Thursday, 24 January 2013

Beshalach- packed full of fun

There is so much to think about this Shabbat! Parasha Beshalach is so full of narrative and contains shirat ha'yam, making this Shabbat Shira. Add that to Tu B'Shvat and it is almost too much!

The parasha begins with Bnei Yisrael beginning their journey in the wilderness. G-d begins to lead them on a safer, more circuitous route to Eretz Yisrael. But suddenly, they are facing Yam Suf, the Sea of Reeds. And Paroh's army is pursuing them. As Gabi likes to say (in French), "Catastrophe!" Hashem provides another miracle; the famous, miraculous, awesome moment of the splitting of the sea.
Who doesn't love the power of that experience? The girls decided to act it out.
They journeyed through the desert until they reached the blue expanse of the Yam Suf. Gabi summarized the story of Nachshon Ben Aminadaz.

 The sea split, the Israelites moved through, and the girl's sang and danced together. Although we could not find our 'Miriam tambourines', they danced to a recording of "Az Yashir Moshe."

The girl's then moved to their (and my) favorite part of the parasha: Man (Manna)! 
They chose some toy food and pretended to chow down, marveling at how it tasted like whatever they wanted.

 Ruti chose a different maan.

It is my plan to make some form of man with the girls. There are various recipes for man online.
But that isn't how I always imagined G-d's magic food. I have always pictured something like cotton candy. Because man only fell in the morning, tomorrow the girls will find something white, like coriander seeds, honey on a wafer, probably formed from our cotton candy (fairy floss) machine. 
For Shabbat dessert, I plan to modify this recipe for honey ice cream cones, into the desert dessert. Then people can top it with various things to fulfill the midrash of the man tasting like whatever people wanted.

Wishing you a fruity, musical Shabbat!

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Bo Making 'Real' Matza

Parashat Bo has another section of "the Pesach story", including the last three plagues and Hashem's first commandments to Bnei Yisrael as a collective. Because Pesach is so well taught in schools my children know the plague part well. The explanation of Korban Pesach, Rosh Chodesh, Pidyon Ha'Ben, Tefillin, and Matzah are a little more complicated.

Gabi was very concerned about keeping a lamb inside of one's house for four days. "But animals don't know how to use the toilet and don't wear nappies so...," she explained her concern diplomatically.

Rosh Chodesh was a topic of more discussion. Gabi likes the changing shape of the moon ("The crescent moon is shaped like a croissant!"). Cohava was more concerned about testifying in court about seeing the moon and how the Beit Din was comprised. "But that was a long time ago," she concluded. "Now you know if it is Rosh Chodesh by checking your iphone."

The mitzvot of Pidyon HaBen and Teffilin were not of great interest to my girls.

Which left Matza. I personally have always been intrigued how 'not having time for the dough to rise and cooking on their backs on the way out of Mitzrayim' translates to a box of 18 minutes Yehuda Matza. It  doesn't really make sense. Therefore I set out to find out what "real matza" would taste like.

Thankfully Hashem cooperated with my plans and created desert-like conditions. Today's high was 40 C (that's 105 F).

In the morning, the girls and I made my usual bread recipe, based on Artisan Bread in Five Minutes.

When the dough was ready Cohava asked for a rolling pin. First she rolled it flat. Then she turned the pin on its side, and made markings all over the dough. She explained that this is how 'real matza' is made.

Of course Gabi had to follow suit.

When it got hot outside, we took our dough out to the sun. Every half hour someone went out to ensure the birds were not feasting on our project. They weren't.

After two hours, I turned the matzot over. Sadly, my efforts to grease the pan were not successful and the matza crumbled a lot. I supposed Bnei Yisrael used parchment paper. That is probably where the name originates. 
It really did cook in the sun! The texture was harder than pita but softer than matza. I served it with dipping sauce for dinner and my Israelites loved it.
 Shabbat Shalom!