(I vaguely remember from my Seminary days the concept of gift giving on Shabbat. Apparently, passing ownership of an object from one person to another too closely resembles engaging in commerce, which is forbidden. This led me to think about the candy man at shul, who gave me candy regardless of being way too old and developed for the men's side of the Orthodox shul we attended. This led me to think about Bar Mitzvahs and being all too old and competitive to be shoving kids as volleys of Sunkist candies and Mike and Ikes rained from above, pelting the 13 year old who was probably too busy "becoming a man" to contemplate Child Services at the time. This led me to think of that time in carpool writing "SOS" and pantomiming a capture-striken face in the backseat, on my way to the first-grade Siddur presentation. I mastered the Macaulay Culkin. This made me think about my gray dilapidated Nissan Quest and the shenanigans my mom would never know went on in the backseat, like the collage of Barbie and Ninja Turtle stickers from doctor's visits gummed to the middle seat, and the collection of cream-less Oreo Cookie tops and bottoms stashed below. This made me think of the foolishness of an 8 year old who forgets about the hysteria of Pesach cleaning. This makes me think about the foolishness of Pesach Cleaning. This makes me think about how the weeks before Pesach, and how I would grab a bag of Shaloch Manot from the kitchen table in lieu of a lunch, not bothering to take out what I wanted from the bag with the label "Have a Golden Holiday!! -The Goldsteins." Remember to stay calm as you disembowel the golden bag of its golden decorative strings, and to be as nonchalant waving to the Goldstein boy convincing yourself he is smiling not smirking. But do I really have to explain to him the rule that exists between Purim and Pesach where you survive on 2 week old Hamentashin and mini Gefen grapejuices? Do I really have to explain eating meals on the steps a week and half before Pesach starts becuase the kitchen is already "turned over"? And do I have to explain the insurmountable restraint not to open the food pantry and stare longingly at the Manishevitz Cake mix you only want because its the only thing you recognize as "food" beside the canisters of "Potato Starch" and "Matzah Meal." And when Pesach does come around, don't do anything stupid like come to the seder having fasted and a large glass of Malaga be the first thing in your system. Don't be that person who spends the rest of Seder crying about whether or not they would have been redeemed from Egypt or which animal they would be most frightened of during the Plague of Wild Beasts. (Ostrich!) Don't be that person to read every interesting comment in their Haggadah aloud-first in Hebrew-then in English! And definitely don't storm to your room, lock the door, and yell that you hate the world when everyone is laughing that you have to read the part of the Rasha. Simply smile and politely tell them you've put mouse poison in one of the side dishes. Don't tell them which one. When you get a dissapproving look all around, reassure them it was KOSHER FOR PASSOVER food poisoning so as not to ruin their holiday. Return to eating salty celery sticks and ward off growls when someone whispers in your ear that its not the meal yet and you cant eat more than 1 kezayis of Karpas. Beg for an Ostrich to walk through the door.) Valentine's day. Because holidays are about being around the people we care about.
Secretly envious of cool Shaloch Manos last names