State of the House, Passover 2011

Misidentified biblical verse

What’s Wrong with this Picture?
The above picture appeared on the cover of Friday’s alon, Matzav Haruach. Anyone notice a slight problem? My husband is convinced Israelis don’t realize that the holidays are mentioned in the Torah portion of Re’eh in Devarim (Deuteronomy), as well as in Shemot (Exodus). Outside of Israel, the section from Re’eh is read in the summer and three times a year on the last day of Pesach, Shemini Atzeret, and the second day of Shavuot. In Israel it’s not read on any holiday. You can just imagine what the editor was thinking when he or she presumably “corrected” the reference.*

Rabbi Yuval Cherlow once mentioned that “people” don’t know that the holidays are mentioned in Devarim.  My husband pointed out that this was not true of non-Israelis, who read the section in the synagogue on every holiday.  Rabbi Cherlow replied, “But that’s an onesh (punishment).”

Pesach preparations chez Mom in Israel were low-key, although still a ton of work. A death in the family puts all those cleaning chores into perspective. Here’s what’s happening in my house today.

  1. My finger is bandaged, after an accident with an unfamiliar knife just before bedikat chametz (searching for leavened foods the night before the seder). My son drove me to the health fund’s after-hours clinic for a quick gluing.  It hurts and typing is hard, but it was a good way to get out of washing all those vegetables.
  2. I’ve spent the morning desperately searching for my longest plastic tablecloth, which I use to cover the dining table when fully extended. I think I must have replaced it with one that I thought I used for something else. Don’t worry if that makes no sense—it does to me. It has to do with one of those mystical things that we women assign to different objects, especially around Pesach.
  3. Very little food has been cooked so far. It’s just 7 of us including one soldier son.
  4. Four Five kilograms of beets await cooking. This was because I put in a bulk produce order and 5 kilograms was the minimum quantity. Half a kilo was dirt. I managed to pass off a kilo of beets to a neighbor. Only a few family members are fond of beets, but I have a lot of company for the last part of the holiday. I hope they enjoy them.
  5. I only remembered on Sunday to think about what my kids would wear on the holiday. Fortunately, with the help of my teenage daughter, we found or bought what we needed.

To my Jewish readers: I hope your Pesach preparations went smoothly. I wish you an enjoyable and meaningful seder (sedarim) and holiday.

חג אביב שמח

*The picture contains a verse about observing the month of spring and Passover, from Deuteronomy 16:1, but lists the source as Exodus instead.

State of the House, Passover 2010


  1. Beets! My mother-in-law makes borsht every year for Pesach. It takes her two hours and she and Isaac have one glass of the stuff and then in May or June I throw the bottle away. This year she didn’t come for the first time in about 15 years because my sister-in-law had a baby girl on Shabbat. Needless to say no beets or borsht for poor Isaac.

    Sorry about your finger–hope it gets you lots of help.

    Have a wonderful chag.

    • So far we’ve roasted some and marinated some with garlic and ginger. Both were excellent. My finger is much better. Chag sameach.

      • recipe for marinated beets please! We actually like them a lot in salad…

      • I made roasted root vegetables (including beets) for second seder and they were excellent. Instead of plain roasting with oil/salt/pepper, I added some orange juice and a little lemon juice and they were terrific! I’m having some leftovers for lunch today.

  2. Oy! Refuah shlaimah!

    Chag kasher v’samei’ach!

  3. Clothing, that’s so far from a mourner’s mind. All those logistics while still in shloshim. HaMakom yenachem…

  4. Laura Harper says

    I am a long time lurker on your site and I feel I should come out and say hello. I’m very sorry for the loss of your father.

    I’m drawn to your wisdom as a mother and I’m fascinated by what life is like in Israel. I’m a Christian, but I hope you won’t hold that against me. I just wanted to say thank you for your blog. I wouldn’t have known about the horrendous murder in Itimar without it, or about how to kasher a kitchen for Pesach (not that I ever will, necessarily, but I do appreciate the level of work involved).

    My mother is traveling to Israel in just a few weeks as a tourist (not to evangelize) and I’m so jealous.

    The internet is an amazing thing.

  5. Oy, sorry MII for letting you down re the beets. My husband was too quick off the mark and bought some before you could get yours round to me. I did appreciate the lemons though ;-). It was just as well I didn’t take any more beets off you – my granddaughter who used to gobble them up seems to have lost her appetite for them. Anyone for beetroot salad?

    Your house sounds about as “organized” as mine was on erev Pesach… it’s lovely when Pesach comes in. It’s just the getting there that’s so hard.

    Chag sameach (rather belated) to you and all your readers.