The Passover Story During Coronavirus

My husband and I zoomed the first night of Passover with some of the kids and grandkids last night, and I have to say that I enjoyed it, but I held back the tears as best I could. I quietly ate brisket and broccoli souffle with my husband and tried to think positive thoughts.

This morning, I got a Passover story in my inbox, and amidst all of my angst, I got a good laugh out of it.

I decided to create my own Passover story. I hope it makes you laugh.

THE SEDER

The Seder is a ritual dinner that marks the start of Passover.

During the Seder, we Jews eat brisket, matzah, all things potato, and other uber-rich fattening foods, retell the story of the exodus from Egypt, and drink four cups of very sweet wine.

THE SEDER PLATE

The centerpiece of the Passover table is the Seder plate, which holds a shank bone, parsley, lettuce, horseradish, a roasted egg, and haroset, a mixture of apples, walnuts, and wine.

But my in-store grocery shopper couldn’t find any of that. So, deep-six the plate.

THE FIRST CUP OF WINE

Nobody likes Manischewitz, but it’s all we got, okay? So, hold your nose and bottoms up.

THE WASHING OF THE HANDS

Near the beginning of the Seder, we perform a ritual washing of the hands.  A splash of water from a bowl, and that’s it. Seriously? Not this year. Don’t just splash them. And get rid of the bowl. Get up and wash your hands at the sink with soap. Scrub a dub and sing the ABC’s twice.

How is this night different from all other nights?

Well, the two of us have been holed up in this house for the last three weeks, so this night is pretty much the same as every other night.

THE FOUR QUESTIONS 

  1. On all other nights, we eat leavened bread. Why on this night, only matzah?

Tradition. Plus, everyone’s out of bread. And don’t even ask how much I had to pay for one measly box of matzah.

  1. On all other nights, we eat a variety of vegetables. Why on this night, only bitter herbs?

Look, the store has been out of veggies for weeks, so I grabbed some leftover rosemary from last year’s garden. That’s all we have. Deal with it.

  1. On all other nights, we don’t dip even once. Why on this night do we dip our parsley twice?

First off, we don’t have any parsley. And second, because salt water is a disinfectant or something like that. So change it up and gargle instead of dipping.

4. On all other nights, we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we recline?

Because, seriously, I can’t even keep my head up with all this anxiety and mishegas.

THE FOUR SONS

In telling the Passover story, we use our imagination and tailor our questions and answers.

The wise child asks: How can I help flatten the curve?

To him, we say, listen to the scientists, stay at home, and wash your hands. And ignore the ignoramus politicians shaking hands and crowding together on the podium.

The wicked child asks: I’m too young to worry about staying in, washing my hands, and all the boring stuff.  Screw quarantine. Can’t grandma take one for the team?   

To him we say, there’s always one like you in the family.

The simple child asks: Are we going to be okay?

To him, we say, not if the wicked child has anything to do with it.

And to the child who does not even know how to ask:

To him, we say, don’t worry, Governor Cuomo will speak on your behalf.

THE PASSOVER STORY

Pharaoh was an ignorant and vengeful man who cared nothing for science or the welfare of his people. He dismissed the White House Pandemic team, cut funding to the CDC, cared only about lining his own pockets, and getting a mail-in voting ballot.

Even God lost his patience and visited a terrible plague upon Pharaoh’s land.

Pharaoh sort of heard his people’s cries, and said, “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

Moses shook his head in amazement and said, “I think we should shut down all non-essential businesses.”

The people’s cries grew louder, but Pharaoh said, “It’s going to disappear. One day—it’s like a miracle—it will disappear.”

The Israelites washed their hands and started to stock up on toilet paper.

The people asked Pharaoh for masks and ventilators. Pharaoh said, “In April, supposedly, it dies with the hotter weather. And that’s a beautiful date to look forward to.”

And Moses said unto the Israelites, “It’s time to close our schools.”

The people begged Pharaoh for coronavirus tests, and the media questioned him about when they would be available for everyone. Pharaoh threw a hissy fit and told reporters, “You should say congratulations—great job, instead of being so horrid in the way you ask a question. Everyone who wants a test can get one,” he shouted and then hurried off to get tested for the coronavirus.

Moses’ jaw dropped and he made an emergency call to New York’s Governor Cuomo.

The people began to die. “I don’t take responsibility at all,” Pharaoh sniped. “We can’t let the cure be worse than the disease,” Pharaoh insisted.

More people died, and nurses and doctors began to plead to Pharaoh for protective gear.  Pharaoh said, “We’ll be raring to go by Easter. I’d love to have it open by Easter, okay?”

The nurses and doctors went back to saving lives, and the Israelites helped their little ones with their homework.

“No one could have seen this coming,” Pharaoh whined. “We’ve done a great job,” he repeated time and time again.

Moses and the Israelites maintained their social distancing, stayed hunkered down at home, and listened to Gov. Cuomo’s daily updates.

The people again begged Pharaoh for tests. “We’re the federal government. We’re not supposed to stand on street corners doing testing,” the Pharoah loudly proclaimed. Then he scurried off to get a second test for the coronavirus.

The nurses and doctors continued to beseech Pharaoh for masks. Pharaoh had a theory that masks were going out the back door and ordered reporters to look into it.

When Moses reminded him that death and unemployment were through the roof, Pharaoh asked him if he had seen his daily briefing ratings. Pharaoh said that what was through the roof were his television ratings—better than Monday Night Football and even better than The Bachelor finale.

THE SECOND CUP OF WINE

All this talk of Pharaoh is stressing me out. I’ll drink anything at this point.

SECOND WASHING OF THE HANDS

Go and wash your hands again with loads of soap, and cap it off with a Clorox wipe.

TIME TO EAT!

(Albeit only two of us.)

THE SEARCH FOR THE AFIKOMAN

Seriously? Two dollars for finding the Afikoman? I spent the last two days cooking and sanitizing.

THE THIRD CUP OF WINE

Three cupsh down. I hasen’t felt thish good in weeksh.

OPENING THE DOOR FOR ELIJAH

Are you crazy? Keep the door shut. Don’t you dare let him into this house. Unless he has toilet paper.

DAYENU (Which means it would have sufficed)

If He had given us doctors and nurses, it would have been enough. DAYENU!

If He had given us sanitation workers, grocery store clerks, UPS, and Fed-Ex drivers, it would have been enough. DAYENU!

If He had given us Zoom, and Instacart and food delivery, it would have been enough. DAYENU!

If He had given us paper towels, toilet paper, and napkins, it would have been enough. DAYENU!

If He had given us Birks and Fauci, it would have been enough. DAYENU

If He had given us Inslee, Whitmer, Newsom, and Cuomo, it would have been enough. DAYENU

THE FOURTH CUP OF WINE

I’zve read a fairuy tale aboupt ma prince wit a maks cnad ha froxg, lasht nights.

CONCLUSION

Next year in Jerusalem. Hmmm. I don’t think so.

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