Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt
swashbuckler332

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פסח

As long as you don't chuckle too much during the more flowery Godlovin' bits,* the Haggadah itself is a major element of the Pesach amusement party. Goyim are often surprised to learn that it is not, in fact, the book of Exodus that is read during the Seder, but instead a document from the Haftarah which is a very academic discussion about the relevance of the Seder to Jewish identity.

Academic, but as anybody who has been to college knows, a large part of higher education is inebriation. This is clear in the Haggadah. A major aspect of the Seder is the drinking of wine; apparently, it is of some vital cosmic importance to God that you drink at least four cups of wine over the course of the night. While this in and of itself is a perfect justification for the holiday in my view, the Haggadah itself contains so many passages that are so incredibly weird but at the same time so extremely pendantic that make it quite clear that the Rabbis being discussed in it were also a couple of jugs into the extra heavy Malaga:
Thus you must conclude that in Egypt they were smitten by ten plagues, at the sea they were smitten by fifty plagues!

Rabbi Eliezer said: How do we know that each individual plague which the Holy One, blessed be He, brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt consisted of four plagues?

For it is said: "He sent against them His fierce anger, fury, and indignation, and trouble, a discharge of messengers of evil": `Fury,' is one; `Indignation,' makes two; `Trouble,' makes three; `Discharge of messengers of evil,' makes four.

Thus you must now say that in Egypt they were struck by forty plagues, and at the sea they were stricken by two hundred plagues.

Rabbi Akiva said: How do we know that each individual plague which the Holy One, blessed be He, brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt consisted of five plagues?

For it is said: "He sent against them his fierce anger, fury, and indignation, and trouble, a discharge of messengers of evil": "His fierce anger," is one; "fury," makes two; "indignation," makes three; "trouble," makes four; "discharge of messengers of evil," makes five. Thus you must now say that in Egypt they were struck by fifty plagues, and at the sea they were stricken by two hundred and fifty plagues.
Phew! Aren't you glad they cleared that up? Now you can sleep nights! But it doesn't end there. That kind of geometric illogic is constant throughout the course of the book. In fact, later passages imply that something a just a little bit more psychedelic than alcohol was being consumed at these Rabbinical soirées:
The sea saw and fled, the Jordan turned backward. The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like young sheep. What is with you, O sea, that you flee; Jordan, that you turn backward? Mountains, why do you skip like rams; hills, like a pool of water, the flint-stone into a spring of water.
Read that again. That is some seriously bizarre imagery, especially after the four glasses of Manischewitz that one is divinely obligated to imbibe. To say nothing of the several other glasses that one has in between them (hey, you get thirsty at a Seder).

Oh, and if you think that I'm putting too much emphasis on the drink, I'll point out that a glass of wine is placed on the table for the angel Elijah. For one night a year this winged lush gets to go from house to house and sip at every one of these cups. I'll also mention that, traditionally, the children hold a piece of matzoh required to complete the Seder for ransom to get gifts, an act that only the most totally bombed of parents could think of as a clever idea. Of course, there is a failsafe built into that custom should negotiations prove ineffective; if the Seder can't be finished, then nobody can move on to dessert (drunk to be sure, but not stupid).


ELIJAH: THE PROPHET YEARS
The drinking problem already clearly an issue.


The other funny thing about Pesach is that because Jewish holidays follow the Hebrew calender, they're not tied down to any specific date in the Gregorian calender. As a result, nobody but us ever know when they're coming.


* This is one place in the ceremony that really could be improved. I'm not saying cut it completely, but I think that "Halleluyah - Praise God! Offer praise, you servants of the Lord; praise the Name of the Lord. May the Lord's Name be blessed from now and to all eternity. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Lord's Name is praised. The Lord is high above all nations, His glory is over the heavens. Who is like the Lord, our God, who dwells on high yet looks down so low upon heaven and earth! He raises the poor from the dust, He lifts the needy from the dunghill, to seat them with nobles, with the nobles of His people. He restores the barren woman to the house, into a joyful mother of children. Halleluyah - praise God." could more easily be shortened to saying "God, Dude, we totally kiss your Holy Ass" in a Spiccoli voice and be done with it already.
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