We are about to celebrate the holiday of many, many questions. Why is this night different from every other night? I will tell you. Because if you are nuts like me, you have been preparing for it for the last four to six weeks. If you are nuts like me, you have been going from store to store finding the cheapest price on tuna fish (88 cents per can at Shoprite limit four per variety, but whoever buys the tuna in oil?). You only buy the Kosher for Passover Coke and Diet Coke when it is five for $5 and you shlep to Monsey to save 50 cents per bottle on orange soda.
You read every circular from every supermarket and circle the products that have the best deals. If you are nuts like me, you make sure to cash in on all of your free matzos (25 pounds in total, not to be confused with the 25 pounds you will gain if you are at a hotel). And you will get your free precious little kosher frozen roasting chicken that weighs four pounds or less (not to be confused with the four pounds or less you will gain if you are staying home). If you are nuts like me, you will go to Stop & Shop every day for a week to get the Elite milk chocolate bars that your skinny son likes so much and stock up on lolly cones because at only four in a box, there never seem to be enough. Why is this night different than other nights? Because the morning before the seder when you are in the produce department, you will still wonder how it is ok to use romaine lettuce for so many of the compartments on the seder plate and you question the freshness of that scary looking horseradish root.
You will try to remember if you are supposed to serve “roasted” food or if you are supposed to serve “baked” food and you will probably mumble one or two profanities when you realize that you have no idea where your chopper is to make the charoset. You will always have a bunch of relatives that you love surrounding you or you will be alone because your relatives don’t really love you or you will just be surrounded by your children who you love enough to make up for the fact that no one else wanted to spend yom tov with you. Why is this night different than any other night, indeed!
Why at the Monsey supermarket is there a kosher for Passover line only? Are they afraid that the one woman there in pants might secretly take her challah and crumble it up into the kosher for Passover barbeque-flavor matzah crumbs? Are they afraid a regular Cheerio will want to hang out with its Fruity-O cousin and jump into the box? I was on this lane with some cookies and challah rolls (with my other kosher for Passover products) and the guy thought that I was going to steal my evil chametz wares, but alas, I informed him that I would not take them out of the cart in order not to treif up the checkout line. And all was good.
Another question…are you gebrokts or non-gebrokts? More importantly, what is a gebrokt? I have absolutely no idea. If people don’t eat food made with matzo meal, how do they eat matzah? Isn’t matzah meal chopped up matzah? No idea whatsoever. How can a holiday based around matzah have people that can’t eat food made with matzah meal? Is that the same question? Again, no idea. When I was in Monsey buying my inexpensive orange soda and $2.99 per jar of mayonnaise the woman giving out samples asked me if I ate gebrokts. I looked at her and said, “Ma’am, I eat everything.” So I still don’t know what it means and the cookie she gave me was really good. Gebrokts or non-gebrokts, didn’t matter to me.
Why on all other nights we eat sitting upright or reclining and on this night, we all recline? Hmm, I don’t think they are talking to me. I don’t seem to be doing much reclining. Refereeing, yes. Waitressing, yes. Manic cleaning of the spilled wine on the white table cloth (Every. Single. Year.), yes. Reclining? No, that will happen when everyone has retired to their rooms and I am downstairs with my extra large cup o’ Eliyahu, finishing the leftovers…if ya catch my meaning. Not so much reclining for me during the seder, but I do enjoy watching my boys recline (not so much the older bald one, but, technically, he is one of the boys so we will let this one slide).
So many questions, so little time. Eight days. All this prep for Eight days. Where memories are made, matzah is eaten, and we are taken back in time. Enjoy the holiday, kids!
Banji Ganchrow is a self-proclaimed writer who enjoys the whole “home for Passover” experience because it totally feeds into her martyr complex.
By Banji Latkin Ganchrow