Pesach Carrot Souffle

A delicious side dish for Pesach.

Ingredients:

2 lbs carrots, peeled and cooked until soft and drained well
5 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2-3 Tbsp. potato starch, sifted
1 3/4 tsp. baking powder
1 Tbsp. vanilla sugar
1/4 cup oil
1/3 cup applesauce

Topping:
1/3 cup ground nuts, mix of walnuts and almonds
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. potato starch
1 tsp. oil
1/4 cup ladyfinger crumbs, optional

Using a mixer, mix cooked carrots with all other ingredients (aside from topping) well. Pour into 9×13 in. pan. Combine all topping ingredients together in a small bowl. Sprinkle evenly over souffle. Bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until set.

Jewish Jokes for Pesach

LET MY PEOPLE KNOW

dog not barking There is a special mitzvah (commandment) that can only be fulfilled once a year. I am referring to the mitzvah of sippur yetzias Mitzrayim, the commandment to tell over the story of the exodus from Egypt. At the Passover Seder, we tell over the great miracles that G-d did for the Jewish people when they left Egypt. For example, the Egyptians had an early warning radar system to alert them when a slave would try to escape from Egypt. This was not an electronic radar, but a dog-based radar! The Egyptian dogs were trained to bark whenever they detected a slave trying to cross the Egyptian border. But when the Jews left Egypt, G-d made a miracle that the dogs were completely silent!

This leads to the following joke:
What did Momma Dog tell Baby Dog when the Jews were leaving Egypt?
HUSH PUPPY! HUSH PUPPY!

Although we spend a lot of time talking about the miracles, there are three basic things that must be spoken about in order to fulfill the mitzvah of sippur yetzias Mitzrayim:

1) PESACH (lit. Passover), in this case, a reference to the special sacrifice that the Jewish people brought on Erev Pesach, known as the korban Pesach. In Egypt, this was not easy for the Jews to do, because the Egyptians worshipped the sheep as a god! (I’m serious. I’M NOT TRYING TO PULL THE WOOL OVER YOUR EYES!) Because of this, the Jews were risking their lives by agreeing to slaughter the sheep in broad view of the Egyptians. The Egyptians were sure that their “gods” would kill the Jews, or at least put up a fight. But nothing happened. THEY WENT LIKE SHEEP TO THE SLAUGHTER!

2) MATZAH. I don’t have to explain that!
Why do we eat Matzah? To remember the TRUE story of the Exodus. Lots of children know folk takes like Cinderella. But they may not know the true story of the Exodus. That reminds me of another joke:
What would Cinderella eat on Pesach if she were Jewish?
MATZAH-RELLA!

3) MARROR, bitter herbs, which we eat to remember how bitter it was to be slaves in Egypt. Many people use green, leafy vegetable for marror. That reminds me of a joke:
What did the people on the Titanic use for marror?
ICEBERG LETTUCE!

by Yankel Moskowitz

Homemade Gefilte Fish

A traditional food for Passover and year round. It may be easier to buy a loaf (don’t even mention jarred!) but if you make it from scratch, you’ll make your Bubby proud!

Ingredients:

1 lb. ground fish (whitefish and pike)
2 Tbsp. matzo meal
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/8 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/8 cup water
1 large ground onion
1 egg

Mix all ingredients well. Shape into loaves and freeze. Cook 1 1/2 hours in water seasoned with salt, pepper and sugar. Makes 2 loaves of 8 slices each.

Jewish Jokes for Parshas Metzorah

A PONY TALE

This week’s Torah portion describes the different types of tzaraas, leprosy. Tzaraas was a punishment for speaking lashon hara, gossip or slander. What was unique about this particular punishment was that the person who spoke the lashon hara did not get tzaraas right away. First his house was stricken with tzaraas. If he did not repent, the tzaraas spread to his clothing. If he STILL refused to repent, only then did he develop tzaraas on his skin.

What I personally find most interesting is that the house got tzaraas, the clothing got tzaraas, and the person got tzaraas, but the animals did not get tzaraas. On that topic, let me talk about a sick animal.

There was once a horse named Charlie. Charlie was overworked and as a result got CHARLIE HORSE. Farmer Joe, who owned the horse, got very nervous and took Charlie straight to DR. SUESS.* Dr. Suess took one look at the horse and smiled. He told Farmer Joe, “Don’t worry, YOUR HORSE IS IN STABLE CONDITION!”

