Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Pessach Sameach!

50 tableWe survived Passover; the Seder was fun, though I got annoyed with Purple for not translating things for me enough (as usual). We had 22 people for dinner - a very small turnout for my family, but of course, enough food for three times that much.

Littletree had loads of fun setting all the places, and working out where the cutlery goes. Here's the table setting, and below how it looked with most of the people seated:63 Seder

The crazy thing about Passover this year, is that it fell on a Sunday (which means it starts at sunset, Saturday night). What's crazy about that, is that from sunset Friday, till sunset Saturday, it's Shabat. On Shabat, no one can do any work.

Sounds good right? you get to stay home from work. Don't we all get that? Only for religious Jews, the word "work" also includes driving, cooking, using electricity, lighting fires, even tearing toilet paper from the roll is forbidden on Shabat!

So, imagine, you need to prepare this massive feast for Passover, and you need to clean your house really well to make sure there's no Hametz. Only you can't because it's Shabat and you can't do any work. And you must eat bread with the Shabat dinner. Of course, then you have to clean up any crumb of this bread and be rid of it before Passover starts (at sunset) but you can't do any work until Shabat ends (at sunset). How they get around this, I'm not too sure.

I heard one rabbi was asked if having a picnic would be an acceptable option, or eating on a table outside, on all disposable plates and paper tablecloth. Then the lot can be just bundled up and thrown in the bin. BUT, the rabbi thought about it and said; no, someone might spill their cup of water on the grass, and cause things to grow. Watering plants is forbidden on Shabat.

64 foodThankfully, my family aren't particularly religious, so we didn't have to deal with all that nonsense.

We ate waaaaay too much food, but it was all really yummy. We have a kind of potluck, where everyone brings a plate of food to share, but Purple's mother always makes more than enough for everyone on her own, and in addition to all that food, Purple's Sister-in-Law also makes enough for everyone. On top of that everyone brings at least 2 big dishes. It's a LOT of food.

We read the Hagadah, most of which goes way over my head, and drank the four cups of wine, which goes right to my head. And of course, the awful Matzoh, dipped in all kinds of weird things.

65 BlessingsI like that all the family take turns to read aloud different sections of the Hagadah, I feel like reading as a family is something lost to us, in this age of television and personal DVDs.

Purple's father, of course, did all the blessings of the wine (for some reason he was drinking this cheap awful sweet wine, while the rest of us had good stuff). Then there was a fun tradition, somewhat reminiscent of the Christian Santa Claus;

The Saint Eliyahu came. It's funny; someone always slips out and dresses quickly in a white cloak and beard and hat. We turn out all the lights (so no one will discover the true identity of Eliyahu, and, like a religious Jewish Superhero, gives out gifts to the children.66 Eliyahu

Littletree sat upstairs for the most of it, feeling overwhelmed by the amount of people and noise, and the sheer boredom of sitting at a fancy dinner table while listening to grown-ups talk.

I fully understood LOL

Anyway, it was a good evening, and it's over. Till next year!

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