Don’t let Passover pass over you

The seder is over. Perhaps it was wonderful, enlightening and you stayed up past midnight and now find yourself inspired for the rest of the year. Or maybe it didn’t go quite as expected and you are already reviewing the evening to see how to improve it for next year. Either way, once seder night is over, it can be a challenge to keep Pesach in mind for the rest of the week. Yes, of course, the matzah and pesachdik food make it hard to forget it is Pesach but what about positive reminders so it doesn’t just turn into a week off school and work…

As you relax and enjoy the family and leisure time and the chol hamoed outings use these tips to inject some Pesach inspiration into your week.

Splitting of the Sea

As you hike to the Banias waterfalls, go on water tiyulim wading through Majrassa, boating on the Kinneret, visiting the Dead Sea or even playing in the Teddy park water fountains remember to mention and use this as a springboard to discuss the splitting of the Red Sea and the accompanying miracles that took place on the seventh day of Pesach.

When I left Egypt

At a picnic, over a barbeque, or when stuck in the heavy chol hamoed traffic discuss some of the parts of the hagadda that you didn’t manage to mention on seder night or play a great Pesach game. One that we love is “when I left Egypt I took…” This memory game requires one person saying “when I left Egypt I took” and selecting an item of their choice. The next player continues by repeating what they said and adding on another item. Continue around the table adding one more item to the list each time until it becomes too challenging to continue.

Ancient Egypt

Buy or gift as an afikoman present some ancient Egyptian themed jigsaw puzzles, stories, fact or activity books. Not only is it a fascinating time period in history but the details and information can really enhance your Pesach. I was blown away when I found out that bread and beer were central to the Egyptian diet. Both were eaten at most meals by the wealthy and poor alike. Bread making was an integral part of daily life and ancient Egyptians are often credited with making the first leavened bread. Bread and beer were regularly used as payment for workers as well as offerings for gods. Tomb scenes show many aspects of the baking process, and loaves of bread, shaped as animal or human figures, were often left in tombs as provisions for their afterlife.

This adds a whole new dimension to the idea of not eating leavened food over Pesach, not just that we didn’t have time for the bread to rise, but it implies a whole shift away from the Egyptian culture, even in our diet. Such an essential fact about ancient Egypt totally changed my Pesach experience.

Furthermore, did you know that locks and keys were invented by the ancient Egyptians? By visiting an escape room or creating a similar challenge at home you highlight the theme of freedom from Egypt both literally and figuratively.

Remember to count the Omer and Pesach Sameach!

About the Author
Ilana Harris is a teacher and educational consultant. She lives in Jerusalem with her husband and four kids.
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