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A Beginner’s Guide to Passover

The Jewish holiday of Passover begins tonight and lasts for seven days here in Israel, and eight days elsewhere.

 

On Passover, we commemorate the departure of the nation of Israel from Egypt, as is recorded in the Book of Exodus. Click here for a summary of the story. In short: We were slaves in Egypt but G-d liberated us.

 

On the first night/two nights, we have a seder in which we eat special foods, sing and tell the story of the departure from Egypt. During the entire period of Passover, we are forbidden from eating leavened bread (chametz). Instead, we eat unleavened bread (matza). While some people like the taste of matza, there are many who can’t stand it. As Sha says, they “have all the charm of cardboard without the flavor.” I personally don’t mind it at all. This year, I thought I have provided you with some interesting links and contemporary stories related to this festival:

 

Passover Humor

 

  • Passover Pickup Lines

  • An Adam Sandler Passover

  • The Dysfunctional Family Seder Survival Guide

  • Computer Engineer’s Haggadah

  • Some Passover-related jokes
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    Sue Me!

     

    Last year, an Egyptian legal scholar planned on suing Jews for the gold we took out of Egypt. The interesting thing is that the Jewish Talmud actually recounts an incident like this.

    Perhaps the best answer can be found in the Talmud (Sanhedrin 91a). The Talmud describes how a group of prominent Egyptians came to Alexander the Great and demanded that the Jews return the value of all the gold and silver which they took out of Egypt during the Exodus. The Egyptians said that their claim was based on the story of the Exodus which appeared in the Torah. Given that they were using the Torah’s account as the basis of their argument, the representative of the Jews, Geviha ben Pesisa, replied: According to the Torah, the Egyptians forcibly enslaved the Children of Israel for several hundred years; thus, the Egyptians must pay the Jews the wages they owe them for their forced labor! The Egyptians did not know how to reply to this argument, and the Jewish people won the case.

    If The Passover Story was Reported by NY Times or CNN

     

    I can’t take credit for this – it was written by Daniel P. Waxman (hat tip: Haya)

    The cycle of violence between the Jews and the Egyptians continues with no end in sight in Egypt. After eight previous plagues that have destroyed the Egyptian infrastructure and disrupted the lives of ordinary Egyptian citizens, the Jews launched a new offensive this week in the form of the plague of darkness. Western journalists were particularly enraged by this plague. “It is simply impossible to report when you can’t see an inch in front of you,” complained a frustrated Andrea Koppel of CNN. “I have heard from my reliable Egyptian contacts that in the midst of the blanket of blackness, the Jews were annihilating thousands of Egyptians. Their word is solid enough evidence for me.” While the Jews contend that the plagues are justified given the harsh slavery imposed upon them by the Egyptians, Pharaoh, the Egyptian leader, rebuts this claim. “If only the plagues would let up, there would be no slavery. We just want to live plague-free. It is the right of every society.” Saeb Erekat, an Egyptian spokesperson, complains that slavery is justifiable given the Jews’ superior weaponry supplied to them by the superpower G-d. The Europeans are particularly enraged by the latest Jewish offensive. “The Jewish aggression must cease if there is to be peace in the region. The Jews should go back to slavery for the good of the rest of the world,” stated an angry French President Jacques Chirac. Even several Jews agree. Adam Shapiro, a Jew, has barricaded himself within Pharaoh’s chambers to protect Pharaoh from what is feared will be the next plague, the death of the firstborn. Mr. Shapiro claims that while slavery is not necessarily a good thing, it is the product of the plagues and when the plagues end, so will the slavery. “The Jews have gone too far with plagues such as locusts and epidemic which have virtually destroyed the Egyptian economy,” Mr. Shapiro laments. “The Egyptians are really a very nice people and Pharaoh is kind of huggable once you get to know him,” gushes Shapiro. The United States is demanding that Moses and Aaron, the Jewish leaders, continue to negotiate with Pharaoh. While Moses points out that Pharaoh had made promise after promise to free the Jewish people only to immediately break them and thereafter impose harsher and harsher slavery, Richard Boucher of the State Department assails the latest offensive. “Pharaoh is not in complete control of the taskmasters,” Mr. Boucher states. “The Jews must return to the negotiating table and will accomplish nothing through these plagues.”

    About the author

    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
    Picture of David Lange

    David Lange

    A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media
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