Main Piece: Everything we eat in Pesach has a special meaning behind it. We eat an egg, a lamb bone, bitter vegetable herbs and fruits and nuts, all because it reminds of the deeds of good Moshe. The lamb represents the sacrifice of a goat that was offered at the Holy Temple, for which Moshe was responsible. The fruits and nuts are the mortar that our people used to build storage houses for Pharaoh. The egg, which is hard boiled, was eaten on the first Pesach Seder that took place in the Holy Temple after the sacrifice. We also sacrificed a chicken for the Lord, and ate the egg it laid behind to remind ourselves of our connection to Him. Finally, there’s the matza, the most important of all the meals. Bread with no yeast. The meal of our people for 40 years in the desert. When we eat it, we are reminded of the suffering and dedication of Moshe and the slaves that gave the Holy Land back to us. At the end of the night, we have a little game where the elders hide the matza in some place of the house and the children look for it. Whoever finds it first gets money from the grandparents, and they get to eat it. I don’t know if it has a deeper meaning behind it, but it was my way of keeping the children up for the entire thing. It’s very important to me that they celebrate the Seder with us and understand their history through our food and traditions.
Background information about the piece by the informant: Ethel is the matriarch of a Jewish family in Mexico City and always organizes the Seder dinners in her house. As she said, they are very important to her, as her grandchildren learn about their cultural history through it.
Context about the piece: Pesach, or Passover, celebrates the Biblical event in which Moses freed the Hebrew people from the slavery of Egypt. According to the Torah, they wandered 40 years in the desert before arriving to Canaan, or Israel, to build their Holy Temple.
Thoughts about the piece: Like many other Jewish festivities, it is celebrated and remembered through food. This goes on to show that the Jewish culinary tradition is not simply based on the ingredients available to the culture, but is rather strongly tied to the significance of their traditions. The game of the mazta in the end gives an interactive aspect to the Seder, which involves the younger participants of the ritual and draws in the younger generations to continue the tradition.