“Why is this night different from all other nights?” is one of the main questions of Passover, the Jewish holiday that retells the story of exile from Egypt. This year, we may have an additional answer, as the second night of Passover falls on 4/20, an unofficial holiday known for celebrating marijuana culture and consumption.
My first experience with the leafy green happened last year at the age of 30. Although I had plenty of opportunities to partake at high school parties, the act of smoking turned me off, so I opted for whatever sugary vodka drink was on tap instead. But as I continued my march forward into adulthood, the marijuana industry matured alongside me and the options readily available for consumption expanded to include oils, pills, and edibles.
Nutella with my fingers when we got home said otherwise.Last Labor Day, I traveled to Colorado with my family to attend a three-day musical festival, including a set by soft rocker and outspoken marijuana enthusiast Jack Johnson. With options abound and legality ensured, my father and I ventured into a high-end dispensary and picked up a THC-laced chocolate peanut butter bar. We each popped a bite-size square before Jack Johnson’s jam session and waited for the chocolate to absorb. Dad said he felt a little silly and hazy, but I couldn’t tell if I felt much of anything. He insisted my eating an entire packet of
Although my experience with THC is fairly new, the relationship between Jews and marijuana has been in the works for millennia. According to some biblical scholars, the plant “kaneh bosem”, which is used in a ritual offering for Moses to give to God, could be referring to cannabis. In more recent times, Rabbi David ben Solomon, chief rabbi of Cairo in the 16th century, wrote, “The leaves of cannabis make one happy.” In 2016, the Orthodox Union, the organization that grants kosher certification to food and drink, started adding their stamp of approval to some medicinal marijuana products.
The story of Passover is told in Jewish homes each year to remind us not to take our freedom for granted, and to fight for those who are still living under oppression. Thus, it is also fitting to talk about the staggeringly disproportionate numbers of minority men and women who are still behind bars for marijuana-related offenses. Under the Jewish concept of “tikkun olam,” which means repairing the world, bringing marijuana into your Passover Seder is relevant and can be done in a number of ways, both fun and reflective.
A Marijuana Leaf for The Seder Plate
The Seder plate, the centerpiece of the table, is stocked with symbolic foods that help tell the story of Passover. Recently, some families have started adding an orange to the plate to represent those that have been marginalized in the Jewish community, including women and LGBTQI individuals. Add a marijuana leaf to your Seder plate to steer the discussion to the lives of those affected by the war on drugs. As this ACLU report shows, black people are 3.73 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana-related charges, although white people are equally as likely to use marijuana.
A bitter herb (in Hebrew, “maror”), is displayed on the Seder plate and eaten to represent the bitterness of slavery. While most families use horseradish or romaine lettuce, feel free to take “herb” more figuratively.
Four Cups of Wine or Four Joints
One of my favorite parts of a Passover Seder is that the Haggadah, the guidebook for the ceremonial meal, commands that all guests drink four glasses of wine throughout the night. If you’re up for it, swap some or all of those glasses with a joint or your favorite method of consumption. (And check out The Le’Or Cannabis Passover Seder Haggadah for more.)
A Puff for Elijah the Prophet
It is customary to leave a glass of wine on the table for the prophet Elijah, whose eventual arrival is predicted to bring the world a new age of peace. Is there anything more chill than that? Leave some bud for Elijah and hope he gets here sooner.
Marijuana Matzoh Ball Soup
Jewish chef Joan Nathan appeared on Vice’s cooking show “Bong Appetit” in 2017, making marijuana matzo ball soup along with other cannabis-infused dishes. Learn how to cook your own soup and more with this Guide to Cooking with Cannabis.
Bong Appetit: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Weed, $21.80 on Amazon
Or check out this cookbook spawned from the series.
Disclaimer: This article is about cooking with cannabis, which may or may not be legal in your area. Neither Chowhound nor its parent company encourage or endorse any irresponsible behavior or illegal activity. If you choose to use cannabis, please do so responsibly and only where permitted by law.
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