Category: Passover

Getting The Bread Out: Pre-Passover Coverfolk
(folksongs of bread, biscuits, beer, and other leavened foods)

March 28th, 2010 — 12:35 pm

Though we’re practicing Jewnitarians in the Howdy house, I still keep kosher for Passover each year, substituting matzoh for bread, avoiding other flour-based foods save those heavy sanctioned substitutes made with matzoh meal, skipping beer for mead – even eschewing corn syrup, since corn can ferment in storage, for cane sugar sodas and juices where I can find them throughout the eight days and nights of praxis.

In traditional Jewish homes, preparing the household as a sacred space for the holiday involves two rituals: the first of gathering in whole loaves and stlll-edibles and selling them to neighbors for a dollar, to be redeemed after the holiday for the same price, and the second a ritual called Bedikat Chametz – sweeping the house for leavened crumbs, with feather and wooden spoon, and then taking it outside the next morning to burn ceremoniously on the lawn.

We never did this as a kid – even back then, not all of us kept Kosher for Passover. Nor do we nowadays: as the only adult Jew in the house, I’m the only one interested, though the elderchild is curious enough to consider and reject the idea each year. And given the wee one’s penchant for a subsistence diet of bread, rice, and milk, it would be cruel to insist otherwise, even if it were part of our common practice.

As such, there’s no place for feathers, nor cause to bother the neighbors.

But ritual has always appealed to me, and, like many midlife wanderers, as I age, I continue to search for personal meaning through the practices I find most comforting. And this year, I find it’s not enough for me to merely eat different for a week. Without the ritual cleansing – some sort of household-scale marker – the dietary “space” I’ve committed to just doesn’t feel sacred.

Happily, however, much modern Jewish practice accepts metaphoric action as a substitute for the real. And in many ways, this blog is my “house”. Today, then, I’m turning the ritual to the virtual realm, and to music: sweeping the ol’ archive for the best in leavened tunes, and pushing them outward to you as a way of clearing the proverbial floorboards for the holiday. Enjoy the fruits of my little Bedikat Chametz, and – if you celebrate – may you find joy and meaning in the Passover holiday.

1,577 comments » | Holiday Coverfolk, Passover