Should we make a COVID tyranny Haggadah?

For Passover this year we used a Haggadah from PJ Library, a Maskachusetts-based non-profit (funded by Harold Grinspoon, a late-blooming artist like Hunter Biden). The book includes the classic victimhood narrative in which “Pharaoh” enslaves the Jews and does various gratuitously mean things to Jews (though the hateful term “Jews” is never used; the phrase “Jewish people” is used instead). To this has been added “Miriam’s Cup”:

The Jewish people would not have gone free from Egypt without the actions of many brave women. Moses’ mother Yocheved and his older sister Miriam hid baby Moses in a basket on the Nile River. … After the Jewish people escaped through the Sea of Reeds, Miriam led them in song.

(a big stretch from Exodus, according to Wikipedia)

The kids reading the Haggadah are supposed to ask themselves “Who in the world today is suffering and needs help? Who do we know who helps other people and how do they do it? Are there some ways we could help other people, too?” Once I had reminded them that there was no evidence that Jews had ever lived in Egypt and, therefore, there was no evidence that any Egyptian ruler had ever enslaved Jews, the kids were able to come up with some alternatives. The tyrants were Joe Biden and Charlie Baker (governor of Maskachusetts), closing playgrounds and ordering children to wear masks. The land of slavery from which children should seek to escape was Massachusetts. The land of freedom was, of course, Florida.

What about producing updated materials for Passover that take out the unproven accusations against Egyptians and substitute documented modern events? The role of tyrant can be cast with national and local politicians who imposed lockdowns on those assembled at the table. Instead of “Next Year in Jerusalem” it can be “Next Year in Miami” for Americans and “Next Year in Stockholm” for Europeans. Instead of parting the Red Sea (actually “sea of reeds” (swamp) in the original Hebrew), G*d can clear a path through all of the traffic jams on Interstate 95 between the locked down Northeast and the Florida Free Sate. Instead of having issues with bread while running away from slavery, the story could be about those fleeing lockdowns not even having enough time to stock up on marijuana at the “essential” (open while schools were closed) cannabis dispensaries.

Who takes over the role of Moses? That’s easy! Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle.


3 thoughts on “Should we make a COVID tyranny Haggadah?

  1. Well there is evidence, Phil — it is called the Book of Exodus. It is just not evidence that supports the comedy. Your preference is that noted biblical scholar Professor Wikipedia. Next year you might spring for the Sacks Haggadah rather than junk from the library. It contains interesting ideas. If you treat your kids like thinking beings they might even turn into thinking beings. Someday.

    • @philg, do you follow the #science and read all Jewish traditions from wikipedia? It is directly from book of Exodus (2:1 – 2:10) that Youcheved and Miriam saved Moses. Yocheved and Miriam are indeed highly valued in Jewish Bible. Exodus 1:21 states that both of them (under different nicknames) were made the houses for disobeying pharaoh’s order to kill newborn Jewish babies. Oral Bible and commentators are explaining that priests were selected from descendants of Yocheved and in additions kings – including David of course – are descendants of Miriam. Oral Bible also tells us that well of water followed Jews during their travels in desert in honor of Miriam and it ceased when Miriam died. There is of course no Miriam Cup in the tradition, Miriam is not expected to come for a visit, even symbolically. Even though Miriam later committed a transgression of early form of celebrity blogging for which she was punished with temporary leprosy (Jews waited for her to recover and did not travel for duration of her sickness), rabbinical commentators tell about her and other women of Exodus: “If it wasn’t for the righteousness of women of that generation we would not have been redeemed from Egypt” (Sotah 9b).
      And do not use woke “haggadahs”. From relatively modern haggadahs try well illustrated Szyk Haggadah next time. There are also some medieval pieces that have wonderful and very interesting illustrations, you should be able to get a copy. There are Marc Chagall – styled haggadahs and other wonderful editions, available at you local Judaic store or online.

  2. Wouldn’t it take 40 years instead of 40 days to reach the promised land of Miami, because Biden has lost patience with his subjects?

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