Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chag Sameach v'Kasher

Pesach is a funny time. We celebrate the Exodus, our escape from slavery, and our increased commitment to Hashem by cleaning, cooking, eating, and drinking. And somehow, we are supposed to morph all that into seeing ourselves as having been part of Yetziat Mitzrayim. And somehow, it works. Our preparations this year went really well. We were ready with a minimum of stress, and were even able to nap on erev Chag. (I don't think we sacrificed the sameach part of the chag for the kasher part. Maybe we even managed to balance the two!)We had a wonderful seder - just the immediate family. The kids were great, having prepared a number of divrei Torah, and participated beautifully. Ariella was the newest member of the reading group, with everyone taking turns reading from the Hagaddah. The afikomen was well and truly stolen and hidden, and the kids will deserve their presents. No matter how hard he tried and what bribes he offered, David could not break the (perceived) weakest link, Lola. After the soup, we needed to take an eating break, so we played Peasach Jeopardy, which was prepared and circulated by a member of our community. The seder was over by 12:38 (Dani checked) with all of the participants still fully involved. Of course, some were more tired than others, leading to the youngest family member to repeat many of the numbers of Echad mi yodea, since she was too punch drunk to be able to follow the lines of the song. Her fingers sort of landed wherever, and she kept singing. All in all, a fun, meaningful night.

The next day we hosted Yocheved and Jon and family for lunch. We had a great time, and will really, really miss them when they return to the U.S. We also have to thank them for getting up and out of the house to join us for lunch; it's not easy the morning after seder.

The first day of Chol HaMoed found us in the Old City, after much debate and back and forth about where to go. In the end, the Old City worked because we had it on reliable authority that it was not overly crowded, and a few other choices had been stricken because we were too tired to get moving early. We visited the Kotel, tried to get into the Churva Shul but were unsuccessful, visited the Burnt House and Herodian Quarter museums, had lunch and ice cream (the sign said "כשר לפח" instead of "כשר לפסח" which gave us all a good laugh, but if it's kosher for the can, it's good for us.), and returned home. A good time had by all.

The second day was a trip to Ma'arat Hanetifim - the Stalactite cave near Beit Shemesh. It was a nice ride (for those of us who don't experience motion sickness; sadly I cannot count myself among their numbers) and a nice tour. We got extra exercise from having to park relativly far away and walking to and from the car, and the signs there let you know how many calories you have burned from walking up the steps, all 175 after you emerge from the cave. How thoughtful. We capped the day off with a visit to the gourmet ice cream store in Modiin (if the calorie burning wasn't appreciated, we squandered its effects) and the neighboring fruit and vegetable store. Tomorrow will bring Shabbat preparations, and the cycle of cook, clean, eat, will begin anew.

Moadim L'simcha


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