What’s New?

And how was your seder? (Or, for those of you outside of Israel, seders…) In a way, after all that scrubbing and cleaning and prepping and cooking, it seems a bit of a letdown to get just one seder. There is a tradition here of having a second seder on the last night of Pesach, but I don’t think that is a full seder.

An interesting tradition as developed at our neighbors’ seder over the years: people have started bringing their own haggadot and reading in their mother-tongue language. So in addition to Hebrew and English, we get to hear parts of the haggadah in Russian and Spanish. Other languages represented at the table were German, Dutch, and Polish. But seriously, you need to hear the ten plagues recited in Russian! Very, very scary.

Every year, there is always something new that I manage to notice from the same old, traditional haggadah text. This year, I made two discoveries:

  1. In the discussion of the plagues, it becomes very clear that God gave the finger to the Egyptians. (The discussion starts with the interpretation that there was one plague for each finger of God.)
  2. Stuck in the middle of all the rabbinic discourse is a passing mention of Ben Zoma. It occurred to me that this guy must have had a really tough childhood. (Bad pun on ben zona, which is a very rude curse meaning ‘son of a whore’...)

Lame, you say? What do you expect after all those glasses of wine?

It may be hol hamo’ed, but we’re still working: Kids are on vacations, offices are running ghost shifts, and thousands of Israelis are taking their Pesach holiday outside the country, but here, I’m still plodding away, working through a knee-high stack of student projects.

I’m feeling smarter already: Ever forget where you left the car keys? Leave the house without the shopping list? Do you blank on names right when you are trying to introduce people? Do you have trouble remembering how old your cats are? Well, no worries. Israeli science innovation is once again to the rescue, this time with some brain food that is really supposed to work.

Big birthday alert: Nadine turns 13 on 11 April. She’s asking for a chocolate tuna cake. Other friends must deal with requests for strange piercings or inappropriate footwear, so I shouldn’t complain.

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One response to “What’s New?

  1. Heh.

    In our family, Ben Zoma is known as “the rabbi whose name you must say very carefully.”

    As for the discussions of the plagues–I always get a kick out of the way the rabbis were trying to one-up each other. I picture them sitting there saying, “Oh yeah? You think that’s a lot of plagues! Well, just listen to this!” and then laughing like drains. (Hey, they got four glasses of wine too.)

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