Passover humor / Pesach humor and Passover jokes / Pesach jokes abound on this web page. Read it all but not near any chametz lest you touch it and become de-kosherized for Passover!
"A happy (or joyful) heart is good medicine" (Mishlei or Proverbs 17:22)
- Shlomo Ha-Melech ("King Solomon" in Hebrew)
Celebrate the Passover Exodus from Egypt, also known as "The Great Schlepp" or "The Big Schlepp", with the following Seder guide [for those who don't know, "Schlepp" means either to "carry (something)" or to "lug (something or yourself)", or to drag (something or yourself)" in Yiddish. Now that's a word that sounds like what it means!]:
The Dysfunctional Family Seder Survival Guide
By: Burt E. Schuman
Don't let the idiosyncrasies of family ruin the Pesach Seder meal. Burt Schuman pokes fun at family while educating about this rich tradition.
Pesach is a time for gathering together around the Seder table and reliving God's liberation of our people from Egyptian bondage with "signs and wonders".
Unfortunately, this ritual does not free us from enslavement to our extended family and the bondage one feels to their obligatory annual presence. The "signs" of this togetherness include elevated blood pressure, shattered nerves, a churning sensation in the pit of your stomach, and a quick consult with your rabbi as to whether Valium and Buspar are Kosher for Passover. The "wonder" is whether anyone will be on speaking terms at the conclusion of this glorious and venerable Jewish ritual, at least until "Next year at your mother's house."
The following is a list of suggested strategies for dealing with the challenges your family might pose and extracting some sense of kavannah (intention, direction) from the Seder experience:
1. Aunt Minerva; Seeker of Attention and Child Spoiler Par Excellence:
Although well into her eighties, Aunt Minerva continues to dress like Eva Peron. Childless herself, she gets her jollies out of spoiling all the children at the seder and riling them up to the point where the "children's table" resembles a scene from "Lord of the Flies." When her brother gently asks her to stop this, she warmly and affectionately replies, "Shut up! I'm still older than you are!"
Strategy: Move her to the children's table and ask her to lead all the children in "Dayenu". and "Chad Gadya". Assure her that your accountant knows Andrew Lloyd Webber personally, and that if she finds the Afikomen, he'll prevail on him to write "Minerva: the Musical" with your aunt in the starring role.
2. Cousin Phil; Thirty Five and Unmarried:
As punishment for having failed to produce a wife and the obligatory grandchildren, Phil's parents continue to relegate him to the "children's table" and make him recite the four questions exactly as he has done for the last twenty-five years. This precipitates an hour-long psychodrama worthy of the "Jerry Springer Show", assuring that the matzah kugel will be burned to a crisp, the charoset will start to ferment, the boiled eggs will discolor and a curious brown layer of something will descend upon the gefilte fish.
Strategy: Hire an incredibly ravishing Israeli woman to play the role of Phil's date, resulting in an immediate elevation of your cousin's status and promotion to reciting "Avadim Hayinu" (We were slaves). If this fails, invite two members of the American Arbitration Association to sit between Phil and his parents.
3. Great Uncle Moyshe; "The Religious One":
From the moment your mother lights the candles, Great Uncle Moyshe starts complaining that this is a "goyishe, treyf" seder, that the Baskin Haggadah your family has been using for the last twenty years is a "charpe un a shande" (a disgrace) and that nothing else compares to the Maxwell House version, which suddenly materializes from under his jacket. For the remainder of the evening, Moyshe tries to drown out the rest of the family with an endless obbligato of davening "Ashkebonics" forcing everyone else to shout at the top of their lungs and eventually start serving the meal while Moyshe continues to daven.
Strategy: Convince two of your best friends to dress up as Lubavitcher Chassidim and spirit Great Uncle Moyshe away to 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn, where he will soon discover that people there consider his seder to be "goyishe" AND "treyf".
4. Niece Myra; the Collegiate Vegetarian:
A self-confessed Vegan, Myra can only contain her militancy through the karpas (greens) ritual. The moment the company recites "this is the bread of affliction". Myra begins her harangue about "How can you talk about affliction while you eat the flesh of exploited animals who spent their entire lives in a feed lot, etc. etc. etc!" This will soon be followed by, "You drink wine processed through labor of oppressed Mexican braceros, a wine filled with chemicals and preservatives, and you dare to talk about the ten plagues?" In spite of Grandma's attempts to "make nice" she continues her diatribe, which reaches its height when your father points to the shankbone.
Strategy: Present her with a Chia pet and suggest that she harvest its contents and bring it to next year's Seder. If this fails, invite her to spend next Passover back in her college town at her local food coop's annual Vegan Seder.
5. Uncle Joey and His Latest Squeeze:
Twice divorced and in his sixties, Uncle Joey has arrived with his latest girlfriend, a twenty-two year-old fashion model from La Jolla who is into deep sea diving, motorcycle gangs and Joey's investment portfolio. They arrive dressed in matching leather motorcycle outfits and enough metal chains to tie King Kong securely to the stern of the QE2. Throughout the Seder the two of them keep dropping sprigs of parsley seductively into each other's mouths, performing a veritable sonata of coos, giggles and smooches.
