I had the pleasure of spending my junior year of college at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. One of the perks of that year was meeting and growing close with my cousin Ziva, who happened to work at Hadassah Hospital across the street from my dorm. We spent a lot of time together and she invited me to spend many Shabbatot and holidays with her family. In addition to being hilariously funny, warm and nurturing, Ziva had another talent, as well: She was, and remains, an amazing cook. I am excited to share one of her recipes with you below, which I hope will make your preparations for Passover a bit easier.
Thirteen years ago last Shabbat my best friend’s brother was murdered by Palestinian terrorists while providing reinforcement to IDF soldiers who had been ambushed outside the Cave of the Patriarchs. He left behind a wife and six children.
Shavuot, which begins on the evening of May 23, is also known as Chag HaBikkurim, which celebrates the season’s harvest of its first and best fruits. In ancient times, farmers would tie reeds around the first ripening fruits and grains in their fields. The designated produce, called bikkurim, was harvested upon ripening. Following harvest, the farmers made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem for Shavuot where each farmer presented his bikkurim to a priest. During the presentation ceremony the farmer thanked G-d for his sustenance provided by nature.
Passover is synonymous with cleaning, shopping, and cooking. With all of the physical preparations, however, it’s easy to arrive spent and exhausted to the Passover Seder, and lose track of what Passover is really about - the retelling of the miraculous emancipation of our ancestors from Egypt, and the celebration of our transformation from slaves to a self-determining nation of free men and women.