Pesach Reflections — Ahhh, Pesach

By Yaron Wiesenbacher

It’s like Christmas for Jews but with less presents and mild constipation.

Afikoman? Sorry uncle Selwyn, but you can put a 200 rand note in the serviette this year — Inflation exists and the fifties just aren’t cutting it.
I love Pesach. Really I do.
I mean, can we talk about the boiled egg that gets served in salty water for a second? How great is that boiled egg? It’s served in salty water. A truly remarkable dish that other cultures should be jealous of. I genuinely wonder why others haven’t caught on to the deliciousness of the salty-water-egg-starter. Makes little to no sense really.

Now I know what you’re thinking, Pesach is nothing like Christmas and I would have to agree with you. One holiday is based on the birth of a Messiah. The other, is based on emptying your entire kitchen pantry. But hang in there, my comparison about the two festivals might make sense at some point. It also might not though.

Now, I have no research or numbers to determine how many Jews celebrate Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur, Purim or Succot or any of the other 28 chags we have. But what I do know is that most Jews find a Seder table every year. Whether they’re religious or not, most Jews will sit with their families on the first night of Pesach and tell the story of how Moses left Egypt.
Some families take half an hour to tell the story and some families, well, some families take eight days to tell the story. I personally don’t believe the story. It’s a little bit far-fetched and I struggle to fathom that they left in such a rush that the bread wasn’t able to rise.

What Jew in their right mind would not forecast the time of departure correctly?
My grandmother arrives at the airport for a flight 2 days before the boarding time.

But I really like matzah if I’m being honest. First bite on first night is always refreshingly delicious. I always seem to have the same thought though when it hits my mouth. Why do I not eat this all year round?
It’s a combination of texture and taste that makes me feel Jewish. To be fair, I get the same feeling when I eat chopped herring. Ooooofff, love me some chopped herring.
Let’s take some fish, mash it up and add two cups of sugar. Sounds good to me Sonia.
And the charoset. The matzah balls. The tzimmes. The tzimmes I tell you.
My good grapes, we eat some delicious food on Pesach.

But please, while I still barely have your attention, I have a burning question that I want to put forward. It’s a question I’ve been battling with my entire adult life. Why the sliced carrot on top of the gefilte fish? Why? The only answer that I have ever been given is that it just does. It just does Yaron. It just does.
Anyhoo, Pesach is my favourite chag.

I’m sure every family has their own traditions. Truth is, I’ve never seen anyone else’s traditions. That’s because I have spent every single Pesach with my family. Every single one.

I’m so lucky and unbelievably fortunate that I’ve got to do that. We ask so many questions on first night. Why is this night different from all other nights? For me, it’s because the question of who we spend it with, is not a question at all.

Pesach, it’s like Christmas, but really, it’s not like Christmas.


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