“My favorite part of Passover is the presents and the matzo treasure hunt,” said my five-year-old, the other day.
For the unfamiliar, during the seder, or ritual Passover meal, a piece of matzo (unleavened bread), is broken off and hidden. Traditionally, the younger family members are tasked with finding the piece of matzo (known as the afikomen), and may be rewarded with a gift. The size and amount of prizes given are at the discretion of the host family. Growing up, I remember getting a lot of books. I am pretty sure my kids are getting better stuff, but hey, that’s grandparents for you!
No matter our individual religions, most of us parents can lament the overblown nature of the holidays. I imagine many of my Christian friends are wondering how Easter got so consumerized, and how much money they will drop on baskets, eggs and other trinkets. I agree, it can all seem a bit much. Continue reading →
Judaism is a religion of numbers. Every aspect of life is marked by an important numerical value. We wait eight days to celebrate the birth of a baby boy. We find our moral code in the ten commandments. We read from the five books of the Torah. At Passover, we even sing a song, “Echad Mi Yodaya (Who Knows One?),” detailing many of the important numbers of Judaism. From one to 101, every number has a deep, spiritual meaning.
When I think about what I love so much about being Jewish, the answer always comes back to rituals and traditions. My favorite holiday, Passover, which millions of Jews will begin observing on Friday, is arguably the most ritual – laden of them all. The centerpiece of the holiday is the meal known as the seder, a word that literally means order. We eat certain foods, recite specific blessings and follow a routine laid out by a book called a “haggadah.”