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April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review March 26, 2013/ 15 Nissan, 5773

Festival of Denial?

By Mona Charen




http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | This week, together with about 13 million Jews worldwide (yes, that's all there are), our family will celebrate the Feast of Passover — perhaps the oldest continuously celebrated religious holiday in the world.

Passover is primarily a holiday of the home, not the synagogue. The preparations take days. We sit down to a table adorned with familiar objects: a silver cup for the Prophet Elijah, candle sticks, a lamb shank representing the sacrifice in Temple days, bitter herbs, matzah, parsley, eggs and salt water. We do the traditional "seder" — its choreographed rituals burnished by centuries of practice. Everything is repeated on the second night, except in Israel, where only one night is observed. The traditional explanation for this repetition (other Jewish holidays are also repeated) is that after the dispersion of the Jews following the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 of the Common Era, Jews in the diaspora could not be certain exactly when the holiday dawned in Israel. So they performed the rituals twice, just to be safe.

The rabbis were nothing if not exacting. Then again, the 25-hour fasts of Yom Kippur, Tisha B'Av, and others are performed only once. Exacting, yes. Crazy, no.

Well, maybe a little crazy. After all, we now know to the nanosecond when Passover begins in Israel. So why not dispense with the second night? I suppose Tevya had the answer: Tradition!

The Torah requires that we refrain from eating leavened bread for 8 days. The rabbis saw this and raised it. Among the Ashkenazi (European Jews), the list of prohibited items fills volumes. No bread? Check. But also no breakfast cereal, beer, soft tacos, crackers (except for matzah), pasta, beans, corn, rice, wheat, barley, oats, spelt, bread crumbs, chips or anything made with corn syrup. Lately, there's been debate about whether the grain quinoa is kosher for Passover. A friend accosted me in synagogue a few weeks ago to wail, "Have you heard? They're taking away our quinoa!"

So is it a festival of denial? To a degree (no wonder there are only 13 million Jews). But as the holiday approaches, the pungent tastes, the glowing candles, the comfort of wine and the unmatched sense of historical continuity are what predominate.

The holiday commemorates G0D 's liberation of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt. As the story unfolds, we eat freshly ground horseradish to remember the bitterness of slavery and dip parsley in salt water to recall the tears of our ancestors and slaves everywhere. There are tricks to keep the youngsters engaged during the lengthy pre-meal ritual. It falls to the youngest child to recite, well, sing actually, the "four questions." Later, the adults hide the "dessert matzah" (now there's a concept!), and the kids spend the rest of the evening searching for it so as to be rewarded with a finder's fee.

Telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt isn't a jingoistic exercise. The name of Moses, for example, is scarcely mentioned (to discourage worship of a human being), and there are endless opportunities to reflect on the less exalted aspects of human nature.

Why didn't Potiphar have Joseph executed when his wife accused the servant of attempted rape? Probably because he knew his wife's character. The Hebrews don't come out smelling like roses either. We're told that Pharaoh embittered the lives of the Hebrew slaves with hard labor, the separation of husbands and wives, and even with the murder of Jewish male babies. Yet we know that later, when the Israelites were wandering in the desert, they pined for the "fleshpots" of Egypt.

One lesson: Ingratitude is a fixed aspect of human nature, as is a tendency to romanticize the past. Another lesson: Freedom is a precious gift, but it isn't easy. Tradition teaches that the Israelites were made to wander the desert for 40 years because they needed time to shed their slave mentality.

There is another ritual — my favorite — that accompanies the recitation of the 10 plagues G0D inflicted upon the Egyptians. With the name of each plague, we remove a drop of our wine onto a plate, symbolically diminishing our joy because the Egyptians,

"who are also G0D's children," suffered.

After dipping vegetables, reclining on pillows and reciting questions and answers, the festive meal begins. Centuries of Jewish cooks have devised ways to make us forget that our diet is limited — though it has been scientifically proven that eating matzah is never enjoyable. Still, the symbols, the stories, the songs and the flavors of Passover are indelible. They have been for 3,000 years.

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