The Sparks can’t find the chametz! The Plonys can’t make matzah balls! Ma nishtana? Why is this night different from all other nights? Find out on this Passover special episode of SHABOOM!
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Bedikat chametz, or the hunt for chametz, is a wonderful ritual to try out with your family the night before Passover. In this short how to video, Piera and Josh explain how they set up a scavenger hunt for their young child and why it’s a meaningful part of Pesach for their family. Anyone can do this ritual…and it’s lots of fun to play hide and seek with bread or cheerios or whatever chametz you may have on hand. Plus, the next day you get to burn it!
Here is a kid and adult friendly alternative to for the Maggid section (the Passover story section) of the Haggadah. This short play is in the style of "sedra scenes" -- a contemporary take which makes the story current but stays true to the Exodus narrative. I've written it for large crowds -- so there are 13 parts, but if you have a smaller gathering you can easily double up.
LET MY PEOPLE GO!
A short play for the seder
CAST: NARRATOR, JOSEPH, BENJAMIN, PHAROAH, ADVISOR, HEBREW 1, HEBREW 2, HEBREW 3, BOSS, BAT PHAROAH, MOSES, GOD, AARON (13 parts)
NARRATOR: Our story begins in the land of Egypt where Joseph, once a prisoner, is now the Pharaoh’s chief advisor.
JOSEPH: So how are things back in Israel?
BENJAMIN: Oy! Terrible. Our gardens and crops are dying. There is no rain this year. That is why we had to come down to Egypt!
JOSEPH: Well, don’t worry..life in Egypt is fantastic. Playstation 3 in every house, High Definition Television, Lincoln Navigators in the driveway, This is the most powerful nation on the planet!
BENJAMIN: Did you have rain this year? Are the gardens and crops doing well?
JOSEPH: We don’t have to worry about that. I’ve stored away tons of food in giant warehouses. The Pharaoh will be able to feed the people for three years at least, even if we get no rain.
BENJAMIN: What does the Pharaoh think of us Hebrews?
JOSEPH: He loves me. He welcomes the Hebrews into his land. Bring the entire family, we’ll make a great life here.
Narrator: The Hebrews all moved to Egypt and had many children and lived a successful life. But after many years, after Joseph and his brothers had died, a new Pharaoh rose to power.
PHAROAH: Advisor, bring me the latest census report. I want to know all the people who I rule over!
ADVISOR: Yes, you’re Royal Highness. I have the numbers here.
PHAROAH: Let’s see..Nubians, Midians, yes, very good. Are there really that many Hebrews?
ADVISOR: Oh yes, your highness. They are growing in number. They are very strong workers.
PHAROAH: Do you think that might be a danger? Perhaps they will challenge my rule – make demands. You know how these workers are always complaining about the size of the rocks for the new Pyramids. I am worried that they will use their strength in numbers to rise up against me!
ADVISOR: Yes, you are right, we must do something to break their spirits.
PHAROAH: First, let us begin with something small. We’ll get them to make more bricks each day. If that doesn’t work, we’ll eliminate the fifteen-minute breaks. If that doesn’t break them, then maybe we’ll turn to harsher measures.
Narrator: The Hebrew workers struggled to keep up with Pharaoh’s demands.
HEBREW 1: My hands are killing me. And my back, oy! I can’t take this pace.
HEBREW 2: We can make a thousand bricks a day—but two thousand? No team can work that hard! We’ll fall over!
HEBREW 3: Get back to work, the boss is coming!
BOSS: Efficiency, people! We have got to make 900 more bricks by sundown! Come on, let’s work faster!
HEBREW 1: We are working as fast as we can, boss.
BOSS: Listen, smart aleck, I’ve got a lot of pressure on my shoulders. If Pharaoh doesn’t get his bricks, I’m out of a job. I got a family to feed, too, you know. So get back down in the pit and start working!
HEBREW 2: We haven’t had a break all day!
BOSS: And you are not going to get one! Work!
HEBREW 3: You know what, boss; you have become a real pain in the backside!
BOSS: What’d you say?
HEBREW 3: You heard me.
[The BOSS walks over and pushes Hebrew 3 to the ground]
BOSS: Now get back to work before I get really angry!
Narrator: Meanwhile, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted a young Hebrew child. The child, Moses, was raised with the finest Egypt had to offer.
BAT PHAROAH: Here, sweetheart, eat your honey cakes before your flute lesson.
MOSES: I’m so excited about the party this evening.
BAT PHAROAH: Your new robe looks lovely, dear. I just hope that the Pyramid is finished. Your grandfather has the workers working double time just to get the place finished before the great assembly.
MOSES: I heard that the Hebrews were complaining.
BAT PHAROAH: Complaining? Don’t worry about that. We take care of the needs of all our workers, dear. They are fed, given homes, and we give them a new pair of shoes each year. We are very generous. The only problem is that there are simply too many Hebrews. For that reason, we are cutting down their number. I know that it is sad that we have to kill off their baby boys, but we are really doing it for their own good.
MOSES: I know so little about the world. Someday I’d like to go out of the palace and see how they live.
BAT PHAROAH: They are not clean like us, dear. Especially the Hebrews. They throw garbage on the streets, and the smells are truly horrible.
Narrator: One day Moses decides to sneak out of the palace, and see for himself the plight of the Hebrews.
HEBREW 1: I can’t work, today, I’m sick! And I hurt my arm yesterday lifting stones!
BOSS: I don’t want to hear excuses. This pyramid has got to be finished by Thursday! Today is Wednesday! So get moving!
HEBREW 1: I can’t work. Please, listen to me, have some compassion!
HEBREW 2: Give him a break, boss!
BOSS: Shut up!
HEBREW 3: Don’t get involved!
