17 Apr 2003 ladypine   » (Journeyer)

mulix has directed me to an unbelievable true story that happened to Accordion guy through his weblog.

I have written a new (Hebrew) story, called "Her diary".


Seder night was wierd. Our family has invented new traditions. I think they fail to remember the old ones, so they simply add, to be on the safe side. I have prepared muli to some of the things that are done in our family, which are not written in the "Hagada" (the booklet which stated the customary things to read and do on Passover night), but only when we were there did I realize that there were many other things that were special to my family, or maybe to Jewish people from Tunis:

  • Before the "Seder" begins, the main woman (owner of the house, or most respected woman at the dinned table) takes the big heavy Seder plate and passes it in large circles over tha heads of all people present. While she does that, everybody sings the same line repeatedly: "Yesterday we were slaves. Here's to next year in the country of Israel as free people". The sentence is said is a combination of Hebrew and the Language of Aram. Once she has finished, another of the most respected people will pass the plate over her head, as well.
  • When the ten plagues are read, special preparation are required: the most respected woman brings a water jar, and a bowl. The most respected man calls out the plagues, and with each plague read, he pours a bit of red wine into the bowl. The woman pours water into the bowl after each drop of wine, and the whole crown calls "SheMesilenoo". I yet have to figure out if this means "God will save us" (Hshem Yatzilenoo) or "He who saves us" (Shemetzilenoo). Either way, it is said in the Tunisian accent, which replaces each "tz" sound with an "s" sound, the way Arabs do. Later on comes the creepy part: After the last plague, the plague on the firstborn, is called out, no one is to say a word. The woman carries the bowl of water and wine to the toilet, pours it and draws the water. Only when she returns (or when the water is heard), are the people allowed to speak. I wonder why tradition says we are not to speak then. As a child, I have always gotten the impression that tradition must say that a great curse is supposed to fall on the head of he who speaks, otherwise why is everyone so silent?
  • When the word "With a mighty hand" (Beyad Hazaka) are mentioned, all people pass and wave a leg of a chicken, repeating the phrase. It is wrapped in aluminum foil, preferably.
  • When the word "Pesah" (Passover) is first mentioned, an egg is passed, in the same manner. The Hebrew word for egg is "beytza". Transforming the "tz" to "s", and remembering Arabs tend to say "b" instead of "p", the resemblence of "beysa" and "pesah" is obvious.
  • A "matza" is also waved accordingly.

This year, for some reason, we have waved the lettuse leaf, as well. Well, tradition is a repeated mistake.

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