*Sus means horse in Hebrew.

by R’ Yaakov Moskowitz

Parshas Metzorah: He Thinks, Therefore You Are

Perhaps even before we open our eyes in the morning, still in bed, we declare quietly to ourselves the first declarative framework of our day, of the texture of our consciousness for the day. “Modeh ani lefanecha” – I acknowledge (to myself) that I am in Your presence, Your consciousness. Rav Shimon Schwab explained that just as an image is something we can envision and hence relate to, everything that is happening in the universe and beyond it, and then again simultaneously in the minutia of our individual lives, is happening inside the ‘thoughts,’ the consciousness, the ‘imagination’ of a Source Consciousness.

We all say to ourselves, when contemplating G-d, “how could He be outside of time and space?” But in your imagination, in your thoughts, can you IMAGINE an elephant going through a pinhole? Of course you can. And when you dream, doesn’t twenty years ago run into tomorrow? And you walk out of your house and then you’re in Paris… right? Everything is possible in thoughts and imagination. So if there is a Source Consciousness, then there are no boundaries of time and space unless… you’re the one IN the dream. Then to you all the realities are very real. Only upon awakening you go “ahhhh…” When we pass on to the next world, we go “ahhhh…”

So the first thing we acknowledge upon breathing in our first new breath of consciousness, of the new day, is that we declare to ourselves “Modeh ani lefanecha” – “I acknowledge (to myself, that I am existing within) Your consciousness.” “Melech chai v’kayum” – “The King- as in, the governing, controlling consciousness- Who is living- meaning, as opposed to the notion that there WAS a designer but He is gone now- and existing- i.e., is the constant causality of all (particularly me) which IS existing.”

It is with this backdrop that we get out of bed and embrace the day.

OK, now, consider this. Each person is born with, and into, a certain package of given strengths or limitations. We call them gifts because, well, you didn’t earn them, did you? You were born with a certain amount of looks, health, creativity, intelligence, family, energy, etc. That’s your ‘hardware.’ But then there’s your software. Hardware is only as potent, and capable of being impressive and creative, as the software driving it, right? You are not born with your software. Your software is your attitudes, your driving principles. All those motivational speakers you hear talk to raising your software, to leverage and access whatever amount of hardware you were born with.

Now, there is absolutely nothing physical, quantifiable, about attitudes. They are wholly spiritual. So the idea is then to align our attitudes, our consciousness each day with His.

And the physical universe is governed by attitudes too- driving principles, rules, of how it should be, how it should act. The physical universe then is only a physical manifestation (as articulated in the Big Bang theory) of energy and the principles that guide it. To many it’s all a random bing, big bang, boom, though. To us, it’s His bing, big bang and finally boom.

Did you know that your eyes, your hair, your susceptibility to sickness, your health, your ‘hardware’ is also actually just a physical manifestation of a code, a thought basically, which we choose to call DNA. What’s DNA? It’s a code. There is not one single cell in your body left from when you were born, except the brain. They all die constantly, but only after giving over the code to a newborn cell, the code of the DNA. And that cell carries out the command of the code, and thereby recreates ‘you.’ But the code is a concept, a thought, given over and the physical body appears in manifestation of the thought, the principles, embedded in that code, in that thought. You are really then just a thought.

Everything is real, everything is actually happening, is physical and measurable… the YOU, the person IN the dream. But it’s all really the manifestation of a thought, and the energy to make it happen is coming from a greater consciousness that the person in the dream. In the case of a dream, it’s coming from you, your source consciousness.

This is everything that exists: a manifestation of a principle, a thought. And so life is about trying to get YOUR governing principles concurrent with His (or shall we say, Its), the Source whose consciousness is this world.

In this week’s Torah portion, Parshas Metzorah, we learn of the person whose house, and then his/her clothes, turn green and red along the mortar of the house and then, if not addresses, the fabric of the person’s clothes, and then the skin of the body turns dead and white. Primarily this is attributed to being a consequence of speaking unflatteringly about your fellow Jew. If it’s true, that does NOT make it okay. A very common reactionary battle-cry when people are criticized for speaking lashon hara (pejoratively, unflatteringly) of another Jew- and thereby minimizing, killing, the concept of who/what that person is- is “But it’s TRUE!” as if that’s relevant. You took the concept, the understanding, of what he or she is and you killed it. And so, the reaction is that you, your skin first (if you didn’t heed the warming lights of your house and clothes first) goes white and dead. You too, both your hardware and your software, are a concept really. To kill someone’s positive driving energy, their raison d’ĂȘtre, is to kill the source of his being.

There are blogs out there now, so popular, singularly focused on one agenda: to report any and all ugly news they can find, sometimes true, sometimes not- that’s not really their concern- about Orthodox Jews as a whole, so many of whom have driving attitudes so gorgeous it can make you cry.

