Creatively Speaking: Passover meets Pablo Picasso

How can the artistic genius of Pablo Picasso help us not just endure, but actually thrive in our current situation?

Passover salt and pepper shakers (photo credit: Courtesy)
Passover salt and pepper shakers
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Here’s a Passover question that you’re not very likely to find in your Hagaddah:
How can the artistic genius of Pablo Picasso help us not just endure, but actually thrive in our current situation?
Answer: By serving as an example to us as one who – throughout his long lifetime – used creativity in many diverse areas to flourish and excel.
Who hasn’t heard of Pablo Picasso, perhaps the most influential artist of the early 20th century?
He (along with his friend, Georges Braque) introduced us to an entirely different way of looking at the world. Inventing the art movement called Cubism, he demonstrated that on a two-dimensional flat surface like a canvas, one can offer numerous different views of an object – all at the same time.
Picasso left behind a tremendous body of work, (over 50,000 pieces of art, not including the his hastily drawn napkin doodles with which he paid his café bills), but I believe that his greatest contribution to the art world was his display of absolute chutzpah – his sheer audacity in breaking any and all rules – allowing total freedom to explore and create as he saw fit.
In 1944, he created this bull’s head, using only, yes – you guessed it – old, discarded bicycle parts.
Creativity is the process by which we not only let ourselves go, but also let ourselves “grow.”
Research has shown that indulging creatively fosters happiness, reduces dementia and generally – improves quality of life – something that, especially now, we can surely benefit from.
And so, in the spirit of creative imagination, I present a few original items for the Passover Seder that I’ve created – some useful, some whimsical and some, frankly, produced just to get them out of my system.

1. Pyramid-shaped salt and pepper shakers
The letters “S” and “P” indicating the contents, are represented by letter-shaped pieces of matzah.

2. Seder wine bottle design
Each of the four cups of wine gets filled from the section of the bottle representing – according to our sages – a different Biblical phrase describing our redemption from Egypt.

3. Haroset serving piece
One of the reasons why haroset is included on our Seder plate is because its texture and consistency resemble the cement our ancestors used in building the cities of Egypt.
It seems completely logical to serve it with a cement trowel.

4. Eliyahu Hanavi chair and cup set
The prophet Eliyahu really does seem to get around.
According to tradition he is said to appear at all Jewish male baby’s circumcisions and also makes the rounds on Seder night, taking a sip from his very own designated Seder cup at everyone’s tables.
In the spirit of fengshui, why not combine his accoutrements into a well-ordered set?

5. Cut along the dotted-lined matzah
Towards the beginning of the Seder it is necessary to break the middle matzah into two portions. For those of us who find this challenging, perhaps this will help.

6. Seder handwashing set
Compelling children to display curiosity, we vary from our normal meal routine. One of the methods of encouraging the kids to ask questions is by washing our hands during Urchatz without the usual accompanying blessing.
So, I designed a set of washing cup and hand towel to fit the occasion.

7. George Clooney aid for women
In order to demonstrate our freedom, upon drinking the cups of wine we are required to lean to the left side of our seat. Some families supply pillows to further exhibit our independence.
And so, what better way to encourage women (or any Clooney admirer) to lean, than to snuggle up with George?

Thus, in the ingenious and innovative spirit of el señor Picasso, I suggest and encourage us all to dust off our old crocheting needles, SLR cameras, mosaic pieces, favorite poem-writing pen, even our gardening tools or baking utensils and get started crafting and creating now.
[email protected], benherskowitz.com