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The eleventh plague

Last night was the first night of Passover, so we were at family for dinner and something that might be very loosely termed prayers. A gathering of eighteen.

During the proceedings we read out the ten biblical plagues that God brought down onto the ancient Egyptians: blood, frogs, locusts, and so on. Paul said that in some more progressive communities they don’t read out these plagues, but instead list more modern blights which make it more relevant to us today. These include AIDS and global warming.

So our vernerable host began his own list: traffic wardens, bureaucratic red tape, speed cameras,… I suggested creationism. Then someone else offered religion. Somehow I think we got away from the essence of the occasion.

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  1. Comment by Paul | 2006/04/13 at 17:30:38

    Check here for an extract from something called The Liberated Haggadah – A Passover Celebration for Cultural, Secular and Humanistic Jews, including a full list of ‘Contemporary Afflictions’

    http://www.culturaljudaism.org/ccj/jlc/C17/57

    It still tells the Exodus story but acknowledges that the story is a ‘legend’ and not based on fact. I like that, but some of the other members of our family seem to take the bible a lot more literally!

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  3. Nik
    Comment by Nik | 2006/04/13 at 18:12:14

    Sheesh. That’s just designed to offend. Anything that calls itself cultural Judaism sets off the warning lights. Then saying “the defining legend of our people” when they could have said “story” is asking for trouble. And I wonder how long terrorism has been in the list.

    Good find, though.

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  5. Comment by Pashminaah | 2006/04/18 at 11:01:34

    We discussed the viability of “the feminist orange”, which some people choose to add to their seder plates in recognition of some unidentified quotation that runs along the lines of “a woman on the bimah is like an orange on the seder plate”.

    Much as I like the sentiment of that, some things should just be left well alone…

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  7. Nik
    Comment by Nik | 2006/04/18 at 13:35:46

    Ah, the seder plate is another rich seam of variation. I did wonder what vegetarians use instead of a shankbone, or what vegans use instead of an egg. According to one website “My mother-in-law says that we replace the Pascal Lamb with the Pascal Yam.”

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  9. Comment by Paul | 2006/04/18 at 16:07:03

    More passover irony for you: I spent 2nd night seder at the home of a very wealthy guy – the brother of a friend of mine. While we guests remembered our terrible oppression in Egypt and celebrated our freedom from slavery, a team of asian women served us our food, made sure our glasses were topped up with wine and washed up all the plates! Somehow, it didn’t feel right…

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  11. Nik
    Comment by Nik | 2006/04/18 at 18:35:35

    !!!

    And what a fantastic metaphor for modern Jewish history, too.

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  13. Pingback by Talking of which « Glad all over | 2008/04/22 at 15:57:44

    [...] Talking of which …well, broadly.  It’s Passover, and therefore time to link to my favourite ever Passover story, from Nik. [...]


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  1. Comment by Paul | 2006/04/13 at 17:30:38

    Check here for an extract from something called The Liberated Haggadah – A Passover Celebration for Cultural, Secular and Humanistic Jews, including a full list of ‘Contemporary Afflictions’

    http://www.culturaljudaism.org/ccj/jlc/C17/57

    It still tells the Exodus story but acknowledges that the story is a ‘legend’ and not based on fact. I like that, but some of the other members of our family seem to take the bible a lot more literally!

  2. comment_type == "trackback" || $comment->comment_type == "pingback" || ereg("", $comment->comment_content) || ereg("", $comment->comment_content)) { ?>

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    1. Nik
      Comment by Nik | 2006/04/13 at 18:12:14

      Sheesh. That’s just designed to offend. Anything that calls itself cultural Judaism sets off the warning lights. Then saying “the defining legend of our people” when they could have said “story” is asking for trouble. And I wonder how long terrorism has been in the list.

      Good find, though.

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      1. Comment by Pashminaah | 2006/04/18 at 11:01:34

        We discussed the viability of “the feminist orange”, which some people choose to add to their seder plates in recognition of some unidentified quotation that runs along the lines of “a woman on the bimah is like an orange on the seder plate”.

        Much as I like the sentiment of that, some things should just be left well alone…

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        1. Nik
          Comment by Nik | 2006/04/18 at 13:35:46

          Ah, the seder plate is another rich seam of variation. I did wonder what vegetarians use instead of a shankbone, or what vegans use instead of an egg. According to one website “My mother-in-law says that we replace the Pascal Lamb with the Pascal Yam.”

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          1. Comment by Paul | 2006/04/18 at 16:07:03

            More passover irony for you: I spent 2nd night seder at the home of a very wealthy guy – the brother of a friend of mine. While we guests remembered our terrible oppression in Egypt and celebrated our freedom from slavery, a team of asian women served us our food, made sure our glasses were topped up with wine and washed up all the plates! Somehow, it didn’t feel right…

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            1. Nik
              Comment by Nik | 2006/04/18 at 18:35:35

              !!!

              And what a fantastic metaphor for modern Jewish history, too.

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              1. Pingback by Talking of which « Glad all over | 2008/04/22 at 15:57:44

                [...] Talking of which …well, broadly.  It’s Passover, and therefore time to link to my favourite ever Passover story, from Nik. [...]

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