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Matzah, gefilte fish, and Leben.
Immediately you feel a pair of eyes.
Between bites of his footlong turkey on jalapeno cheddar, your co worker inquires:
'What is that?'
'It's fish….sort of….'
'No! No! that white cracker thing….'
You break off a small piece without hesitation and hand it over.
He chews it slowly.
He lights up.
'Hey! That stuff isn't bad!!!'
Try eating it for eight days, you think.
I want to make a big-budget Hollywood film about the Exodus from Egypt—sort of a prequel to ‘the greatest story ever told,’ Charlton Heston's “Ten Commandments.” I already have the perfect title: "How to Lose a Pharaoh in 10 Plagues,” in part, an homage to "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days." While this movie may not be a romantic comedy like its big screen correlate (though I'm open to suggestions), the two stories, like their titles, will be strikingly similar.
In his most challenging role yet, Matthew McConaughey will play the arrogant bare-chested pharaoh, and in a breakthrough role as a man, Kate Hudson will play the lovable leader of the Jewish people, Moses. Much like the on-screen relationship they shared in 2003, the cocksure pharaoh, with a southern drawl, will attempt to keep his hold on the impetuous yet congenial prophet whilst he (she) will do everything to break free. In both films, Hudson uses every weapon in her arsenal to make herself completely unwanted and more trouble than she's worth. Though, instead of using tactics like rearranging furniture and emotional outbursts to get rid of McConaughey, in my film she will employ the wrath of God by sending plague upon plague until eventually all the first-born of Egypt are slain. Of course, this will result in a third act denouement, in which pharaoh will release Moses and the Jewish people only to realize what he's lost and send his forces to get them back. This is where my film and its inspiration differ.
In the original, Matt races down the Manhattan Bridge on a motorcycle during a you're-going-to-leave-town-forever-unless-I-can-stop-you scene where he confesses his love to Kate and the two embrace as the credits roll. My vision is to have a large CGI sequence in which Hudson calls upon Hashem to part the Red Sea and destroy the impending Egyptian army. Don't get me wrong, I do have an 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it' attitude about my work, which is why I’ll preserve sentiment of the film. Essentially, both are stories about a relationship of utility that, once severed, reveal release and the seemingly magical triumph of choice and action. But, I want James Cameron to direct mine. Oh, and I want the whole thing to be in 3-D.
I've added a fifth question to the seder this year:
Why is it that in any other form, this matzoh we eat is the bread of affliction which our forefathers ate when the holy one, blessed be he brought us forth with an outstretched arm from bondage in the land of egypt. But, when combined with salt, schmaltz, and chicken broth, becomes a delicious comfort food served by Jewish bubbys year round?
To put this in context, the starting pay for chores at the age of five was a nickel and this rate was raised five cents every birthday.
This means that finding the wrapped up piece of shmura matzo was equivalent to anywhere from 6 months to just under 2 years salary.
Needless to say, this was a coveted reward.
My brother won this purse every year for the first seven years of his life. Unimpeded by siblings, finding the afikoman was merely a formality to the end of the seder. This was until I turned 2, and could walk. Granted, there was a five year age difference between us, but my parents allowed me a handicap. As a toddler, not only was I given a head start, but the adults gently 'guided me' in the direction of the 'hidden napkin' glaringly dangling out of the couch cushion right in front of my face. Some years my brother didn't even get to look. As I got older, and my motor skills more advanced, the competition became fierce. My father took great joy in the hiding. My mother who didn't want the house destroyed came up with two simple rules:1)It could not be in the entertainment center, the dining room, the kitchen, any of the bedrooms, the bathrooms, the garage, or any cabinets and 2)We were not to make a mess, everything had to be cleaned up. What this amounted to was my brother and I gingerly walking around the living room, gently sorting through magazines and under tables. My brother, being the smarter of the two of us, took a detective-like approach to this endeavor. Before looking, he would rule out the places that it couldn't be based on where it had been hidden in years past. Then he would systematically go about the living room removing objects one by one. I however had a much more opportunistic strategy. I would pretend to look for the afikoman very close by him. Right when he found it, I would lunge and seize it, flailing it about in the air, exclaiming victory. With no referee (my parents were in the other room talking to their friends) it was his word against mine and as the younger of two I always got my way.
By the time my sister came into the picture the finding of the afikoman had been split into two age categories. Uninterested in winning Beanie Babies, I opted out of the 'ten and under' search. He may have won it now and a gain, I might have even let him have a few, but for the most part when it came to Passover I was ten dollars richer. The money was of course inevitably squandered on the two vices we were denied: junk food and video games.