Strategy: Suggest that their leather attire makes them the perfect candidates for acting out the passages "Slaves we were unto Pharaoh in Egypt" and volunteer them to do something original and kinky with the bitter herbs and the charoset. If this fails, dress up as a 1950's movie matron and shine flashlights at them for the entire length of the Seder.
I hope these suggestions help make your Seder more meaningful and enjoyable, if not unforgettable. Chag Sameach ("Happy - or joyful - Holiday" in Hebrew)!
Burt Schuman, a former New York City schoolteacher, is the rabbi at Temple Beth Israel in Altoona, Pennsylvania.
Re-printed with permission from Rabbi Burt Schuman.
The Rabbi and the Shamos (A "Shamos" is the Hebrew word for an assistant synagogue manager)
A few days before Passover a rabbi was walking home when he noticed his shamos walking ahead of him. The rabbi hurried to catch up as he had some important matters to discuss. Much to his dismay, the rabbi saw that the shamos had entered a Chinese restaurant. The rabbi couldn't believe his eyes. He looked again and saw the shamos pointing to the menu and talking to the waiter. He looked again and saw the waiter deliver a tray of food to the shamos. Then he saw the shamos take the chop sticks and start eating a traif meal, including shrimp.
The rabbi could no longer contain himself. He burst into the restaurant and said, "Moshe, what are you doing?"
Moshe looked up and said to the rabbi, "I don't understand."
The rabbi said, "I just saw you, Moshe, my most holy shamos, with all this traif food!" ("traif" means "non-kosher" in Hebrew)
Moshe said, "Rabbi, did you see me come into this Restaurant?"
"Yes, I did," replied the Rabbi.
"Did you see me order the food?"
"Yes, I did" said the rabbi.
"Did you see me eat the food?"
"Of course I did!!! Why do you think I barged in here?"
"Well, then," said Moshe, "I don't see the problem. It was all done under rabbinical supervision!"
One day a boy is praying to G-d when he is passed by a man that he does not know. The man stops and asks the boy why he is praying. The boy tells the man that he prays because G-d has performed many miracles, such as leading the Hebrews out of Egypt and helping them to cross the Red Sea. The man says that the Red Sea was only about 10 inches deep when the Hebrews left Egypt, so there was no miracle at all. The man then goes to leave but stops when he sees that the boy is continuing to pray. When the man asks the boy why, he replies that G-d still performed miracles, since "it's miraculous that he was able to drown an army of Egyptians in only 10 inches of water!"
10 SIGNS YOUR SEDER IS TOO BIG
10. You can't find anywhere out of sight to hide the afikomen.
9. To recline at the table, everyone has to do it in unison.
8. You have to sketch your living room/dining room on graph paper first...
7. You have to use a microscope to divvy up the knaidelach.
6. When you rotate verses of "Echad Mi Yodea?" someone ends up singing, "Who knows 39?"
5. You start looking at ads for closed circuit TVs and auxiliary speakers.
4. While waiting for everyone to wash their hands the second time, the matza rises.
3. Even the kids complain that they do not have enough maror.
2. When you read the list of the Ten Plagues, the word "locusts" really rings a bell.
And the number one way you know your seder is too big.........
1. When Elijah shows up, you give him his wine "to go."
Have a great Seder(s)!!!! :D
Bernie, a young Jewish boy, decided he wanted to be an aeronautical engineer and build airplanes. Over the years he studied hard, went to the best schools, and finally got his degree. It didn't take long before he gained a reputation as the finest aeronautical engineer in all the land, so he decided to start his own company to build jets.
His company was such a hit that the President of the United States called Bernie into his office. "Bernie," the president said, "the President of Israel wants to commission your company to build an advanced jet fighter for his country. You have our approval - go out and design him the best jet fighter ever made."
Needless to say, Bernie was tremendously excited at this prospect. The entire resources of his company went into building the most advanced jet fighter in history. Everything looked terrific on paper, but when they held the first test flight of the new jet, disaster struck. The wings couldn't take the strain - they broke clean off of the fuselage! (The test pilot parachuted to safety, thank G-d.)
Bernie was devastated; his company redesigned the jet fighter, but the same thing happened at the next test flight - the wings broke off again.
Beside himself with worry, Bernie went to his Shul ("synagogue" in Yiddish) to pray...to ask G-d where he had gone wrong. The rabbi saw Bernie's sadness, and naturally asked him what the matter was. Bernie decided to pour his heart out to the rabbi.
After hearing the problem with the jet fighter, the rabbi put his arm on Bernie's shoulder and told him, "Listen, I know how to solve your problem. All you have to do is drill a row of holes directly above and below where the wing meets the fuselage. If you do this, I absolutely guarantee the wings won't fall off."
