Tomorrow night many Jews, especially those of Middle Eastern decent will be celebrating the special day, called mimuna. My sister makes this day come alive. She bakes and prepare all sorts of cookies in the most beautiful way, colorful and tasty just like the picture. There is a tradition of making fried dough covered with honey or chocolate, which is called muflata. It is as sweet as it comes! She invites many people and has an “open door policy.” Everyone is invited. And the tradition is that people go from house to house tasting the different cookies wishing each other well and celebrating the sweetness following the holiday of Passover. This holiday’s origin is not as clear. Some believe that it is the anniversary of the death of the father of a very-famous Sage named Maimonides, who lived in the 12th century and was credited with many interpretations in our Jewish tradition. Others say that the word for this holiday is derive from an Arabic word meaning wealth and protection. It is interesting that the word for wealth in Hebrew is also related to the name of the this special celebration mimuna. The word in Hebrew for wealth is mamon
And of course when I think of this word, I think of other words that sound similar. There is a phrase in the Book of Psalm that invites us to number our days so we can grow in wisdom and have a wise heart. The word for numbering is l’mnot.
What does that mean to number our days? It is said that God counted the people of Israel over and over again in the book of numbers. Why? Tradition says he did so because he loved us. I remember when my kids were young, they used to count the money that they had. When they had a collection of valuable things, such as Disneyland pins, they used to count it, and look at it, and rearrange it in different ways. So imagine, for just one second, if we will treat our days similarly? How will our lives be if we will treat each day with gentility and care? How does it look to “show the day that we love it?” How would our lives be if we don’t take each day for granted, but instead, realize, that each day brings with it opportunities to grow and gain wisdom? And maybe when we do that, we can gain appreciation for the life that we do have.
Maybe that is the hidden meaning of this mimuna celebration, a holiday that invites sweetness into its every aspect. I invite you to check out my Facebook page and to see a video of how my sister makes the famous mufleta- this crisp dough covered with honey and chocolate spread. May your days be as sweet as this delicious gathering!
All my best,