I’m not sure whether to characterize myself here as gentile or goy, since one term seems to carry offensive connotations and the other seems to name one as either Christian or non-believer, none of which I’d entirely want to apply myself — but as my last name likely indicates, I’m not of the Jewish heritage. Welsh and Scots, mostly. Raised Unitarian but with Methodist and Episcopal grandparents, atheist as a teen and agnostic for a time after that, but now I’d characterize myself as having an uncertain and nondenominational but ultimately believing capital-f Faith.
And when I look at religion, I think my instinctive desire for order and my love for ritual and history and esoterica make traditions like those of Catholicism and Judaism deeply appealing to me. But this started out for me as a post about food, which is to say: I’m deeply curious about the ritual aspects of the Passover Seder. Albeit with a nod to the necessary heterogeneity of religious and cultural tradition, I feel impelled to ask: traditionally, the z’roa and the beitzah are cooked but never handled or consumed? Can the z’roa, as a roasted lamb shank bone, be used in the preparation of other Seder foods, e.g. in soup broth — or does it carry its own necessarily independent semiotic value? Does the same hold true for the roasted egg beitzah? Is there a symbolic distinction between the things consumed and the things not consumed?