Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Passed Over, Passed Out

Thank gawd Passover only happens once a year.

I say that every year, as does the Dear Husband. Probably most Jews say the same thing too.

However, the DH's family is the only one we know personally who do TWO nights of the Seder. 

For those that don't know, Passover is a telling of how the Jews escaped from Egypt Back in the Day. Most Jews do a 20 minute ceremony hitting the highlights and then get to eating for the evening, cheerfully giving thanks to the Kick@$$ Lord Above for smiting the Egyptians with one helluva Pimp Hand.

Not the DH's family.

They invite too many people to sit comfortably around the table. They do all the prayers. The incredibly off-key singing that sounds like a funeral dirge on quaaludes. The asking, Why is this night different from all other nights? The long retelling with the fuzzy logic math and trickle-down theories on just how many damn plagues hit the Egyptians before they were persuaded to let the Jews run along.

And that's before the food.

It usually takes 30-45 minutes of this stuff before we get to stuffing our faces. The stuffing-of-faces is also ridiculous. 

Hard-boiled eggs, chopped liver, gefilte fish, brisket, turkey, kugel, pickles, mazto,  cranberry sauce, matzo ball soup, veggies that were stock for the matzo ball soup, macaroons, and whatever other desserts that are kosher for Passover pile up on everyone's plates. Diets are not allowed.

Again, all this for TWO DAMN NIGHTS.

The only saving grace for the DH and I is that there's wine involved. Four glasses of wine, to be exact. Most Jews take a dainty sip at each point in the ceremony where they're supposed to drink. Not us. We ride our bicycles over to his parents' house just so that we take FULL advantage of those four glasses of wine. Being buzzed definitely helps us get through the ceremony without much pain. Or cohesion, for that matter.

DH's dad came from a line of men who feel that whatever temple they belong to isn't religiously strict enough, and he maintains that viewpoint with the two-night rule. The alleged original reason a family would have two nights of this ridiculous stuffing-of-faces is for the married children; they'd be able to go to each set of parents' house for Passover. Not applicable to DH and his sister, as they each married non-Jews, so they each show up to their parents' house for both nights.

The real reason?

DH's cooks an obscene amount of food and she wants to make sure we all eat it instead of her. 


However, a new wrinkle and potential savior for us may be in the making...

Usually during the 30-45 minutes of pre-eating ceremony, DH's mom sneaks off to the kitchen to "make sure the food's ready".  DH's bro-in-law caught on to that trick and started going in to "assist" starting about five years ago, leaving the rest of us to ponder the real smiting capabilities of the plagues that hit the Egyptians with DH's dad reciting Hebrew.

This year, DH's dad started bringing the hammer down by demanding that DH's mom and bro-in-law stay in their seats the entire ceremony. That put a damper on their fun (which is fine by the rest of us, since now we're all in the same miserable boat together).

So now DH's mom is saying, I'm not going to do Passover here at the house anymore. I'm eighty-one years old and that's too damn old to keep doing this. You'll have to figure out where you're going to go for the Seder next year. 

I think the natural assumption on DH's mom's part was that the DH's sister would take over Seder duty. 

That's a big negatory on that assumption, apparently.

Our response?


Which of course is NOT the response DH's parents are looking for. But DH's mom gave DH the recipe for her brisket. It's damn good brisket, up the recipe means DH's mom is more serious about not doing the Seder than we had previously thought.


She'll probably change her mind by next year, but in the meantime I'm going to dream of not having to strictly diet for a week after the Seder to lose the six damn pounds I've still to shake to get back down to fighting weight.

Seeing family is fine, but the ceremony needs to go.


Phil said...

How's this: The new missus is Jewish. I went to two Seders (her family, then her uncle's). Two separate and different ceremonies.

We take turns reading the story. I got to read about how Evil(tm) the Egyptians were. Can you see the irony? I had fun with it.

Also, the meatballs at one place and the lamb chops and halibut at the other made up for the long story.

Then there's the butterscotch and chocolate covered matzah...

Enough to make this Goy want to go back...But can we please get the Reader's Digest version of the story?


Busta Armov said...

Not to mention I had the annoyance of being the youngest at the table the first night. 50 years old and I'm still doing this crap.

I'm still amused at our most recent interpretation of a bunch of rabbis staying up all night drunk off their asses, arguing about God giving the Egyptians the finger.

RedDiabla said...

Phil: well, you ARE still a terrorist, no?

And where do they get butterscotch-covered matzo? Cos I need some of that!

Dear Husband: being the youngest male at these things isn't the worst thing that can happen to you. Just ask your nephew!(Sorry everyone, inside joke)

Phil said...

I'm afraid they didn't "get" the butterscotch/chocolate covered matzah: Her mom made it.

Apparently, it's very simple to make.

Gary Clair said...

I had a religious debate with my mormon ex in-laws one time that left him depressed for years, questioning his faith. He started drinking again, and stopped going to church.

...and people say i'm a nice guy. :D

RedDiabla said...

Gary: who the hell says you're a nice guy?!

Phil: oh jeez, if I can't buy it, it ain't happening for me. Damn!