Nobody wanted to leave the sandbox at lunch time today. With the perfect spring breeze shaking the new Bradford Pear leaves over our heads and the soft afternoon sun warming our cheeks, we were all content to keep playing. Plus, there was a new bucket of plastic sand toys for digging and building. But I was hungry too, so I ran into the house and grabbed a box of matzah.
I have noted the irony of the impressive onslaught of matzah crumbs beginning the moment the house has been cleaned for Passover. The near constant shower of matzah crumbs around my kitchen table has been relentless for the past few days. With two young children, I even found myself sweeping in “real time” with crumbs falling around me and a few directly into the dustpan. Maybe this is another opportunity to remember the bitterness of slavery, I am sure building the pyramids and sweeping up after Egyptians was far more thankless. But for me, I would rather be eating horseradish (which I guess isn’t fair because I do sort of like it).
So, matzah in the sandbox was a welcome change. The crumbs fell and instantly camouflaged into the sand just as the original matzah crumbs must have disappeared on the ground of the Sinai. And as we were eating, it seemed a perfect time to talk about Passover with my son who spent most of the Seder playing with legos in the next room with his cousins.
He started the conversation. “I love matzah with jam and matzah without jam” he declared.
“Do you know why we eat matzah”, I asked.
“To remember that we are free and that we ran away from the Egyptians.” He said. Ok, I thought, he absorbed more than I realized during his brief stints at the Seder table.
Then he thought for a minute, raking some sand and asked, “Who was good, Pharaoh or the other one?”
“Moses,” I volunteered, “he and his sister Miriam lead us from Egypt and God helped too.”
He thought about it and asked, “Is Pharaoh still around or did he turn into a skeleton.” This has become his turn of phrase for describing his new concept of death since we visited the dinosaur museum.
“No, Pharaoh turned into a skeleton long ago.” I said thinking this is not the time to introduce the mummy concept.
“Then we could stop eating matzah, and go back to Egypt.” he suggested still raking.
“Yes, I guess we could visit Egypt someday,” I told him.
Then he ate some more matzah and said, “Mom, the matzah is working. It does make me remember.” And he had a far off look in his eyes, like the matzah was literally giving him memories from someplace far away. What was he thinking about? Were there four year olds who played in the sand in Sinai after crossing the Red Sea. Or maybe he was remembering something from earlier that day, like when we ate matzah with jam on actual plates at breakfast. Either way, I highly recommend matzah in the sandbox.