Shabbat Chol HaMoed Pesach, 7th and 8th days of Pesach

Yes, it’s still Pesach.  The hubbub has died down after the sedarim and every-year-more-arduous pre-holiday cleaning (many, many thanks to my husband this year, even more so than usual).  We might even be able to let ourselves drift into a mellower, more contemplative mood now, which reasonably jibes with the readings for the intermediate Sabbath  (Shabbat Chol HaMoed) and 7th and 8th (if you’re not Reform) days of the holiday.  

On each of these days we read the same verses from the second scroll, Numbers 28:19 -25, about the required sacrifices, which was part of the second scroll reading for Days 1 and 2.  On Shabbat, we’ll read Exodus 33:12 – 34:26, about Moses seeing the back of the Lord before he goes up on the mountain for two replacement tablets.  The haftarah is Ezekiel 37:1 – 14, about the valley of dry bones and national resurrection.  It is also customary to read the Song of Songs, aka the Song of Solomon, which is chanted in a lovely, lyrical mode well-suited to the text of love poems.  It has been translated allegorically to represent the love between the Lord and Israel, but I prefer a literal translation – if it’s a good one, you can almost smell the perfumes, and spices, and flowers… On the seventh day, it’s Exodus 13:17-15:26, including the Song at the Sea and, for the haftarah, II Samuel 22:1-51, a psalm of David (also read with the portion Ha’azinu in the fall) in which he thanks the Lord for saving him from his enemies.  Finally, on the eight day, we read Deut. 15:19-16:17, another one about the three harvest festivals, which is thus read on each of them. The haftarah is Isaiah 10:32-12:6, with the wolf and the lamb living together and a little child leading them, etc.  So, in these readings (except for the sacrifices), we repeat and amplify the theme of salvation, from the Egyptians and from enemies more generally, until the final redemption at the end of days.  All couched in song, poetry, and fragrance.

Shabbat shalom and chag sameach,
 It is traditional to count, day by day, 49 days from the 2nd day of Pesach until the holiday of Shavuot, referred to as “Sefirat HaOmer,” commemorating the offerings of an “omer” of barley ( see ).  Nowadays, you can download “apps” to a handheld device, like an iPhone or Android to remind you and help you keep track. (No, I don’t have one. My cell phone does little besides make and keep track of phone calls.)  See, for example (not an endorsement, just examples),  and
Twas the night after Seder [passed along by Arlene M.-S. – thanks!]

Twas the night after Seders, and all through the house;
Nothing would fit me, the same with my spouse.
The matzah, the farfel, the charoset  embraced;
After both Seders, they  stuck to my waist.
When I got on the scales there arose such a number;
When I tried to walk, I only lumbered.

I remember the marvelous meals we prepared;
The turkey, the brisket, the tsimmes we shared.
The matzo balls,  soup, and the kugels, if you please;
For on these Seder nights there will be no Chinese.
As I tied myself into my apron again;
I spied my reflection and disgustedly then,
I said to myself, “you’re such a weak wimp”,
“You can’t walk around resembling a blimp!”

So–away with the last of the meatballs so sweet;
Get rid of the turkey, chopped liver and meat.
Every last food that I like must be banished;
Till all the additional ounces have vanished.

I won’t have  more macaroons in the nice box;
I can’t wait till next week, (Ah, bagels and lox.)

I won’t have any  farfel or marrow bones to gnaw;
I’ll munch on carrots and celery or wire shut my own jaw.
If I must peel, slice, dice, mash, or cook one more chicken,
they’ll drag me outside, screamin’ and kickin’
Any more matzah……I think  I will riot
So a zisn Pesach to  all and to all a good diet !

(7 of the)Top Ten Uses for Matzah in the Office
by Michael Goldberg Posted: 07-22-2006

10. Put in paper tray. Watch that photocopier jam.
9. Slab on some jelly, really big Post-Its
9 (sic). Build your own additional cubical walls and roof
8. Bulletin board with staple ridges
7. When on boring conference call, start chewing and say connection is breaking up
6. Three-hole punch it and use as dividers in your binder
4. Create kitschy inbox/outbox on your desk with empty box of matzahs

If you’d prefer a video along similar lines:
20 things to do with matzah   [passed along by Elva L. Thanks!]

Crossing the Red Sea
Once a little boy handed in a blank piece of paper for his art project and explains it to his art teacher: “It’s called “Crossing the Red Sea”!
” But it’s blank!!! There is nothing there!!!” the incredulous teacher exclaimed.
“Well” explained the child “The Sea split, the Jews already crossed, and the Egyptians haven’t yet arrived! So it’s blank!”

Fruity Fragrance

— Trina Muldoon

After years of using the same perfumes, I decided to try something different and settled on a light, citrusy fragrance. The next day I was surprised when it was my little boy, not my husband, who first noticed the change. As he put his arms around me, he declared, “Wow, Mom, you smell just like Froot Loops!”


Funny English Mistakes

If you have ever tried to learn a new language, you know how hard it can be! We will all make many, many mistakes, and some will sound a little funny to native speakers. That’s OK- It’s part of learning. And a good sense of humor can help us have a good attitude and enjoy ourselves while we learn.  So, enjoy these actual funny mistakes from students I have taught.

A Funny Love Song [abridged]

Compiled from lyrics of love songs translated
into English by ESL students.

From morning’s glaring sun to the smelly afternoon,
You are always inside my lonely brain.
I hope we meet in an accident very soon.
My heart will not stop hemorrhaging for you.
Your love flies me swiftly into a mountain.
You make my heart sour.
When you kiss me, you make my blood evaporate.

Your lovely, unwrinkly skin requests my attention
  You will always be my lemon moon ray lover.

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