Narrator: Ma chere Mademoiselles and Monsieurs. It is with deepest pride, and greatest pleasure that I welcome you tonight. And now, I invite you to relax, let us pull up a chair, as this dining room proudly presents - your Seder!
The story of Moses has been told and retold. It is a reminder to the Jewish people that once we were slaves in Egypt, but now we are free. And so, this year, as in all years and generations before, we tell the story of Passover.
Way, way back, many centuries ago, not long after the Bible began, Joseph (otherwise known as Donny Osmond), the star of a delightful musical romp with his brightly-colored coat, had long been forgotten and the Jewish people he brought to the land of Egypt had been cast into slavery, ruled by the King of Egypt, Pharaoh. Our story begins in his palace.
Pharaoh: Slave! I would literally kill for some spare ribs. Whip some of those up with a glass of milk.
Slave: Right on it, sire! I’ll have one of my 18 sons fetch those for you right away!
Pharaoh: What?! Did you say 18 sons?!?!
Slave: Oh yeah, it is quite a full household. Well, more of a mud shack than a house, really.
Pharaoh: Are you serious?! Do all of you Hebrews schtup this much??
Slave: We prefer the term, “lay with,” but yeah.
Pharaoh: Well first of all, very impressive. But haggadah bad feeling about this!! If my abacus and sundial are right, that means I’m gonna have a TON of extremely unhappy, overworked, and resentful Jews on my hands....right now!! But what to do?? ( drifts off into thought )
Narrator: Hear ye, hear ye. It is hereby decreed by Pharaoh – the ruler of the land of Egypt, the sultan of swat-ting Jews, the caliph of clout, the behemoth of bust (I mean, look at that sphinx!) – that any son born to a Jew is to be drowned in the Sea of Reeds!
Yocheved: Oh HELLLLLL no!
Narrator: After hearing such a decree, Yocheved, the mother of Moses, wove a basket of reeds for her infant son and hid it by the river hoping that he would reach a safe haven.
Princess: What is this?! A baby? A baby in the river? I thought I had seen it all at slave Menachem Copperfield’s show last night, but this is something else. Entourage, what should we name him?
Princess’s Attendant (1): A basket case?
Princess’s Attendant (2): Bob?
Princess: Punny, but no. Let’s get literal with it and go with Moses.
Narrator: And so, Yocheved’s son, Moses, grew up as the Pharaoh’s adopted grandson, with all the riches and prestige that such a position entailed. While Moses never told her son his true humble beginnings, he always felt a great empathy for the Hebrew slaves.
One day, he came upon an Egyptian beating an old slave for not working hard enough, even in such a heat like you wouldn't believe! With a rage akin to a Jewish mother learning Sheila from down the street is passing her kugel recipe off as Sheila's own, Moses killed the guard. Of course, by doing so, he had broken the law of the land and would have to face Pharaoh, and his attorneys, as a consequence.
A mild man Pharaoh was not, so Moses booked the first ticket he could on the SarcophaBus, riding off into the desert sunset to become a humble shepherd and star in the animated masterpiece, The Prince of Egypt.
One fine morning, one of Moses’ sheep strayed from the herd. He followed the sheep only to come upon a sight his eyes were shocked to behold – a bush engulfed in fire but unconsumed by it!!
G-d: MOSES, MOSES!!
Moses: Oh my G-d!!!!!
G-d: Hey! How’d you know?! Yes, I am the G-d of your father, the G-d of Abraham, the G-d of Isaac, and the G-d of Jacob. I have seen the affliction of My people in the land of Egypt and I have heard their cries. I have come down to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and bring them up out of that land and into a land flowing with milk and honey and all the falafel their hearts desire. And so, unto Pharaoh, I shall send you!
Moses: G-d, why me? Who am I to lead these people? They’ll never believe me. They won’t listen.
G-d: I shall teach you what to say and I shall be with you.
Moses: No. You’ve chosen the wrong messenger. How can I even speak to these people that my family oppressed? When I tell them that you sent me and they ask “what is your name?” what do I say?
G-d: Let me get this straight. A BURNING BUSH is talking to you and you’re worrying about logistics?! Tell them I AM THAT I AM!! Now go down, Moses, way down in Egypt land and tell ole Pharaoh to let my people go!
Narrator: And so Moses went to back to the land of Egypt and entered Pharaoh’s chambers with his brother, Aaron.
Moses: Pharaoh, I come to tell you that my G-d, the G-d of my people, commands you to release all Hebrew slaves.
Pharaoh: Well first of all, nice to see you too – been a while. How’re the kids? The wife? Still a big fan of deltas? Anyway, that’s a very nice speech but I’ve never heard of this “G-d” guy and, honestly, “your people” are wrapping up a beautiful mixed use city center for myself, sooooo, NO!
Moses: Oh Pharaoh, you have a small mind, a cold heart, and tiny hands. Now you will behold G-d’s wonders!!!
Narrator: With Pharaoh’s refusal, G-d brought down plagues upon all of Egypt. At first, turning the waters to blood. Not one thirst would be quenched. Then an uprising of frogs, then lice, then wild animals throughout the land. Absolute. Chaos.
Diseased livestock followed, with boils and thunderstorms of hail encased in fire the next in line. Every living person in Egypt clamored for a dermatologist appointment. For the eighth plague, swarms of locusts blotted out the sun and decimated the crops. The ninth, complete and utter darkness. After each plague Pharaoh again refused to let the Israelites go.
Moses: Children of Israel, take the blood of a lamb and mark your door posts, for tonight, G-d will sweep through the land and kill the first born son of all the Egyptians. But, when He sees the markings on your door, he will pass over your house (*nudge* get it??) and spare you.
Narrator: That night, G-d did as He told Moses He would and He swept through the land. With such a devastating blow, Pharaoh finally relented, and let the Jewish people go. The Jewish people, knowing Pharaoh could be quick to change his mind, hurried out of town. They left so quickly that they couldn’t let their dough rise or even finish the last season of “BReaking bREad” they had taped. And with that, and no GPS, their journey began.
Looking out at the expanse of sea that laid before them, the Jewish people could hear Pharaoh and his army coming to capture them back. Then G-d spoke to Moses.
G-d: Moses, Moses. Wade into the water. Lift up your staff, hold it in the air, wave it like you just don’t care, and behold my wonders.
Narrator: And with that, the Red Sea bubbled and foamed, shifted and crashed, and finally exploded in two, making way for the Israelites to pass through. On the other side, the children of Israel cried:
All at the table: Adonai, our G-d, brought us out of Egypt, not by an angel nor by a messenger, but alone – with a mighty hand, an outstretched arm, and with great wonders. Now, we are free!!!
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