I feel a great affinity with matzot. Unlike this beautiful Shmura Matzah מצה שמורה (made from wheat that has been guarded since it was harvested), which is the careful and precise work of Isaac and Abe, I identify with the hurried, not quite planned and altogether improvised bread we read about in the Haggadah הגדה (the account of the exile from Egypt).
Every year I plan the Seder (and for that matter every Shabbat and every holiday). And every year something or somethings go wrong. I leave a dish in the fridge. I forget to fill the bowls with water so the salt is not quite dissolved. The Affikomen אפיקומן disappears and we are too tired and sated to drink the last cups of wine.
This year's snafu was a little more exciting.
Since everyone is this country goes to family for the Seder are group was on the small side. I was not panicking. All the food was gathered. The soup was made. The lamb roast
prepped. I was feeling very confident.
I couldn't find spinach so I bought wild leeks instead to accompany the lamb. I blanched them at 9:00 am and discovered that I had purchased sorrel and not leeks. Sorrel is incredibly sour. Good for soup but not for my menu. Scrapped the sorrel. Phoned Avi and asked him to see if you could find spinach at the store on his way. Not too worried since the spinach was not necessary for the meal.
At 9:15 the water in the sink decided not to drain. The garbage disposal started shooting water and bits of old vegetables everywhere. Food washed was now covered in unpleasant stuff. Ken came to the rescue. Got the sink back online - I thought I was facing the possibility of cancelling the dinner - and I proceeded.
I found the remains of tomato juice in a an at the back of the fridge. Following my mother's edict to not waste, I poured the juice into a glass and added beer. Had to make it potable.
Fast forward to 1:00 pm. I start removed more ingredients from the fridge and cause a jar of blackberry jam - precious because my mother made it - crashing down on the floor. Half an hour to clean up the mess. Second washing of floor after the first event with the sink.
Avi comes and saves the day. Brings the spinach but then we discover we have no chicken stock. We improve with something from the back of the top shelf of the cupboard. Ladder goes back in place.
Ken is busy all this time power washing the deck. Sami wants to go out. They finally go out and at 5:00 o'clock return. Sami is covered in mud and now needs an emergency bath right before the Seder. The table is not set. The books are still downstairs. And there is sand everywhere.
I reach for the broom and bring the ladder down on myself and injure my tendon above my foot. Avi gets an ice pack while Ken is showering with Sami. I lie on the floor for twenty minutes. Finally get up and hobble around.
Seder is called for 7:00. Avi tells me he told the guests 6:30. Scramble text message to come at 7:00.
We set the table. Sami emerges beautifully groomed. I manage to tame my hair and change my clothes.
By 7:00 we are ready to receive our guests - who were lovely by the way.
We start the Seder and I feel a great deal of relief. We are finally on our way out of Egypt. The dinner is as it should be - unpredictable, uncertain, concerning and liberating.
We are all together. The streets are empty. Everyone is inside sharing the same story, repeating the same ritual. Remembering the balagan - the snafu - that led to our freedom.