Friday, April 18, 2003

Celebrating Freedom from Slavery

Suppose I came to you and offered you this holiday to
celebrate your freedom from slavery, would you want it?

First, for weeks before the holiday, the womenfolk will
scour, scrub and polish everything in the house, from
top to bottom.

They will get into all the corners, cupboards, closets.
crannies and cabinets and eliminate all crumbs, cobwebs,
and other crummy things.

Next, they'll clean all the dishes, pots and pans and
put them all away, locked securely behind doors or
hidden in pantries or covered up on top shelves.

With all the old things put away, they'll pull out a
whole other set of dishes, stored all year for just
this very occasion, and start removing a year's worth
of dust, detritus and dirt.

And now they're ready to start cooking up a storm for the
big celebration feast to come. After spending days, peeling,
paring, pounding, and polishing, they're ready for the
menfolk to step in - the evening before this celebration.

What do the menfolk do? They come along with a candle and a
feather and inspect the womenfolk's hard work. (Since the
women know they've done a good job, and their menfolk will
be disappointed and feel useless, the women are meant to hide up
to 10 tiny pieces of bread around the house. That way, the men
are heroes and feel fulfilled.)

After the inspection?

The menfolk go to their favorite easy-chairs, pick up their
newspapers, turn on their favorite sports or news shows, or
both and breathe a sigh of satisfaction for a job well done.

The womenfolk? Oh, they're still cooking for the upcoming feast.

On the night of this celebration of freedom, the men are
enthroned in their chairs at the glittering table, with lots
of pillows, so they can recline like kings. Their womenfolk
rush about serving and waiting on them hand and foot, even
to the point of bringing them a water basin so the men can wash
their delicate hands before partaking of this generous feast.

The men and boys do what? They get to spout on for hours
about how glorious is their freedom and how oppressive was
the slavery of their ancestors. They get to play hide-and-seek,
with their food, as they sate themselves on four brimming cups
of wine . They challenge each other's knowledge about slavery...
as the women continue mutely to serve them.

And when it's all done - around 1:00 a.m., if celebrated
properly, what now?

The menfolk get to toddle off to a cozy slumber, secure in
the knowledge that they conducted a grand feast and put
slavery to bed forever.

The womenfolk? Oh, they get to clean up and start all over
again for the next night - and to have the house ready for
breakfast and lunch before the 2nd major dinner feast.

So, are you eager for this celebration of the release from slavery?

We already have it.

It's called Passover.


© 2003 Eva Rosenberg, ,
inspired by a comment from her mother.
Please feel free to pass this along to friends, with all the copyright
info intact. (I want to see how many times it comes back)
You may not publish this online, in print or e-mail newsletters
without permission. Contact with 'Freedom'
in the subject line, to inquire about permissions and fees to publish.

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