Apr. 17th, 2017

ObPassover

Apr. 17th, 2017 12:09 pm
drwex: (pogo)
I didn't make time for my usual pre-Passover post this year, which is a little sad. Seder gets wrapped up in the I-will-make-a-post-soon-I-promise WTF weekend report.

But anyway, [personal profile] flexagon asked me "What are you... uh, passing over... for Passover?" which prompted me to get off my metaphorical ass and write this because I do like writing about Passover. Long-time readers will know that it's my favorite of the Jewish annual holiday cycle.

This year, Thing 1 pointed out that we four are being different levels of Passover-observant:

  • Thing 1 just doesn't care and eats whatever.

  • Thing 2 mostly tries to observe, except they "cheat" now and then because dessert is still dessert, after all. I pointed out that it was kind of amusing to be talking about observing Pesadic rules while eating bacon with breakfast. (Thing 2, not me. I still think it's nasty stuff.)

  • I tend to try to avoid obvious lumps of actual bread. When [personal profile] mizarchivist and I went to Bartley's for burgers last week I asked for no bun but I didn't fuss about whether there was leavening in the sweet potato fries. Likewise I avoided the nan with Indian food this weekend but acknowledged there was likely flour in some of the dish preparations anyway. So the thing I passed over was mostly anything that was overtly (leavened) bread.

  • [personal profile] pygment avoids gluten almost all the time anyway so the diet was little modified for her. The matzoh we got was made in Israel and apparently uses the European-style low-gluten wheat so that didn't bother her. It sure beat the heck out of the "gluten free" matzah we tried one year, which was basically a nasty-tasting cracker and not at all matzah.


Seder this year was generally as you'd expect. We delved into a few obscure corners of things, but the kids generally have the story down and understand the areas I like to poke at. We can't have a Seder without some discussion of gender and this year it came in the form of the "four children" to whom one is supposed to explain the meaning of Passover in different ways, depending on their type (Wise, Wicked, Simple and Unable to Ask). The Haggadah we used noted that in the original Hebrew a feminine form appears in relation to the Unable child, from which it is inferred that the mother is supposed to give the original instruction to children about these things. Make of that what you will.

I am interested by the Chabad discussion of these "children" (http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/1486118/jewish/The-Four-Children-Explained.htm) in which they note that even people who have no children are to give these explanations. From that they infer that one should not think of them too literally as children, but rather as parts of ourselves to which we talk. Within us we all have parts that are wise, parts that are wicked, parts that are simple, and parts that do not know how to ask. Indeed. More food for thought for next year.

For this year, I had (have) refugees on my mind and one of the important aspects of the Seder is that there is a commandment to make everyone welcome, even the stranger. In the text there are examples of what a stranger might be and one of the mentions is specifically of "the Ethiopian". The family talked about what it might have been like for tribal people who had no experience of strangers outside a handful of villages to see a person with markedly darker skin and I find it interesting that we (Jews) are specifically commanded to welcome this kind of person into our homes.

I connect this ancient commandment with my own upbringing during an era when it was simply understood that Jews would be marching with black people in their quest for civil rights and on into today when I simply cannot understand how any Jewish person could have voted for Drumph and his band of neo-Nazis.

I know that such people exist, but knowing and understanding are two different things.

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