Bernie just smiled and thanked the rabbi for his advice, but the more he thought about it, the more he realized he had nothing to lose. Maybe the rabbi had some holy insight.
So Bernie did exactly what the rabbi told him to do. On the next design of the jet fighter, they drilled a row of holes directly above and below where the wings met the fuselage. And...it worked!! The next test flight went perfectly!
Brimming with joy, Bernie went to the Shul to tell the rabbi that his advice had worked. "Naturally," said the rabbi, "I never doubted it would." "But Rabbi, how did you know that drilling the holes would prevent the wings from falling off?"
"Bernie," the rabbi intoned, "I'm an old man. I've lived for many, many years and I've celebrated Passover many, many times. And in all those years, not once - NOT ONCE - has the matzoh broken on the perforation!"
'Twas the night after Pesach and all through the house
Nothing would fit me, not even a blouse.
The matzoh, the farfel, the charoses I ate
After both the sederim had gone to my waist!
When I got on the scales there arose such a number!
As I walked to the Shul (less a walk than a "lumber!")
I remembered the marvelous meals I'd prepared
The turkey with gravy, the beef - nicely rared!
The wine and the matzoh balls, Migdal kosher cheese
The way I'd never said, "No more, if you please!"
As I tied myself into my apron again
Spied my reflection disgustedly, then
I said to myself, "You are such a weak wimp!
You can't go to shul resembling a blimp!"
So away with the last of the meatballs so sweet,
Get rid of the turkey, chopped liver and meat.
Every last bit morsel I like must be banished
'Til all the additional ounces have vanished!
I won't have those good macaroons from the box
And wait until next week! - OY! Bagels and lox!
I won't have the lukshen, farfel or p'chah -
I'll munch on a carrot or wire shut my own jaw!
It's three days of Yom Tov and Shabbos is still
Ahead of me - with more fleishik meals to fulfill!
If I have to cook one more chicken, I'll riot!
So, a Zeesen Pesach to all and to all - a good diet!
And now, here are all the translations of all the non-English words used in the aforementioned poem:
"A Zeesen Pesach" means "A Sweet Passover" in Yiddish.
"Shul" or "Schul" means "synagogue" in Yiddish.
"Farfel" is a Yiddish word which means many things in a culinary sense in Jewish cuisine, but in the context of Pesach/Passover, it simply consists of matzoh broken up by any means into small pieces, and used as a bread substitute in various recipes, from kugel ("noodle pudding" in Yiddish) to mushroom pie to latkes ("pancakes" in Yiddish, especially "potato pancakes").
Matzoh ("unleavened bread" in Hebrew) and charoses (taken from the Hebrew word "Cheres" meaning "clay", and in its basic form is a mixture of apples, nuts, honey, red wine, and cinnamon, but there are many ingredient variations of this basic form) are both symbolic foods used during the Pesach/Passover festival and especially used for the Pesach/Passover Seder meal(s).
"Sederim" is simply the plural form of "Seder" in Hebrew, that is, "Seders" in Hebrew.
"Lukshen" or "Lokshen" means "noodle" in Yiddish.
"Lox" means "smoked salmon" in Yiddish and is taken from the Yiddish word "Laks", meaning "Salmon", which in turn is taken from the Middle High German word "Lahs", meaning "Salmon", which in turn is taken from Old High German.
"P'Chah", "P'Cha", "Petcha", "Petchah" (this spelling of this food is the spelling that is found in Jewish cookbooks published in North America during the 1920's through 1940's), "Pitzeh", or "Pitzah" means "Calves' Foot Jelly" in Yiddish (yes, you read right, and no, I never tried it, nor have established any plans to do so).
"Migdal" means either "tower", "fortress", or "citadel" in Hebrew, and in this context, it refers to the name of a Jewish company that makes Jewish food, such as kosher cheese, hence "Migdal kosher cheese".
"Yom Tov" literally means "Good Day" in Hebrew, but it also refers to a holy-day or holiday or festival day in Judaism where the full application of Jewish law for that particular Yom Tov day is in effect.
"Shabbos" or "Shabbat" means "Sabbath" in Hebrew.
"Fleishik" means "meat" in Yiddish.
"Oy" by itself is an interjection of surprise, dismay, or grief in Yiddish and means "Oh" in Yiddish.
Extracts from transcripts of the Moses committee.
Moses: Good evening ladies and gentlemen. Thank you all very much for coming to this meeting. As you may have already heard I have recently had a significant conversation with God and I have been given instructions to go to Pharaoh with a group of Elders to ask him to let the people of Israel leave Egypt. God proposes to work signs and wonders on the Egyptians so that they let us go. I told God that I was not a very good speaker and I was told that I could let Aaron do the speaking for me. However, I felt that it was only reasonable if I could discuss all the plans with a representative committee of the people first, in order to make sure that we are all working on the same team. You are that committee. To start with, I thought it may be a good idea if Aaron could give you some of the background and we could then develop a process for working round the problem and developing an outline for implementing some solutions. I hope that we can all get a feel for some of the issues involved and eventually reach a consensus on some interim goals. Over to you Aaron.
