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Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Moses, the True Master of Ceremonies (Not the Real Album Title)

Something like 5,000 years ago, the people of Israel were enslaved in Egypt by an evil Pharoh. God didn’t like this. In conjunction with Moses, God unleashed a series of plagues on the Egyptians, until a particularly harsh one bought the Jews enough time to escape. (Then came Moses’ parting of the Red Sea and the crushing of the Egyptian army, yada yada yada…) The important part of all of this is that—thanks in no small part to God and Moses’ work—I’m here today, kicking ass. Saturday, Nathaniel, Dyan, Wife, and I attended a special ceremony at my parents’ house to celebrate that fact, which we call Passover in Hebrew.

Over the course of a seder, or the ritual Passover dinner, participants are required to drink four glasses of wine, reclining. This served no problem for the Blood Arm posse; we’re all seasoned drinkers. Also, the youngest person at the table is required to read four questions pondering the meaning of the feast. (The meaning of the feast? I quote from the service: Ben Lee is here today, kicking ass.) The reading of the questions could have served a problem (not all of us are literate), but fortunately Dyan is the youngest among us. She read them like nobody’s business—her Hebrew was flawless. Even my immigrant mother was impressed.

Of course, the core reason a Jew would bring some gentiles to a Passover seder is to convert them. According to Hebrew law, any non-believer who sits through the feast, drinks four cups of wine, and listens to the four questions is an automatic convert... four questions asked, no refusals taken. So a warm L’Chaim to Dyan and Nathaniel, newly minted Members of the Tribe.

Let it be known from this day forward: If you party us, you’re partying with the Chosen People.

-Ben Lee

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