First two days of Pesach

The Torah readings for the first two days of Pesach are probably irrelevant for most of you, unless (1) you’re chanting them, (2) you hold your four cups of seder wine really well, and/or (3) you are obsessive and/or compulsive about such matters.  Anyhow, we’ve got two scrolls each day, with identical second scroll readings of  Numbers 28:16-25 (the holiday sacrifices).  The first day, first scroll reading is Exodus 12:21-51, the laws of Pesach followed by the Exodus.  The second day, first scroll reading is one of those multiply-read holiday portions (including my son’s Bar Mitzvah portion), Leviticus 22:26 – 23:44, about (what else) holiday observances.  We’ll get to it as part of the regular cycle in a month or so.

This is a holiday filled with resonances with the past and, ideally, anticipation of the future.  But there are too many ghosts and not enough live people at the sedarim I will be attending.  At my mother’s house, there will be six.  When I was a child, there were generally at least 18, including at least 7 girls and women doing the preparations (as a child, I thought that was fun).  The largest home seder I remember was in 1972 and had 23 attendees, including siblings, parents, grandmother, aunt(s), uncle(s), great aunts and great uncles, cousins, my cousins’ children (who were about 1-5 at the time and whom I still think of as “my little cousins,” even though they’re now all in their 40’s), Rich and me.  Rich was not yet my boyfriend, just a nice Jewish boy I’d gone out with who needed a local seder.  He had had enough money for either a haircut or a box of candy for my mother, and his father had advised him to go with the candy.  Afterwards, when my mother noted that he was a nice boy but needed a haircut, I told her why he still needed one.  Anyhow, that seder marked the end of an era. Since it was really getting too large, my Uncle Syd and his family started their own the following year.  Now, the seder is smaller and our house emptier, but we still try to have the foods that evoke memories, like eggs in salt water as part of the seder meal, kneidlach (matzah balls) in chicken soup, matzah brei (a fried mixture of beaten eggs and pieces of wet matzo – that’s Rich’s thing), chremzlach (fried matzah meal pancakes, as made by my mother and her mother).  And there are the artifacts, carefully taken out and used only for the holiday: coin silver spoons and a glass Cup of Elijah  brought over from Poland by my great-grandmother, a kiddush cup from the Plotzker landsmanschaft (a group of Jewish immigrants who came from Plock,   [pwɔt͡sk]  Poland), a seder plate my daughter made early in Hebrew school.  At my mother’s house, my sister Miriam will use her little glass kiddush cup with a face (like a Toby mug), that belonged to Great-uncle Mitchell many years ago. And we’ll probably use the old red and yellow haggadahs, one with my notes from Hebrew school and, if we can find it, the one with my brother’s pencilled-in snide remarks about the The Land of Broomall, preserved for posterity about 50 years ago. 

I don’t know why, but I’m having a great deal of difficulty getting into the mood for the holiday, despite our usual preparations (thanks, Rich!!!).  Increasingly, I just dislike the accompanying disruption and anxiety, the latter mainly over possible errors caused by my own absent-mindedness, like accidentally eating chometz at work.  And I’ll be at work for more of the holiday, since I take off days 1, 2, 7, and 8, but three of those are on weekends this year.  And my synagogue is not including Shir HaShirim (Song of Songs, aka Song of Solomon) this year, which is a reasonable decision in light of the fact that it would have to be read on the 8th day, when it would seriously lengthen an already long service.  But since it’s one of a very few things my traditional shul lets women chant in mixed company, it’s a disappointment nonetheless. 

For a lyrical and definitely more upbeat consideration of the seder, see the comments below from my friend Stanley C.

Wishing all of you and yours a zissun Pesach (sweet Passover),
Thanks, Stanley!
“As the holiday which most Jews try to observe in some fashion, it is amazing how many people get the Seder completely wrong.
       “Haggadah” means TELLING.  Not reading, not davening, and certainly not a script to be mumbled through verbatim at breakneck speed.
       It is not intended to be mechanically recited.
       Rather, it is a narrative to be rehearsed and commented upon.
        Think of it as liner notes for a symphony yet to be composed (that evening by Seder participants).  And the composition each year, each night, will and should differ.
        The question “who are you? ” is not an inquiry into what your theology may be, but what your story is.
    The Seder occurs in the interaction between text and individual, at the intersection of each person’s own story and the (hi)story – i.e., the Exodus- of the Jewish people.  It melds thought and emotional reflection with collective memory.  Freedom means knowing who you are- and why.”