Aaron: Thank you Moses. I would also like to thank everybody for coming tonight. I have great hopes for this committee...
Moses: I can hear what you're saying Hur and I think I can see where you're coming from. I wonder if there are any others in this group who feel the same way.
Hur: I don't think you do quite understand, Moses. What I was saying was that we have already spent the best part of two days discussing what we should be talking about and we still have not got round to actually saying anything. At this rate, we will all die of old age before we even get round to electing a committee to actually approach Pharaoh.
Moses: What you're saying is very valid, Hur. I'm sure many of us are really getting tired of the Egyptians beating and killing us, but we can't just go rushing up to Pharaoh without a proper consensus. What do you think Aaron?
Aaron: I'm sorry if I've said anything to offend Hur. We all need to get along together if we're going to put up a united front against Pharaoh and the Egyptians. I realize that some of this procedural work can get a bit boring but we have to make sure that everybody has his or her say. Abinab, what about you? Do you have any thoughts on whether we should have separate sub-committees for approaching Pharaoh as opposed to the sub-committee to formulate our actual demands? ...
Aaron: Can I take it that we are agreed that discussions of the actual plagues can be left to our plague sub-committee and that in this forum we are just going to discuss the issue in a broad indicative way. For example, if Pharaoh does reject our initial demands, do we warn him that plagues may happen or do we actually ask God to unleash the plagues?
Avihu: Shouldn't we decide first what our actual demands are going to be?
Aaron: Well, Avihu, that will require a lot of discussion in the future but in the meantime I think we should try to streamline the process by looking at all the aspects in a broad overall framework and then fill in the details as we go. Would anybody like to discuss the issue of using a broad framework versus the immediate detail-specific approach? ...
Aaron: OK, we have now heard the last of the plague sub-committee reports and I wonder whether we're ready yet to take a vote. Firstly on the question of whether we actually threaten Pharaoh with plagues or just ask God to unleash them, would anyone like to propose the motion?
Hur: Haven't we already discussed this all several times before? I thought we had already decided to warn Pharaoh.
Aaron: Not exactly, Hur. My understanding of it was that we had broadly agreed to tell Pharaoh that God meant business with the request to let my people go but not to give Pharaoh too much advance warning about the consequences of saying no. What I wanted to do now was formalize the decision.
Avihu: Before we actually get to a vote, can I suggest that we vote separately on each plague because some of us may have a different attitude to, for example, warning about frogs compared with warning about slaying of the first-born...
OK, now for some quickie Passover humor:
Did you hear about the new Jewish Game Show?
It's called: The Price Is Too Much
(especially popular during the Passover festival)
Question: Why are four questions asked on Passover and no questions on Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah?
Answer: Because to see a Jew upset and moan is not unusual and raises no questions, but to see a Jew happy - that demands an explanation.
EliYaHu HaNavi ("Elijah the Prophet" in Hebrew)
A group of leading medical researchers has published data indicating that Seder participants should NOT partake of both chopped liver and charoses. It seems that this combination can lead to Charoses of the Liver.
At our seder, we had whole wheat and bran matzoh, fortified with Metamucil. The brand name, of course, is..."Let My People Go."
G-d said to Moses, "I've got good news and bad news. The good news is that I'm going to part the Red Sea and you'll all be able to go through on dry land."
"What's the bad news?"
"You have to write the Environmental Impact Statement..."
What kind of cheese do I eat on Pesach?
Pesach in Australia is either called Passunder or Downunder Passover.
Who was the best businesswoman in the Bible?
Pharaoh's daughter, she pulled a profit out of the water.
(the prophet Moses)
Best line I ever heard in a seder was from my sister, who interjected this in a reading of the Hagaddah a few years ago:
"We eat matzoh, because when our ancestors left Egypt they did not have enough time to let the bread rise...although apparently they had enough time to beat egg whites..."
If you're Jewish and don't get it, you can consider yourself very assimilated.
And if you aren't Jewish and you do get it, what does that mean??????
OK OK, here's the explanation: During Passover, Jews are forbidden to eat leaven, which of course includes "leavened" bread, which in turn has come to mean "Anything whose airiness comes from yeast or baking soda." Hence, all cakes, etc. are held up by beaten egg whites during Passover.
...and some more Passover humor in the form of a story!
During one of my many trips to London, I became friends with a very wealthy, yet very modest, Jewish chap named Hyman Goldfarb. On one visit, Hy told me that because of his large donations to charities through the years, the queen wanted to knight him, but he was going to turn it down.
"That's a great honor," I said. "Why would you turn it down?"
"Because during the ceremony you have to say something in Latin," he said. "And I don't wish to bother studying Latin just for that."
"So say something in Hebrew. The queen wouldn't know the difference."
"Brilliant," Hy complimented me, "but what should I say?"
"Remember that question the son asks the father on the first night of Passover? ... Can you say that in Hebrew?"
