The Seder plates have been cleared and the matzo pieces swept up from under the table. This year was a very busy Passover for my family. Not only did we have to prepare or home (remove all traces of baked goods with flour) my husband and I organized a Passover Seder for 50 people. This was not in our home, but down the street in a large function room. The best part of all of this is the amount of fun my kids had before, during, and after the Seder.
For the past couple of weeks, my 4 year old daughter has been bringing home all parts of the Passover Seder in her back pack. She learned to sing Mah Nishtanah (the four questions) and her own Passover Haggadah (a kid friendly version she made herself). I was so happy to see her learn so much about Passover, and have fun in the process. She brought her Passover Haggadah to our Seder and followed along (at least for the four questions), my heart was melting.
While my husband and I searched for every last cherrio, she colored enthusiastically in her Passover coloring book. In an effort not “passover” any crumbs, we used our list from the previous year: clean car, closets, drawers, high chairs, car seats, strollers, purses, diaper bags, coat pockets, etc. Remains of animal crackers, pretzels, bagels, and candy bars has tripled since last year. If you’re not familiar with why we clean out all of these food items from every nook and cranny, I’ve included a fact friendly description on BeingJewish.com .
“The Torah defines chometz as any mixture that contains flour and water that has been allowed to ferment. The Torah defines five types of grain that can become chometz when mixed with liquid: grain: wheat, spelt, oats, barley, and rye, or any of their derivatives. That includes, cookies, bagels, pizza, crackers, and challah.”
If you’re kids are like mine, they love all of these fluffy, tasty, snack foods. They love them so much that they leave little pieces behind everywhere they go. The car, strollers, kitchen floor, living room floor, books, toys, and toy boxes.
So, if matzoh is made with flour, why isn’t it considered chometz ? The message is in the minutes. If unbaked flour and water remain together for a period of 18 minutes, they automatically begin to leaven and rise. It is critical that every step of the matzoh baking process is exact. From mixing, baking, and scraping every morsel from the previous batch of matzoh is key. With all of this seriousness, what is so fun about matzoh? It is very fun. My 4 yr. old went on a tour of a Chabad Matzah bakerywith her nursery class and she had so much fun. After all, how else could you get a kid excited about eating flat, tasteless, squares for eight straight days (that’s why I love chocolate covered matzohs). Once kids have a “tangible”, hands-on experience making matzoh, they feel more connected to the mitzvah of eating matzoh.
It is not easy to have my own 4 year old daughter sit at the Passover Seder without spilling her grape juice, let alone 3 other kids her age and younger. So the floor was covered in sticky grape juice and matzo pieces. Everybody stayed up way too late, had too much sugar, and still woke up at 6:00 am. Those things can be cleaned later. Smiles and giggles on all of their faces, that’s what it’s all about.