Friday, April 18, 2008

Thank you, G-d

This is a post in which I am annoyed.

Feel free to pass it by.

My mother called me last night. I was tired and had had a stressful day. After my mother detailed her extensive search for Nyafat (seriously, fake chicken fat), she informed me that there was something wrong with Passover this year.

What was wrong, you ask?

Well according to the temple handout on it, which my parents get because they are members and Chris and I are too cheap and lazy to pay for a temple membership yet... anyway, according to the handy temple handout... Passover starts on Shabbos this year. Shabbos, for those that don't know, is the Jewish Sabbath, and runs from sundown on Friday night to sundown on Saturday night. And because it starts on Shabbos this year, it means that we have to start eating Passover food A DAY EARLY.


Because obviously G-d has decreed this. =P

Anyway, some stupid religious law or something. But what this means is that from 10 am onwards today (why 10 am? No clue, always been 10 am), we can eat nothing but kosher for Passover food. Except for the handy little catch that we CAN'T EAT ANY MATZO yet, because we haven't had the first Passover Seder (and won't, until Saturday night). We can eat egg matzo, the handout says, although my Orthodox relatives disagree with that. (For those that care, we're going to eat the egg matzo anyway.)

So this means that I not only have eight days of Passover, I now have nine days of Passover food to prepare and eat, and I'm totally not ready. My kitchen cabinets have not been changed over yet or cleaned. My fridge has not been cleaned and changed over yet. The whole point of Passover is that you're not supposed to have any chumetz (leavened food, like bread, etc) in the house, or at least, if you do have it, it's got to be quite cleverly hidden, lest you accidentally eat it. I have been training Chris over the years, and he's gotten quite good at not eating it. But still. you're still supposed to have a chumetz-free kitchen, as much as possible (our leavened food goes and lives in our hall closet with the coats), and it's supposed to be clean. Is my kitchen clean? No, not at the moment.

And, here's the best part of Passover starting on Shabbos.

Traditionally, at 10 am on the day of the first Passover Seder, you burn some of the chumetz in your house, to show that you've gotten rid of it, and it's now a "chumetz-free" Passover home. Except, since it's Shabbos this year, you're not allowed to set things on fire, since striking a match is considered "work" and you don't work on the sabbath. So instead, the temple handout suggests that you symbolically flush your chumetz down the toilet, or perhaps throw it out.


I will be tossing a bag of stale bagels and pita bread into the garbage tomorrow. And to make G-d happy, I shall label it "Symbolic Chumetz". Oy. =)


jsbangs said...

Heh. I sympathize, since my wife and I try to follow the Orthodox Christian fasting rules, which are similarly full of weird quirks and odd rules and loopholes. (Except for this year, because my wife is pregnant and therefore exempt, and having her be exempt meant that my fast was pretty marginal, too.)

At the same time, the rules lawyer in mean really digs into this arcana and enjoys it in a perverse way. Thanks for sharing this with us!

Kristine Overbrook said...

An interesting and complicated religion. :) Thank you for sharing.

Chumplet said...

That is so informative and fascinating. It's curious how ancient scripture spawn some crazy rules, and everyone forgets why they exist.

I practiced Catholicism, but didn't get it right so I gave up.

Do you read Michael Wex's books?

Elissa M said...

Maybe religions have weird rules just to make sure you're paying attention. Besides, complicated rules in religion and law is how lawyers and religious leaders justify their occupations.

Julie Weathers said...

Well, I both sympathize with you and admire your dedication.

Is it wrong to admit I almost crave a biblical reason to clean my kitchen?


Meg Stout said...

I was fascinated a year or two ago when I took aboard the idea of getting rid of leavening for passover - spring cleaning took on a whole new meaning for me.

For better or worse, my religion doesn't require me to do spring cleaning. There is an unfortunate side to that...

Just_Me said...

Enjoy your Passover!

Anonymous said...

are you shomer shabbas? if not, i say do what's right for you, even if it means burning on shabbat! its a matter of what feels right for your needs.

Rachel said...

Happy Passover :)

Chro said...

I don't think I've ever heard of a set of religious rules that asked you to 'symbolically flush' something down the toilet. For some reason I find that hilarious. Brings a whole knew meaning to the saying, 'praying to the porcelain god'.

Sher said...

Wow. That's a lot of religious "stuff" to do. The most work we Southern Baptists ever have to do around this time of year is bake ham and hide eggs. (Since you're not SB, you may not know this, but we almost never hide the eggs in the baked ham.)