Passover is Finally Over

August 23, 2011

Passover is finally over.  The more religiously observant amongst you may find this a rather unusual statement to make in the middle of August, but this week I finally found the pizza cutter languishing at the back of a kitchen drawer where we throw all those daft things and tape up for the week of affliction.  I marked the discovery by returning the boxes of Pesach crockery, cutlery and cooking utensils to the garage.  They had been waiting patiently by the front door for me to perform the task.  You’ll have gathered that it’s not something I see as a particular priority, but my wife had, a couple of days earlier, threatened to leave me if she tripped over the frying pan handle that protrudes from the opening of one of the boxes one more time.

 

August is not my record.  A few years ago I succeeded in not returning the boxes for the entire year simply by hiding them under a large sheet.  However, since we had the hall decorated Mrs J has put her foot down.  Frankly, I don’t see the point of stowing it all away.  It’s always such a balagan unpacking it all.  Inevitably one box of particularly heavy items will collapse under its own weight and all for what, exactly?  A week of eating off the tatty crockery we inherited from my grandmother, that’s what.  It was tatty crockery when I was a child.  Now the dog looks upon us with pity before turning back to eat from his shiny stainless steel bowl.

 

The almighty will, I hope, forgive me when I tell you that Pesach is my least favourite festival.  It doesn’t even make my top ten.  I’d happily do all the fasts instead of Pesach. In fact the only reason I don’t currently observe all the fasts is in anticipation that the Lord will somehow offer me the deal I have in mind.  If nothing else, such an arrangement would free me from the havoc that Passover food plays with my constitution.  Every morning for days I’m reminded of what a pitiful soul I have become.

 

Nothing drags on like Seder night, not even 25 hours without food, and from me that’s really saying something; I’m a man who doesn’t eat between meals, but only because I eat eight meals a day.  Having to spend two nights in a row in the company of some fifty family members ranging from screaming overtired infants to snoring overtired geriatrics seems to be a more profound form of penitence than sitting in synagogue without food for a day.  It’s on Seder night that I make my silent petition for forgiveness for the sins I must clearly have committed to be punished in such an excruciating way, not Yom Kippur.

 

Of course the solution to all this would be to spend Passover in Israel.  That way my wife would never need to clean the house again and I’d be able to put grandma’s crockery on e-bay.  You would find me spending the week waited on, hand and foot.  I would turn up at the hotel dining room in time for the Seder meal and leave just as the songs about goats and counting start, and nobody would care a jot.  What bliss!

 

Unfortunately this is, and can only be, a dream.  Why?  Because that’s exactly what all the local alta cacas do and there’s no way I’m paying for flights to Israel at their most expensive for Seder night in a freezing air-conditioned warehouse of a hotel when half the guests are the people I see every week in shul.

 

The good thing is that at least Pesach, like my son-in-law, only visits once a year, and now it’s finally over there’s still 8 months to go before it comes round again.

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A Passover Story

March 31, 2010

Eventually the Pharaoh relented when he saw the lifeless body of his first-born son.  “Go.” he ordered Moses, tears streaming down his face, “Take your people and leave this land”.

“Right,” said Moses, somewhat lost for words.  “Thanks.  Come on Aaron, we’d better tell them before the bugger changes his mind”.

The news spread around the Jewish areas like it was on the Edgware K email list.  The people knew they had to prepare as quickly as possible, and that they needed a packed lunch.  Moses had been very clear about this.  “Bake bread for the journey”, he told them, “but you’ve only got 18 minutes to do it in.  Pretend you’re on Ready, Steady, Cook.”

“How long must this 18-minute bread last?” one slightly difficult chap asked.  “Yes,” said another, “where are we going, how long will it take us to get there, and how much of this dreadful stuff are we going to need?  I’m feeling constipated just thinking about it.”

“Shut up.” Moses replied shortly.

Now some of the unleavened bread had been made from wheat that had been watched over from the moment the seed was sown to the time it was ground and made into flour and then cooked.  Only perfect ears of corn were used for this flour.  All this farting around sorely vexed Aaron and Moses.

“I don’t believe you people,” moaned Aaron.  “Don’t you realise we’re in a hurry and all you can think about is having posher matzah than your neighbour.  Are you all nuts?”

“Nuts? Nuts?  Is it OK to take nuts? Are all nuts kosher for this journey?” came the anxious reaction from one housewife.

“It depends” replied another without looking up from her sweeping.  Are you Sephardi?  If so, you’re OK, but if not you can’t take peanuts.  I’m Ashkenazi so I’m throwing my peanuts out.”

“Shut up!” Moses bellowed.  “You guys just don’t get it do you? And what’s with the cleaning already?  We’ve got to get out of here in a hurry, and we’re not coming back.”

“I’m not going away without leaving the place spotless.  What if someone should see it?”

“Who?”

“I don’t know.  Anyone.  A burglar.”

“So what?  What do you care? You’ll be gone forever.”

“People will talk.  I don’t want anyone saying ‘Mrs Koblinski goes away without tidying up’”.

“Mrs Koblinski?  How did you end up in this story?  We have Cohens, Levis and Israels here.  No Koblinskis.”

“Do you want to see my parents’ ketubah?”

“No!” Moses screamed as he rushed away.

“Just as well,” called Mrs Koblinski after him, it’s already packed.  I don’t want any hassle for my children from the Beit Din when we arrive in the promised land.