You know how every office has somebody that loves to tell stories, often the same ones again and agin? I’m not gonna lie, it can be annoying, except when you get a really good story out of it. This is one such story: The Legend of the Passover Hamster.
It should be no surprise to anybody who has grown up a member of a minority that the media and culture is soaked with the images and traditions of the majority group, and that this can give the minority a weird envy for the cultural trappings of the majority. It is out of this cultural soup that the Passover hamster emerges every year to, well, I’m not really sure what, if anything, the Passover hamster does. I hope it’s not that creepy breaking & entering you get with Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy.
The Passover Hamster, to be simple and direct about it, is a chocolate Easter bunny with the ears removed. And by “removed” I mean eaten by the Jewish parent preparing (creating? constructing?) the Passover hamster for a credulous child with a bad case of Christian holiday envy. No, there are no hamsters in the old testament, except perhaps to note that they are not kosher. But hey, are there any chocolate-egg-laying bunnies in the new testament?
There’s something about this story that delights me, and that’s odd since I have such scorn for the Hanukkah bush. To me the Hanukkah bush is just straight up envy of another tradition. It accepts lesser stature (bush vs tree) as if it’s ashamed of something. The Passover hamster is satirical, even slightly transgressive, like a golem in drag at a Purim spiel. Plus, in years where Passover comes after Easter, you can get the bunnies at a good discount.
Here, for the perplexed, is a brief guide to creating not the classic Passover hamster of our youth, but a modern version with a twist. I illustrate with peanut butter, but of course that’s not kosher for passover so I’ll have to eat this hamster before sundown. I think I can manage it.
1. Procure hollow chocolate Bunny and filling
Traditional eastern european fillings include prune and poppy seed, but you can also use more middle eastern fillings such as organic almond butter or tahini. Chill the bunny and let the filling sit at room temperature.
2. Remove the ears
Strictly speaking, this should be done in a single swift stroke with a sharp knife by a man with no stain upon him. Or you could just chew them off. If you need more explicit directions, I can send you an e-mohel.
3. Fill your hamster
Depending on the configuration of your particular bunny, you can either just spoon in the filling, or you may have to use a pastry bag.
4. Let set, and serve
This little guy kinda looks like Bart Simpson, doesn’t he? Happy holidays.
* The observant – and the Observant – will note that it’s pretty unlikely that a chocolate Easter bunny would be kosher for passover, or even kosher at all. I would instruct such persons to carve their Passover hamsters from solid blocks of passover chocolate, or perhaps build them with laser-cut sheets of chocolate-covered matzo.