Originally, when I began pondering this whole blogging-the-parashah idea, I joked that reaching Shmot would be strange, because why would I want to make Pesach in January.
How could I be creative when the Seder itself is a pretty creative event?!? As I reviewed Parashat Shmot, though, I was taken by how easy it would be to shift the focus of this shabbat’s activities away from the slavery experience and take advantage of the opportunity to shine the spotlight on Moshe Rabbeinu, who receives none of the limelight come Pesach. Because Parashat Shmot serves as a brief biography of the greatest Jewish leader, highlighting Moshe seems to be the best approach to this shabbat. Shabbat dinner will become a “This is Your (Early) Life, Moshe” feast.
For starters, we are going to create baby Moshe in the basket hors d’oeuvres. At the suggestion of our very imaginative 5-year-old, we are going to make baby Moshes in small twice baked potatoes. His body will be made of carrot sticks, and our kindergartner would like his eyes to be raisins or black beans. We will also serve Moshe ba’tevah, the Israeli name for what we call pigs in a blanket.
The next major episode in Moshe’s life, killing and hastily burying the Egyptian task-master, will be represented by a big tray of sand-colored couscous.
For the Midian events, we will have a large well (made of matzah sheets surrounding dip and crudite). We will also serve biscuits cut in the shape of sheep. And of course, Moshe’s wife will be represented by chicken (Tzipporah=Bird… I know, a stretch!).
Finally, the burning bush will be the centerpiece of the table. We are still working on a safe and “shabbati” way to use greenery, red and yellow cellophane, and illumination on the table. I think we’ll make a trip to Michael’s to see if they have any of those LED votive “candles” that run on batteries.
Finally, dessert will be the otot, signs, that God teaches Moshe to prove to Bnei Yisrael that he was in fact sent by God. We will have pretzel staffs and gummy snakes; finger-shaped cookies dredged in white powdered sugar and coconut flakes (a hand covered in coconut leprosy would be too much!); and blood-red cherry juice.
At dinner, we hope to discuss Moshe’s leadership qualities and what each of these episodes in his life helped to shape him as a leader.