Submerged meanings

passover dishes 88 (photo credit: )
passover dishes 88
(photo credit: )
Submerging their utensils in boiling water is one way that observant Jews can make their dishes kosher for Passover. Some choose to "dip" their dishes because they simply don't have enough Pesach utensils and wish to be able to sue some of their year-round pots, pans and platters on the holiday. Others must make their utensils kosher for Passover because they became, in whatever manner, unkosher over the year. According to Jewish law, there are different methods of making utensils kosher for Passover, depending on the manner in which the utensil is to be used and the ability of the utensil to withstand high temperatures. The most common method is known as hagala, which involves submerging the utensil in boiling water. For most, hagala is a religious precept, to be executed meticulously. For a few, it is a symbolic act, a sign of preparation for the holiday and for spring. For others, it is an opportunity to perform a righteous deed or to make a few extra shekalim, as enterprising young men establish stations throughout the city, equipped with large burners, huge vats, vast amounts of water, and , hopefully, a pair of heat-resistant gloves. Moshe is apparently a most enterprising young man. He hired Ahmed, a young Palestinian from the Old City, to man the hagala station for him. Ahmed doesn't know Moshe very well, but he meets him at a street corner in Mea She'arim every morning for the week before Passover. Moshe gets the fire going, admonishes Ahmed to be careful and not to steal any money, and returns after 9 pm in the evening. Ahmed says that he doesn't really understand what he is doing. "Why do the Jews wash their dishes outside in big pots before Pesah?" he asks. "And where do they wash their dishes the rest of the year?" Moshe pays him well -- NIS 35 for the entire day. He met Moshe one day while he was trying to sell gum and knock-off cigarette lighters at an intersection near Mea She'arim. This is a much better job, he says, even though he's been burned a few times by the hot water. He did this last year, too. The people are nice, he says, and some have even given him a small tip. He hopes he'll do it next year, too. Next Year in Jerusalem.