Family, friends, and loud children begin to trickle in; delicious waves of gossip swell and spread. Compliments sprinkle around like sugarcoated almonds. "What a sumptuous spread." "You look more beautiful than the full moon." "How in the world do you manage?"
There it sits on the Seder plate: charoset, a delicious paste of chopped nuts, chopped fruits, spices, and wine. So the question would seem obvious: Why is there charoset on the Seder plate? That's the most secret Question at the Seder.
While plays that are set in a time and place far removed from today are often referred to as "historical dramas" or "period pieces," the knowledge of different historical periods bestowed on us through paintings, sculpture, and literature allows us to have fun with history.
When Passover begins again next week, I will stage my millionth attempt to rescue some meaningful spark from its story -- this time, by exploring charoset as a glorious dish at once ancient and futuristic, traditional and infinitely adaptable.
There isn't much you can do to change bitter herbs, a roasted lamb shank, a roasted egg, and a green vegetable. But one -- charoset (sometimes spelled haroset or charoses) -- lets you roam, in a good way.