Southern Jewish Life, April 2020

Page 56

rear pew mirror • doug brook

Seder in place Sukkot is the fall holiday (or, in Aramaic, falliday) when we build a temporary shelter just like the Israelites used in the desert, but with more wifi. Jump ahead a few months to today — Sukkot’s fellow harvest holiday, the less distant and equally less leavened Passover. Some Jews traditionally don’t get around to taking down their sukkahs until Passover. Why is this year different from all other years? Unlike all other years, this year it means already having a shelter in place for sheltering in place for the Passover seders. While many are nobly inserting the ritual handwashing between every step of the seder, the ever-prescient recently discovered Mishnah tractate Bava Gump provides a different approach to what goes on your Seder-in-Plate. Bava Gump provides a specially rewritten fifth commandment, “Lo COVID et avicha v’et imecha” — “don’t COVID your father and your mother.” Therefore, to make them worry less in their isolation, the following guidance will make any Jew’s seder more appealingly “covered.” Judaic schools for years have done chocolate seders, in an experiment to see just how much sugar aftershock their parents can withstand. On this night that will most certainly be different from all others, Jews throughout the land have special dispensation. So, add chocolate to your seder for a taste of the sweetness to come from the new, 21st century exodus — out our front doors — that awaits us all.

the special dye the Israelites used to make the cake look chocolate enough for the post-exodus desert dessert potluck. Conclude the story with a second glass of chocolatey liquidy goodness.

Magid: Retell the Passover story. Recount the ten plagues, from the Nile turning into chocolate all the way to the slaying of the firstborns’ chocolate privileges. Marvel at the Israelites fleeing through the Red Velvet Sea, without enough time to let the chocolate cake rise. Sing together the words of Dayenu, commemorating

Here, have some chocolate. You’ll need it.

Rachtza: Wash your hands, for another 20 seconds, in the chocolate fountain. Motzi Matzah: Eat some chocolate matzah. Finally. You’ve been staring at it. Good job resisting the Cadbury egg on the seder plate, by the way. Marror: Eat some bitter herbs. Not too much, or you’ll hear ma roar. Korech: Make a sandwich of chocolate matzah and bitter herbs. Again, you’ll be surprised. Shulchan Orech: Dinner, at last! Chocolate matzah ball soup. Chocolate gefilte fish. Chocolate marinated brisket. Chocolate potato kugel. Chocolate tzimmes. Chocolate roasted chicken. Chocolate carrots. Chocolate matzah meal dressing. Chocolate mashed potatoes. Chocolate chicken piccata. Chocolate stuffed peppers. Chocolate chocolate macaroons. And steak. Tzafun: Eat the afikomen, no matter how much of a letdown it might be after all this other chocolate.

Barech: Recite the grace after meals, while staring at more chocolate. Once complete, drink the third glass of chocolate wine. (At this point, everyone’s past the milk.) Also, set out a glass of Kadesh: Make a blessing over the first glass chocolate milk for Elijah, on a separate table six of chocolate wine. Or chocolate milk, if using feet from the main table. Use reduced fat chocopareve meat. Or chocolate martini. late milk for Elijah — he has a long night ahead. Urchatz: Wash your hands, for 20 seconds, in Hallel: Sing praises in an attempt to start a chocolate fountain. Not the one you’re using working off all the sugar. If you successfully for dessert. fudge your way through this part, you get a Karpas: Dip parsley in salted chocolate. Real- fourth glass of chocolate wine. ly. You’ll be surprised. Nirtzah: Sing a bunch of songs to drain whatYachatz: Break the middle chocolate-covered ever is left of the kids’ energy after all that chocmatzah. Prepare to hide half of it someplace so olate. Though they’re likely going to be awake obvious that no kid will ever find it and you all the way until you reinfuse them at seder won’t remember it. number two. Doug Brook is a writer whose column the CDC has determined to be harmful for the immune-suppressed. To read past columns, visit For exclusive online content, follow


April 2020 • Southern Jewish Life