When you look up kreplach on a search engine, the first site that describes what they are and how you make them is Epicurious.com. They sit one site away from Chabad.org and although Epicurious describes them as Jewish wonton or ravioli and Chabad says that they are small squares of rolled dough folded into triangles, they both agree that they are to be filled with minced meat or chicken and usually served in chicken soup at the pre-fast meal on the evening before Yom Kippur.
Epicurious seems to think that the three points of the triangle represent the three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. I think that is totally unfair to the matriarchs who rolled the dough, sautéed the meat and onions, and assembled it all together to perfection. What does Abraham and his boys have to do with this? It is Grandma Miller who used to cook them and then send them packed in dry ice to Eileen and me in Cincinnati so we could have a “proper” Yom Kippur as the British would say. (Although Grandma Miller was way more Yiddish than British, but still a matriarch in the best sense of the word.)
I don’t get kreplach anymore. I used to love them floating in the soup. I was always told that we eat them because they represent that which is hidden. Some say as the dough covers the meat, so God should cover and hide our sins. I prefer a variation of that. As the filling is hidden inside the dough, so there is a treasure hidden inside of each and every one of us. Yom Kippur asks us to open ourselves and remove the callousness and layers of protection that keep us from our truest selves. Yom Kippur invites us to be in touch with the sacredness of our inner lives and interior reality. Although I must admit that the fasting piece tends to make this a real challenge.
I expect matzah balls in my soup this coming Tuesday night. It seems to be our custom. I’m not promising but I think I will save the matzah ball discussion for Passover. It’s enough with the food when I am supposed to be turning inward and concentrating on my spiritual life, not the physical. I’m supposed to be asking how I let the light of my soul shine through my actions. I’m supposed to be turning towards forgiveness and finding a way to enter the New Year whole and restored, renewed to live fully and love completely. I’m supposed to be asking in the words of Micah: What does God want from me? To act justly, love mercy and walk humbly. And I will – ask, search, turn, try.
But I’ll still miss my kreplach (though they did tend to make me thirsty).
An easy and meaningful fast.