Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Happy Passover everyone. Traditionally in Hebrew you say Happy Spring Holiday. It's the holiday that celebrates deliverance from slavery (when the Israelites were slaves in Egypt way back in the day) and the rebirth and renewal that is spring. These are pictures of our seder plates - the ceremonial plates that are the centerpieces of the seder table. One was the real deal, a beautiful plate that my cousins got us for our wedding from the Portuguese Synagogue in Amsterdam, and the other was a clever art project my mother-in-law brought from Israel. On it you find the most important symbols of the holiday, many of which symbolize springtime - the egg, the parsley, the charoset, which is chopped apples and walnuts...so springy! This holiday is the best. There's so much involved. I was leading the seder and trying to tell the story of Passover to the four kids at the table and trying to make it snappy because kids at a table generally want to eat, but there's so much to the story and so many themes and characters. They should really make a movie. Oh wait! They did.
But by far the best part of the evening, and the part that the kids had been anticipating since, well, last Passover, was a visit from the Prophet Elijah (Eliyahu). It's kind of our version of Santa Claus, but without the gifts. Toward the end of the seder we open the door to let in Elijah who drinks from Elijah's cup, a special goblet (read: holy grail) that's in the middle of the seder plate. So for the last four years we've made my brother Aaron dress up in a white sheet, a tallis, a rasta hat, sunglasses and a white beard and dance in while we sing his song. He twirls in, takes a sip of wine and leaves before the kids start to suspect that Uncle Aaron is not at the table. The kids are simultaneously terrified and captivated by Elijah and the adults think it is HYSTERICAL. Later on I went outside to get some mint to make tea and my son was concerned that Elijah was still out there and would get me. Love it. We might have one more year before the jig is up.
For more spring in your step, head over to Spain.