Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Passover 2020

This evening at sundown marks the start of Passover, commemorating the Israelites’ Exodus from Egypt, and their transition from slavery to freedom. The main ritual of Passover is the Seder, which occurs on the first two nights (in Israel just the first night) of the holiday — a meal that involves the re-telling of the Exodus through stories and song and the consumption of ritual foods.

The Seder's rituals and other readings are outlined in the Haggadah.

Seder Plate

  • Zeroah, a lamb's shankbone symbolizing the ancient Passover sacrifice
  • Beitzah, a roasted egg symbolizing the temple sacrifice and the continuing cycle of life
  • Haroset, a paste of fruit and nuts symbolizing the mortar used to build the pyramid of the pharaohs
  • Mar'or, a bitter herb (like horseradish) to represent the bitterness of slavery
  • Karpas, a green vegetable (usually parsley) representing spring
  • A bowl of salt water to dip the karpas symbolizing the slaves' tears

While Raj is not officially Jewish, family lore has it that his paternal grandparents were Ashkenazi Jews from Germany; 23andMe seems to concur. I do love a good ritual but it seems somehow sacrilegious to culturally appropriate someone else’s religious custom - although that never stopped the Lightbringer.  So while we don’t do a Seder we do mark the start of Passover by watching The 10 Commandments.

Years ago this Cecil B. DeMille classic was broadcast for free each year around Easter; with all the attendant commercials it took about 10 hours to watch. But in our new “enlightened” age such obviously bigoted religious propaganda has no place on public airwaves, commercials or no. Fortunately we purchased the DVD eons ago and can now watch it unencumbered by commercial propaganda and class action lawsuit pitches in pursuit of the latest victims.

Even so the epic feature still runs 3 hours and 40 minutes, requiring an intermission and disc change.  This gives me time to refill our bowls with kosher popcorn without missing a moment of the action. And there’s plenty of action. Like when Moses parts the Red Sea to allow the Israelites to escape Pharaoh's slaughter

Scientists Find Proof That Moses Parted The Red Sea - YouTube

and then releases the wall of water, drowning the Egyptian army. Is there a petty politician alive who doesn’t dream of having that kind of power?

DeMille’s epic tale of promises made, promises kept serves as a not so subtle reminder that human rights come from God not some pompous, self-important ruler or bureaucratic state. It is an inspirational story of a good people who escape tyranny and eventually secure their freedom. The Exodus of the chosen people is a very good story indeed to retell in this age of coronavirus “emergency health department orders” that changed our world virtually overnight without so much as a cry or whimper.

Tyranny is not an option for a God-fearing, freedom loving people. I just hope there are more of us than them.