Posts Tagged ‘Moses’

It’s Passover for many people this week and it’s almost Easter, and all over the world (even in places that are still covered with snow) it’s the very very beginning of springtime. It’s also my birthday today, so this is a time of year that I have always been particularly connected to, and in tune with. Where I live, it’s signaled by the blossoming of almond tress and the sprouting up of wild bulbs – iris, poppy,  and daffodil shoots burst out of the ground, ready to blossom. It’s also a time where it is easy to see the hand of God everywhere – in small things like the blossoming of flowers, the re-awakening of the world from it’s winter slumber. It’s a time that it’s easy to be grateful too – for family and friends that many of us are surrounded by during these holidays and festivals, but also for little things like the sun on your face for the first time in months, and for warmer temperatures.

I am thankful for many things, but this week it’s for all the emails and tweets and facebook messages from people who have been posting about my cookbook and talking about it – being excited with me that it’s finally coming out, and remembering the meals they ate at my home and test kitchen over the past twelve years since the idea for the cookbook first came to me. I am also mega-grateful to all those that have already pre-ordered the cookbook – that has meant so much to me – and left me both grinning and with tears in my eyes at the same time. Thank you. And keep them coming!

All of this is a long way to say that I find what happens in Exodus Chapter 33 very odd. Moses wants to see God face to face. He says to God, “look, we’ve come this far together, don’t I at least get to see what you look like?” But God refuses. The closest he will let Moses get to him is this verse:

“And behold, when My glory passes over, I shall put you in the cleft of the rock, and I will place My hand over you until I pass.” (Exodus 33:22)

And that made me think that it’s kind of like what we feel now during the springtime – the presence of God everywhere – in all the little things, flowers, friends, family, sunshine, and yes, in crevices of stone too. The hand of God as it “passes over” us and renews the land, the hand of God in baby chicks and lambs and springtime.

Questions: Why do you think God refused to let Moses see his face? Would you want to see the face of God? Why do you think God put Moses into a crack in a rock? What do you think God’s hand felt like to Moses? What are the ways in which you feel God’s hand in your life?

Ideas: spread frosting, peanut butter, marshmallow fluff or chocolate spread between any two cookies to create a “rock” with a filled crevice. Hand-shaped cookies are appropriate as well –  they can “pass-over” some round rock-shaped cookies. You can draw a face on a cookie and then serve them turned over (hidden), or any kind of pie without a top-crust (store bought or home-made) can be called an “open-face” pie.

face cookie

I offer to all of you a recipe appropriate for both Passover and Easter: Chocolate Filled Meringue Cookies

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“And God brought us to this place, and gave us this land, a land flowing with milk and honey.” (Deuteronomy 26:9)

Questions: Why is it that the land of Israel is repeatedly referred to as the land of milk and honey? Why not cattle and sheep, fruits, grain and wine – all of which are mentioned in connection with the land of Israel as well?

Ideas: Serve hot steamed milk and flavor it with honey. Put honey on top of ice cream, or make honey ice cream! Add honey to your yogurt or even add it to your coffee with the milk!

ice cream

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“And it will be, when the Lord, your God, brings you to the land He swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac and to Jacob, to give you, great and good cities that you did not build, and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and hewn cisterns that you did not hew, vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant, and you will eat and be satisfied.” (Deuteronomy 6:10–11)

Questions: What warning is Moses trying to give the Israelites here? What is he afraid of? Why this list of things that were not done? And why will they eat and be satisfied anyway? How important is it to have faith?

Ideas: Serve grapes, grape jam/jello, grape juice or good wine, olives, olive oil, or an olive spread.

Olives wine


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“The Lord, your God, has multiplied you, and behold, you are today as the stars of the heavens in abundance.” (Deuteronomy 1:10)

Questions: Why are the Israelites numbered like the stars when it is obvious that they are not as many as the stars? Why would someone want to be compared to a star? In  other places the Israelites are compared to grains of sand. What do you think is the difference? What would you rather be compared to? Why?