"Of course," he said. "Ma nishtana ha leila hazeh. Thank you, old sport, I shall become a knight."
At the ceremony Hy waited his turn while several of the other honorees went before the queen. Finally they called his name. He knelt before Her Majesty, she placed her sword on one shoulder and then on the other, and motioned for Hy to speak.
Out came "Ma nishtana ha leila hazeh."
The queen turned to her husband Prince Philip and said, "Why is this knight different from all the other knights?"
Take Me Out To The Seder
(To the tune of - of course - "Take Me Out to the Ballgame!")
Take me out to the Seder
Take me out with the crowd.
Feed me on matzah and chicken legs,
I don't care for the hard-boiled eggs.
And its root, root, root for Elijah
That he will soon reappear.
And let's hope, hope, hope that we'll meet
Once again next year!
Take me out to the Seder
Take me out with the crowd.
Read the Haggadah
And don't skip a word.
Please hold your talking,
We want to be heard.
And lets, root, root, root for the leader
That he will finish his spiel
So we can nosh, nosh, nosh and by-gosh
Let's eat the meal!!!
The Four Sons
A humorous version of The Four Sons, by Harold Zvi Rabbie.
There are four types of children who ask questions on Pesach: the wise one, the bad one, the simple one, and the one who does not know to ask.
What does the wise one ask? I don't know; I couldn't understand him either. Him you must send to a school for gifted children.
What does the bad one ask? He says, "What is this festival to you?" Because he excludes himself from the community, you must exclude him from your table, and he will go back to his employer and get paid double-time and a half for working on Pesach.
What does the simple one ask? He simply asks, "What is this?" You will say to him, "This is dinner."
As for the one who does not know to ask, you must go to his room, wake him up and say, "Next year, remember to come to the table!"
A Few of My Favorite Things
(Sung to the tune of "These Are a Few of My Favorite Things")
Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes
Out with the hametz, no pasta, no knishes
Fish that's gefillted, horseradish that stings
These are a few of our Passover things.
Matzoh and karpas and chopped up haroset
Shankbones and kiddish and yiddish neuroses
Tante who kvetches and uncle who sings
These are a few of our Passover things.
Motzi and maror and trouble with Pharoahs
Famines and locusts and slaves with wheelbarrows
Matzah balls floating and eggshell that cling
These are a few of our Passover things.
When the plagues strike
When the lice bite
When we're feeling sad
We simply remember our Passover things
And then we don't feel so bad.
Just a Tad of Haroset
(Sung to the tune of "Just a Spoon Full of Sugar")
Just a tad of haroset helps the bitter herbs go down,
The bitter herbs go down, the bitter herbs go down.
Just a tad of Charoset helps the bitter herbs go down,
In the most disguising way.
Oh, back in Egypt long ago,
The Jews were slaves under Pharaoh
They sweat and toiled and labored
through the day.
So when we gather Pesach night,
We do what we think right.
Maror, we chew,
To feel what they went through.
So after years of slavery
They saw no chance of being free.
Their suffering was the only life they knew.
But baby Moses grew up tall,
And said he'd save them all.
He did, and yet,
We swear we won't forget.
While the Maror is being passed,
We all refill our water glass,
Preparing for the taste that turns us red.
Although Maror seems full of minuses,
It sure does clear our sinuses.
But what's to do?
It's hard to be a Jew!!!
Take Us Out Of Egypt
(Sung to the tune of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game")
Take us out of Egypt
Free us from slavery
Bake us some matzah in a haste
Don't worry 'bout flavor --
Give no thought to taste.
Oh it's rush, rush, rush, to the Red Sea
If we don't cross it's a shame
For it's ten plagues,
Down and you're out
At the Pessah history game.
The Ballad of the Four Sons
(Sung to the tune of "Clementine")
Said the father to his children,
"At the seder you will dine,
You will eat your fill of matzah,
You will drink four cups of wine."
Now this father had no daughters,
But his sons they numbered four.
One was wise and one was wicked,
One was simple and a bore.
And the fourth was sweet and winsome,
he was young and he was small.
While his brothers asked the questions
he could scarcely speak at all.
Said the wise one to his father
"Would you please explain the laws?
Of the customs of the seder
Will you please explain the cause?"
And the father proudly answered,
"As our fathers ate in speed,
Ate the paschal lamb 'ere midnight
And from slavery were freed."
So we follow their example
And 'ere midnight must complete
All the seder and we should not
After 12 remain to eat.
Then did sneer the son so wicked
"What does all this mean to you?"
And the father's voice was bitter
As his grief and anger grew.
"If you yourself don't consider
As son of Israel,
Then for you this has no meaning
You could be a slave as well."
Then the simple son said simply
"What is this," and quietly
The good father told his offspring
"We were freed from slavery."
But the youngest son was silent
For he could not ask at all.
His bright eyes were bright with wonder
As his father told him all.
My dear children, heed the lesson
and remember evermore
What the father told his children
Told his sons that numbered four.
