Tonight marks the first night of the long 8 night/7 day journey that is Passover (or Pesach, if you want to be Jewish about it). The big question that’s on my mind is: will I survive another full week of eating Matzah in place of bread?
“This Matzah that we eat, what reason has it?” Also, how the hell do you actually spell Matzah? Well there seems to be no wrong way to spell it as I’ve seen it spelled “Matzah”, “Matza” and even “Matzo”. So what is Matzah and why do we eat it during Passover? Well before I can tell you, you must learn what Passover is.
Passover is the annual holiday where Jews celebrate the fact that Moses freed us from the Egyptians and walked through the desert for forty years to return us to the Holy Land (aka Israel). We “celebrate” by punishing ourselves. So what is Matzah and why are we forced to eat it?
Matzah is supposedly unleavened bread. It’s basically like a giant, bland, cardboard cracker and we eat it instead of the tasty leavened bread that we eat the other 51 weeks of the year. But why? Well, it’s to remind us that the Jews, when trying to escape Egypt, didn’t have time to wait for their bread to rise, so they were forced to eat unleavened bread for forty years. I guess I should be thankful I just have to eat unleavened bread for one week each year. I couldn’t take forty years of Matzah, it’s not very good.
So what else do we do on Passover? Well, we get together with our family members and have what is called a seder (pronounced say-der). Now my family used to have two seders every year, once on the first night and a second one on the second night. But that became too much for us, so we just have one every year instead.
During this seder we read aloud (each of us takes turns reading paragraphs) from what is called the haggadah (pronounced ha-ga-duh). Basically it recalls the story of Moses and how he freed the Jews (like the book form of the movie “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston, but the book came first obviously). See, the problem with my family is that the second seder would be the same as the first, instead of reading the second half the haggadah, we would read the first half again. To this day I’ve never read the entire haggadah; once we get to supper time we just stop.
Then there are some songs we sing. I’m not entirely sure why. I’ve never bothered to ask and they’re in Hebrew so I have no idea what any of the words I’m saying means. Because I’m a terrible Jew, in that I don’t really know much Hebrew.
In case you’re wondering I do get to wear a yarmulke (pronounced ya-ma-ka), or kippah (pronounced key-pah) or, as one my friends so eloquently put it, the “funny Jewish hat”.
I’m not really sure what else to say. I can’t wait for this week to be done, I’m not a fan of Passover (or any holiday that says I can’t eat stuff, such as Yom Kippur). But oh well, I’m sure I’ll survive and then I’ll celebrate surviving by eating a pizza. Happy Passover!
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