Did anyone else notice that the Bitter Herbs were not as potent this year? I never got that great rush of horseradish headache, teary eyes and red flush that signified I had done my duty and commiserated with ancestors and all those who have endured the sting of enslavement – literal or otherwise.
I heaped on the red stuff over matzoh like I was plastering a lunch for Moses himself and gulped in what I thought would produce a doozy of a, “Wo baby!” — Only to experience a disappointingly mild bitter-sweet that resembled a yet invented faux red relish for those who do not want a sinus cleanse.
This is bothersome to me. What are the implications? Are my taste buds somehow reflective of a psychological state? Have I become desensitized to the suffering that abounds around the world? Has the onslaught of digital media and news distribution inured me to the next report of troop casualties from Afghanistan, Syrian uprising dead, starving Africans or American homeless? Has my daily vigilance of the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Nightly News produced an emotional buffer against bad news while numbing that part of my tongue that previously allowed me to symbolically empathize with the oppressed?
Maybe it was just the different brands of bitter herbs that were served up at the two Seders I attended this year. Maybe it’s the increase in Wasabi I have indulged with my Sashimi /Sushi meals throughout the mild winter that have produced a less than reactive spring awakening.
Global warming is definitely on the rise. I can only hope that my emotional cooling was just an off-Seder experience and next Spring I’ll be able give out with a hearty shriek of hot stuff recognition.