Passover, a time to celebrate Charlton Heston holding up his rifle and parting the Red Sea

Charlton Heston parting the Red Sea

Passover began Monday at sunset with the first of two Passover Seders — the word means order but it’s a service performed at the dinner table because it isn’t Jewish if it doesn’t include food.

Beth El Binah, Dallas’ LGBT Jewish synagogue, holds its congregational Seder tonight. It’s my favorite holiday, but you can’t do something Jewish without complaining so here goes.

The holiday, the most important festival on the Jewish calendar after the High Holidays (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur), celebrates the Exodus from Egypt. Lots of great gay themes in Passover — the end of slavery and oppression are what the festival celebrates.

But here’s where me and Passover have a little bit of a problem.

—  David Taffet

Why is this night different from all other nights?

Actually, they ARE written in stone
Actually, they ARE written in stone

Tonight is the first night of Passover that celebrates the Exodus from Egypt and freedom from slavery. Jews all over the world gather for the Passover Seder (dinner and loooooong service at the dinner table) that bgins by asking the four questions:

Why is this night different than all other nights?

Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzoh, but on this night we eat only matzoh?

Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?

Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?

Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?

And yes, I know, that seems like five questions, but they’re called the Four Questions. Answers are never really given in the Hagaddah, the Passover prayer book.

Well, tonight I go to my gay Seder and we ask my more relevant questions:

Why on this night do we only drink Coke bottled in Houston while on all other night we drink Coke from any bottling plant?

Answer: Because the Houston bottling plant makes a version of Coke without corn syrup. Corn is a forbidden food on Passover.

Why is corn forbidden on Passover?

Answer: Because the Bible tells us that we cannot eat wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye. So according to rabbinic logic that includes corn and also rice if you are an Eastern European Jew, but not of Mediterranean origin.

Why did the Jews go for the theatrics of parting the Red Sea rather than just walking around.

Answer: We knew we’d be in the movie business. They didn’t have any problem walking there in the first place. There was no Suez Canal in the way.

40 years? Really? Cairo to Jerusalem is the same distance as Dallas to Houston. Made it in 4 days on my bike.

Answer: Moses left Egypt without his GPS and without his bike.

And now you know why I’m not invited back to very many Seders.

Happy Pesach (Passover).

—  David Taffet