First Two Days of Pesach

Are you really interested in a discourse on the Torah readings for tomorrow and Sunday?  Me neither.  But here’s my handy-dandy crib sheet with links in case you actually want to look these up but will too sleepy (or hung over if your 4 cups of wine are big ones) to go to services:

April 4, 1st day Pesach Exodus 12:21-51  The first Passover, the Exodus, and laws for future Passovers (duh). Numbers 28:16-25  The Passover sacrifice (also duh). Joshua 5:2–6:1, 27 [or 3:5-7; 5:2–6:1, 27], which my husband will be chanting] Circumcision of the males born in the wilderness.
April 5, 2nd  day Pesach Leviticus 22:26 – 23:44  The holidays (“set times”). Numbers 28:16-25  Same as the first day. II Kings 23:1-25 [or 23:1-9, 21-25]  King Josiah’s religious revival.


At this point, I’m done thinking about cleaning and getting ridding of chametz, physical or spiritual.  My mind seems unwilling to address anything remotely intellectual.  What really occupies me are the tempting aromas emanating from our kitchen, as my dear husband prepares the food for the seders (tonight and tomorrow night).  As our immediately family members have become dispersed, disabled, and/or departed, we have tried to come up with ways to minimize the stress of dealing with the seder.  One year, my mother was either in the hospital or in a rehab place, so we communicated our seder by phone, until she dozed off.  We’ve also had it catered.  What my husband and I are doing this year is bringing everything to Merion – as I told my sister, “We will be bringing everything you are going to put in your mouth.”

Anyhow, my memories of food during Pesach (Passover) are inextricably bound up with the holiday, even if they weren’t Pesach food per se.  For example, when I was a child, this was pretty much the only time we had all fresh vegetables instead of canned, unsalted butter, and apple juice.  I also fondly remember Elite brand chewing gum from Israel, which had a vanilla taste and chocolate “rocket pops: (lollipops of milk chocolate in the shape of a cone with the point lopped off).  Of course there has always been chicken soup with kneidlach (matzah balls), ranging in texture from the feathery light ones of Mrs. Kasser, my uncle’s Hungarian mother-in-law, to the very dense (super ball-like) ones made the year after Mrs. Kasser passed away (my sister Sarah bravely insisted she liked them chewy), to the reasonably normal ones made since by Mama, Miriam, Rich, and me.   Yes, I used to prepare the seder food for us Plotzkers before Rich got into cooking.  And, from childhood until I moved away, I made the charoset, a mix typically of chopped nuts, apple, cinnamon, and wine, though at first I had to ask someone bigger to pour from the big jug of wine.  (Yes, I’ve seen the items about Ben & Jerry’s charoset ice cream. Interesting idea.) There were some dishes we’d enjoy and say, “Gee, we should have this during the year,” like hardboiled eggs in salt water.  But we never did.

And then there were the chremzlach (each “ch” is a guttural, as in “Bach.”  Try saying it.), matzah meal pancakes or fritters, sometimes stuffed, but not in our family.  As made by my mother and grandmother, the outsides were fried and crunchy, the inside was soft, and we sprinkled sugar on top or jelly (or maybe that’s just been recently?).  Mine don’t turn out nearly as well, but I keep trying.  My husband contributes matzah brei (long “I” sound), softened matzah fried with eggs.

However, I’ve never liked the kosher-for-Passover items that are intended to mimic chametz, like those pseudo-Cheerios that kind of coat your mouth.  And in high school, there was a brief craze for pesachdich rolls, bread for Passover, of all things – the ultimate oxymoron.  However, they became rock hard within hours, which is maybe why I no longer hear of them.

Eat well, and have a zissun Pesach (sweet Passover) and Shabbat shalom.



There seems to have been an explosion of Passover song parodies, videos, and humor this year.  Maybe I’ll get around to looking at them during the week. In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy these. IGP. 



Friday, March 30, 2012 – 2:12 PM

Abe goes to see his boss and says, “We’re doing some heavy house-cleaning at home tomorrow for Pesach and my wife needs me to help with the attic and the garage, moving and hauling stuff.”
“We’re short-handed, Abe,” the boss replies. “I just can’t give you the day off.”
“Thanks, boss,” says Abe, “I knew I could count on you!”


The Four Sons

A humorous version of The Four Sons, by Harold Zvi Rabbie.

There are four types of children who ask questions on Pesach: the wise one, the bad one, the simple one, and the one who does not know to ask.

What does the wise one ask? I don’t know; I couldn’t understand him either. Him you must send to a school for gifted children.

What does the bad one ask? He says, “What is this festival to you?” Because he excludes himself from the community, you must exclude him from your table, and he will go back to his employer and get paid double-time and a half for working on Pesach.

What does the simple one ask? He simply asks, “What is this?” You will say to him, “This is dinner.”

As for the one who does not know to ask, you must go to his room, wake him up and say, “Next year, remember to come to the table!”