There's No Seder Like Our Seder
(Sung to the tune of "There's No Business Like Show Business")
There's no seder like our seder,
There's no seder I know.
Everything about it is halachic
Nothing that the Torah won't allow.
Listen how we read the whole Haggadah
It's all in Hebrew
'Cause we know how.
There's no Seder like our seder,
We tell a tale that is swell:
Moses took the people out into the heat
They baked the matzah
While on their feet
Now isn't that a story
That just can't be beat?
Let's go on with the show!
(Sung to the tune of "Maria")
I just saw the prophet Elijah.
And suddenly that name
Will never sound the same to me.
He came to our seder
He had his cup of wine,
But could not stay to dine
This year --
For your message all Jews are waiting:
That the time's come for peace
and not hating --
Next year we'll be waiting.
Same Time Next Year
(Sung to the tune of "Makin' Whoopee")
Another Pesach, another year,
The family seder with near and dear...
Our faces shining,
All thoughts of dining
Are put on hold now.
We hear four questions,
The answer given
Recalls the Jews from Egypt driven.
The khrain is bitter, (haroset better!)
Please pass the matzah.
Why is this evening different
This year the Jews all over
Are free to perform the rites.
A gorgeous dinner--who can deny it --
Won't make us thinner, to hell with diet!
It's such great cooking...
and no one's looking,
So just enjoy it.
Moving along at steady clip
Elijah enters, and takes a sip;
And then the singing with voices ringing
Our laughter mingling.
When singing about Had Gadya.
Watch close or your place you'll lose,
For Ehad Mi Yode'a:
Which tune shall we use?
We pray next Pessah
We'll all be here.
It's a tradition...
Same time next year...
So fill it up now, the final cup now,
Next year at ____________
Please remember that these are jokes!
When Moses was going up onto the mountain, Aaron packed him some lunch. Well, there he was, talking with G-d and he pulled out his ham sandwich. "Ugh," said G-d, "that ham is so fatty, I can hear your arteries harden even as you prepare to eat it. Don't eat that ham sandwich - it is abominable!" Moses though, tended to take things a bit too seriously, so when he came down he says to Israel (the Hebrew people)...
The Jews are camped in front of the Red Sea. They see the Egyptian chariots approaching. Moses turns to his PR man.
Moses - "Nu, where are those boats you got us?"
PR Guy - "Boats? You didn't say nothing 'bout no boats."
Moses - "So what do you want I should do? Part the waters and we can all just walk across?"
PR Guy - "If you can swing that, I'll get you your own chapter in the Bible!"
A Texan non-Jew came to New York for the first time, having never tasted Jewish food. On the recommendation of a friend, he went to the Lower East Side to eat at a real Jewish restaurant.
He looked at a menu, but everything on it was strange and new and he simply didn't know what to order. When the waitress came, he pointed to a dish on another table and asked what it was.
The waitress replied, "That's matzo-balls".
"OK," said the Texan, "I'll have that."
He got his dish, and was finishing it with relish when the waitress came back again. He looked up and said:
"Ma'am, that was truly delicious. I never had anything like this before. Tell me, do you serve any other parts of the matza?"
"Just try it, G-d!"
A Not-So-Serious Passover Play for the Classroom or the Dining Room, by S. Mitchell.
CHARACTERS: Slave Narrator, G-d (as a voice offstage), Moses, Aaron, Burning Bush, Pharoah
SLAVE NARRATOR: In Egypt we Hebrews had a difficult life. All day we worked under the whips of the taskmasters, making bricks and stacking them into giant pyramids, using nothing but our bare hands and a mixture of apples, raisins and nuts to bind the bricks together. We ate nothing but horseradish and drank only salt water. The only joy we had came from squeezing our fresh loaves of bread, which were soft and thick and light and fluffy as clouds. We had nothing to hope for. But little did we know that one of us, an escaped Hebrew who lived as a stranger in a foreign land of Midian, would soon return to us as our savior.
MOSES: Here sheep! Here sheep, sheep! Hey, come back! Don't make me chase you... (Suddenly surprised at the sight of a burning bush.) Oh, my gosh!
BURNING BUSH: Ow! Ow! Ow!
MOSES: That little bush is on fire! (He dowses it.)
BURNING BUSH: Thank you!
MOSES: But why aren't you burned, little bush?
BURNING BUSH (pointing up to the sky): Ask Him!
BURNING BUSH (whispering) : Don't answer!
MOSES: Here I am.
G-d: Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place you stand on is holy ground.Moses removes his shoes.
BURNING BUSH: Whew! Stinky!
MOSES: Here I am!
G-d: Put your shoes back on, please.
MOSES: Who are you?
G-d: I am the G-d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher...
BURNING BUSH: Please, somebody stop Him!
MOSES: What do you want from me?
G-d: I have heard the cry of the Hebrew slaves and I've come to rescue them, to lead them out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Websites, Hippies, Trekkies, Yuppies, Muppets, Skittles, Ewoks...
