Monday, April 11, 2011

What Every Jewish Woman Knows

This is part of what the God really said to the woman in the Garden of Eden:

"…And as if that is not enough, I shall give those women who come from you a holiday cycle that will remind them I am the Lord God and your actions have caused them to spend endless time in their kitchens. They will also have a holy week when their entire household will be dismantled, cleaned, and reassembled, only to be disassembled and reassembled at the end of the week. The men shall call this Pesach, for it will commemorate a great event, but the women shall call it God's Revenge for your transgression."


Every Jewish woman knows that the joy of Purim quickly gives way to the knee-knocking, knuckle-biting, insomnia-producing experience known as Passover. You don’t even have to be overly observant to get stressed out at the mere mention of the word.

Beginning with the day after Purim, you start thinking about what you’re not going to buy at the grocery store, quietly cutting the food budget in preparation for the BIG GOUGE when you have to buy your Passover groceries. You surreptitiously start really putting things away after they come out of the dishwasher. You start concocting strange recipes to use up the stuff you have in the pantry and the freezer.

Sleep is not something on which you can waste time the week before Passover. If you’re not at work, you’re cleaning. If you’re not cleaning, you’re throwing out stuff. If you’re not throwing out stuff, you’re in a corner rocking back and forth and sobbing. 

Kosher Pickles à la Chinese Walmart-
O-U, but definitely not pesadik
Often, I think kosher manufactures subscribe to the idea that we control untold treasure. I believe this based on the prices charged for anything labeled “Kosher L’Pesach.” If Breakstone's cottage cheese is regularly $3.49 for a container, count on the exact same container being $4.99 once its labeled for Passover….and that’s a modest increase. Five pounds (as in 5 boxes wrapped together in plastic) of Manischewitz matzah is currently on sale for  $13.99. A single box of egg matzah isn’t even a pound anymore, it’s only 12 ounces and it’s a whopping $3.99!

If you’re a meat-eater, keeping kosher is not exactly a frugal way of life in the first place; I won’t even begin to bore you with tales of obtaining the second mortgage necessary to buy a whole brisket or a decent size turkey.

By the time the seder rolls around, we’re really too tired to do much more than sit there for the retelling of the Exodus from Egypt, but after two cups of wine, up we pop like weebles, shlepping platters of gefilte fish and horseradish followed by bowls of soup (one matzah ball or two?), followed by more platters... sliced turkey and/or brisket, steaming bowls of potatoes, compote, and that perennial fave, Peshe's carrot ring, once the story telling pauses for the festive meal. And after meal, it's two more cups of wine, lots more singing, and then dishes until dawn...when the preparations start all over again!

Face it, you just haven’t lived until you’ve had a glass tea and pesadick chocolate nut bars, and Tante's sponge cake for dessert! (And no, you may not have my recipe for Idiot-Proof Passover Mousse so don’t ask.)

Despite all the kvetching, I will tell you the truth about Passover, if you want to hear it. The most magical of moments happens when we gather around the seder table. All over the world, Jews are sitting down together to retell the story of the departure from Egypt. We are commanded to remember that we were once slaves in Egypt. We are required to teach this to our children and our children's children. And it pays off. When we talk about childhood, we don't talk about Rosh HaShannah or Chanukah we talk about the seders: the food, the songs, the length.....but we tell the story of the departure from Egypt d'or l' dor....from one generation to the next. 

And that is why we have survived as an intact people for over 3000 years.

The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
As it is written: Let those who are hungry come and eat.



  1. My fondest memories are at your mother's seder.

    She never served pickled frog!! eeww.


  2. Ahhh the joys of Pesach... if your birthday falls in April, the first thing you check each year is to see if you will be celebrating with real cake or the imposter.

    If your birthday happens to be today, you will indeed be having the real McCoy tonight. Happy Birthday (to me)!

  3. " If you’re not throwing out stuff, you’re in a corner rocking back and forth and sobbing.

    I vote that Susan gets her own TV show ( esp now that Glenn Dreck is departing ! )