Kat Johnston Portrait - Her name is haroset. I have yet to discover quite why. She does not wish to be completed.

This young lady came to me one evening not so long ago, as I was aimlessly dragging my pen across the blank page. She started letting me see a little of her… then stopped. She did not want to be touched further, to be altered, or pressured more in any way. So I retreated, pen in hand, simply to look at her as she is. She does not wish to be completed.

Her name is Haroset. She chose it, not I. It is a word I came across not knowing the meaning of, so discovering that she wanted it as her moniker, I had to look it up. Haroset, or Charoset as it is also known, is:

“…a sweet, dark-colored, lumpy paste made of fruits and nuts served primarily during the Passover Sedar. Its color and texture are meant to recall the mortar with which the Israelites bonded bricks when they were enslaved in Ancient Egypt… Despite its symbolism, the charoset is a tasty concoction and is a favorite of children. During the Seder meal, it may be eaten liberally, often spread on matzah.” (Wikipedia, 2008)

I’m still trying to work out why it fits her, why she requested to be named in this way… perhaps it is a childhood nick-name, a reminder of a better time when she would happily sit with her family and show such fondness for this fruit-filled paste. Perhaps she sat upon her grandfather’s knee as he explained the significance and meaning behind the meal; she listening with rapt attention, with the fascination only a child who loves to learn can truly show. Even we ‘grown-ups’ who love to learn and long to know most everything never quite get that same incredible glow to our face and shine in our eyes that they do, even when we do come close.

I love the way that children absorb information, taking it in before then racing off to find someone to tell – just as if this new little gem of knowledge is as significant and treasured as a new toy, to be shown off to the delighted squeals of ‘Guess what I know!’ or ‘You’ll never guess!’, with the little girl making her friends beg her to tell them until she imparts this special information on only the most worthy of her equals.

For some reason, it always makes me smile, when I see that happen, when I see someone with a simple passion to learn and in part, to also teach. Perhaps my same smile is one that Haroset longs for.