Passover, Easter & Me
Posted April 24, 2011on:
I have long said that we celebrate any holiday that involves presents or candy. That’s how liberal we are.
So my ears perked up when I heard about a seder meal that Christian friends went to Friday night. Christians do a seder as a reminder that the Passover meal was the Last Supper.
The point of the seder to Jews is telling the story of the Jews in bondage in Egypt, their escape, and forty years in the desert before they would be worthy to enter the land of Israel.
It is a meal that uses symbols to remember and feel the bitter and the sweet. On the table are two types of bitter herbs to symbolize the bitterness and harshness of slavery; a sweet mixture of fruits and oils to symbolize the mortar that Jewish slaves used to lay bricks for pharaoh; another vegetable to be dipped in salt water to remember the tears; a roasted lamb bone to illustrate a sacrifice of the lamb; and a roasted egg, also representing sacrifice.
Also on the table is a stack of three matzos – the unleavened bread that is reminder that the Jews had no time to let their bread rise when they were fleeing from Egypt.
The matzo t is broken in half during the meal. One half is saved for “dessert” as the afikoman. It usually is hidden and children search for it, getting a prize for its discovery.
At one house that we go, one of the kids steals the afikoman. When their father is shocked to learn this has happened again, he offers to pay a reward to get it back.
He gives each child at the table a silver dollar. He then goes and gets other prizes, coming back with a set of small and large boxes. Each child may keep the silver dollar or pick one of the small boxes, opens it with great anticipation and we all laugh.
Each child then can keep the small box or trade it for what’s inside the big box. Nearly all do. Who wouldn’t want to know what’s inside those boxes? And Roger and Carol shop throughout the year for quirky items.
Sadly, the kids are all grown and fewer get home these days for Passover. Kids are now in college and beyond. Last year, after I begged a bit, I was allowed to get boxes myself. You can see my prize in the photo.
I’m told at the Christian seder there was an additional instruction:
“You can’t search for the afikoman until you find your Easter eggs.”
It’s a great world. It’s good to celebrate it.