Monday, June 6, 2011

In Which We Learn a New Hebrew Word and Send a Tene

You may be wondering why I haven't been blogging so frequently lately. It is either because:

1. I am lazy.
2. I spend all day on Facebook, checking out pictures of people I don't really know.
3. I was busy scrubbing off the blue paint after I finished filming my latest role as Mystique in the new X-Men movie.

Well, I will let you ponder that. Let me know what you think.

Something I learned today:

"Flippers" in Hebrew are not, unfortunately, "fleeeeperz." 'Cuz that would have been sooo much easier. You see, today I went to buy flippers for Ariella and goggles for Yaakov because they are taking swim lessons and these were recommended by the swim teacher as a good investment.

I had learned a few years ago how to say "goggles." And no, it's not "goh-goolz," or even "mishkefay yam," despite the impressive conjugation of the second. It's "mishkefet." So that part was easy. Then came the fleeeperz. The store guy looked at me blankly. Darn. I tried to start explaining how it's something you wear on your feet to help with kicking, except I can never remember how to say "kicking." It's like never knowing where the "tet" is on the keyboard. Some facts of life like to stay tantalizingly out of reach. But we persevered, and I left with my fleeeperz and my goh-goolz.

You may be wondering why I'm scurrying out to buy these items. Well, I am so far (it's only been one lesson) very impressed with the swim teacher, who figured out right away what each kid needed to focus on. Also, he sent a feedback email! In which he called Yaakov a "great little chap!" Well, how can ima shel ha'chap NOT buy him the goggles he needs?

In Shavuot news, today was Tene Day. What the bleep is a tene, you ask? I, too, once asked that very question. The first time I heard the word was our first year here, when Yaakov was in mishpachton. It was a day or two before Shavuot, and on the parent board it said we needed to send our child in with:

1. A tene with various foods
2. A zer perachim

They might as well have written a flerhudgen and a plekerate. Huh? We were able to determine that a "tene" is also a "sal" which is a "basket." Like the ancient Jews bringing their bikkurim to the Temple in days of yore, my son needed to bring in a chocolate pudding and a nectarine. In a basket. And the "zer perachim" is a flower wreath. Which the Jews also wore on their heads as they brought bikkurim. Or something.

That wreath is such a great investment, because you just know how much use you're gonna get out of it after your child wears it for all of two seconds. It can be used for so many things, from poking your sister in the eye to poking your brother in the eye.

So today was Tene Day, and now that I am an expert, plus I have my own personal (Tired) basket buyer, we were totally under control. Chocolate pudding, bag of grapes, and a spoon. (Can you believe I remembered the spoon???)

In related Shavuot news.... (in that it's also about Shavuot...)

I'm pretty sure if you ask most people why we eat matzah on Pesach, they'll have some idea. And yet while the line at the Rami Levi cheese counter was out the door and people were buying cream cheese and gevinah levanah like the world was ending (People: It did not end before Pesach, and it will not end now! It's all going to be okay!), I am fairly certain that almost no one, including yours truly, knows why we're all over the dairy products this holiday.

Ariella came home with something about Torah being sweet like milk and honey; Shavuot is the holiday of accepting the Torah; ergo, we eat dairy. I always thought it had something to do with how before matan Torah we couldn't eat meat because we didn't know the halachot, so therefore Shavuot is a dairy holiday. And then there's the thing about Yael getting Sisrah drunk on wine and cheese and bludgeoning him to death with a tent pin and saving the day, although that's actually a Chanukah story, but since we never seem to eat dairy on Chanukah, maybe Shavuot should just co-opt that bit of history?

Oh wait! I am mixing up my cheese-wielding Jewish heroines! The Chanukah heroine is Yehudit, who got good ol' Holofernes cheesed-and-liquored-up and chopped off his head. Whoops. Maybe Yael and Yehudit should both move to Shavuot.

Ohmigod I am rambling so much even I have no idea what point I'm trying to make.

So I will end (thank God) with this:

Do you think Bnei Yisrael would have celebrated the acceptance of the Torah with a cheesecake? I'm pretty sure they had a wild steak party. "We can finally eat meat! Break out the mangal! Wah-hoooooooooooo!"

Oh yes, and flipper? It's a "snapir."


Anonymous said...

It's decided. Next year, (oh please God get Mr. Shapir to finish our apartments ON TIME IF NOT EARLIER) DADZ is going to take your kids to school wearing a zer perachim.

SaraK said...

I always thought it had something to do with how before matan Torah we couldn't eat meat because we didn't know the halachot, so therefore Shavuot is a dairy holiday.

You and I must have gone to the same elementary school because that's what I thought too.

And why do I know the phrase "snapir v'kaskeset"? No clue what it means.

Anonymous said...

From one of the Google choices: A kosher fish as one that has “snapir v'kaskeset”, which is generally translated as "fins and scales".

...gotta love Google...I mean Bing...(but really I mean Google).


miriamp said...

I think I learned that they hadn't kashered the keilim they obtained from the mitzrim yet, so they were stuck with dairy. But you know, just 7 weeks earlier they managed to roast and eat those lambs just fine, so you'd think they could have done something like that again.

And my 12 year old (and okay, me too) always get stuck on those English but written on Hebrew words too. The ones you want to be the same (like flippers) aren't and the ones that are just confuse you. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say tene must equal "tin" which is a rather British way of saying can, I thought, and pudding doesn't come in cans. But maybe they use tin more generally to just mean container?

OneTiredEma said...

We ALSO sent chocolate pudding + spoon & grapes in a red basket. Synergy! Wonder if the gananot thought we were sharing a brain.

Risa said...

Gila, a hilarious post as usual. Yeah, I learned the same explanation for dairy on shavous. My vote is that the ADA/cholov yisroel board decide to commandeer the holiday for themselves. However, as I reminded by certain family members every year (I'll give you two guesses for the two people to whom I am referring), you are supposed to eat meat on yontif. (The bas kohen in me remembers learning that there were karbanos like the olah reiyah and shalmei simcha bought on every regel, but the eishes layvee in me can't remember whether they were entirely consumed or eaten. My guess is that the olah was consumed and the shalmim was eaten. Perhaps in the vast recesses of your BY memory, you remember (or is it full to capacity with nivim)?

Baila said...

Silly goose. The reason ikt's dairy is because Jewish cooks everywhere get tired of the same ol' boring menus and want to show off their pasta-and-melted-cheese-in-every-shape-size-and-form culinary abilities.

Gila Rose said...

SaraK - extra poofahs! That's in the parshah where it talks about signs for a kosher fish.

Risa - that is a lot of information. You retained much more than I did. Although perhaps it is as you said, and I am simply stuffed with nivim.

Baila - and the quiches! Don't forget the quiches!!

faith/emuna said...

really? snapir? wow! never would have guessed. although im not sure that i couldve thought of flipper in english either.
the milk on shavuot thing is a stumper, also the whole lag baomer bon fire thing, i can live with the mysteries (but then again we eat meat on shavuot)until someone with less of a religious background starts asking me questions..
" People: It did not end before Pesach, and it will not end now! It's all going to be okay!" i think they should have a sign like that hanging in rami levi.
(btw ive been using that as a mantra since you posted. that and in chul they have 2 days and then immediately have to cook for shabbat)
belated humongous yashar kochech to ariella on her siyum. and belated happy bday to nadav. its amazing how time goes by quickly on other peoples kids.