Unexpected Lessons From A LEGO Passover

The #Passover Seder table explained. #LEGO

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This was an interesting Passover. In a way, each of them are unique events, but this one had a few things to make it stand out in my mind. Most prominently, the little vignette pictured above.

Doing Passover on my own has been challenging the last two years. It’s a family holiday, and currently I’m a family of one. Preparations for a Passover-for-one don’t really take that much, so there’s little of the hubbub I was used to in the weeks leading to the holiday. These last two years I’ve been able to do my cleaning in about a day or so, and even if I’m not being as super stringent as before, that’s still quite quick. The preparation used to be an exercise in patience for me, but it was also a way to mentally switch gears into the holiday, to ponder what we were doing, what it meant for me as a person and us as Jews. I didn’t get that these past two years. Until I decided to play around.

I’d seen a Passover seder table made out of LEGO bricks online and I decided I was going to make one of my own. Being fairly new to LEGO collecting, I didn’t have all the pieces needed, so I was going to order them. That meant I had to figure out my build piece by piece based on someone else’s photograph. In between all the cleaning, I sat down at my laptop, and started building my list of parts. About an hour later, it was done, the order was placed, and I went back to cleaning. The parts arrived in less than a week, I put the vignette together, and took lots of pictures. It made me happy. It wasn’t until I’d been through the two seders that I realized what I had truly done.

When I was at the seder on the first night, as I looked upon the seder plate, I was acutely aware of the various foods on it, on what their meaning was, on how they carried a message to me, to us all. It happened also with the matzah, the wine, the whole arrangement. For the first time in years, I was looking at the seder table in a whole new way, almost as if the little arrows I added to the photo above were appearing out of thin air as I looked around. What was going on? Then it hit me: the LEGO vignette. In order to build that little LEGO seder table, I did some serious research. Not only did I study the original build for parts ideas, I consulted about a dozen websites on the composition and meaning of the seder plate and its ingredients. In trying to determine which LEGO piece I would use to represent each part of the seder, I read about each item on the plate, the food item used, the meaning behind it. It wasn’t a simple follow-the-instructions, I made conscious choices for each piece, choices informed by studying the Jewish sources which spoke about it. As I sat at the seder on the first night and pondered all of this, I realized this had been my preparation, my way to switch my mind into the holiday. It seems silly, but it worked, it was real.

In a year where, for the first time ever, I broke Passover during the intermediate days (I got a nasty stomach virus that left me unable to eat or drink anything except Gatorade for two days), this realization brought me happiness and peace. My life is very different now from what I was two or three years ago, my practice of Judaism is very different now from what it was back then as well, but I’m still finding ways to connect, to be a part of. And there is always next year! I’m already thinking, what will I build then?

LEGO Passover

Amidst the preparations for Passover, the weekly homework assignment, and planning for a move to another state, I put together some Passover-themed vignettes using my LEGO sets. I had great enjoyment putting this all together, and I hope you enjoy the pics as well!

The #Passover Seder table explained. #LEGO

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Getting ready for #Passover. But first, let me eat this donut. #LEGO

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#Passover cleaning: done! #LEGO

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AHH! Chametz! Go away!!! #Passover #LEGO

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The #Passover Seder table is now set. #LEGO

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Ready for #Passover! #LEGO

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I wonder why he doesn't like my pet frog? #Passover #LEGO

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"Whoever is hungry, let him come and eat." #Passover #LEGO

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Elijah the Prophet decided to show up to the Seder. #Passover #LEGO

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Let's get this Seder started! #Passover #LEGO #HarrisonFordishalfJewish

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"How is this night different from all other nights?" #Passover #LEGO

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Harrison, wait till it's time to eat the matzah! #Passover #LEGO

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L'Chaim! Happy #Passover! #LEGO

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LEGO Pics in the Snow

There’s been a lot of snow in Cincinnati during the last week, and I figured I’d take advantage of it to take pics of some of my snow-themed LEGO sets!

Iceklaw’s bear mech. #LEGO

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Iceklaw. #LEGO

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Microfighter AT-AT stomping around the snow. #LEGO #StarWars

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Microfighter Snowspeeder zooming along. #LEGO #StarWars

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The snowplow clearing up the roadways. #LEGO

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Plowing and salting, plowing and salting. #LEGO

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Noah, A Review

I’ve wanted to see Darren Aronofsky’s NOAH since it was first announced, and last night I finally got around to doing so. I’ve seen lots of criticism for the movie, but I wanted to watch it myself and pass my own judgement.

I liked it a lot, 4/5 stars.

Noah is actually a pretty legit movie version about the events of the Flood… if you know Jewish Midrash (legends), that is. And that’s why I wanted to watch it myself, because I knew Aronofsky delved into the midrash and other rabbinical texts as sources for his dramatic retelling. If you’ve read some of the sources, as I have, a lot of what was in the movie–the Watchers (nephilim), the look of the angels (beings of fire with six wings, first time anyone has them right!), the look of Adam and Eve pre-eating of the fruit as beings of light (YES!), the strange animals roaming the land (e.g. that scaly dog-like animal), the state of the world as the Flood is decreed (barren of vegetation, dusty, drained), the construction of the ark, how the animals arrived and lived within, the birth of agriculture after the Flood–all of this would’ve been old news. The newness would’ve been how Aronofsky interpreted for his film. It’s perfectly understandable to me why so many people were confused as heck when they saw the movie, thinking that the sparse verses in Genesis were the sole source.

It is still a dramatic retelling, so the writers took liberties even with the midrashic sources, extrapolating events (especially Noah’s behavior while in the ark) based on known outcomes, having a made-up character to enhance the family struggles between generations, but it’s a movie and that’s what its supposed to do. At the end, I felt I had a decent dramatic account of the story of the Flood and the birth of the modern world that, while maybe by taking different roads, still arrived at the same destination the text in Genesis does.