Misconceptions abound regarding all Jewish holidays, yet none so widespread as those concerning Pesach (Passover). Some think that Pesach is a two-day holiday, while anyone who has been to Israel is certain that it is only one day. Others believe that it actually consists of two holidays, two days each, with a few days in the interim. Still others have heard that the holiday lasts for a week, and I have heard comments about Jews being lucky, having an extra vacation for a whole week. The latter opinion is actually close to the truth. The holiday of Passover lasts for eight (in Israel seven) days, as we are commanded, “For seven days, you shall eat unleavened bread” (Exodus 12:15); however, only on the first two days we abstain from all work as we do on major holidays decreed by the Torah. It is further commanded that “You shall eat unleavened bread for six days and on the seventh day there shall be a convocation” (Exodus 12:18), so the last two days are also considered holiday days, with all the rules appertaining. The four days in the middle, however, while we still eat matzah (unleavened bread), we are free to go to work, drive, use computers and cell phones, and – hooray! – sail.
“The city I see in my dreams, my dearest city by the Black Sea, ” sings the famous Estonian tenor Georg Ots, “Odessa, my sunny city.“
We set sail on the first day of Chol haMoed (intermediate days of the holiday), going first to Key Largo, the largest of the Florida Keys, and then to the delightful Islamorada, located halfway between Key Biscayne and Key West, there to spend the last two days of Pesach. Unfortunately, on the day we were making our way to Plantation Yacht Marina, part of City of Islamorada magnificent Founders Park, the weather decided to throw some surprises at us in the way of 25 mph winds, with 35 mph gusts and serious chop. I have made a mistake in the video, where it came out as 5 mph gusts, but you can see The Boss bravely manning the helm, corkscrewing the boat through the waves. This is a sailing term, Beautiful People, which means zigzagging, and as tired as he was, he still managed later to corkscrew a bottle of delicious Pinot Grigio I had kept chilled for lunch. He also caught the aforesaid lunch, or at least the main part of it, three nice size rainbow Trouts, which I promptly placed on the grill, with just salt and pepper, sprinkled with lemon juice.
But where is the unleavened bread? Where is matzah? I am glad you asked, Beautiful People, because we are only obligated to eat matzah on the first two days (one day in Israel) of Pesach. For the rest of the holiday, we are simply not allowed to eat leavened bread, or even have it in our possession. That means not only actual bread, but anything made of grain that is leavened or has a potential to be. Even cats and dogs get special grain-free food. We don’t have to eat matzah, but we make all kinds of delectable dishes, using “the bread of affliction,” as it is called in the Hagaddah (The Story of Exodus), read the first two nights of Pesach. I have to note that it is common nowadays to abstain from making those dishes because in the process matzah itself might be leavened. However, I am of the old school, and one of our favorite Pesach treats is Prezhenitza, known in America as Matzah Brei.
As you see in the video, it is simple, easy and quick, and oh! so delicious! And while it is frying, which is only a couple of minutes on each side, please watch this video and marvel at the beauty of my Odessa. Listen to the La Scala trained Muslim Magomaev:
Those born by the sea
Have fallen in love forever
With the tall while masts
And the city by the sea,
The bluest sea in the world,
My Black Sea.
We, my husband and I, feel that this song is about us. Pesach is called the Time of Our Freedom, and nowhere do we feel as free, as on water. Exodus has demonstrated the power of the A-mighty, and we know that it is His Mighty and Generous Hand that sends wind into our sails.
- 3 full matzahs
- 3 eggs
- Boiling water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Break matzahs into bite-size pieces, cover with boiling water. Keep covered for a couple of minutes, until soft to touch.
- Add eggs, salt and pepper, mix well.
- Fry in oil for 2 – 3 minutes on each side. Serve hot.