Pesach 5768 (2008) Overview

Pesach is just around the corner and preparations are already underway.  Our current guest list includes 7 gentlemen from a post-high school yeshiva program and two young ladies.  Our total count stands at 17 for all five meals.

My wife and family are already working on cleaning the house.    Some of the dry goods purchases have been completed, and now we are looking at the protein purchase (butchers bill) and the fresh produce.  To get the process started off on the right foot, we are making menus.  In the general way of things, I expect these menus to change over the next 10 days.  Yet, I want to keep them online and get your input.  Do you think they are too light, too heavy, or just plain not enough for our hungry guests?  Let us know!

There are five major meals that we need to prepare.
  1. Friday Night Dinner
  2. Early Shabbat Lunch (which must be eaten before 9:30am and that needs to include bread)
  3. Shabbat Lunch (around 1:30pm, that cannot include bread or matzoh)
  4. Seder Dinner
  5. First Day Lunch

We will be hosting a Second night dinner for those poor souls who do not feel that Israel is currently their home.  That meal will be left-overs from our house and from the houses of those who send their guests to participate.  I expect to post a special second seder report  sometime that night (after all, its no longer a holiday for Israelis in Israel).

To make my life easier, I'll post each of the menus and assorted recipes as separate blog entries.  I'll update them as they firm up, so don't expect them to remain constant!

Some introductory notes are in order.  We do not eat Kitniyot.  We eat Gebruckts.  We eat Peanuts and use Canola oil (following the opinion of the Egeret Moshe).  We hold by Heter-Mechira.  All our meat is Glatt, because that's what our butcher provides.  Otherwise, we hold Rabbanut for everything else.

Pesach is one of my favorite holidays, but it also makes me sad.  On Pesach, the nation of Israel was unified in purpose and act.  We left Egypt as one people, at the same time and with the same intentions.   To commemorate this event, we celebrate the Pesach seder.  One of the first acts in the seder is to read the "Ha Lach Maanya".

( The Passover Hagaddah)
This is the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat; whoever is in need, let him come and conduct the Seder of Passover. This year [we are] here; next year in the land of Israel. This year [we are] slaves; next year [we will be] free people.

Underlying this passage is an assumption that our fellow Jews will be able to eat ate our table.  We invite anyone, Jews included, to come and eat with us.  Yet, modern laws of Kashrut make eating at someone else's house an exercise worthy of a professional match-maker.  Are the host's traditions and actions in-line with the minimal requirements of the guests.

I have heard that in the Ultra-orthodox city next door, no-one can eat at a neighbors apartment because they might not hold the same Kashrut restrictions.  Instead of asking and embarrassing the neighbor, it was decided that everyone should eat at home.

To paraphrase the prophets, Woe that we have fallen so far.

May we be blessed in this and future holidays to share our home and hospitality with all of Israel in peace and health.


Dov said…
Hi Elliot! The idea of unity is throughout the Seder, there are a few examples here.

As for eating together, I agree, I'm personally pretty strict Kashrut-wise but that doesn't tend to stop me from enjoying eating at people's houses.
Rachel said…
As a chef who often puts corned beef on his menu, have you ever cooked it only the stove-top? If so, please describe how.
Elliot Jaffe said…
As it happens, I always make corned beef on the stove-top. Its simplicity itself (but it takes time). I put the beef in a large pot with more than enough water to cover then I boil it for a few hours (at least 3). Its important to try and keep the water level high enough to completely cover the beef. Then I drain the beef and let it dry for about 1/2 to 1 hour. Slice when cool and serve!

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