At the Passover Seder, brisket is served, because:
- the majority of the attendees are, well, carnivor-tarians;
- we have delicious things for the vegetarians, vegans and those gluten-free; and
- G-d did not deliver us from Egypt to eat turkey.
Dad likes a thinly sliced and lean brisket. I like thick slices of the marbled cut, so it is moist but not fatty.
SIDEBAR: Also? I cannot cut brisket in thin slices. I suck at it.
Dad is quite forgetful nowadays; yet, he is capable of moments of startling clarity. Especially concerning the cut and the slicing of the brisket.
In the run up to the Seder, Dad instructed me any number of times about how my slicing is too thick (dare he say, in-elegant? (yes, yes, he dared)) and that the meat was not lean enough.
SIDEBAR: Tell it to the poor grass fed cow who guest-starred at dinner.
When it came to the stressful moment when I had to cut the brisket, my hands were shaking. And, as the meat crumbled under my slicing, I was almost in tears that Dad would notice the disastrous cutting of the brisket more than anything else about Seder.
Seder seemed to go well. Dad ate his fill and was in a good, if disconnected, mood.
I spoke to him this afternoon. As he complimented me on my leading of the discussion about the Exodus from Egypt, he also mentioned the “crazy style of food” at Seder.
My heart sank. I couldn’t hold it in.
“Daddy, I am so sorry about the crumbly brisket and the thick slices. I just can’t cut it the way you do!”
“Well, darling, why didn’t you ask me to cut the brisket? I would have been happy to.”
UH OH. It is a delicate balance: elegant brisket AND a deranged old man with a knife or safety and not so pretty brisket. I know, it is a toss up.
“Dad, let’s discuss this next year, ok?”
“Ok, darling, but it will look and taste a lot better . . . .”
And so we add another prayer to our Seder:
Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu melech ha’alom, asher kidshanu b’mitzvotav vitsivanu al slicing of the brisket.
Blessed is G-d, Sovereign of the Universe, Who hallows our lives through commandments and Who has commanded us regarding the slicing of the brisket.