I have always loved Passover, especially as a child. Finding the matzoh, drinking a drop or two of vino, being with my cousins and reading the story of our escape from slavery were all worth looking forward to each spring.
Now as an adult I take a more studied look at the story of Passover and come away with a few observations I would like to share with you.
For one thing, God is clearly persistent and gets his/her way. Why Pharaoh needed 10 plagues—including darkness, frogs and locusts—to get the message across is beyond my comprehension. Boils would have been more than enough for me.
Charlton Heston was sure great as Moses in “The Ten Commandments.” I find it hard to believe that the real Moses was more inspirational than Heston, but then again, what do I know?
Speaking of the Ten Commandments, I very much have a favorite. Sure I like “You shall not murder” just as much as the next man, but the Fourth Commandment, “Thou shalt honor thy father and thy mother,” is by far the one I like the most.
Actually, liking this particular commandment is an acquired taste. I didn’t care for it so much when I was a child, but the moment I had children, the wisdom of it grew on me each day. If only I could get my kids to appreciate it as much as I do now. Quite frankly, if God wanted to shorten it a little, I could live with “Thou shalt honor thy father!”
I was always fascinated by God’s willingness to separate the Red Sea. When I grew up, many of the Jewish girls in my neighborhood would never get their hair wet when they swam in the pool. Even thousands of years ago, God was apparently aware of this and took it into consideration when he split the waters.
Finally, I must confess that I still can’t figure out why the Jews spent 40 years wandering around in the desert. I did some rough calculating, and there are about 450 miles between Cairo and Jerusalem. That means the Jews were averaging a little more than 10 miles a year. When you realize that most Ethiopians and Kenyans can run 26 miles in less than three hours, you realize that 10 miles a year is not exactly impressive.
Either my fellow tribesmen were spending too much time cavorting, or Moses wasn’t the best navigator. It was only after he died that they finally arrived at the Promised Land, which leads me to believe the person who replaced Moses had a better sense of direction.
Even if it took 40 years, the important thing is we finally made it to the Promised Land, and we are free. So put a little horseradish on your gefilte fish, clear out your sinuses, and as my Grandma Rogovin said, “zisn Pesach” (a sweet Passover)!