HEBREW 2: I’m tired of this, boss! My cousin there is hurt. He can’t work today. And he’s not working. So go tell Pharaoh that he’ll have to hire some more workers or this isn’t getting done!
BOSS: Shut up!
[Boss pushes Hebrew 2 to the ground.]
HEBREW 1: Stop it!
BOSS: I’m going to hurt you bad, you whiny Hebrew!
HEBREW 3: Stop! One of Pharaoh’s princes is coming!
MOSES: What is happening?
BOSS: I am going to give this man the beating he deserves, your honor! Watch this!
[Moses hits the Boss, who falls to the ground]
HEBREW 3: Oh no! What did you do to the boss? We’ll be blamed for this! We’ll be punished!
MOSES: What have I done? What have I done?
Narrator: Moses ran away, far off into the wilderness. Where he is taken in by Yitro, and marries one of Yitro’s daughter’s Zipporah. One day, as Moses is taking care of yitro’s sheep, he stumbles across a burning bush.
GOD: Moses, Moses!
MOSES: Who is that? What is going on? What is happening?
GOD: It is me, the God of your ancestors, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
MOSES: You must have the wrong number.
GOD: This is no time for jokes. You must go back to Egypt and stand up to Pharaoh! Then you will lead the people back to their homeland!
MOSES: How will I do that? The people do not know me! I have no power now that I have run away!
GOD: I will be with you. Go to your sister, Miriam, and brother, Aaron, and stand up to Pharaoh!
Narrator: Moses returns to Egypt, with his wife and son, Gershom. Aaron and Moses approach Pharaoh.
PHAROAH: What do you want?
AARON: Our people need a three-day vacation. We need to go outside of the city so that we can pray to God in our own way.
PHAROAH: Why can’t you wait for the festival of the pyramids? Then your people will have a chance to celebrate with everyone.
MOSES: We do not wish to pray to your gods. We have one God, who is mightier than all of your gods.
PHAROAH: You must be joking. The gods have made Egypt a great nation. What has your God done for you?
MOSES: You’ll see what our God can do! And then you’ll give in to our demands!
PHAROAH: Don’t count on it, Hebrew!
Narrator: Pharaoh was a stubborn man. Even after plagues of blood, frogs, lice, disease, hail, and darkness, he would not let the Hebrews take a day off. It wasn’t until a disease struck and killed the first born of every Egyptian, that the Pharaoh changed his mind.
PHAROAH: Don’t you understand what is happening?
ADVISOR: No, your highness, I don’t know why our gods are not protecting us.
PHAROAH: Everything we did to the Hebrews is now happening to us!!!
ADVISOR: Maybe their God is powerful!
PHAROAH: Tell the police that are surrounding their neighborhood to let them go.
Narrator: That night, Moses, spoke to the people.
MOSES: Put on your sandals, we will not have time to bake the bread for tomorrow! Tonight we will leave Egypt, and set out for a new land! Our children, and our children’s children will remember this night! They will tell the story of how we stood up to Pharaoh, and how God helped us to be free!
AARON: Let all who are hungry come and eat!
Narrator: And thus ends our little play.
The first Passover happened long ago in the far-away country of Egypt. A mean and powerful king, called Pharaoh, ruled Egypt. Worried that the Jewish people would one day fight against him, Pharaoh decided that these people must become his slaves. As slaves, the Jewish people worked very hard. Every day, from morning until night, they hammered, dug, and carried heavy bricks. They built palaces and cities and worked without rest. The Jewish people hated being slaves. They cried and asked God for help. God chose a man named Moses to lead the Jewish people.
Moses went to Pharaoh and said, “God is not happy with the way you treat the Jewish people. He wants you to let the Jewish people leave Egypt and go into the desert, where they will be free.” But Pharaoh stamped his foot and shouted, “No, I will never let the Jewish people go!” Moses warned, “If you do not listen to God, many terrible things, called plagues, will come to your land.” But Pharaoh would not listen, and so the plagues arrived. First, the water turned to blood. Next, frogs and, later, wild animals ran in and out of homes. Balls of hail fell from the sky and bugs, called locusts, ate all of the Egyptians’ food.
Each time a new plague began, Pharaoh would cry, “Moses, I’ll let the Jewish people go. Just stop this horrible plague!” Yet no sooner would God take away the plague than Pharaoh would shout: “No, I’ve changed my mind. The Jews must stay!” So God sent more plagues. Finally, as the tenth plague arrived, Pharaoh ordered the Jews to leave Egypt.
Fearful that Pharaoh might again change his mind, the Jewish people packed quickly. They had no time to prepare food and no time to allow their dough to rise into puffy bread. They had only enough time to make a flat, cracker-like bread called matzah. They hastily tied the matzah to their backs and ran from their homes.
The people had not travelled far before Pharaoh commanded his army to chase after them and bring them back to Egypt. The Jews dashed forward, but stopped when they reached a large sea. The sea was too big to swim across. Frightened that Pharaoh’s men would soon reach them, the people prayed to God, and a miracle occurred. The sea opened up. Two walls of water stood in front of them and a dry, sandy path stretched between the walls. The Jews ran across. Just as they reached the other side, the walls of water fell and the path disappeared. The sea now separated the Jews from the land of Egypt. They were free!
Each year at Passover, we eat special foods, sing songs, tell stories, and participate in a seder – a special meal designed to help us remember this miraculous journey from slavery to freedom.
Now, we're going to take the wine/juice that we've poured and each add to Elijah's cup.
Now let's do the same from our water glasses to fill Miriam's cup.
Combining our actions together is what will help Elijah come to ourworld.
We set an extra place for Elijah and we'll open the door and invite him in later. Miriam was Moses's sister and we honor her for how she helped Moses wich made our story possible today.