Ideas: Serve star fruit, fruit cut with a star cookie cutter, salami, tofu or veggies can all be cut in star shapes, or make star-shaped pasta.


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“These are the journeys of the children of Israel who left the land of Egypt in their legions, under the charge of Moses and Aaron. Moses recorded their starting points for their journeys according to the word of God, and these were their journeys with their starting points.” (Numbers 33:1–2)

Questions: The Bible recounts the forty-two places that the people of Israel encamped during their exodus from Egypt to the land of Israel. Some of the stops are described in detail; others are just mentioned by name. Some make sense geographically; many make no sense at all. Why is this long recounting necessary at all? Is there value in remembering and recounting a journey that you took? What can it help you do?

Ideas: Energy bars, granola bars, ready-made trail mix, any other type of food items meant for traveling like dried fruit and nuts. You can also create a trail with raisins, chocolates, nuts, or fruit and recount every step of your journey as you eat.

candy trail

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“God opened the mouth of the donkey, and she said to Balaam, ‘What have I done to you that you have struck me these three times?’” (Numbers 22:28)

Questions: Would you like it if animals could talk? What do you think they would say? What animal would you most like to hear talk? Why? What statement do you think the Bible might be making here about how we should treat animals?

Ideas: Serve three bean salad, three different dishes of food at your table, serve food that comes from all different types of animals, or serve animal crackers, gummy worms and animal-shaped chicken cutlets. Use these animals as props at your table, give them a voice too.


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‘They ascended Mount Hor in the presence of the entire congregation. Moses then stripped Aaron of his garments and dressed Eliezer his son in them, and Aaron died there on the top of the mountain.’ (Numbers 20:27-28)

Questions: Why was Aaron told to undress? Do you think he knew that he was going to die? What would you do if you knew when you, or someone you loved was going to die? What would you make sure to do with them or for them? Would you like to be buried on a mountain? Why or why not? Where would you like to be buried? Why?

Ideas: Serve rice or mashed potatoes in the form of two mounds or on two separate plates. For dessert you can simply serve one apple half balanced on top of another apple half. Whipped cream can represent the pillar of cloud, or you can have your guests or your kids try to make marshmallow stacks as the pillar of cloud.

cloud cake

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“The earth beneath them opened its mouth and swallowed them and their houses, and all the men who were with Korach and all the property.” (Numbers 16:32)

Questions: What horrible thing would someone have to do to make the earth swallow them whole? What responsibilities does a leader have? When is power used for a good thing? For a bad thing? Can one lead and still stay humble? Is there such a thing as wanting too much power? Can such desires cause earthquakes? Did Korach and his men deserve what they got?

Ideas: Make a small incision down the center of any loaf or round cake to represent the opening in the earth, earthquake parfaits can be made by layering pudding and cookie crumbs – anywhere you take a bite the earth caves in!


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“You will eat very old produce, and you will clear out the old from before the new.” (Leviticus 26:10)

Questions: Why does God enumerate so many blessings and curses in this chapter of the Bible? What is a blessing? What is a curse? Why is eating old produce considered a blessing?

Ideas: Serve anything aged, from apple cobbler or pie made from “aged” apples in your fridge that were going bad, to the best aged wine, whiskey, steak or cheese.

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“Aaron shall place lots on the two goats: one marked ‘For the Lord,’ and the other marked, ‘For Azazel.’ And Aaron shall bring the goat on which the lot, ‘For the Lord,’ comes up, and offer it as a sin offering. And the goat on which the lot ‘For Azazel’ comes up, shall be placed while still alive, before God, to achieve atonement through it, and to send it away to Azazel, to the desert.” (Leviticus 16:8-10)

Questions: What is Azazel? Why must a goat be cast off into Azazel? Why does a sacrifice not suffice?

Ideas: Serve goat’s cheese, goat’s milk or anything made with goat products, you can also serve anything “wild” like wild rice, wild strawberries, or wild mushrooms to represent the wilderness of Azazel.

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