Top Ten Movie Previews for Passover 2012
by weekly bang staff Posted: 03-23-2012(Viewed 442 times)

10.  Hunger games – Kids must survive the seder on parsley and saltwater  
9.    The Descendants – A Jewish family descends to beautiful Florida only to reveal a deep dark secret: they overpaid on their return flight
8.    The Artist – a silent film about the point in the seder when you actually get to eat
7.    Midnight in Egypt –  a charming story of a man who can go back in time to really understand what it was like to…(dang Woody Allen should’ve wrote the Haggadah)
6.    The Lorax –   an animated feature about one of the insect plagues you can’t exactly explain to your kids
5.    The 3 Stooges – Before there was The Wise son, there were just these guys
4.    21 jump street – Two 30 something guys need to pretend they are teenagers at the Seder in order to still be eligible for the afikomen
3.    Extremely loud and Incredibly Close – stuck sitting next to your annoying must-sing-every-section of the hagadah cousins
2.    Moneyball – it’s a cash afikomen
1.    The Help – yes, the cleaning feels as if we were still slaves in Egypt
Category: BLOG – We’re Not Making This Up!

Reaping Pesach: Plague-a-Friend!
by Plag Posted: 03-27-2007(Viewed 6414 times)
How on earth could I have missed this in 2007?!   IGP

The REAPING, a horror movie coming out next week during pesach about a modern version of the 10 plagues has created a site where you can plague a friend! allows you to send one of the 10 plagues to your friend! A perfect way to get your friends into the seder mood. It’s about time Hollywood took on recreating the plagues. The Trailer alone makes this worth seeing to remind us we were once slaves and God took us out with an outstretched arms and 10 plagues even Hollywood has feared to remake. Until now

Oh here is the tagline: “The rivers ran red with blood. Darkness fell upon the earth. No one thought this could happen again. Until now.”


From a Linked In post.  From their titles, the videos seem to include educational and humorous items.  A lot seem to be in Hebrew, like If Moses Had Facebook  Facebook = פייסבוק   The English version, Google Exodus, which I believe I referred to somewhere in these missives, is at
Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hi Everyone!

There are now 199 Cool Passover Videos listed at:

The updated list includes these new videos:

– Passover Rhapsody – A Jewish Rock Opera
– “Mission Immatzoble” Passover song by Mama Doni
– Breakin’ Free – Fountainheads Passover
– Supersol Deal Hebrew Commercial
– Street Survey about Pesach (Hebrew)
– Baking Matzot at Orot Eliyahu
– Aviv AMCG Passover Wishes (Echad Mi Yodeah)
– Betzet Yisrael Mimitzraim – Yoni Ganot
– Recipe for Passover Marzipan Cookies (Hebrew)
– Happy Passover from Mever Lareshet
– Alim Passover Trailer
– Libyan Passover Customs (Hebrew)
– How to Bake Matzos (Meirovitz matzoh bakery)
– Passover Greetings from Dizengoff Center – Leket Israel
– Gaming the 10 Plagues
– The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington 2012 Passover Video
– Gesher: Passover Seder for People with Disabilities
– Happy Pesach from Ripple Productions
– Mah Nishtanah (trance music)
– Pesach and your Pets
– Rabbi Yonah Metzger on Mah Neshtana (Hebrew)
– Weitzman School singing Echad Mi Yodeah
– Ambassador Shapiro and his wife on an insightful tour of Meah She’arim
– Medieval Passover Song – TanenbaumCHAT

Oldies but goodies include:

– Google Exodus
– Shalom Sesame – Les Matzarables
– Dayenu, Coming Home – The Fountainheads Passover Song
– Crash Course on Passover
– Learn Hebrew Passover Video
– Rashi Second Graders Sing: “Let My People Go”
– Mah Nishtanah
– Jewish Federation: This Passover 2011/5771
– Shalom Sesame – Jake Gyllenhaal and the Afikomen
– Passover 2011 – Seder Plate – The Macaroons
– Best Seder in the USA (The Passover Song)
– China TV – Cleaning before Passover
– London Matzo Packing
– Matzah Madness
– The Passover Seder Symbols Song
– Manischewitzville
– 20 Things To Do With Matzah
– AskMoses: Passover – what is it?
– Matzo Man
– Who Let The Jews Out
– Sixty Second Seder
– Jib Jab Matzah!
– The Story of Passover in 7 minutes
– Race of “Had Gadya Song” for Passover Seder
– The Prince of Egypt – The Plagues
– Moshe’s Rap
– Passover Recipe – Kosher Brownies
– The Aviv Matzha Story
– Uncle Jay Explains Passover
– Robotic Seder
– KJJL 12 Chad Gadya
– Survivor Seder

and many more….
Happy Passover!

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