We hear a lot about “They”. Who are “They”? Or, maybe… better yet, what is “They”? … as in,
“They’re trying to ruin our lives”
“They’re trying to control us”
“They’re trying to get rid of us”
Different versions of the same old idea that “They” imposed C19 upon us so “They” could get us all used to being controlled so that eventually we’re all just some drone army of zombies doing whatever “They” want so they can make lots of money and then… whatever.
If there is a controlling “They”, there are actually 200+ versions around the world, all of them getting some parts of this right and some parts of it wrong. You’ll have a hard time convincing me that there’s a “They” above that, because that “They” would be suffering greatly these days.
But on the note of enslaving everyone, some 3,500 years ago, there *was* a “They”. It was the Egyptians, and it was the Israelites who were enslaved, and it took Moses to appeal to the Pharaoh to let his people go. If you’re not familiar with the story, I hear you can read all about it in some Chapter of some Book. But if you’re not into reading The Bible, and whatever is found in the book of Exodus doesn’t excite you, do what you did in high school: watch the movie. There are various to choose from, but here are the top 3:
1. The Ten Commandments – a three-hour epic of biblical proportions starring Charlton Heston. The movie is 65 years old so the CGI might not be what you’re used to, but it’s good… and if you’ve ever taken the Universal Tour and seen the waters part so that your tour buggy could drive through (3,500 years ago, it was the Israelites crossing the Red Sea), you’ll be able to relate.
2. The Prince of Egypt – a more accessible animated version that tells some, but not all, of the story… DreamWorks, award-winning music, etc.
3. When Do We Eat? – this is a shameless plug, because I produced this fantastic little movie… but if you want an R-rated mix of religious observance with a whole bunch of craziness, this is the one for you. If you’re Jewish and haven’t seen this already… why the hell not? For all the older people, Quincy (Jack Klugman) is in it! For all the younger people, Zoey 101/iCarly (Victoria Justice) is briefly in it. Even Oscar from “The Office” is in it! Whether you’ve seen it or not, tonight is the perfect time to watch it! Conveniently available on Amazon Prime.
Indeed, tonight… because tonight is the first night of Passover, where Jews from all over the world will be sitting down to a ceremonial meal called a Seder, something they’ve been doing for thousands of years. Because when you’ve been enslaved for 400 years and the bad guy finally says, “OK, get out of here” – it’s something to celebrate.
Last year, Passover happened very close to the start of the pandemic. It was in fact the reason I signed up for a Pro Zoom account… because nobody is getting through the ceremonial part of any Seder in under 40 minutes (“When Do We Eat?!?!”). That’s how we got the friends and family together last year, and this is how we’re doing it this year. And, the old silver lining to this big cloud… you can fit a lot more people around a Zoom Seder table than you can in real life.
To some extent, we’ve all be enslaved by C19. It hasn’t been 400 years, but it’s sure felt that way some days. Who or what is the Moses of the day, leading us out of it? Some specific people? Some policies? Science? Vaccines? Discuss amongst yourselves.
In the meantime, before watching WDWE for the 15th year in a row after our Seder tonight, we’ll say the traditional last line of the ceremony… “Next Year in Jerusalem!” …but I’m happy to be a lot less ambitious. How about, just, “Next Year in Person!”
I’d love that. So would They.