BURNING BUSH: Get to the point.
G-d: Actually, you are going to do it.
MOSES: Do what?
BURNING BUSH: I told you not to answer!
G-d: You, Moses, will lead the Hebrews out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites...
MOSES: Who am I that I should lead the Israelites to freedom? What will they say when I tell them, "The G-d of your fathers has sent me to lead you"? If they ask, "What is His name?", what do I tell them?
G-d: Tell them, "I am who I am."
BURNING BUSH: He should tell them Popeye sent him?
G-d: They'll believe you, Moses. Then go to the Pharoah and ask him to let you go on a three day's journey into the desert to offer sacrifices. If he says yes, which he won't, you'll go and you won't come back.
MOSES: Good plan. Do you think Pharoah will buy it?
MOSES: What's Plan B?
G-d: Pharoah won't let your people go unless he is forced. So I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt by doing all sorts of wondrous deeds there. Lots of people and animals will die.
BURNING BUSH: Couldn't you just make Pharoah say yes the first time?
G-d: I cannot. But perhaps Moses can convince him.
MOSES: How will I convince him? What if he doesn't believe me? I need some proof of your wondrous power.
G-d: Do you know any card tricks?
G-d: The nickel in the ear trick?
G-d: The rabbit from a hat?
G-d: Saw the lady in half?
G-d: Don't worry. You'll think of something.
BURNING BUSH: Get your brother to do it. He's a fast talker.
G-d: Now go!
SLAVE NARRATOR: So Moses came back to us, and before long, he and his brother Aaron paid Pharoah a visit. Moses pushes Aaron ahead of him into Pharoah's room as Pharoah dresses himself. Aaron pushes back, then Moses pushes him forward again, and on and on.
PHAROAH (to the mirror): Today, I'm going to wear this hat. This is a good Pharoah hat. No, I'll wear this hat - this is better. Yes. No, no, this one, it's the best. OK. No, maybe this one is better.Moses pushes Aaron into the room hard.
AARON: I'm going!Pharoah turns around.
PHAROAH: Well, if it isn't the loonies who talk to the gods. I've heard of you both. You've got my slaves all riled up. Tell me. Is He planning to make it rain tomorrow?
AARON: Our G-d has called upon us to make a sacrifice to Him in the desert.
PHAROAH: How narcissistic of your god. I like it. So how did it go?
AARON: We haven't done it yet.
PHAROAH: Why not?Aaron is silent. Moses whispers in his ear.
AARON: We have to do it in the desert.
PHAROAH: You live in the desert. Go into your backyard and make your sacrifice.
AARON: It's not that simple. Our G-d wants us to do it far away from here.
AARON: Yes, sir. About a three day's walk.
PHAROAH: I see. So what I think I hear you saying is, you want to take all of my slaves out on a sort of field trip.
AARON: A holy sacrifice.
PHAROAH: Right, a holy sacrifice. In the desert.
PHAROAH: Three days away from here.
PHAROAH: And I suppose you'll be needing to pack a few things.
PHAROAH: For your three-day hike in the desert.
AARON: Well, yes!
PHAROAH: So you can make it back here safe and healthy enough to pick up right where you left off.
AARON (excited): Absolutely, yes!
AARON: Great! OK, then. We'll see you in a few days!
MOSES: You'll hardly miss us!
PHAROAH: I'm assuming you have a Plan B?
PHAROAH: In case I'm not the fool you think I am. You Hebrews are going nowhere.
SLAVE NARRATOR: G-d had indeed made Pharoah obstinate. He ordered the taskmasters to increase our work and punish us with greater cruelty. And though Moses and Aaron returned to him each day with various amazing feats to prove their holy authority, Pharoah simply ordered his own magicians to explain these tricks away.
MOSES: G-d, it's not working. We told him everything you said. We tried a few card tricks. We turned my staff into a snake. But nothing works. And the slaves - they think I'm only making things worse for them.
G-d: Yes, I expected this. It's time I showed them the awesome power of the Lord. It is time I smite Egypt with my wondrous deeds! Go back to Pharoah, lads, and warn him of my wrath.
SLAVE NARRATOR: So with G-d looking on, Moses and Aaron returned to Pharoah. Pharoah is looking at himself in the mirror again, deciding on an impressive royal pose, changing his mind again and again, when Moses and Aaron approach.
PHAROAH: Boys, welcome back! Have any new tricks to show me?
AARON: Let my people go.
AARON: If you don't, you will witness the awesome power of the Lord.
PHAROAH: I see. Could you be more specific?
AARON: If you don't let the Hebrews go free, we will pack our things and lead them away. And when your taskmasters try to stop us, they will find themselves frozen, unable to move. And we'll walk right by them, smiling, laughing, and they won't even be able to blink. They'll be stuck, frozen like giant blocks of ice, and...
G-d: Stop!Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.
G-d (anxious) : Moses, Moses!
MOSES: Here I am!
G-d: Tell Aaron I can't do that. I can't freeze people.
