Sunday, March 29, 2009

Everyone has One or Your Pesach or Mine?

This post is dedicated to Achdus. Maybe it's the books on Israel I've been reading, or the impending Birchas Hachamah, but what else but Yom Tovim really bring us together? Until... OK, you get married and your are sitting at the begining of the Seder. Now, it's not like Sukkos where you are outdoing someone else with your Lulav & Esrog. On Pesach every family has it's own mishagas. Here at the Seder all bets are off. Minhagim abound, and someones toes are going to get stepped on. How can you compromise? Obviously, your family minhagim go back many generations, (likely to Mt. Sinai) and it would be against G-d himself to change or abandon your sacred traditions. Let's face it, some of you would rather have bamboo shoved under your fingernails than eat Gebrochts. Well good luck to you. I am all about adopting and incorporating. For me, I always only had one issue with Mrs. LFD's Pesach family minhagim, and that is in her house, the parents hid the Afikomen, and in my house, the kids did. The compromise? Two seders, one minhag on each night. Each of us has a rational, but as I have other minhagim her family has adopted, I've become more tolerant, and hence have attained a greater degree of Achdus. The minhagim I do at my inlaws that are tolerated:
1. Having my own Seder plate rather than a communal one at the table.
2. Singing Kadesh Urchatz in the to the tune of Manamana.
3. Glaring at whever reads the "wicked son" as if they are evil incarnate.
4. Eating a potato for Karpas (they use celery, I sneak in a boiled potato. Mrs. LFD doesn't know this, but she will now).
5. Telling boring stories about my father having a "kosher for pesach" garbage can and vacuum cleaner.
6. My personal favorite- singin Adir Hu as the Mr. Potato Head song:
Adir Hu, you know it's true,
Mr. Potato Head I made you.
Eyes & ears & a button nose too,
Mr. Potato head I made you-
Kel Benai, Kel Benai, Beyamaynu Bikarov
Kel Benai, Kel Benai, Mr. Potato Head I love you!

Having a Mr. Potato Head as part of my in-laws seder, and knowing that it has spread to my sister in laws family gives me that warm Achdusy feeling. Ah, minhagim, would we be in Galus without them?


Mrs. LFD said...

Hey! I didn't know about the potato! how dare you not share! No fair.

Mikeinmidwood said...

My sister one time had to tell her teacher one special minhag that our family has. Well We have no special ones, we eat gebrukts, we eat at other peoples houses, we buy most of our food, we eat peeled and unpeeled fruits and vegetables, and we dont eat kitnios like many other ashkenazim, nope nothing special about our minhagim. So my father in all his wisdom told my sister to tell her teacher that we eat the matzoh, maror and charoses just like hillel did 2000 years ago, and there is something special about that.

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

I like the idea of the kids hiding the afikomen, that's the way we do it. But I do remember going to families, or learning that the parents should hide it. O, now I remember, what we do is, my father hides the afikomen, usually under his pillow, then goes to wash, and while he's washing the kids take the afikomen and hide it somewhere else, that my father has to find later.

I can't imagine Karpas without a potato, that's the best part of the seder! I love potatoes in salt water, it's a shame we're only allowed to eat so little of it.

I never heard of the Mr. Potato head thing before, how'd that come about? Sounds like it makes it interesting for the kids, but sounds very silly to an outsider.

MikeInMidwood: nice answer.

Lakewood Falling Down said...

Special minhagim in my family are great because most are non halacha based, and totally made up. I’m sure your family has something that’s weird that you can be “proud” of (you do live in Midwood after all)! Maybe you have ugly Pesach dishes from an old aunt that get used, or is there a dish you family makes that everyone really doesn’t like, but, hey you eat it every year. My grandmother A’H, used to eat borsht on Pesach just because, well… she never did have a reason except her mother did.
Jewish Side-
First, I have to change you on the blog role, I have only the Babysitter listed. As to how the minhag got started, my oldest brother made it up when he was 5 or so. He’s in his 40’s now, and hasn’t sung it in a few years, but my parents told us when we were young and we used to sing it just to bug him. It became a tradition, and when I told my kids, they adopted it. My mother in law thought it was fun and it stuck. Nirtzah, if you haven’t fallen asleep, can be a really fun time. I know families that have to call “dibs” on what animal noises they make at Chad Gadya. One other minhag my mother has is to only fill the Kos Shel Eliyahu with grape juice. You are supposed to fill it with wine. I asked my mom why she used grape juice. She said, “I believe Eliyahu comes to every house. He probably gets lots of wine no one else wants, and either has a bad taste in his mouth, is tipsy, or both. It’s my way of giving a Malach a break, so maybe we can have a really good year”. Aren’t mom’s great?

DavenedByDeKoisel said...

I started something years back where i put my kippa all the way forward and in a chinese accent say the translation of "Kaddesh" very quickly just as a gag.

But the best minhag of all is finishing the seder before some ungodly hour. YAY!!!

G6 said...

Thanks for a great post!
I feel warm and fuzzy all over.
My husband too, has generously offered to do one night each for "his" father's way and "my" father's way.
We've got the ugly crockery that we wouldn't DREAM of doing away with, the great noises at chad gadya, and the frog finger puppets during Eser Makkos, to mention but a few...

Mrs. LFD said...

Mr. LFD is great at keeping the seder fun and interesting for both adults and children. one year, we had great manipulatives for each of the ten machos and it was especially fun throwing "kinim" (in the form of plastic bug things that had sticky stuff on the feet) around the house. It was funny when they got stuck to the ceiling. Mr.LFD also gave special prize bags to adults and children for correct answers to seder question. Some of our other family plays "My favorite Makah" which can be really interesting too.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Try eating a banana for karpas...

Mikeinmidwood said...

Nope nothing close to any of those minhagim, not even a kittel, we have just simple pesach that turns out great

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

Lakewood Falling Down: it's nice to see how these traditions get started and continued. We always fill our kos Shel Elyahu with grape juice, no one in my family drinks wine. That's really cute what your mother said, so thoughtful of her. And yes Moms are the best!

Mrs. LFD: Sounds like you have a lot of fun there.

MikeInMidwood: are you sefardi? how come your father doesn't wear a kittel? It's part of Kadesh "father comes home from shul, puts on a kittel and makes kiddush right away"