This may take up to thirty seconds.
I get it, you’re probably asking yourself, ‘In what way does The Golden Girls relate to the story of Passover?’ Or you’re like, ‘Are any of them even Jewish?’ (Yes, in fact, both Bea Arthur and Estelle Getty were Jewish… and Rue McClanahan probably dated a Jew, or seven.)
But think about it! Four women, told by society that they’re past their prime, come together to form a community despite what the world tells them they’re supposed to be. Each one of them had to escape a particularly difficult narrative to find exodus: Sophia had to leave Shady Pines, Dorothy had to leave Stan, and Rose and Blanche both had to get over the grief of losing their husbands.
Need more proof? OK, they weren’t big into wine, but they had their cheesecake! And do you think that cheesecake never had fruit, honey or other gifts from nature? And how many times do you think they had to wait for Rose to finish another St. Olaf story in order to eat dinner? Blanche actively sought justice in the world by getting her birth date removed from her birth certificate by order of the governor. Looking for questions? Dorothy has plenty for ya!
So if you will, sit back and enjoy a golden Haggadah as told through the brilliance of The Golden Girls. Oh, and thank you for being a mensch.
Tonight everything is about making it to the cheesecake. This is our mission. But before we get there, we need to gather our items, prepare our stories, and get everyone together for one special night.
As you’ll see, the meaning of a Golden Passover is just being together with the people you love. These people can be family, friends, chosen family, new friends, etc. What makes it golden is the diversity of people around your table, the stories you’ll share, and yes, the cheesecake you’ll eventually eat. This is a special night, one that you’ll remember the spirit of for the remainder of the year.
If you’re anything like the Girls, over the course of the Haggadah you’ll laugh, you might cry, but you’ll certainly come away from it ready to eat!! So let’s get ready. Here’s what you’ll need…
A vegetable of some kind like a potato, onion, etc.
A fruit paste of some kind, like chopped apples, figs, walnuts, etc.
A roasted bone. (Just not from Count Bessie!)
A hard-boiled egg.
Lots of wine!
That’s it. Are you ready? Because the girls are!
It’s time for the wine! As you gather around the table awaiting that first slice of cheesecake—we’ll get there—look at the people around you and notice that, just like when Blanche posted that roommate notice on the bulletin board at the grocery store, the Universe has brought all of you together in this moment. You’re a family. Let the rest of the world go and appreciate the ones you’re with right now (even if they tell boring stories like Rose).
Grab the wine or grape juice and fill your neighbor's cup (if we’re going to have to do all of this to get to the cheesecake, you’re going to need a lot of wine). Once every cup is full, stand and recite the kiddush.
After you’ve recited the kiddush, drink… WAIT, before you drink, smell the wine, it might be one of Sophia’s hot toddy’s she makes when Dorothy is sick. You know the one, the drink that potentially killed her husband, Sal.
Sophia: Pussycat, drink this. It'll make you feel better.
Dorothy: Oh, Ma, another hot toddy? I think I've had enough.
Sophia: Shut up and drink.
Dorothy: This is the fourth one. Ma, that's a lot of whiskey.
Sophia: I only put whiskey in the first one, then we ran out.
Sophia: The second and third were vodka.
Dorothy: No wonder my head is spinning.
Sophia: This one's part Amaretto, part Sambuca. That should kill everything. Killed your father.
SOURCE: Golden Girls S3E11 “Three on a Couch”
Before we go any further, we need to wash our hands. Why? Because it’s 2022. Well, that, and because the cleansing power of water is the true path to wisdom, something Rose very much needs. That said, Rose does have the perfect song for how long you should wash your hands.
Gonna stuff a chicken ( gonna stuff a chicken)
Like my mama taught me! ( Like my mama taught me!)
