Invited out for Passover and don’t know what to bring? Well, stop worrying and have a look at our list of ideas of special gifts that you can buy your hosts for Passover…
This gift does very much depend on the family you are going to but in some families there is a custom to collect Haggadahs. Families that are especially used to hosting a ton of people on Passover will often have an impressive collection of Haggadahs so that each guest can take their pick and find one that speaks to them. Check with your hosts if they have a Haggadah collection and if they do, whether they would like you to add to it…
Again, this very much depends on where you’re invited to. If you are invited to an older couple then chances are that they have their Seder Plate that they’ve been using for years and are quite happy with and attached to. However, if you’re going to a young, newly-married couple who quite possibly won’t have one and you feel like really splashing out on a gift, inquire as to whether they have one and if they don’t then there are a huge variety of Seder Plates out there that can be just perfect to bring as a very special gift.
A gorgeous Matzah Plate/Tray will more often than not be much appreciated. Once again, it is always worthwhile making sure you know whether your hosts would need or want one and if they have a perfect one that they love then perhaps consider getting a regular serving plate and that will be just as well-appreciated.
Whilst we’re on the subject of Matzah-related items, a Matzah cover is also a lovely gift but quite like Challah covers there is such a thing as one couple getting inundated with them- especially if their wedding is near to Pesach. A young couple is much more likely to not have one but as always make sure to check before…
Passover Music, Stationary, etc
If you are being hosted by a family with children it is always a nice idea to get a little gift for the children. It does not have to be anything expensive but a Passover-themed gift such as Passover CDs or Passover stationary will be well-appreciated by the kids and the parents who get a few minutes quiet while the kids enjoy their gifts!
No, we’re not speaking about towels to be used in the bathroom- even the strictest Pesach cleaner doesn’t go as far as to have separate bathing towels for Pesach! We are speaking about hand-towels that can be used at the Seder or anytime during Pesach after washing hands for Matzah.
Passover Gift Basket
A gift basket can quite often be a very welcome gift for a family- especially on the sometimes restrained diet that Passover brings along with it for some streams of Judaism. Do check what the family’s customs are regarding foods on Pesach and if they go by any specific certification. A basket with chocolate, nuts, wine, etc, all Kosher for Pesach makes a lovely gift.
Lesser known Pesach customs…
There are hundreds and hundreds of laws concerning the holiday of Pesach and not a small number of customs that vary from community to community. The following are a number of customs that are, on the whole, lesser-known. It is always interesting to learn of different customs and to enrich one’s knowledge of different practices observed by different people in the Jewish religion.
- In Yemen, there was a custom to use the Lulav, Aravot and Hadassim (three of the four species used on the festival of Sukkot that occurs six months before the festival of Pesach) as fuel for the oven when baking Shmura Matzah (a special type of Matzah, the unleavened bread eaten on Pesach, that is carefully watched from the minute it is harvested until it is baked to make sure that it doesn’t come in to contact with any moisture). Additionally, Jews from Morocco, Syria and Baghdad would use the Lulav for both burning the leavened bread (as is customary before the start of the Pesach festival) and for baking Matzah.
- Hassidic Jews and Moroccan Jews wear a kittel at Seder night. A Kittel is a white robe that serves as a burial shroud for male Jews. There are a number of reasons given for this custom but on the simplest level, white is a symbol of joy at a time of festivals and weddings.
- Hungarian Jews would decorate their Seder tables with gold and silver. The explanation given for this custom is that this is in remembrance of the gold and silver that the Israelites received from the Egyptians on leaving Egypt.
- Yemenite Jews would often leave their doors open on Seder night as they believed that the redemption would come on that night and they left the door open so as to allow them to exit swiftly in order to greet the Messiah.
- Libyan and Tunisian Jews would not allow strangers into their houses on the first two days of Pesach. There are different explanations provided for this custom. One explanation is that this custom originates from times when the Jewish people would observe Pesach in secret and would therefore not allow strangers to enter their houses out of fear that informers would enter and spy on them. On the other hand, there are those who say that this custom was due to the fact that the Paschal lamb was to be eaten only by those who joined a specific paschal group.