Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Passover Clues 2010

What does a a brave sea captain, a golden deer, and Passover have in common?

Sheva Apelbaum-Passover Feather

Ever since I can remember, we have been celebrating Passover. It is my favorite holiday (bed time is eliminated and I get to drink coffee).  Two days before Passover my mom goes around the house and hides 10 pieces of bread (Chametz). We turn all of the lights off and then my sister and I go around with a candle, paper bag, and a feather and we look for each piece of bread. When we find one, we sweep it up with the feather and drop it into the bag.  Then the next morning, we go into the back yard and burn the bread in the outside fireplace.

The day just before the night of Passover, everyone is busy. My mom cooks up a storm and my sister and I walk around decorating the house. We set the table with a white table cloth, fancy wine glasses, new plates, and silverware.

Then at nightfall the event begins. We pull out the Haggadot, which are the “Passover Manuals” and read through and perform the tasks one at at time. When we get to the part that describe the 10 plagues that God cast upon Egypt, we stop. My dad and mom take out the props, (see below), and we reenactment the event.

Darkness Blood Boils Death of the first born 
Our drawings are based on clay works by Rony Oren

Sheva Apelbaum-Afikoman Around the middle of the Seder my dad goes and hides half a matza called the Afikoman (which means “dessert” in Greek).  Close to the end of the Seder my sister and I go on a treasure hunt looking for it.  If we find it, we hold it hostage until our parents bargain with us to get it back.  The payback is usually some educational gift.  My dad is tricky and devious in his hiding techniques, but I am an expert in searching and finding it. The search is often long and includes many clues such as  math, history, music, maps, and pictures.

This year’s clue was:

I sailed around the world
Recovering treasure and gold 
On a cold August night, I put up a fight
And made the Spanish fleet
shiver from fright

This sounded vaguely familiar. I remember my dad telling me  about a major naval battle that saved England during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the first.  I also remembered seeing an interesting medal the Queen issued to celebrate the event. It had  Hebrew writing on it and it said “He blew and they were scattered.”

Sheva Apelbaum-Spenish ArmadaTerrific clue, but I still couldn't make anything of it.  After about 15 minutes of looking at our history book shelf, (I figured he probably left some hints behind), I found a bookmark in the Chronicle of the World. I opened it and under the year 1572 I found an article entitled “Drake Captures Spanish Gold in Panama” so, it was Sir Francis Drake!  Then, my dad dropped another clue. He switched to the game of charades, pointed at my sister’s sparkling golden sequin dress and put his hands on each side of his head like he had antlers and ran around the living room.

Sheva Apelbaum-Francis DrakeThis goes on for a few minutes with us all looking at him (including the cat who by now arched her back and began hissing) trying to figure out if he just lost his mind. But he is relentless; he puts his hand on his belly and starts scratching it as if he has some flees, he then sniffs the air, points at my sister’s golden dress again and repeats the deer routine.  In my desperation, I go back to the history book flip forward several pages and find another entry. This one in 1579 entitled “Britain Welcomes Home Pirate Drake.” I skim the text and in the forth paragraph it says “Drake’s renamed his craft the “Golden Hind (deer).” This may not be obvious, but several years ago my dad built the model of this ship and it’s currently located at the bottom shelf of our dining room’s china cabinet.

Sheve Apelbaum Golden Hind At the moment of my brilliant discovery, I scream “its in the ship model!” and make a dash to the dining room, but by the time I get there, my sister is already lying on the floor checking out the area.

Now, its a battle of wits, I know that it’s related to the ship, she knows that its in the area as well.  I decide to take it slow for a few seconds and just stand there  looking at the shelf trying to figure out how he managed to squeeze the matza into the ship. 

Then, right in front of my eyes, in slow motion, I see my sister reaching under the cabinet and pulling out a Ziploc bag that was taped to its base.  Inside the zip lock bag is none other than the hidden Afikoman.  

So what is the connection you ask? My dad says that God moves in mysterious ways, and just like he caused the winds to blow all night before the Reed Sea was split open, so did Queen Elizabeth believe that he caused the wind to blow and scatter the Spanish invading fleet.

Happy Passover and Easter everyone.

1 comment:

  1. Oh you smart girl you!
    I tell you something: You should find a BIG challenge for your dad too!!!
    Let him find his next birthday gift with REALLY smart and MOST difficult clues!!!!!
    And it should be something that involves HOPPING around!!!!!
    Big hug, Yael.

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