Thursday, March 27, 2014

And these are the ordinances that you shall set before them

And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this selfsame day have I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt; therefore shall ye observe this day throughout your generations by an ordinance for ever.
Exodus 12:17

It’s a well-known axiom that the day after you wash your car, it will rain.

Of course, here in Israel, where rain is considered a major blessing, this doesn't happen. In fact, one can find people washing cars every day in the hope of seeing a bit of precipitation. Can’t but hope, but it doesn't usually help.

Instead, this being Israel, where miracles happen, we live by a different axiom: the day after you wash all your windows before Pesach, there will be a major sandstorm.

True picture of my plants
Never fails.

(There are actually several such weather-related laws in Israel: a heat wave on Yom Kippur, rain on Purim, and heavy winds on Lag B’Omer, but I digress.)

After much research (20 minutes of talking on the phone to my friend E), I discovered a few more hard and fast rules pertaining to the observance of Pesach in Israel. I feel I should share in case some people believe that these things happen only to them. Here they are (in no particular order):

1. Children who won’t eat pasta year round suddenly develop a craving for it – 1 to 2 hours after giving away the last package to the local charity.

2. Those same children lose the craving approximately 10 seconds after you buy more pasta, which is on sale at the supermarket—six packages for 15 NIS. You are now stuck with six packages of pasta minus four noodles.

3. A cheap can opener bought on the principle that you can ‘get by’ with it as it only has to open about five cans a year will, by the end of the holiday, break down and refuse to open the one last can you need. 

4. When, because of the above, you are forced to open that last can by using a can punch left over from the old days when you opened cans of juice, the jagged edges created will cut your hand and make you bleed into the can of mushrooms.


5. If, after cutting your hand on the jagged edge of a can for 25 years, you finally break down and buy the most expensive and ginormous can opener you can find with plastic ergonomic handles, a stainless steel blade, and its own little box to store it, it will never work.

6. A key piece of equipment (e.g., a knife, spatula, wooden spoon) that you bought especially for Pesach will hide itself and won’t be found, even after you've cleaned the entire house – again. It can only be found in one of two ways: buy another, or wait to the end of the holiday and it will magically appear when you put all the Pesach stuff away.

7. The last box of cornflakes is always finished three days before the holiday, leaving you to eat leftover salad and stale crackers for breakfast.


8. Even when, on a normal basis, you expertly separate eggs, the one time a bit of yellow gets into the whites so that the whites don’t whip up is the time you are making a cake for your in-laws.

9. After spending about 20,000 NIS on food and cooking for 72 straight hours, there will be at least one person in the house who will open the fridge and announce, “I hate Pesach, there’s nothing to eat!”. 

nothing to eat
10. It’s impossible to remember the tunes to the songs in the Haggada that you sang last year, but you remember the ones you learned in school 40 years ago, which are NEVER the ones your spouse/hosts know.

11. Nobody ever remembers exactly how to kasher the microwave.

12. Every year, resolutions are made to be more organized / to get help / to take advantage of more or not to buy any pre-packaged food (depending on the household) / to plan better/ to have more time to enjoy the holiday. This never happens.

Feel free to let me know what laws I've missed out on so that I can celebrate Pesach to its fullest!

In the meantime, enjoy, appreciate, have fun, and relax.
And don't worry about the sandstorm. Dirt is not Chametz.