Hello everyone!  I know this Pesach-related post is rather late, but it’s still meaningful to keep the inspiration going!  On the last day of Pesach, we focus with greater intensity of hope and dreams for our future, and how we can work to hasten the arrival of Moshiach, ushering in the golden days of Torah and unity.  Nearing the close of the festival, but before sundown, we celebrate our unique mission of being the ushers of our Redeemer, and shine in our eagerness and readiness for the Dawn of Moshiach.  This special seudah is often referred to as “The Meal of Moshiach”.  Over the course of the meal, it is appropriate to discuss inspirational and Moshiach-related topics, refining us further to enter the Geulah (Redemption) era.  This past Pesach, I had the honor of preparing our light but beautiful supper, for my family and grandmother, our guest for the holiday. 

It was fun to get creative, whipping up a few new dishes with the available components, as I played over in my head again and again, the teachings of “everything can be elevated, and used for a higher purpose.”  This food wasn’t just for our physical pleasure, but through enjoying the little delicacies together, energizing ourselves to welcome in Moshiach, we would climb up higher in our spirituality, and come closer to Hashem.

I set the table with a deep red cloth, and nice tableware.  For a centerpiece, I elevated various bottle of wine, at different heights, perching one on the bottom of an upturned glass bowl, tilting another on its side to make things artistic.  This wine was reminiscent of the wine that tzadikkim will enjoy at the Ultimate Seudah of Moshiach, made from aged grapes “preserved since the days of Creation”, that’s mentioned in the poetic prayer of Akdamus that we read on Shavuos.  The “wine”, our Sages tell us, is in fact an allegory describing the rich Torah secrets that have been hidden for us, to delight in in the times of Moshiach, that Hashem has been ‘storing’ and ‘aging’ since He Created the world.  I laid my father’s Shofar among the bottles, to remind us of the Shofar that will be blasted to announce the arrival of King Moshiach, who Eliyahu HaNavi will herald into kingship.  In the middle of my forest of symbolism, I stood a figurine of a heron.  Since it looks pretty similar, I imagined it was a stork instead.  The stork is another sign of the Geulah.  Please read on to learn why:

Perek Shira, the Song of the Universe, Chapter 4.  Chassidah Omeret – The Stork Says:

 דַּבְּרוּ עַל לֵב יְרוּשָׁלִַם וְקִרְאוּ אֵלֶיהָ כִּי מָלְאָה צְבָאָהּ כִּי נִרְצָה עֲו‍ֹנָהּ כִּי לָקְחָה מִיַּד יְהֹוָה כִּפְלַיִם בְּכָל חַטֹּאתֶיהָ 

“Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her, for she has become full [from] her host, for her iniquity has been appeased, for she has taken from the hand of the Lord double for all her sins.”
{Isaiah/Yeshaya 40:2}

The stork’s name (Chassdiah) alludes to the word chesed, kindness, because, the Sages say, this bird is generous to others of its species.  And the Sages teach, also, that the stork always appears on schedule.  These are two characteristics of the inevitable Redemption.  When G-d will is, no power on this earth can delay it, and one sure way to bring it is by being kind, thoughtful, and generous. *

And now for my menu:  I prepared a fresh lettuce salad with vegetable fixings, a few different types of fish (simple things– sweet gefilte with carrots and chrain (horseradish), sardines sprinkled with herbs, tuna salad), a bowl of vegetable crisps, egg salad, and set out matzos.

The fish, alluded to the Levayasan, also known as the Leviathan– an enormous undersea creature, sometimes described as a fish– will be the entrée of the Ultimate Seudah of Moshiach.  Chazal, our Sages, just as with the wine, understand the Levyasan to not actually be physical sustenance as we know it (for that will be no more in the days of Moshiach.  We, and what we consume, will be on an entirely higher and more spiritual plane), but also an allusion to great Torah that we will feast over, and savor with profound enjoyment.  I could taste a spark of that, even in my Yehudah Gefilte…  Sparks of soul, invested by its Maker, in every single thing in this world.  A taste of Hashem, a taste of Moshiach.  If this concept, of fish and Moshiach, intrigues you (and it’s a theme during our Shabbos meals too), I encourage you to look into it more, perhaps on, or in Rabbi Boruch Leff’s Shabbos for the Soul.  And now, to explain my egg salad…  Please read on to hear my own chiddush:

I thought of an interesting look at eggs and Pesach– rather, eggs and Moshiach, on the last day of Pesach.  I was making an egg salad for our Moshiach meal when it came to me.  Before an egg hatches, the life inside of it is constantly growing and developing, and only once it hatches as a new life, can it reach its full potential.  Similarly, while we are in Galus (exile, referring to both physical and spiritual), we are always growing and developing.  Only with Moshiach’s arrival, will we enter a new stage of life, and can reach our ultimate potential.  When we eat an egg, we can remember our current state, and we must not neglect to forget that we’re always growing.  We can’t get too comfy in Galus– we still have a ways to go, and we have a greater destination and goal for life.

 My egg salad was basic (if you had a chance to check out my earlier culinary posts, you’ll know that I don’t write down my own concoctions), simply chopped up hard boiled eggs (I separate the cooked eggs, whites from yolks before chopping and adding into salad), a dollop of mayonnaise, chopped celery, salt and pepper, sprinkle of onion powder, generous pinch of ground mustard, and the Pesach-inspired secret ingredient, for a kick…  A spoonful or two of white horseradish topping (yes, right from the bottle.  I like Gold’s brand, but use your favorite!).  Folding gently, combine well, transfer to appropriate serving dish, and sprinkle with parsley to garnish, fresh or dried.
Bitayavon, and may you be blessed to draw unique and fresh inspiration from each holiday, to motivate and guide you throughout the entire year!!!
*{Note:  Perek Shira verse and explanation sourced from the Artscroll Series Perek Shira, the Schottenstein Edition.}