Monday, April 21, 2008

We were slaves in Egypt, and I'm hungry dammit!!!

Poker Chick is not a fan of Passover. Well, let's rephrase. She likes the first two days. But it's the days after that suck. You're at work and you can't buy a bagel on your way. No sandwich for lunch. No Tasti-Di-Lite on the way home. And if you're traveling you're just SOL. If you're like Poker Chick (who hates matzah), it makes for a great Jewish version of the low-carb diet.

But this year is feeling different already. Sure, the hunger is still there (the asparagus-dill soup she spent an entire day cooking isn't quite cutting it). But it's been put into context. This year, Poker Chick was reminded of some spiritual theory behind Passover (Pesach). Here's the shocking reminder: It's supposed to feel restrictive!! We were slaves in Egypt for g-d's sake! So for eight (or seven) days you're supposed to suffer a little so you can be reminded that your people had it hard some several thousand years ago. You want we should suffer? We'll tell you how to make a Jew suffer: you limit their food options. Yep, we teach em young: us Jews are all about the food and the money (another fact Poker Chick was reminded of as she watched the mini in her first real negotiations for the Afikoman).

That's right, Poker Chick just used a cheap stereotype for a quick laugh. (Stop laughing if you're not Jewish. It makes you an anti-semite). But seriously, there is a cleansing component to Passover we often overlook. So this year, with renewed optimism, Poker Chick decided to take a slightly less negative approach to Pesach this year. It's an experiment. She doesn't usually do optimism.

So here are several themes to Passover she has been reminding herself of:
  1. It's not supposed to be a week of binge-eating. If "suffering" for Poker Chick is taking away bread for a few days, then she's got it pretty damn good. And she'd better remember how spoiled she is and appreciate it. Moral point one, check! Bonus points for donating food to the homeless!
  2. If you live in Israel you already know to associate Passover with spring. If you don't, you may or may not realize it always gets warm and sunny right before Passover. Spring may be on the calendar late March, but it never really arrives until just before the holiday and this year was no different. Passover was "late" and so was the warm weather. Here in New York, we had temps in the 40s and then suddenly a beautiful 80-degree day right before. As if mother nature was announcing: "Ok peeps! It's finally time for Passover now!" Yes, that's exactly what she said. "Peeps". So not the point. Just accept it and move on. Spring and sun make this girl happy. Then again, so do the two pairs of sunglasses she recently bought in preparation for the summer.
  3. Spring is an opportunity to clean house. So as we focus less on food, we are free to do things we've been neglecting like switch our closets, dust off the resume, that sort of thing.
  4. Spring is also an opportunity to "clean inner house" i.e. our soul (hold cheesy comments, please). We get to examine bad habits and relationships, re-connect with friends and family as we wish them a happy holiday, and reconnect to our faith as well.
  5. If nothing else, it's an eight day reminder of how we're different than everyone else. She can't think of any other religion that wouldn't recoil from horror at finger puppets of "boils" and "lice". But not us. We give them to kiddies and laugh together.
One day in and Poker Chick is already feeling spiritually superior to three days ago. Case in point: one of the bad mental habits Poker Chick is trying to fix is thinking of Passover as an annoyance. Then again, it helps that she recently scored a fridge in her office. So today she was free to stock it with supplies like cherry tomatoes, cheese, fruit, and jelly and butter for the occasional matzah. Mmmm....butter. Maybe this Passover thing's not so bad.


ALM said...

I wanted to get those ten plagues finger puppets - but they were sold out!! Sold. Out. At TWO Bed Bath and Beyonds!! I got the 10 Plagues bowling pins instead. They are a riot.

I didn't prepare at all this year for passover... so until the Fresh DIrect order comes we're eating Matzah with cream cheese and yogurt.

Yep. I'm a good mom.

Poker Chick said...

That is TOO Funny