Monday, April 6, 2020

This Passover, we seem to be back in Egypt

Not this year. 
     “I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you.” — Exodus 12:13

     When my wife told me we would not be hosting Passover this year, my immediate reaction was a pout almost presidential in its historical inaccuracy.
     “But they had Passover in Auschwitz!” I complained.
     Meaning that holding the Seder in tough times is what Jews do. Jews don’t cave. We don’t throw tradition to the wind just because there are Crusaders or Cossacks or coronavirus or whatever prowling around outside. Because there’s always something trying to get us. We persevere. We must do Passover, which begins Wednesday evening, or else COVID-19 wins.
     In my defense, this was a historical age ago — so very mid-March 2020 — before almost everybody wrapped their heads around the enormity of this crisis. Before my wife said, in essence: We are not killing our aged relatives for a festive meal. Before I checked history and found that while a few mumbled prayers might have been said in a few camps, it wasn’t like they were ladling out the chopped liver in the Nazis’ main death factory. A nice story, but, like the Exodus itself, only a story.
     Besides, we are having a Seder. We just aren’t inviting anybody, no relatives hullooing into the house hauling trays covered in foil. No Bob handing me cigars. No Alan leafing extra prayers and readings into the Haggadah.
     No crowd in the foyer, no logjam in the kitchen. No clatter, no crash, no strangers invited by a cousin. No babies to coo over nor any kindergartner to emerge beaming from beneath the dining room table, like a mermaid up from the depths, face aglow at her own naughtiness.

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  1. Wishing you and your nuclear family a fine, more peaceful Seder meal.

  2. Great analogy. Please brush some blood on your door.

  3. Amazing that the depiction of unrestrained chaos sounds so attractive.


  4. The spring following the Yom Kippur War (1974) was when I attended the Seder given by a relative who was quite a drinker at the time, so a great deal of alcohol was consumed before the meal. Before he led us to the table, our host proposed a toast to the recent Israeli victory and the victorious Israeli forces.

    The place setting for each male guest included an unloaded handgun. The weapons symbolized, as he drunkenly explained, how "We Jews muxt always be ready when our enemies assault us."

    The guys in the room thought it was a nice touch.The host's wife...not so much.


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