PASSOVER, THE SPIRITUAL BOND BETWEEN JUDAISM AND CHRISTIANITY
The Passover supper celebrates the great ideal of freedom from bondage in its finest hour. It is God's miraculous historical redemption that compels each of us personally to extricate ourselves from our own limitations of pettiness and self-satisfaction. It is also one of the most important events in the Old Testament that unites Judaic-Christian symbolism.
The center of attention at this festival is the children. The youngest child asks Four Questions from the special book called Haggadah, which comes from the word, > telling = . A Why is this night different from all other nights? @ elicits the story of the going out of Egypt to the Promised Land. Four cups of wine are drunk to commemorate the stages of God = s deliverance of the Jews: A And I brought out - And I delivered - And I redeemed - And I took @ . The wine, which symbolizes freedom and happiness, is consumed with the first prayer, directly before the meal, immediately following the blessings after the meal and at the very end of the service. A fifth cup of wine set in the center of the table is filled at the end of the meal. This is the symbolic cup signifying, A And I brought @ . It is the largest and most beautiful cup of all, filled to greet the Prophet Elijah, who will announce the coming of the Messiah. Many Christians believe John the Baptist was the Prophet Elijah, who announced the coming of Jesus.
The traditional foods of the Passover Supper are depicted in the mural of the Last Supper, painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1495-98. The roasted lamb shank represents the paschal lamb slaughtered in Egypt to draw a cross in blood on each door of the Jewish home so God would not kill their firstborn sons with those of the Egyptians during His final plague. Jesus became that symbol to Christians who believe God sacrificed His Son so mankind might live. A roasted egg, a symbol of mourning, is a reminder of the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem. Hard boiled eggs are eaten to symbolize new life. The Christian Easter egg is elaborately reproduced in chocolate and wrapped in colored foil. Carl Fabergé, a Russian jeweler, created Imperial Easter eggs from enamel and gold with precious stones for the royal families throughout Europe.
Horseradish and bitter roots of vegetables are placed on the table to symbolize suffering under servitude. A non-bitter vegetable, such as celery, parsley or potato represents rebirth and rejuvenation. A mixture of apples, nuts and wine symbolizes the mortar and brick made by the Jews when they built the pyramids for Pharaoh. Parsley is dipped into salt in remembrance of the tears they shed. Green vegetables symbolize spring with new life and hope. The most important symbol is the unleavened bread, or matzo, to represent their rush to leave Egypt. Jesus and his twelve disciples were celebrating the Passover when He took the bread, gave thanks, broke it, and handed a piece to each of his disciples. With the exception of the Greek Orthodox Church, who changed to leavened bread after the fellowship between them and the Roman church was broken in 1054, and some American churches, the Communion Host, which represents the body of Christ, is a wafer of unleavened bread.
My rendition of the Passover meal is not for those who follow orthodox tradition, but as a festive occasion for others of all faiths who wish to celebrate this meaningful holiday.
Yield: 18-20 Pieces
These may be served in soup or as a side dumpling with chicken, meat or fish
4 jumbo eggs
1 cup sifted matzo meal
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
Optional: 1 tablespoon finely-chopped parsley or chervil
8 tablespoons melted chicken fat (or butter, if served as a dumpling with a milk meal)
2 tablespoons seltzer water or club soda
A solution of 1 quart water mixed with 1 quart canned chicken broth to cook them, or 2 quarts vegetable broth.
||Beat the eggs. Stir in matzo meal, salt, pepper and nutmeg (parsley). Stir in melted fat or butter until completely mixed. Stir in seltzer water. Refrigerate several hours or overnight.
||Bring the water and broth to a boil. Dip your hands in ice water and form balls the size of large walnuts. Drop into the boiling liquid. Boil hard, uncovered, 5 minutes. Place a cover on a tilt to allow air space for steam to escape. Boil hard 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium high, making sure liquid is at a full boil. Boil at least 45 minutes. Cut one in half. When color is opaque throughout with no wet look in the center, they are done.
||Carefully remove the balls with a slotted spoon to the hot chicken soup where they will absorb the flavor. Or, leave them in the liquid until ready to serve as a side dumpling.
NOTE: Three secrets of light matzo balls are: The addition of seltzer water, cold batter hitting the boiling liquid, and the water remaining at a rolling boil throughout the cooking process.