Gonna take the chicken (Gonna take the chicken)
DOWN TO MISSISSIPPI
SOURCE: Golden Girls S3E2 “One for the Money”
Sure, having a bite of a vegetable as an appetizer isn’t necessarily exciting, but fear not, you’re not alone in your eating of meager treats. As you dip the vegetable into the saltwater while keeping in mind the bitter herbs you’re about to enjoy, think back to all the times the girls attempted to refrain from overindulging (but with all that cheesecake in the fridge, what’s the point in depriving yourself? Life is short!)
Blanche: You know, you have a point Dorothy. Here we are, not eating chocolate cake, which we obviously adore, because we want to stay very thin, and then drop dead. That's nuts.
Rose: But we might be thin and stay alive.
Blanche: But not forever, Rose. We're not gonna stay alive forever. That's Dorothy's point. And when you're gonna die anyhow, what's it matter?
Dorothy: Yeah, I mean, what does it matter if you know that you're gonna end up dying anyway? You might as well do what you want to do.
Blanche: Like having ice cream on the chocolate cake.
SOURCE: Golden Girls S1E10 “The Heart Attack”
While Sophia will want to break a stale cannoli or a leftover piece of bread used to smear up the remaining sauce in a pasta bowl, it’s probably best to stick to the matzah on your seder plate.
You can do exactly what the girls would have done with Rose in this step: hide the afikoman, or dessert (it’s half of the broken matzah) and play oogle and floogle.
Barbara: Well, I think I'd better be going to.
Rose: But it's still so early. I thought we could all have a game of oogle and floogle.
Barbara: I don't believe I've ever heard of that.
Rose: We used to play it back in St. Olaf. It's an adult version of hide-and-go-seek.
Barbara: And how does it differ from the children's version?
Rose: Adults play it.
Rose will be looking high and low while Dorothy, Blanche and Sophia finish the seder—because you just know Sophia is itching to tell her version of the Maggid.
SOURCE: Golden Girls S3E15 “Dorothy’s New Friend”
This is the moment Sophia has been waiting for! Only she’s a bit peeved that a group of kids has to ask four questions before she can get to her story. But it’s FINE, she’s in her 80s, she’s got years to live, she can wait (insert eyeroll from Sophia here).
Come on kids!
First we have the wise kid, who of course is Mario, Dorothy’s prized pupil who wrote a prize-winning essay (“In America, you always felt that you were among friends.”) and then got deported because of it. But he’s back with his wise question!
On all other nights, we eat a herring salad sandwich on raisin bread. Why on this night, only matzah?
SOURCE: Golden Girls S2E21 “Dorothy’s Prized Pupil”
Then we have the wicked kid, which like, you probably know exactly the kid for this one: Daisy! Talk about wicked, this kid not only held Rose’s bear Fernando hostage, but you just know she’s probably snacking on something while everyone else is waiting for the Passover meal. EVIL, pure evil.
But, Daisy is just as much part of this haggadah as any of these other kids.
You see this water pistol, it’s filled with red ink, so you better answer this question right. How is this night different from all the other nights? Tick, tock, tick, tock…
SOURCE: Golden Girls S3E1 “Old Friends”
It's time for the simple child: Charley, Rose’s granddaughter. Before she goes on her date with Robert (the one who lives in the castle), she’s got a question for Rose.
Now that you and mommy have made up, why are we reclining tonight and when can we watch cable?
SOURCE: Golden Girls S1E16 “The Truth Will Out”
Finally—and it’s about time, Sophia is getting more angry—it’s time for the kid who does not know how to ask. What kid is that? Why it’s Melissa, Blanche’s granddaughter, who, as you’ll remember, knows a thing or two about being afraid to speak her mind. (Which is fine with us, because it made Blanche do Melissa’s number at the talent show!)
Now that I can call you Grandma (just not around anyone in uniform), can you tell me why we call it Passover?
SOURCE: Golden Girls S7E3 “Beauty and the Beast”
Sophia’s big moment has arrived. It’s story time!
Just like Sophia would, tell the story of Exodus in your own way. Perhaps you can figure out a way to start it with “Picture it” and end it with “and that’s how I saved the Jews.” (Because you know Sophia would falsely claim ownership of that nugget.)
