As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we hosted a Passover Seder this evening for a bunch of friends. I think it is the first time we’ve ever had 16 people here for a sit down meal. The meal was great thanks to matzoh ball soup provided by Rob, the main course of roasted chicken and vegetables provided by Jeff and flourless chocolate cake and fruit torte courtesy of Kristin! I provided seating, dishes and cutlery, although to be honest I was so consumed with making sure there were enough bowls and plates that I nearly forgot about utensils, and had to scrounge some plastic sets at the last minute – thank goodness for birthday party leftovers languishing in a cabinet!
Our Passover tradition includes a brief recap of the events leading up to the Exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. We have finger puppets that represent the plagues, and the kids take turns holding them up at the specified moment. Every time I stand up and tell this story, I get about half way through and then have to stop myself from rolling my eyes and saying something like, “Oh please! Let’s all get real. Who thinks this actually happened?!” Instead I interject a few jokes before moving on to the bloody conclusion – the death of all Egyptian first born sons. Happy Passover, everyone!!
Every year, Passover/Easter week always gets me thinking about the fantastical mythology surrounding both of these traditions that so much of the world accepts without question as literal truth. The god depicted in the Old Testament is really kind of a nasty s.o.b. and then in the New Testament he’s all ‘love your neighbor’ and ‘turn the other cheek’. I mean, I know they say having kids really changes you, but….
Seriously, though, does no one see the similarities between the Christian stories of the Old & New Testaments and, for instance, some of the Sumerian stories? Both have a tale of a baby hidden in a basket and sent down the river who is then rescued by a member of the royal family and raised in privilege to later become a leader of his people. Why is the Christian story truth and the Sumerian one myth? Because Christians aren’t Sumerians?
My kids and their friends all think the Passover story is great fun – kind of like an ancient suspense/horror tale. They wave the puppets around and do sound effects and are applauded for their efforts. Which I think is the best approach you can have to such a thing, where people are punished for no good reason other than that they have a selfish ruler who doesn’t worship the ‘right’ god.
The bright spot is that friends will always take time out of their busy lives to attend a meal if it is tied to a religious tradition – even if it’s not their religious tradition. So for that I am happy that Passover is here. When else do I get to have 16 people over for dinner? We all agreed that we should do this more often, but I am quite certain that we won’t – at least until next year’s Passover Seder.