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Mar 23, 2004 09:08 PM


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I have been invited to a celebration Passover dinner at a friend's house-I am not Jewish. I would like to bring a Hostess gift probably not food as I am sure the meal is planned.What would be appropriate-candles- candy (Kosher) or some nice oil gift? Please help- I would just like to bring a token of appreciation to celebrate our friendship and her holiday! Flowers seem so awkward at times! Perhaps a plant? Suggestions! Thank you!

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  1. I would suggest flowers. They may seem akward to you, but they are always appropriate.

    Also, a platter, serving dish, or bowl is also very nice.

    Have fun and enjoy!

    21 Replies
    1. re: texasmensch

      As a hostess I would be thrilled with a lovely spring flower arrangement.. You could even have it delivered earlier in the day.

      1. re: Parrot Mom

        I agree with this. Flowers, whether potted or cut, are a nice reminder of the guest after they leave.

        The only thing I would add here, regarding possibly giving a kiddush cup -- depending on what it is made of and where it was purchased -- wouldn't it have to be dipped in a mikvah before use? Earthenware probably not, but glass or silver probably yes. I personally am not sure, but if someone brought me a kiddush cup I would hold off using it at the seder.

        It reminds me of when some not-observant friends once brought me some gorgeous silver Shabbos candle sticks as a gift to Shabbos dinner. They were so eagar to see me light them. The only problem was....Shabbos had started three hours before their arrival, and because I am observant I couldn't light them.

        Then -- once I brought kosher chocolate as a gift to a dinner and it was dairy; but it was a meat meal. The kids wanted to open it but they couldn't. So I inadvertently caused a problem. Then there is always the possibility that the hecksher on even parve chocolate is not one the hostess abides by.

        When it comes to visiting Jews, you just can't go wrong with flowers.

        1. re: Michelle

          Flowers can be a problem as well.If the guest is not arriving before the holiday or Shabbat starts, the flowers could not be placed in water.

          1. re: RAVRAVE

            My thoughts were to be a lovely arrangement already in a container filled with water.. This way the guest could arrive unencumbered and the hostess would have a few minutes to decide where the the arrangement would look the best instead of rushing around. Wonder if any of my guests is reading

            1. re: RAVRAVE

              i have never heard of this restriction. (Maybe I have but have forgotten). Can someone point out the source for this?

              I am curious as it seems to me that since the flowers would die without being placed in water that you should be able to keep them alive. A myriad of reasons cross my mind as to why this should be so including the fact that they are one of g-d's creations and that you purposefully invoke change in them if you dont put them in water.

              So i am interested in hearing more on this

              1. re: baruch

                i found the explanation for it. Disagree with it, but I found it. Thanks.

                1. re: baruch

                  Hi! I would like to read and understand the explanation of why flowers can't be put into a pitcher of water. Please share your findings with us.

                  I thought I could prepare a salad on Pesach, no?

                  My earlier suggestion of bringing a pot of blooming daffodils or tuilips, etc. would avoid the water controversy.

                  1. re: p.j.

                    Here is the explanation (I'll summarize) from The Shabbos Home by Rabbi Simcha Bunim Cohen (ArtScroll):

                    Placing flowers whose blooms are not completely open in water causes them to open--sages prohibit because it resembles planting, although it is not actually planting

                    Filling a vase with water involves undo exertion which is forbidden on Shabbos

                    You can't add water to a vase on Shabbos but you can on Yontif

                    etc., etc.

                    There are differing opinions about putting fully opened flowers in water on Shabbos--recommended that you do this before Shabbos just to be safe, but you can put completely opened flowers back into a water-filled vase on Shabbos, according to all opinions.

                    This is an example of what my husband says makes his head explode!

                    1. re: Marilyn

                      Thanks for the details. Now I understand the concerns. I also understand why your husband's head feels like exploding!
                      Shabbat Shalom & a ziesin Pesach from the soggy midwest!

                      1. re: p.j.

                        It's nice to know I'm not the only midwest kosher chowhound. Shabbat Shalom!

                        1. re: Marilyn

                          Hi to you, too! Didn't see your e-mail before Shabbat. Yes, it is a gorgeous day here in St. Louis: daffodils, Bradford pear, red buds, hyacinths, and some tulips in bloom! I'm ready for Spring and Pesach!
                          Have a good one!

                      2. re: Marilyn

                        Okay, I understand the concern on Shabbat, but this year Pesach holidays are not on Shabbat. So my question is, does this restriction apply to a non-Shabbat holiday?

                        1. re: texasmensch

                          I checked my ArtScroll Yom Tov book (just very quickly between Shabbos preparations) and didn't find anything on prohibitions on planting on Yom Tov, so cut flowers may be OK, but I still like others' suggestions of bringing a plant or sending flowers earlier in the day or bringing a flower arrangement that needs no attention. As a hostess, as much as I like flowers, it is always one more thing to do at the last minute to get out a vase for cut flowers that guests have brought.

                          The best and quickest way to get an answer on this is the Chabad website, (available 24/6). They have someone live to answer any kind of question. It's a great website.

