When I looked at my calendar a couple weeks ago and saw Holy Week with Passover (conveniently?) falling on Good Friday, I took a deep breath. Sometimes I want to shrug off the burden of tradition, of being the one who is responsible for making the memories happen. It's work. It's hard. And more often then not the energy that goes into creating the atmosphere and activities, the meals and the memories is not a harmonious family affair. How I wish it was! No. Instead it's disobedience and food coloring squirted while dying eggs. It's chipped water goblets during a special meal, foot puncture wounds while castle constructing with toothpicks, and a host of other escapades that leave me tired and uncertain if all this living by experience is worth it.
A while ago we practiced the tradition of Sabbath regularly every Friday. However, it's been some time since we've done so and the girls asked numerous times this month if we would celebrate a Messianic Passover. I knew the work it would involve, but the answer ultimately was simple. YES!
Much like Sabbath, the Passover celebration is slightly magical. It stirs your heart and is imbued with such meaning that everything has significance and purpose. From the deep meaning of the Seder plate, to the pure fun of setting a place for Elijah and the children searching for the afikomen, Passover is about teaching our children their spiritual heritage in a fun and meaningful way. Pickle was especially excited to ask the four questions this year. Sweet Potato did a great job helping her study.
To make Passover manageable, I try to keep it simple. We do an abbreviated service from Martha Zimmerman's Celebrating the Biblical Feasts. Our Seder is punctuated by small pauses for completing cooking, dishing food, questions and comments galore, and the inevitable potty break. It's okay. We're not in a rush.
This year our meal was:
- green beans
- roasted potatoes with scallions and brown butter (similar to this recipe)
- baked chicken with orange juice and Israeli Za'atar marinade (loosely from this recipe)
- Swedish lemon cardamom and cinnamon cake (based on this recipe)
We also had matzah and a favorite in our home, charoset, which is meant to represent the clay used by the enslaved Israelites in Egypt. It's traditionally made with walnuts, honey, cinnamon, apples, and sweet red wine. Since Pickle's seizure medicine requires she stay away from alcohol, I substituted the wine with Raspberry Shrub I found at market. It was delicious!
We also didn't have a lamb bone, and I didn't want to buy one, so we used a chicken leg bone from earlier in the week. I know, it's not what you are supposed to have, but for us it's more important to be together celebrating than worrying if we have all the precise accouterments. In other words, don't sweat the small stuff.
Most of the Haggadah is recited before the meal, but there is a portion which is said afterwards. Oh how I adore closing the Seder. The entire service is spent looking back and yet it ends looking to the future when Christ returns and establishes the New Jerusalem. It's full of hope. It's awe-some. So on this Easter weekend, as we wait for Resurrection Sunday, I leave you with the closing lines of our Passover Seder.