My husband told me there is a custom of fasting after Pesach (and after Sukkot as well) that is called BaHaB. The “B” is for Beis (Monday), the “H” for Hei(Thursday) and the final “B” again is for Monday. Those were the days on which people fasted after Pesach. As it is not considered acceptable to fast in Nissan, which is a happy month, one starts the BaHaB after Rosh Chodesh Iyar. Here is one article on BaHaB.
As I ate too much over the holiday, I really liked the idea that some pious people used to restrain themselves for a few days after the holiday. I actually thought of the idea for this post on Monday, but in order to write the post, I would have to think about food. Again.
Let’s start post-Sedarim. On Wednesday, I baked a delicious banana cake that required seven separated eggs (recipe is in Jeff Nathan’s Adventures in Jewish Cooking) that my family devoured by Thursday. On Thursday night I made blintzes with potato starch, which by the way, is easier than making them with flour. On Thursday morning I baked my sponge cake. Friday was a major cooking day: chicken with lemons and parsley, tongue, potato kugel, meatballs, chicken soup, steamed cauliflower, ratatouille, red cabbage with apples (again, see Jeff Nathan’s Adventures in Jewish Cooking). I also again made my Slavery and Freedom salad, only this time with parsley, because I didn’t have any mint. At least that food had a spiritual value because of its name! My Eldest Son made Pesach brownies, which I didn’t really eat, but I did nibble. On Friday night I was invited to the home of my neighbor the fabulous cook, where I had the great pleasure of meeting blogger Larry Lennhoff and his wife Malka Esther, who promised me at some point she would read and comment on my blog. My neighbor the fabulous cook served: curried carrots, eggplant salad with tomatoes and garlic that my Middle Son actually liked, cucumber salad, a garden salad, soup with matza balls, chicken, potatoes, sweet potatoes, jello and fruit salad with nuts. There were also these chocolate candies on the table, which of course I had to sample. By Sunday lunch I had no need for dessert, but somehow the last of the sponge cake got placed in front of me at dessert time, and somehow I ate one, then two, then three, then four slices. They were little slices. On Sunday afternoon I was offered some brownies at a friend’s house and was pleased with myself that I had the courage to say “no, thank you.” And the conversation about ice cream on Sunday afternoon made me feel like enough is enough.
So maybe I won’t fast next week, but a severely-reduced diet sounds like a welcoming notion.