We haven’t had a seder this year – various reasons (my breathing being #1 among them – it’s irritating and annoying, but it does prevent me from planning any kind of a guest/invited event) but last night we had some friends over, folks we don’t have to ‘dress up’ for, and had a little mini seder.
The most glaring deviation from the order – we ate first.
At a seder you sit through what amounts to a service (seder means “order”) where you read from a haggada (book of stories about the exodus from Egypt) There are many different haggadas (haggadot? haggadim?) out there – a few years ago we actually wrote our own which embraced the interfaith aspects of the seder. There are feminist haggada, haggada which focus on Buddhist tenets, ones that are traditional and illustrated by Chagall and the familiar Maxwell House haggada that my husband’s family used for years.
The through-line is the same, the sections differ slightly, but they’re always there: The story of the pharoh and the plagues, the midwives who wouldn’t kill the babies, the deliverance of the Jews, the four questions – traditionally asked by the youngest person at the table, the story of the four children (sons), songs, prayers, blessings, dipping (twice!), hand washing and “next year in Jerusalem!”
Matzoh is eaten for the period of Pesach because – in their haste – the Jews couldn’t wait for their bread to rise. This has been extended to include any leavening (no flour or yeast products are taken, but what is allowed differs from one Jewish tradition to another.)
There’s quite a market in flour-free products that seem leavened (kosher-for-passover quiche is my favorite – “and in their haste…”) Desserts which are flour-less are abundant, and coconut or merringue macaroons are a big deal every Pesach.
When Gerry and I were dating we were shopping around Passover and he showed me a jar of Mrs. Adlers Gefilte Fish to me, which a photo of Mrs. Adler on the label. He nodded sagely at me, pointed to the words “gefilte fish” and said, “That’s how they look in the wild.”
We didn’t even open the haggada this year. We had our seder plate, Gerry roasted a turkey breast and an egg, made the charoset and got the gefilte fish and horseradish. We had a shankbone (okay, a mystery bone) and bowls of salt water for dipping. But we didn’t do it very traditionally. I realized that my kids don’t even know the questions – excellent mom.
But we had a very nice time – Hannah got to see her good friend, I got to see my good friend, Gerry got to clean up the kitchen and Maxie got to play on the computer. Today we color easter eggs before I leave for Yale and tomorrow when I get home we’ll hide them in the backyard and hunt them up. An afternoon Easter Egg hunt – we feel compelled to change this tradition, too!
How You Say…?
I just wanted to clarify the bit about the French translation, I wasn’t as clear I should have been.
I’ve been approached by someone to have my pattern(s) translated into French – I was wondering if there were many readers out there who would appreciate this (basically, whether it would be worth the cost of the translation…)
Sorry about the misunderstanding! If you are a French speaker, or know folks who you think would be interested in my patterns in french, give a shout. I just want to get a feeling if there’s a market out there.