It’s the second night of Passover and I’ve been getting my Matzah on. Passover is the time we Jews are supposed to remember the story of how we were slaves in Egypt and we were released to freedom because a very vengeful (yet creative) G-d sent the ten plagues upon the Egyptians and Moses was all like “Let my people go” and the Pharaoh was all like “Okay dude just no more locusts, man, that shit was the worst.”
Every year we re-tell the story and drink at least four cups of wine (cheers to slavery, L’Chaim, let’s get wasted) and eat this apple cinnamon thing to symbolize the mortar we used to built the Egyptians’ buildings and we dip veggies in salt water because of the tears (of self- pity?) we cried and the bitterness of our experience is represented by the totally delicious horseradish that I was obsessed with when I was pregnant for some reason… Anyway did the Jews build the fucking pyramids? Because the way we’ve been complaining about it ever since, you’d think we had. (By the way the answer is no we didn’t, but Africans were slaves much more recently, and all they get is Martin Luther King day and it doesn’t seem fair.)
We get eight days of Pesach (Passover) to kvetch about the slave thing and in that time we are supposed to eat unleavened bread, like we did in, you guessed it, Egypt. Plus we’re supposed to spring clean our houses and get rid of all bread and bread products and it’s not just because G-d wants us to have a vacation from carbs. On a deeper level, Passover is the time to look at the things you are slaves to in your life and re-evaluate them. Like your ego. Or material possessions. Or your children (but you don’t get to escape those.)
Yesterday when we were on our way to the Seder (the ritual meal of Passover) my kids were pissed. They didn’t want to leave spring break camp and go sit with a bunch of old people, and who could blame them? I kept trying to explain to them about how we were slaves and we need G-d and community but the little public school educated heathens just weren’t getting it. They just wanted to know how people knew they were Jewish and I was explaining to them that it’s matrilineal, but that I believe that some people have Jewish souls regardless of birth, and then David came out with this gem:
“I wish I was Christian. And I wish I had a different mother.”
I reacted calmly (because I’m correctly medicated) even when Samson chimed in:
“I’m sure I don’t have a Jewish soul,” at which point I was once again reminded that I have failed dismally as a parent.
Until David started crying in remorse and gave me his iPad and said “I shouldn’t be allowed to have it for the rest of the night, I don’t deserve it. I’m sorry I said that mommy,” which shows you that he’s a Jew because that kind of guilt can only be in your blood.
Later that night, as Samson ate his second bowl of chicken Matzah bowl soup I asked him if he still thought he didn’t have a Jewish soul and he decided that he was Jewish after all, because Christians may have Christmas and the Easter Bunny and St. Patrick’s day but G-d damn if we Jews don’t have a lock on soup.