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.
I read the haggadah backwards this year
I read the haggadah backwards this year
The sea opens, the ancient Israelites slide back to
Egypt like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk
Freedom to slavery
That’s the real story
One minute you’re dancing hallelujah with the prophetess
the next you’re knee deep in brown in the basement of some minor pyramid
The angel of death comes back to life
two zuzim are refunded.
When armies emerge from the sea like a returning scuba expedition
the Pharoah calls out for fresh towels.
The bread has plenty of time to rise.
I read the hagaddah backwards this year,
left a future Jerusalem,
scrubbed off the bloody doorposts,
wandered back to Aram.
MY FAVORITE CLEAN SEDER JOKES
By Rabbi Daniel Brenner
In order to keep my kids and their cousins entertained during Pesach, I have a “Joke Bank” an envelope in which I keep the following jokes, all printed out on little slips of paper. If the kids get wild, I say, “pay attention for the next ten seconds and you’ll get to pick a joke.” They love it. Of course many of these jokes are groaners, but, hey, they are the best the internet has to offer.
Q: Why do we have an Haggadah at Passover?
A: So we can Seder right words.
A British Jew is waiting in line to be knighted by the Queen. He is to kneel in front of her and recite a sentence in Latin when she taps him on the shoulders with her sword. However, when his turn comes, he panics in the excitement of the moment and forgets the Latin. Then, thinking fast, he recites the only other sentence he knows in a foreign language, which he remembers from the Passover seder:
"Ma nishtana ha layla ha zeh mi kol ha laylot."
Puzzled, Her Majesty turns to her advisor and whispers, "Why is this knight different from all other knights?"
A little boy once returned home from Hebrew school and his father asked, "what did you learn today?"
He answered, "The Rabbi told us how Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt."
The boy said "Moses was a big strong man and he beat Pharoah up. Then while he was down, he got all the people together and ran towards the sea. When he got there, he has the Corps of Engineers build a huge pontoon bridge. Once they got on the other side, they blew up the bridge while the Egyptians were trying to cross."
The father was shocked. "Is that what the Rabbi taught you?"
The boy replied, "No. But you'd never beleive the story he DID tell us!"
As Moses and the children of Israel were crossing the Red Sea, the children of Israel began to complain to Moses of how thirsty they were after walking so far. Unfortunately, they were not able to drink from the walls of water on either side of them, as they were made up of salt-water.
Then, a fish from that wall of water told Moses that he and his family heard the complaints of the people, but that they through their own gills could remove the salt from the water and force it out of their mouths like a fresh water fountain for the Israelites to drink from as they walked by.
Moses accepted this kindly fish's offer. But before the fish and his family began to help, they told Moses they had a demand. They and their descendants had to be always present at the seder meal that would be established to commemorate the Exodus, since they had a part in the story. When Moses agreed to this, he gave them their name which remains how they are known to this very day, for he said to them, "Go Filter Fish!"
A group of leading medical researchers has published data indicating that Seder participants should NOT partake of both chopped liver and charoses. It seems that this combination can lead to Charoses of the Liver.
What kind of cheese do I eat on Pesach?
Who was the best businesswoman in the Bible?
Pharaoh's daughter, she pulled a profit out of the water.
The Jews are camped in front of the Red Sea. They see the Egyptian chariots approaching. Moses turns to his PR man.
Moses - "Nu, where are those boats you got us?"
PR Guy - "Boats? You didn't say nothing 'bout no boats."
Moses - "So what do you want I should do? Part the waters and we can all just walk across?"
PR Guy - "If you can swing that, I'll get you your own chapter in the Bible!"
Did you know that the horseradish root goes back in time as far as the matzoh does? The horseradish root also crossed the Red Sea with the fleeing Israelites. The Israelites were slaves at the time and only had access to a few vegetables. The hard and woody horseradish was one of them and was a household staple.
Nearly all the fleeing Israelites took horseradish with them. Moshe and Sadie, however, while gathering up their scant belongings, found to their dismay that they had run out of horseradish. Sadie immediately sent Moshe into the field to dig up a large horseradish root to take with them. However, because it was dark and everyone was running around in panic, Moshe dug up a ginger root by mistake.
After forty years in the desert, the Israelites finally entered the Promised Land – all, that is, except Moshe and Sadie. It took them forty-one years to arrive. When asked where they had been, Sadie, now grown old, shrugged her shoulders and replied, "Moshe insisted on taking an alternative root."
Moshe has been living in Poland all his life, but just before the 2nd World War, he sees big trouble coming. So he sells all his assets, converts them into gold and then melts down the gold to have five sets of false teeth made for him. He flees Poland and after much travelling, arrives at Ellis Island, New York, where he is interrogated by an immigration official who also goes through the contents of his battered suitcase.
When the official sees the 5 sets of false teeth, he asks Moshe why he has so many. Moshe replies, "As you might know, we orthodox Jews have two separate sets of dishes, one for meat and one for dairy products. However, I’m so kosher and religious that I also need to have separate sets of teeth."
The official is confused. "Well that accounts for two sets of teeth. What are the other three for?"
"Well," Moshe replies, "we ultra-Orthodox Jews also use separate dishes for Passover and I’m so observant that I need two sets of Passover teeth to go with the dishes, one for meat and one for dairy food."
The official is still confused. "You've convinced me that you're a highly religious man and I accept that you therefore need four sets of teeth. But what about the fifth set?"
"Well, to tell you the truth, mister official," replies Moshe, "every once in a while I like to eat a ham and cheese sandwich."
After the tenth plague, the slaying of all the Egyptian first born, the Pharaoh told Moses the Jews were free to leave Egypt. So, the Jews packed their carts with their belongings and tried to leave. The problem was, with all the dead Egyptians, the funeral homes could not handle the demand. The end result was streets littered with coffins. With the streets impassable, the Jews couldn't get there carts out of their driveways.
They complained to Moses. "We can't get out of Egypt unless you do something about these blocked streets". Moses in turn, called out to God. "Lord, please do something about this coffin problem." With all the commotion, it was hard for God to hear what Moses was saying. He thought Moses said 'Coughin" and responded by turning all the wine into cough syrup. And that is why, to this day, Jews drink Passover wine that resembles cough syrup.
What's the difference between matzoh and cardboard??
Cardboard doesn't leave crumbs in the rug!