Saturday, April 4, 2015

Chag Sameach

The Feast
By Tuvia Bolton

Editor's note: This is an old Jewish story/joke/metaphor. Versions abound. My favorite is Tuvia Bolton's rendition:

There were once two beggars who used to go around begging together. One was Jewish and the other a gentile. As the night of Passover approached, the Jewish beggar offered to help his non-Jewish friend get invited to a seder (the festive Passover meal accompanied by many commandments and rituals) and get a good meal. "Just put on some Jewish clothes and come with me to the synagogue. Everyone brings home poor guests for the seder. It's easy, you'll see."

The non-Jewish beggar happily agreed. On the first night of Passover they went to the synagogue, and sure enough, both got invited to different homes for the festive ceremony.

Hours later they met in a predetermined place in the local park. But to the amazement of the Jewish beggar, his friend was blazing mad.

"What did you do to me?" He shouted. "You call that a meal? It was torture!! It was hell! I'll pay you back for this--you'll see..."

"What do you mean? What happened?" the Jew asked.

"What happened? As if you didn't know! You Jews are crazy--that's what happened! First we drank a glass of wine. I like wine, but on an empty stomach... My head started spinning a bit but I figured that any second we would begin the meal. The smell of the food from the kitchen was great. Then we ate a bit of parsley. Then they started talking, and talking, and talking. In Hebrew. All the time I'm smiling and nodding my head as if I understand what they're saying--like you told me to--but my head is really swimming and hurting from the wine and I'm dying of hunger.

"The smell of the food from the kitchen is making me insane, but they don't bring it out. For two hours they don't bring anything out! Just talking, and more talking. Then, just what I needed.... another cup of wine! Then we get up, wash hands, sit back down and eat this big wafer called matzah that tastes like newspaper, leaning to the left (don't ask me why...). I started choking, almost threw up. And then finally they give me this lettuce, I took a big bite and wham! My mouth was on fire. My throat! There was horseradish inside! Nothing to eat but horseradish! You guys are crazy....

"Well, I just got up and left. Enough is enough!"

"Ah, I should have told you." replied the Jew. "What a shame! After the bitter herbs is a glorious meal. You suffered so long; you should have just held out for a few more minutes...!"


The editor again: Jewish history is a seder. We've had our appetite teased with small moments of triumph. But mostly we've had "bread of faith" that our palates can't really appreciate. And generous helpings of bitter herbs.

The lesson? Two thoughts come to mind. You need patience to be a Jew. And since we've swallowed the maror already, we might as well hold out one minute longer and get the feast...


Herbs for Coughs and Colds, Maror

Maror symbolizes the bitterness of slavery, usually in the form of horseradish mixed
with beets. Having never been a slave, it's hard to be definitive, but it seems unlikely that
 its bitterness is comparable to horseradish. Probably closer to diet Mountain Dew.
This year I mixed the horseradish with a ceviche marinade for tuna and set the fish
over roasted beets.  -- Corey Mintz
Beet Maror Gluten Free

Thursday, April 2, 2015

To those who think I dabble in nothing but trivia:

Dear Lisa

I wanted to pass on an email I received yesterday from Berkeleyan Richard Nagler, who weathered the serial theft of his Wall Street Journal for years with such fortitude. He asked me to share it with you. 

To the Berkeleyans who have stood by me in this dark and difficult time in my life:
As many of you know, the story of the continual and criminal disappearance of my Wall Street Journal, and my solution to the problem, has been broadcast around the world after Berkeleyside ran with the story.

Here’s the outcome:

With your prayers and some intense Primal Scream therapy, I am now working hard to put myself back together. The inability to read Karl Rove columns so many times over so many years has left me bereft.

Also, just between us, my wife regrets to report that going viral makes one less virile.

The fact that the Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief has sent me an iPad with the WSJ App is little consolation for my grievous loss.

Rest assured, I do have some Berkeley integrity left. I will be turning over the iPad to left-wing guerillas in an as yet unnamed third-world country, as soon as I have had a chance to test the iPad over the next two to three years.

But through this dark episode I have also learned of another theft that threatens the very essence of our Berkeley community. Apparently, there are a few Berkeleyans who read Berkeleyside regularly without paying the minimum suggested $5 monthly subscription fee (I know it's not required, but c'mon). Please God, dear reader, that you may not find yourself amongst this despicable few.

For those Berkeley cynics out there who are about to “Comment” on Berkeleyside that this has all been a publicity stunt with nefarious intent, let it suffice to say I have no desire to use my new-found celebrity to profit on or to promote any product or service. What say, Berkeley? Let’s just all “Kick back with a can of COKE®” ©™ and relax.

Om sweet Om

Richard Nagler
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