of this conversation, missing…