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Friday, April 22, 2016

simple phrase, deep meaning

"I have to go make yontif."

A simple phrase, spoken in my grandmother's heavily accented English, employing the Yiddish word for "holiday". 

"I have to go make yontif."  It meant all of the holiday preparations, which were quite extensive.  Especially at Passover.

"I have to go make yontif."  That meant grocery shopping, not just for the food for the two Seders, but also for the special Passover foods she fed her family all week.

"I have to go make yontif."  It meant cleaning the house from top to bottom, removing every crumb of leavened bread.  It meant packing up all the pots and pans, all the dishes and glasses and silverware, everything to be stored away for a week.  Instead, she would use the Passover kitchenware, cups and plates and pots delegated to be used solely during the holiday.

"I have to go make yontif."  It meant cooking.  Everything was made from scratch.  Chicken livers would be fried and ground up for chopped liver.  Whitefish and pike would be chopped for gefilte fish. Horseradish and beets would be grated.  Matzo balls would be shaped and cooked to accompany the chicken soup. Turkey would be stuffed with matzo farfel. 

"I have to go make yontif."  Set the table.  Get the wine glasses.  Made up the Seder plate. Find the Haggadahs.

And when everything was prepared for the Seder,  my father would call us all to the table and say:

 "Let's go make yontif."

Azizen Pesach.  Happy Passover.

1 comment:

bookworm said...

And to do, Songbird. Alana

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