Here’s how you can really recover from Passover cleaning!  IGP

Passover Cocktails For Each of the Ten Plagues

Kosher for Passover concoctions to pair with pestilence, blood, and boils

By Louis Nayman|April 11, 2014 10:03 AM|Comments

The whole article, with discourses and 10 recipes, is at the above link.  Here are part of the intro and just a couple of sample recipes.

There’s no reason the prohibition against consuming chametz means having to spend another Passover restricted to Manischewitz Concord, Golan Heights Cabernets, or the one-of slivovitz. A holiday that requires adults to down at least four cups of wine at the start ought to pack at least as much punch as St. Patrick’s Day, Mardi Gras, or Cinco de Mayo.

Any beverage produced from one of the five grains—barley, oats, rye, spelt, or wheat—is off the table for Passover. In practical terms, that means no beer, Bourbon, Scotch, Irish or rye whiskeys, most vodkas and gins, or any other drinks made with grain neutral sprits can be consumed during the 192 hours of Passover. Ashkenazi Jews add another layer of self-deprivation by foregoing legumes, corn, rice, and various spices.

The good news is there’s plenty of decent alcohol available for drinking over Passover…Where ingredients with a Pesach hekhsher on the label could be found, they are listed and so designated. Also included, however, are products that are ingredient-consistent with Passover but—for want of a mashgiach’s approval—cannot be guaranteed 100 percent not to have come into direct or indirect contact with chametz or trayf. How dangerously to live will be up to you.

The Cocktails

Plague 1: Blood
Cocktail: Red Nile

The original eye-opener. Great way to start the plagues, perfect for weekend brunch of fresh fruit, coffee, matzoh brie, and Sephardic dried-fruit-and-cumin haroseth.

2 oz potato vodka
4 oz tomato juice
1/2 oz lemon juice
1 oz Arak
1 tsp white horseradish
6 drops Texas Pete
3 drops Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Cocktail Bitters (no corn syrup)
Dash salt
Dash pepper
Carrot stick for garnish

Directions: Fill a burgundy glass with ice. Combine ingredients in dry shaker. Shake until well-mixed, then pour into ice-filled glass. Garnish with 6-inch carrot stick.

Plague 2: Frogs [Howard, this one’s for you. (-; ]
Cocktail: Paris in April

Passover occasionally coincides with April, the month when Parisians experience more showers than during the whole rest of the year combined, which is reason enough to celebrate with this languid cocktail comprised entirely of ingredients from France.

A musky accompaniment for firing up the vaporizer, cranking up “La Vie En Rose” and inducing a lazy nostalgie de la boue for “The Sparrow” and amnesia concerning her activities during the war. Smugly satisfying with a toasted matzoh and grilled gruyere.

1 1/2 oz Cognac
1 oz green Chartreuse
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
4 oz Perrier

Instructions: To a chilled rocks glass (preferably a Bonne Maman jam jar), add Cognac, Chartreuse, and Grand Marnier, then swirl with minimal effort. Using fingers drop two ice cubes into the mixture, then fill to rim with Perrier. No garnish.

Plague 7: Hail
Cocktail: Hailfire and Brewski

Great for long afternoons watching ESPN classic baseball reruns with buddies. A perfect what-could-go-wrong self-service drink. Pleasantly unpredictable. Start early and refresh every inning or two. Great with hot chicken wings, chopped liver, or cold hunks of salami. Sure to leave you feeling pounded. Penance may require recitation of a dozen Hail Moishes and several go rounds with the vacuum cleaner or sponge mop.

2 oz 151 proof white rum
4 oz Fever Tree Ginger Beer (no corn syrup)
Crushed ice
Orange wedge for garnish

Instructions: Pack a highball glass half-full with crushed ice. Add rum. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with orange wedge.


tph teenage moses

15 Nursery Rhymes For Your Passover Seder (two examples)


Oh, when the slaves go marching out,
Oh, when the slaves go marching out,
Lord how I want to be in that seder
When the slaves go marching out

And when the cups are filled with wine
And when the cups are filled with wine
Lord, how I want to be in that seder
When the cups are filled with wine

And when the Nile turns red with blood
And when the Nile turns red with blood
Lord, how I want to be in that seder
When the Nile turns red with blood
Wheels on the Bus  (I particularly relate to this one because I read to 4-year-old, one on one, once a week, and they really, really like to hear “Wheels on the Bus” over and over and…IGP)

The matzah at the seder go round and round.
round and round.
round and round.
The wheels on the table go round and round,
all through the hagaddah!

The Wine Cups at the seder go Up and Down
up and down
up and down
the 4 Cups at the seder go up and down
All through the haggadah

The people at the seder go lean lean lean.
lean lean lean.
lean lean lean.
The people at the seder lean lean lean,
all through the hagaddah!

The marror at the seder makes people go waa, waa, waa.
waa, waa, waa.
waa, waa, waa.
The marror at the seder go waa, waa, waa,
all through the hagaddah!

The impatient cynics at the seder go shh, shh, shh.
shh, shh, shh.
shh, shh, shh.
The impatient cynics at the seder go shh, shh, shh,
all through the hagaddah!

The Jews at the seder say, dayenu.
dayenu, dayenu
The Jews at the seder says, dayenu, too.
All through the seder


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