It’s times like these I am so thankful I’m not a Jew.
So, we do the whole Passover and Unleavened Bread thing. They seem like pretty Jewish observances, and I guess I’d always assumed that the Jews keep them in the same way that we do. (Well, besides Passover, because…right.) But, I mean, the Bible is pretty clear on what you’re supposed to do for Unleavened Bread. And really, putting leavening out of your house and not eating leavening for a week isn’t a huge deal.
My friend Jo is a Jew. (Jo the Jew, ha ha.) She and I went shopping at the mall today because she wanted to hit Bootlegger in celebration of her finishing her GI exam this morning. Right now is “Passover” time for them, so we were talking about all the things that they have to do for it. I tell you what, having Jo around for the past couple of years has been an enlightening experience. She and I would always write our deferred exams because of the Sabbath together. But what I thought was funny was that she had to get her exams switched not because she was resting on the Sabbath and couldn’t work, but because she couldn’t write. She can study on the Sabbath; that’s not a big deal. The problem comes when she has to write. And so she gets her exams moved.
Jo always goes home for Passover because it’s really hard for her to eat here, but I’d never really understood why. Some of the things I learned today: they have to have two sets of dishes – one for dairy and one for meat, because those can never touch. But they also have to have special Passover dishes, which means they have to have a total of four different sets of dishes. For them it’s not just about not eating leavening; it’s about not eating pretty much everything besides matzos. They have to specially order food from Israel for Passover. They’re not allowed to eat corn (Jo didn’t really know why), and therefore aren’t allowed to drink Diet Coke because it has corn syrup in it. One year at the synagogue Passover meal Diet Coke was served by accident, and after that they were never allowed to use those same dishes for Passover meals ever again. They’re only allowed to make food with matzah meal, instead of regular flour, so everything ends up tasting the same. Jo wanted Ben & Jerry’s today at the mall, but then she remember that it’s Passover, and Ben & Jerry’s isn’t kosher for Passover. They’re allowed to eat almonds, but not peanuts. They’re only allowed to drink special Passover juices, like prickly pear somethin’-er-other from Israel. Something about them not being allowed to cook or heat things up. One year she was in Kingston for a couple days during Passover and she had nothing substantial and Passover kosher that she was able to eat, so she ended up eating a lemon for lunch.
I think it’s pretty clear that this is not what God intended when He instituted Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Passover to the Jews has become a burden, not something that’s reflective of a larger spiritual lesson. I think if God were so concerned about our dishes, He’d have let us know. I have enough to think about with the spiritual side of things. I am so glad I don’t have to eat lemons for lunch.