Y’know it’s funny (and by that I mean tragically sad) that recently, when hundreds of brothers and sisters, not by blood, bound together from hundreds of miles around and gave their time and energy, tons of energy, and money, a lot of money, and searched around the clock, literally around the clock, through the night, through the tears, to find a missing fellow Jew… THAT never made it to these blogs. Not to the Post, not to the Daily News. No, THAT was not news to them. A story so beautiful the whole world should have stood and saluted, that’s not interesting. Gimme something I can use. Gimme dirty laundry. Give me lashon hara.
PLEEEASE.

Yehuda Schwab, TorahMate

Purim and the Hand of G-d

On Purim, our Sages instituted that the megillah, the Book of Esther, be read twice, both on Purim night and day. This is so we can glean from the megillah some of the many lessons for life it has to offer. Let us explore one of those lessons.

The very name of the megillah, Esther, hints at the idea of hester panim, literally “hiding His face.” There are times that G-d hides His face, so to speak, from us, but even then, He is still there behind the scenes. We read the megillah in 45 minutes or so and it’s obvious to us to string together the events that led to the salvation of the Jews, from Mordechai overhearing Bigsan and Seresh’s plot to Esther’s appointment as queen. (Not familiar with the Purim story? Read the story of Megillat Esther.) So we see G-d’s role in the story quite clearly.

But we have to realize that these events happened over many years and were they not written down like this, they would likely have been dismissed (even retroactively) as a series of coincidences. Only when they are told all at once in sequential fashion does the clear plot-line emerge and the Hand of G-d in it all is revealed.

It’s important to realize this because this is how G-d acts with us in exile until today. Because G-d doesn’t reveal Himself openly, we must look harder, through world and personal events, to see His hand guiding us. We have to look between the lines of seemingly natural occurrences to see Who is really orchestrating everything.

A small personal example to illustrate: a couple of years ago, we moved to a new apartment. I called a mover a couple of weeks in advance and arranged to have our furniture moved on a Friday. The day before moving date, I called the mover to confirm but he had a long excuse for why he wouldn’t be able to do the job on Friday after all. I pushed and I nudged but he wouldn’t budge. The move would have to be pushed off for Sunday.

We were fairly upset about the seemingly unnecessary delay, but what could we do? Friday morning we drove over to the new apartment with some boxes that we wanted to move ourselves. Turned out our landlord had had the carpets cleaned and they were still wet. Had we arrived with all our furniture, there would have been no place to put it. What seemed like an annoying obstacle to us- the mover not being able to do the job on time- was actually to our benefit. In other words, the hidden hand of G-d helping us out behind the scenes.

G-d is still here, we just have to work harder to find Him. Mordechai and Esther did that job for us with the Purim story, making the connections that we might not otherwise have noticed. In our own lives, it’s up to us to do the work, to look out for G-d in the twists and turns that are our life stories. It’s a matter of sharpening our focus and finding the patterns, looking beyond the obvious to see the truth. Good luck :)

May we all have a meaningful and freilichen Purim!

Shmuel Dovid Kirwan

Purim Parody: What Does Haman Say?

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Sweet and Spicy Baked Salmon

A nice addition to your Purim seuda menu or any occasion.

Ingredients:

4 salmon fillets
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. onion power
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. paprika
3 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. water

Mix all ingredients and smear over salmon. Bake at 350F for 20 minutes, covered. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Jewish Jokes for Purim

Why is the Shabbos before Purim called Shabbos Zachor?
BECAUSE THAT IS THE LAST THING YOU WILL REMEMBER FOR A LONG TIME!

What was Queen Esther’s royal gown made of?
POLY-ESTER

Why do we give out so much tzedaka (charity) on Purim?
The Megillah says that this holiday is called Purim because of the PUR, the LOTS, that Haman drew. Therefore we give LOTS to the POOR!

What bracha (blessing) did the Jews say upon seeing Haman hanging on the gallows?
HA’EITZ!
(Haeitz literally means the tree. The blessing we say on fruits is “borei pri haeitz,” blessing G-d “who creates the fruit of the tree.”)

And one final oldie but goodie:

Who had the tallest family tree in history?
HAMAN!

by Yaakov Moskowitz

Butternut Squash Kugel

Yum, yum, and yum. And easy. What more is there to say?

Ingredients:

1 butternut squash, cut into chunks and cooked until soft
1 stick margarine
1 cup flour
1 cup sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup creamer
cinnamon

Mash squash and margarine together. Add rest of ingredients and mix until well blended. Pour into baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon. Bake 1 hour at 350F.