MOSES: Well, what can you do?
G-d: I will turn all their waters to blood.
MOSES: Ugh! I pass out at the sight of blood.
SLAVE NARRATOR: And so Egypt was colored red with blood. The fish in the river died, the Egyptians had to dig to find clean water to drink, and Moses was woozy for many days. After a week, G-d commanded Aaron to stretch his hand over the waters of Egypt and the country was overrun by frogs. This time, Pharoah sent for Moses and Aaron.
AARON: Now, Pharoah, you have seen the awesome power of the Lord!
PHAROAH: Yes, and the frogs were cute at first, I admit, but all the ribbeting is driving me crazy. Make them disappear and I'll let your people go. Aaron and Moses turn to go.
PHAROAH: Forget it. Can't leave.
AARON: If you don't let us go, the Lord will punish you even more severely.
AARON: Why, he'll make the ground beneath your soldiers' feet turn to glue, so when you try to follow us, their feet will get stuck, and then they'll reach down to free themselves and their hands will stick to their feet, and then they won't be able to do anything, and we'll laugh and laugh and...
G-d: Stop!Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.
G-d: Moses, Moses!
MOSES: Here I am!
G-d: Tell Aaron I can't do that. I can't turn the ground into glue.
MOSES: Well, what can you do?
G-d: I'll, I'll, I'll turn the dust of the earth into little gnats, which will go "bzzzz" over the land!
SLAVE NARRATOR: And so the land and air were swarming with gnats. But Pharoah refused again. And then came flies. And the pestilence. And the boils. And again Pharoah called Moses and Aaron to his chambers. Pharoah, stands in front of his mirror, his face covered with boils. He grimaces at his reflection as Moses and Aaron enter.
PHAROAH: Oh, thank G-d you're here. Make these things go away. I've tried everything. Facial masks, Buff Puffs, exfoliants, zinc supplements, hypnosis, feng shui, everything! Clear my complexion and I'll let you Israelites worship in the desert for FOUR days if you want to.
AARON: OK. We'll begin packing.They turn to leave.
PHAROAH: If I change my mind?
AARON: If you change your mind?
PHAROAH: What would happen?
AARON: Well, if you don't let us go, the Lord will rain down on you millions of little round balls, and when you try to chase after us, you'll slip and fall down. And you'll try to get up, and you'll slip and fall again, and we'll be laughing so hard...
G-d: Stop!Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.
G-d: Moses, Moses!
MOSES: Just try it, G-d!
SLAVE NARRATOR: And so the Lord drowned the land in a downpour of hail, so fierce that every animal and plant was struck down and the crops were ruined. A plague of locusts followed. And then Pharoah called upon our heroes again.
PHAROAH: OK. I'm pretty sure I'm going to let your people go this time. But just supposing I don't?
AARON: If you don't let us go, your people will be blinded by darkness...Aaron pauses and looks to Moses. Moses looks up to the heavens, but G-d is silent. Moses shrugs at Aaron.
AARON: And when they try to chase after us, they'll bump into each other and fall down and then get up and run the wrong way, and when you hear our giggling, you'll reach for us, but you'll only grab each other by accident!
MOSES: Can you do that, G-d?
G-d: Yes, I think I can do that one.
AARON: Alrighty then.
SLAVE NARRATOR: But Pharoah proved wishy-washy again. And Aaron and Moses promised Pharoah the worst plague of them all.
AARON: If you don't let us go, the Lord will make Hannukah last eight months instead of eight days, and every night our children will wander through the villages singing ( singing in an annoying voice), "I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay, And when..."
G-d: Moses, Moses!
MOSES (exasperated) : What is it?!
G-d: I like the dreidel song.
MOSES: Then YOU think of something!
G-d: Mark your doorposts with the blood of a lamb.
MOSES: Not more blood!
G-d: The angel of death will pass over the homes that bear this mark. And take the living spirits of the first-born Egyptians.
SLAVE NARRATOR: And so it came to pass. And this time, not only did Pharoah give us permission to leave, but all of Egypt helped us pack and rushed us out toward the Red Sea.Pharoah rushes Aaron and Moses as they pack their things.
PHAROAH: Here, I had my soldiers wrap up your bread!
AARON: But it hasn't had time to rise.
MOSES: And your rushing us leaves us no time to cook our ceremonial feast!
PHAROAH: You'll have to get it catered! Now get out of here!Moses and Aaron leave.
PHAROAH: Wait!No response.
PHAROAH: Wait! I think I might change my mind!Still no response.
SLAVE NARRATOR: Pharaoh did change his mind, and he sent his people to hunt us down as we made our way toward the Red Sea. I think you know what happened next. Four hundred thirty years of oppression came to an end.
AARON: What are you talking about?! We're eating sandwiches of mortar on flat bread!
SLAVE NARRATOR: Stop complaining. (He raises his arms in celebration) Next year in Jerusalem!
AARON: Yeah, right!
Re-printed with permission.