Passover is a holiday you may know as the time when your Jewish friends eat weird-looking matzah sandwiches for every meal. Their struggle, however, is much greater than just living on matzah for eight days.
The feast at the end of each Passover seder might possibly be the most highly anticipated meal out there. A “short seder” turns into a four and a half hour road block between you and your dinner, where the focus shifts away from tradition and towards your grumbling stomach. The 15 traditional parts of the seder can also be defined as these 15 stages of a hungry Jewish grandchild waiting for his or her meal:
1. You get to Bubbie’s house and endure the thirty minutes of compliments, questions and remarks from all the relatives.
“How’s school? You look good! Have you lost weight? Make sure your mother is feeding you. Are you dating that boy in all your photos on the Facebook? Do you know how to fix this flashing light on my cell phone?”
2. You see that it’s 5 o’clock and calculate that you’ll eat around 6 pm, maaaybe 6:30 pm at the latest.
You remember last year’s seder took forever, but you hope this year is different. You notice your slow-reading Uncle Isaac isn’t here so you think that will save time.
3. You survey your options and select the perfect seat at the table.
Seating arrangements are key. You need to be far enough away from Aunt Rebecca so she doesn’t catch you trying to sneak in an under-the-table-text, and you need to avoid anyone who is going to ask you about your love life or future employment.
4. You open your Haggadah, and you are already confused.
You try hard to follow along, but there are so many complicated words, and everyone else looks like they know what they’re doing. This is despite the fact that you already have the children’s version with pictures and English translation.
5. Kiddush time – wine please!
You’re overjoyed for a glass of wine to break up the seder, but you find yourself drinking grape juice while the adults are downing the Manischewitz. You have a silent argument with your mom from across the room, explaining that you need some buzz to get you through this. You lose.
6. Time for a snack of bitter herbs
You just can’t wait to have some of those karpas dipped in salt water! This small stalk of overly salted, wet, leafy greens will definitely hold you over until dinner time…
7. The story gets longer and the hunger more severe
You zone out while Uncle David is talking and dream that you are stuffing your face with bread—what you should have done before you arrived. You honestly may just eat whatever is on the seder plate at this point. That lamb shank bone? You’ll take 12.
8. You’re now allowed a little piece of matzah
Oh! How exciting it is to eat this small square of matzah. Who would have thought you would be so happy eating a mini, plain piece of cardboard?
9. The dreaded “your turn to read!”
After shoving as much matzah as possible into your mouth, you feverishly flip through the Haggadah pages to feign your attentiveness for the past 3 hours. You start reading what you think is the right paragraph. It’s not.
10. You rejoice over not being the youngest. No more singing the Four Questions for you!
You’re happy you don’t have to worry about messing up the Hebrew you haven’t reviewed since your bar or bat mitzvah. Plus, you only have one question right now: when can we get some food?
11. The killing of the first born? Don’t care, too hungry.
You go through the plagues such as lice, hail, darkness and killing children, and all you can think about is the potatoes that will soon be in your mouth. Who can focus on locusts when there is food to be eaten?
12. PRAISE MOSES IT’S DINNER!
You are finally served all the brisket and kugel you wish. It seems like you were actually stuck wandering the Egyptian desert with the ancient Jewish people. Food has never tasted this good.
13. The uncomfortable feelings of fullness.
You lay in a food coma since everything you shoved into your mouth isn’t quite digestive system friendly. You realize how much you ate in such a short period of time and feel as if you could never move again until…
14. …it’s time to find the Afikomen!
Hunting for the Afikomen is the real life Hunger Games. You know there are only three places that Grandpa could hide it. The first place you look? Where he hid it last year—found it. You proudly claim your $5 prize.
15. Dessert time = more food. Okay, why not?
Your stomach may be filled to the max but who can pass up some marshmallow twists and ring gels? Definitely not you. So you grab two…or five…or 15…
Next Passover when your mom tries to rush you out of the house to drive to Grandma’s, make sure to remind yourself of the extreme hunger pains you endured last year and grab a few snacks before you make the trip over.
Hungry for more?