Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hardtack and Matzoh, Part 2

Back to Joel's Passover! With some creative foraging, no doubt, Joel and his intrepid band of neo-Israelites not only talked the sutler out of seven barrels of flour to make matzoh, they found chickens and eggs, lamb, some cider, and a weed that was bitter enough to substitute for horseradish. They even came up with enough apples and nuts to make charoset

[Note; recipes for the latter vary but the basic ingredients are chopped apples and nuts, grapes, and wine or grape juice. This was to represent the mortar used while they were slaves in Egypt.]

There is no doubt in my mind that the matzoh looked a lot like hardtack! Unleavened bread represents the quick exit of the original Jews out of Egypt, the lamb represents the Pashel sacrifice, and the bitter herbs--well--bitter is bitter.

There was even a real brick on the soldier's table, upon which to contemplate the hardships undergone by their forbearers, forced into labor by the Pharoahs.And with a real brick on the table upon which to contemplate, their semblance of Seder was pretty accurate. There was just one small problem--the purloined cider was less like cider and more like wine. Apparently enough hard cider was consumed to have results. As Joel writes, " . . . the consequence was a skirmish, with nobody hurt."

His writing continues: “There in the wild woods of West Virginia, away from home and friends, we consecrated and offered our prayers and sacrifice. There is no occasion in my life that gives me more pleasure than when I remember the celebration of Passover of 1862.”

I must give my thanks to Martha M. Bolz, a Civil War historian and writer for the Washington Times/America At War feature. I will send her a link to First Fallen, and maybe she will get in touch, so I can thank her personally, and see if there is more to be learned from Private Joel. Shalom!

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