Thursday, April 13, 2006

Happy Passover!!!
(Or as the goyim call it, Happy The-Day-That-Jew-Betrayed-Jesus)

I love Passover. To begin with, the story of the holiday has everything you could possibly want in a bible story. It's a story of liberty. It's a story about the little guy beating the big guy (with a little help from the bigger guy). It's got love (when the Pharoh's wife rescues baby Moses and raises her as her own), rivalry (between Moses and the Pharoh's first born son), explosions (A burning bush!), blood and horror (10, count em, 10 plagues), miracles (the sea parting!), betrayal and doublecrossing (that evil Pharoh), and even a car chase! Well, camel chase anyway.

Sure, it drags on a bit too long. But you should have seen it before the studio forced Moses to cut it down to two and a half hours.

But I digress.

I like the songs, being with family, the kinship I feel when I catch the train at 3 on a weekday and its full of my fellow Jews going home for seder. Suddenly, we're not alone, wading in a sea of people wishing us Merry Christmas and telling us Jesus loves us. We're all united.

Another thing I like about Passover, is the food. Matzah and cream cheese is a great snack. That Israeli chocolate is da bomb. Don't think I forgot about Matzah pizza. And Kosher-For-Passover ketchup is a delightfully sweet change from boring old Heinz (sorry Kerry). But of course, the highlight is the Passover seder meal that my mom cooks every year. Chicken soup, stuffed cabbage, enough brisket to turn Calista Flockhart into Chastity Bono, apricot chicken, sweet potatoes and baby carrots laced with marshmallows and noodle kugel--all finished off with the double whammy dessert of chocolate and apple cakes. Total animals killed: about 20. Total days I'll be consuming the leftovers their tasty, tasty bodies? Eight.

So it's no wonder, to me, that Christians would want to get in on the celebration. After all, they don't get to have any fun this time of year. All they get to do is paint eggs in crazy colors. And then go on "Easter Egg hunts" where they try and find the eggs they painted and also find hidden baskets of candy. Not normal candy though. The candy they get to eat includes sugarshell-covered chocolate eggs, cream filled eggs, and sugar encrusted marshmallows shaped like little birds. And when they're done eating all that candy, they can go eat a big fat ham and cheese sandwich because unlike the Jews, they don't have any dietary restrictions. It must really, really suck for them.

That must be why Christian seders are all the rage. According to the Washington Post, more and more Christians are celebrating Passover. It makes sense.. I mean, our history is their history too (up until about 1 A.D.). Without those Egyptian Jews, there's no Ten Commandments. Jesus's last supper was a Passover seder. Sure, matzah probably wasn't what he would have preferred for his last meal, but what are you gonna do?

Some Jews are upset by it though. How would the Christians feel if we started celebrating Christmas?

Hmm... don't answer that.

Ok well. I don't have a problem with it personally. Let them eat matzah, I say. There's enough constipation for everybody. No, rather, the people I do have a problem with are the Jews.

Yep. The Jews. My people. They just don't make them like they used to.

Let me explain. All my life, I've been taught that "legumes" (previously called nuts and beans) were forbidden on Passover because they could be used to make bread. This may not seem like a huge deal.. until you realize how many products have soybean oil and peanut oil in them, and that infamous "soy lechtin" which appears in nearly everything.

I'm not really all that religious. But as I said, I like Passover. So I follow it strictly. So this no legumes thing was tough. Making it tougher was the fact that, for other Jews, legumes were perfectly alright to eat.

See there are two types of Jews, Ashkenazi and Sephardic. The Sephardics can eat legumes and corn during Passover. Ashkenazi cannot. I accepted this, as illogical as it was, because that's what we faithful people do. We accept illogical things.

But now, The New York Times reports that Ashkenazi rabbis have changed their minds. Now legumes are ok (But still not corn). As The Forward put it, "In the battle between fundamentalism and funda-lentilism, the pro-lentilists have won."

For a religion so steeped in tradition, it seems to me that we're throwing it out the window pretty easily. So I'm remaining legumeless. I feel its the right thing to do. If it was good enough for my Grandfather it's good enough for me. Go eat your peanut butter and matzah if you want to. I'm fine with my cream cheese.

Then again, that choc-full-of-soy-lechtin rabbit is looking mighty tasty.

1 comment:

Hot Mama said...

Tevya said it best: "without our traditions we'd be as shakey as a fiddler on the roof!" So, start eating legumes on Pesach? I don't think so!

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