July 25, 2024
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July 25, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Pesach is all about minhagim. No two families have the same minhagim, and you always want to make sure that your kids carry on whichever minhagim you have.

In fact, here is a list of things that, as far as my kids know, are our Pesach minhagim. Unless I say something to my kids, my sons are going to get married and tell their wives this is what we do, and my daughters will specifically marry people who don’t do some of these things.

“Do you have a minhag to eat way too many eggs?” they’ll ask someone on a date.

– We have a minhag to break something while Pesach cleaning. Usually the oven.

– I have a minhag, when I’m selling my chometz, to cooly slip the rabbi some money in a handshake, even though there’s no one else in the room.

– We have a minhag, handed down through the generations, to go to zoos on Chol Hamoed.

– We also have a minhag to go on the Staten Island Ferry at least once every few years. Once on the ferry, we have a minhag to point at the Statue of Liberty.

– I have a minhag that every kos has to be a mixture of at least two or three kinds of wine.

– I have a minhag to spill wine on my kittel. I’m extra makpid on this one.

– We have a minhag to do a bad job breaking our matzah. One year I put my thumb through it.

– Our official minhag is that for the Mah Nishtanah the youngest kid goes first, except that the youngest kid has never in the history of our family actually gone first. The actual minhag is that the youngest child stands up on a chair, gets shy, shrugs his shoulders for 10 minutes, and eventually agrees to do it after his siblings, but even then he doesn’t always do it. And the older siblings have a minhag to speed through it as fast as they can, like they’re embarrassed that they have questions.

– My kids have a minhag every year to try to figure out which of the kids are which of the arbah banim.

– We have a minhag, when a lot of family comes over, that between every paragraph of Maggid, someone goes to the bathroom (or checks on a baby or puts someone to bed or does something in the kitchen or pretends to go to the bathroom but actually looks for the afikoman so he could hide it somewhere else) and we all sit around and wait. And then someone says a D’var Torah.

– We have a minhag to use our pinkies to take out wine for the Makkos, and then to lick our pinkies afterward.

– We have a minhag to measure our matzah up against that shiurim picture, and then break it so the shards fit into the corners of the picture. My brother-in-law is Sefardi, so his minhag is to measure it by weight. So he brings his own Pesachdikke scale. (Alternatively, you can use a bathroom scale. First you step onto the scale holding the matzah, then you step onto the scale not holding the matzah, all while taking great pains not to bring the matzah into the bathroom.)

– We have a minhag to taste the matzah the first night of Pesach and say, “This matzah isn’t as good as last year’s.” This tradition dates back thousands of years. Apparently, matzah has been steadily getting worse. No matzah in history has ever been as good as the previous year, going all the way back to Mitzrayim, which had the best matzah ever. Maybe the secret is baking it on your back.

– We all have a minhag to make faces while eating marror.

– We have a minhag, at the beginning of Shulchan Orech, to eat the egg in salt water and then grab the whole rest of the potato off the Seder plate and fight over it. One person has a minhag to then lose that potato in the salt water and use his bare hands to find it.

– Possibly related, we have a minhag to throw out the salt water and make some fresh for the second night.

-We have a minhag to start Shulchan Orech by saying, “I’m not hungry. I hope there’s not a lot of food.”

– My kids had a minhag at some point to hide the afikoman on the highest shelf they could possibly reach, which was directly in my line of vision.

– We have a minhag, the rest of Yom Tov, to bentch out of coffee-themed haggados from the supermarket.

– Our kids have a minhag to insist that Eliyahu Hanavi drank from his kos. Then we pour it back so we can reuse it the next day.

– We have a minhag to fly through Nirtzah. One year, growing up, I tried saying Divrei Torah, and people were not receptive.

– We have a minhag for someone to announce, on the first night of Sefirah, that they didn’t Omer the previous night. Some years, someone says, “Last night was zero!” and then someone else says, “No, last night was 354!” And then someone says, “Oh no! I haven’t counted since Shavuos!”

– We have a minhag to intend to make animal noises for Chad Gadya. Until we get to the stick.

– We have a minhag to look at the clock as we finish the Seder, like when we finish has any kind of significance. Like everyone’s leaving Mitzrayim, and we don’t want to miss it. Or like we’re waiting for the year that we go, “Hey, it’s z’man Kriyas Shema! We made it! It’s a good thing we zoomed through Nirtzah!”

By Mordechai Schmutter

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia, among other papers. He also has five books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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