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Posts Tagged ‘passover’

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 they embittered their lives with hard labor, with mortar and with bricks and with all kinds of labor in the fields, all their work that they worked with them with back-breaking labor.” (Exodus 1:14)

Questions: What is the difference between “hard labor,” work with “mortar and bricks” and “all kinds of labor in the fields”? Why does the Bible list these different types of work like this: “all the work that they worked with back breaking labor“? Ok, we get the point. They worked hard. Enough! Is it just for emphasis? Or is there something else going on here?

Ideas: Use peanut butter, apple butter, caramel spread, chocolate spread or any other thick and gooey, mortar-like substance to put together cookie pr cracker “bricks”. Hummus or cream cheese could be used as mortar too.

spread cookie

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“Speak to the children of Israel and say to them: The Lord’s appointed holy days that you shall designate as holy occasions – these are My appointed holy days. Six days, work may be performed, but on the seventh day, it is a complete rest day, a holy occasion; you shall not perform any work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places. These are the Lord’s appointed holy occasions, which you shall designate in their appointed time.” (Leviticus 23:2–4)

Questions: Though this chapter of the Bible starts out telling us about the holidays, the verses then go on to discuss the Sabbath – why would this be? What makes a holiday a special time? What makes the weekend or Sabbath a special time? What sanctifies a day and makes it holy?

Ideas:Serve items associated with each of the holidays mentioned above, apples dipped in honey, dairy products, an empty plate perhaps to symbolize the day of atonement, matzah for Passover, and a harvest food for the Tabernacle Festival. Alternatively you can serve food items that represent the weekend or the Sabbath to you – your favorite foods.

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“You shall observe the festival of unleavened bread. For seven days you shall eat unleavened bread as I have commanded you, at the appointed time of the month of springtime, for then you left Egypt…. And the festival of the harvest of the first fruits of your labors that you sow in the field, and the festival of the ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in your work from the field.” (Exodus 23:15–16)

Questions: Why are so many of our holidays connected to food? Why are they always connected to a specific time of year? What is the significance of the harvest? What is so special about the number seven? Is it central to our lives? Why?

Ideas: Any bountiful spread of produce will do. Serve everything at your table in multiples of seven. Invite seven guests! Incorporate some or all of the seven species into your meal, make a seven layer salad, purchase or make a seven-layer cake, or make your favorite holiday dish!

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“They obscured the view of all the earth, and the earth became darkened.” (Exodus 10:15)

“And there was thick darkness over the entire land of Egypt for three days.” (Exodus 10:22)

Questions: What is the difference between obscuring the view of the earth and the earth becoming darkened? Why are we informed a few verses later that “there was thick darkness”? Didn’t we already know this? And if not, what is the difference between thick darkness and regular darkness?

Ideas: Brownies or any other type of dark chocolate cake, dark chocolate or chocolate liqueur. Cookies or candy with a “hidden treasure” center. Make sure to dim the lights and snack at midnight!

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“Because this time, I am sending all My plagues into your heart and into your servants and into your people, in order that you know that there is none like Me in the entire earth.” (Exodus 9:14)

Questions: What is so awe-inspiring about the mixture of fire and ice? Why do you think God chose to send a plague in the form of hail? Why didn’t God just destroy all the crops?

Ideas: : Serve ice cold drinks and red hot food, serve any cold salad that is spicy as well, serve Baked Alaska, or fried ice cream, sprinkle cayenne pepper on top of vanilla ice cream (it actually tastes really good!), or simply put out a bowl of ice on your table with some Tabasco sauce on the side.

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