                          1. re: texasmensch

                            I had a chance to read my Laws of Yom Tov book more carefully, and it seems that cut flowers would not be permitted on Yom Tov, either, but I am certainly no expert. The intro to the book indicates that with few exceptions, the laws of Shabbos apply to Yom Tov as well, so I would guess no cut flowers. But I'm not a rabbi and I don't play one on TV!

                          2. re: Marilyn

                            Ok, But going back to the statment that it would be causing harm to the flowers that Hashem has given us to enjoy the beauty of. And is it really work to put some flowers in a vase? I am only 13 and am still learnig and like explanations please.:) I love to learn.

                            1. re: animelover

                              Yes it's work--the Hebrew word for prohibited work is not the same as the English word. This is not the board for such discussion; a quick google search should provide you with answers.

                    2. re: RAVRAVE

                      But couldn't the guest put the flowers in water?

                      1. re: RAVRAVE

                        Wow! I defer to the halackic explaination below for the reasons why, of course....but i actually knew that I was prohibited from watering the plants on Shabbos, so i was just not thinking when i settled on flowers for Passover....What is the moral of this story -- don't bring anything to an observant home if it wasn't bought in a kosher shop in that home's community? that is what i prefer for myself actually after this discussion.

                        how about this?! -- before i had a kosher home and could offer reciprocol invites to people who had me over - i used to give a chairitable donation to the shul in the merit of the host and hostess for having me in their home on shabbos. could that work in a situation like this?

                        1. re: Michelle

                          Yes! A donation (after the holiday, of course) is a great idea and a meaningful gift as long as it is to their synagogue or another organization you know they believe in.

                          Also, any appropriatly kosher candy item or flowers or anything else brought over BEFORE the holiday solves a lot of these problems. Just drop it off before the holiday begins. For times, check

                      2. re: Michelle
                        Benny Vidimangi

                        Yes you can go wrong with flowers! They have bugs!

                  2. Once again, I find myself contemplating possible suggestions, but hesitate to give them because it could depend on your friend's level of Jewish observance, which could range greatly.

                    But unless your friend is solidly orthodox (or to the right of that), I recommend bringing 2 lbs (about $30 worth) of shmura matzah. Shmurah matzah are circular handmade matzahs made via a process in which the wheat and flour are closely watched (shmura means "guarded" or "protected") to assure that no leavening takes place. Unlike factory-made, shmura matzahs are variable -- they can be light or dark, thick or thin, crisp or not, whole or cracked (or broken). The analogy I like to give is that shmura is to regular matzah what organic free range chicken is to regular chicken.

                    If your friend is orthodox (or to the right of that), don't bother -- he/she will probably be serving shmura to begin with.

                    If you decide to go forward with this suggestion, please let us know where you live and work. Shmura matzah is not easy to find (just like organic free range chicken) and it tends to sell out before the holiday. There are also commercial, factory made versions of shmura, some imported from Israel, that are inferior-tasting, so you want to avoid them too.

                    It also helps if you can open the box before you buy it, to avoid boxes with a high percentage of cracked and broken pieces. This is not always possible (many boxes are sealed and some stores post signs warning you against pre-inspecting), but it is worth doing if you can. At $15/lb for flour and water, they should let you sample it before you buy.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: uncle moishy
                      charm city nosher

                      Does anyone know where you can buy hand-made shmurah matzohs in Manhattan - preferably the upper east side or west side?


                      1. re: charm city nosher

                        In Texas, the Chabad houses all sell shmurah matzohs. That is a place to start. If you don't know the nearest Chabad, go to and enter your zip code in the Global Center's search box.

                    2. b
                      Bride of the Juggler

                      A nice wine glass (called 'kiddush cup' if you get one at a Jewish store) would be very appropriate, as the Passover meal includes drinking four glasses of wine.

                      1. Hi! I agree that flowers or a plant are always appropriate. A pot of blooming tulips or daffodils that can later be put out into the garden would be lovely.

                        If you live in an area where kosher products are available in the grocery or a liquor store, I would suggest a nice bottle of Kosher wine (Arbarbanel, Bartenura, or Baron Herzog, depending on your budget).

                        Another idea would be a tray of nuts and/or dried fruits, marked "Kosher for Passover".

                        Kosher for Passover candy is always welcomed by children, if there are some in the family that you are going to. There are some excellent Kosher for Passover pareve chocolates (no milk ingredients, which could not be served with a meat meal). Small bars for small (and not-so-small) kids will endear you to them! Of course, you might want to clear the idea with the parents first.
                        Have a lovely evening: the seder will go late, so you might want to take a nap beforehand, if you can!

                        1. I am bringing coke and diet coke made for the holiday. Will also bring a spring bulb plant of tulips or daffodils -no problem with the watering and no awkward looking for vases and a place to put it! Thanks for your helP and I will keep other recommendations in mind for the future! Happy and Healthy Passover- enjoy with your family and friends!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: sandramr

                            Sounds like you will be a treasured guest! Have a lovely evening!

                            1. re: sandramr

                              Be sure to Coke and Diet Coke are kosher for Passover. At least in Las Vegas the kosher for Passover has a yellow cap.