Perhaps you’re more of a Blanche! You can easily tell the story of the exodus as Blanche would. All you need to do is figure out a way for Blanche and Moses to have an intimate relationship right after he parted her metaphorical seas.
Or, you could go in the direction of telling it like Rose would. This one is pretty simple, just relate everything to a herring.
Now, telling it like Dorothy is by far the simplest. Go to the library, rent a book on the Exodus, and read it verbatim. Sure, it’s not as creative, but she’ll respect your attention to detail. (WHO ARE YOU TO JUDGE HER?!)
Whichever direction you choose to go, find a way to tell the story of Exodus in first person and relate to the people with you at your Passover. Once the story is done, lift your glass and drink your second cup of wine.
Don’t worry, the cheesecake is almost ready! But first, we need to wash our hands again.
While you do this, Dorothy will insist you do the traditional blessing…
"Blessed be You, Lord our God, King of the World, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning the washing of the hands.”
Or could take some tips from the girls past blessings…
Blanche will insist you say her own blessing.
Blanche: Dear God, I know it’s been an awful long time since I’ve done this. You have given me a lot to be thankful for: my wonderful children, my health, a beautiful body, legs to die for. A face that is stunningly sexy and yet has the innocence of a child, with luscious lips…
Dorothy: He knows what you look like Blanche.
Blanche: Yes, you know what I look like, and I just wanted to say, good job!
SOURCE: Golden Girls S7E21 “Home Again, Rose: Part 1”
Rose: Hello God, it’s me, Rose. I’m sorry to be getting in touch so late tonight. I hope I didn’t wake you.
Blanche: Oh God!
Rose: One at a time, Blanche. Anyway I just wanted to say I still think you’re doing a terrific job. Of course there are some things I don’t understand. Like poverty. And the spokesmodel category on Star Search. But then again, you work your wonders in mysterious ways. A couple of years ago I would have frozen to death on a night like this because I was by myself. Now I have Dorothy and Blanche and Sophia to keep me warm. And not just on a cold winter’s night, but all year long. Take care of them, God. If anything happened I’d just…
Dorothy: Rose, thanks for the lovely prayer. Now shut up and get into bed.
Blanche: Nice work, Dorothy.
Dorothy: Wasn’t me.
Blanche: Sweet Jesus, am I in trouble! Now I lay me down to sleep…
SOURCE: Golden Girls S2E17 “Bedtime Story
At this point, you’re probably very eager for that cheesecake. Perhaps even jumpy! But are you as jumpy as Blanche?
Blanche: I’m as jumpy as a virgin at a prison rodeo.
Dorothy: That's pretty jumpy.
SOURCE: Golden Girls S1E22 “Job Hunting”
We’re almost there! But first it’s time for some matzah! Remember, Rose is still looking for the afikoman, bless her heart. While she does that, pick up the three matzahs and say…
“Blessed be You, Lord our God, King of the World, Who brings bread out of the earth.”
But don’t eat em just yet! Now drop the bottom one and say…
“Blessed be You, Lord our God, King of the World, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning eating matzah.”
Pass it around while reclining. If you’re like Blanche, you’ll probably comment on how dry the matzah is, which of course will inspire a story about a time when you slept with a dry man (whatever that means). Just smile and so that you can get on to the cheesecake.
All of the girls know a thing or two about being bitter (remember when Blanche was bitter over the attention Dorothy got at the Rusty Anchor?!?!).
Blanche: Dorothy, when you sing, you light up the room. You do. You positively glow. You’re beautiful.
Dorothy: Blanche, you don’t have to say that.
Blanche: Believe me I don’t like saying it. But it’s true, you can attract men in a way I can’t and I’m jealous of you.
Dorothy: Blanche Devereaux that is the nicest thing you have ever said to me.
Blanche: It is?
