Shouts & Murmurs: Four Questions—Extended Version

APRIL 14, 2011

Shouts & Murmurs: Four Questions—Extended Version


YOUNGEST CHILD: How is this night different from all other nights? FATHER: Because on this night we tell the story of our escape from Egypt.

YOUNGEST CHILD: How is this night different from Easter? FATHER: It is worse.

YOUNGEST CHILD: Why do we go through the motions of this ritual year after year, even though all of us doubt God’s existence? FATHER: Because your grandmother is still alive.

YOUNGEST CHILD: Why on this night does the mother-in-law say that the brisket her son’s wife cooked is dry when it is fine? FATHER: Because she resents the fact that she cannot legally marry her son, the doctor.

YOUNGEST CHILD: Why on this night do we leave this chair open? FATHER: It is for the holy angel Elijah, should he bless us with a visit.

YOUNGEST CHILD: Why is this other chair open? FATHER: That’s where your grandfather was sitting. He’s been in the bathroom for over ninety minutes. He’s either having some troubles, or he is engrossed in that book of Doonesbury cartoons.

YOUNGEST CHILD: How long has that book been in there? FATHER: Since the time of Egypt.

YOUNGEST CHILD: Why, if Israel is so great, have we never gone there? FATHER: It is not great. We are scared to go there.

OLDEST DAUGHTER: My friends say that I look Italian. Is that true? FATHER: It is not true. You friends are either liars or so Jewish-looking that you look less Jewish by comparison.

OLDEST DAUGHTER: When can I get a nose job? FATHER: Ninety days before college. That is how long it takes for the bandages to come off.

FATHER: Has everyone here seen “Blazing Saddles”? ALL: Yes, we have seen it.

FATHER: Do you remember the beans scene? That is the greatest scene. ALL: Yes, we remember it.

FATHER: Does it get any better than Billy Joel? ALL: No.

YOUNGEST CHILD: Why do we subscribe to the Forward ? FATHER: We do not subscribe. They found us.

YOUNGEST CHILD: Can we please just eat already? FATHER: Yes. ALL: Amen.

haggadah Section: -- Four Questions
Source: The New Yorker, Shouts & Murmurs: Four Questions - Extended Version