And the Pesach races begin
Last night we switched the house over. My two big kids and I worked from right after havdalah until 1:00am. My husband folded laundry, lots of laundry, while the three of us cleaned and covered surfaces. I do need to mention how grateful I am that my daughter gave up a fun Saturday evening with friends to come home to work and that my son was, as always, a great sport and a great worker. My husband got through a veritable Mt. Everest of unfolded laundry
We carried dishes and pots out of their usual places, pulled the Passover dishes and pots out of their hiding places. The during the year dishes are now all hidden away and the Passover stuff is ready for use.
I rarely dream. Last night I had several dreams. All of them were Passover anxiety dreams. I dreamed that someone was painting the hallway next to the bathroom so I couldn’t get there to take a shower and start my day. I dreamt that the furniture in my apartment was moved so I couldn’t get into my kitchen. I also dreamt that I woke up so exhausted that I spilled coffee beans and coffee grounds all over my kitchen while attempting to make my morning coffee. I woke up to discover, with great pleasure, that none of my dreams had come true.
One of my cousins in Israel just quipped that he didn’t understand why anyone would like Passover. I actually love the labor involved in getting all of the elements of the holiday to come together. It isn’t that I am a glutton for punishment.
One of the words for worship in Hebrew is avodah . The common translation of avodah is work, labor. But as I get ready for Passover I think of all of the hours and hors of prep as part of the visceral understanding of the directive in the haggadah, “In every generation we need to see ourselves as if it were we who were liberated from Egypt.”
I see getting ready for Passover as the Jewish version of the Zen priests whose spiritual practice is sweeping the monastery courtyard.
This morning I got the soup going.
I can’t help but think about my father as I cook for Passover. The work in this soup is less the actual cooking but much more in the straining and squeezing out all of the vegetables and bones after the soup is done.
The eggs for Seder are boiled. I plan to turn them into beet-eggs for the Seder plate simmering the cooked eggs in beet juice, sugar and vinegar and then letting the eggs marinate in the purple pickling juices for several days. The end result is incredibly beautiful, neon pink egg whites that glow next to the yellow egg yolks. Beet eggs were a discovery we made on a trip to Amish country a few summers ago. My kids suggested that our Seder plate eggs be beet eggs. I love the magenta egg on the Seder plate.I will make a few plain eggs for the guests who can’t stand beets.
I also made the chicken for one of the nights of Seder.
I made vaguely Indian chicken with turmeric, and cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon , onions apples and dates.
I have lots of work ahead of me. As I work I think about helping my parents do this very same work from the time I was a little kid. I think about how over the years my kids have become my work partners in this endeavor. I think about who will be sitting at our table this year, and who will not be with us this year.