Blanche: You’re probably right. Most of the time when I compliment you I’m not being sincere.
SOURCE: Golden Girls S7E18 “Journey to the Center of Attention”
Or when Sophia got to meet Burt Reynolds!
Dorothy: That’s it, I don’t want to hear another word.
Sophia: Oh, Cinderella is back from the ball and her three wicked step-sisters are jealous.
Dorothy: We are not jealous, we are angry. You left us sitting in jail.
Sophia: Hey, I sent over the bail money, you were out an hour later. I think that was just about the time I was nippling a giant shrimp out of Jerry Reed’s hand.
Dorothy: You’re making this while thing up just to rub it in. You have never met these people.
Sophia: Jealously is a very ugly thing Dorothy. And so are you in anything backless.
So yeah, embrace the golden bitter energy and eat those bitter herbs. Pick em up and dip them in the charoset. Then say…
“Blessed be You, Lord our God, King of the World, Who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerning eating bitter herbs.”
SOURCE: Golden Girls S2E2 “Ladies of the Evening”
At this point, we’re at a crossroads: make the Koreich sandwich? Koreich pizza? Odd stuff on a cracker? The struggle is real, and it’s all part of remembering the struggles of our ancestors.
It’s similar to when Rose, Dorothy, and Sophia all had a problem and didn’t know what to do. “It was the worst of times, it was the worst of times.” It went in lots of directions, but it ended with a pepperoni swimming upstream. So yeah, it’s kind of delusional, but that’s where we are because we’re so hungry.
All that said, Sophia’s story helped Dorothy decide what to eat for dinner: pizza! So let’s make ourselves a little Golden Koreich pizza.
Take the bitter herb, mix it with some horseradish, or whatever your family’s custom is, add some charoset and then say…
“This is what Hillel did, at the time that the Temple stood. He wrapped up some Pesach lamb, some matzah and some bitter herbs and ate them together.”
SOURCE: Golden Girls S3E11 “Three on a Couch”
So here we are. Hopefully Rose has found the afikoman, because we’ll need that right after we eat allllllll the cheesecake! Break out the ice cream and the chocolate syrup, think of your best naughty stories, and sit around while enjoying your cheesecake (and the company, of course). Or, have a boiled egg dipped in salt water on the Seder plate as a sign of mourning.
SOURCE: : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S30I21KK4wQ&list=PLB94pB08sahcAfVbNB66aDwLrTXSCVIyR&index=64
OK, here’s Rose’s big moment. After you’ve had your fill of cheesecake and told stories like Rose, Blanche, Sophia and Dorothy would, take out the afikomen and eat it on a full stomach! And if you’re too full, just think of yourself as physically lighter, like when the girls froze just their heads.
You’ve done all that work, so you might as well finish it all off with a little more wine, some blessing, and most importantly, being together with your loved ones.
If you can find your glass amid the sea of dirty plates on the table, fill it up with some wine and say the grace after your meal (you’ve got a few to choose from). Do it for the needy sexy people.
If anybody is going to be able to see Elijah the Prophet enter, it’s going to be Rose. In fact, Rose likely has a herring sandwich waiting for Elijah. Once Elijah is there, it’s time to sing some Psalms of Praise! But since this is a Golden Girls inspired Seder, you have a number of tunes to sing to.
There’s “Miami Is Nice.” Say it thrice!
SOURCE: Golden Girls S2E6 "Big Daddy's Little Lady"
The table is a mess. You’re stuffed with cheesecake. You’ve reclined so much you can barely move. That’s the point!
It’s been thousands of years of people telling this story year after year. And year after year, we come together with the people we love and are reminded of the gifts we are given: the gift of community, the gift of love, and the gift of life. No matter if it’s your immediate family or a chosen family like on The Golden Girls, the people at your Seder are family.
Take this golden spirit and apply it to your life in the next year. Remember that you have the confidence of Dorothy, the humble heart of Rose, the freedom of expression from Blanche and the audacity of Sophia.