The eight day (well for us in Israel seven days, actually) Jewish holiday of Passover starts with a bang, namely the most important part of the whole holiday, the Passover seder! The Passover seder involves the re-telling of the story of the Jewish people's exodus from Egypt and includes eating lots and lots of matzo, at specific points in the seder, as well as drinking four glasses of wine or grape juice or some combination of the two. And of course there is also a festive meal! Outside of Israel the Passover seder is actually observed on two nights, something those of us in Israel just can't imagine, and vice versa, but in any case as the Passover seder approaches it is truly an exciting time, as there is something very special about Passover, and the idea that even today the holiday is an opportunity to leave behind those things to which we are slaves is awesome!
The house, and especially the kitchen, is sparkling clean, the spices are fresher than fresh, and even my Moroccan salads had more vivid colors than the rest of the year......what can I say, to re-live our deliverance from slavery in Egypt is truly special, and this year we did it with our entire family as well as the guests dressed in festive Moroccan robes.......truly a sight to behold, though not unique to our family, many Moroccans do the same. Not only are our clothes spared from wine stains, the ethnic element goes really well with the Egypt theme! Not to mention that robes are perfect for reclining, which is what we do during the seder when eating the specified portions of matzo and drinking the four cups of wine. "Reclining" is interpreted differently in every home, and some homes even put a bed at the head of the table, or eat around a low table. At our seder table each person has a pillow on their chair, and we simply lean to the left.
As usual I was rushing until the last minute to finish all the preparations for the holiday, I did manage to take a few quick photos, as in accordance with Jewish law we do not use any electronic devices like cameras and phones, for example, on Jewish holidays, so I could only capture the table in its pre-holiday state, not really in all its true glory!
And the matzo? We eat only hand baked "shmura" matzo which is round, as opposed to the square machine baked matzo most people are familiar with. The hand baked matzo is generally preferred by those who like to observe the laws stringently, and since it is more expensive, many opt to eat the hand baked matzo for the seder, and machine baked matzo during the rest of Passover. We on the other hand, like most of those in our community eat only hand baked matzo.
And the seder plate filled with symbolic foods? You won't be surprised to hear that ours is a very large round brass platter made in Morocco. Admittedly it is a bit large for our table, but I love it, so we just make room. And that my friends is all for now, I'll be back soon to post about some of the specifics of our table, namely those flower arrangements and floral napkins rings, see you soon, and wishing you a wonderful Passover holiday!