Friday, March 30, 2018

A Poem for Passover by the Editor

Fast of the Firstborn
Shmuel ben Moshe HaLevi

Lightheadedness 
Irritability 
Difficulty concentrating 
Weakness 
(and of course) 
Hunger. 

These are the symptoms of the brief 
deliberate shunning of nourishment
I endure each year at this time.

Unpleasant?  
Yes, but a reminder 
I still live.

Much less unpleasant 
than what happened 
to the firstborn males of the Egyptians 
all those millennia past 
on that night 
my great-many-times-over-grandfather 
was spared the cold sword of 
The Angel of Death.

The blood of the lamb 
streaked across the lintel 
of my ancestor’s slave shack 
informed Death to pass over 
its frightened occupants 
cowering and clutching at their ears 
to drown out the screams of horror 
emanating from the abodes of the Egyptians. 

From that moment on 
every firstborn male 
in every generation 
would belong to God 
and must be redeemed 
with blood or sacrifice 
every anniversary 
of that awful event. 

Tonight I will spill out a little of my wine 
in memory of those who were slaughtered 
enemies though they may have been
and invite all who are hungry
to join me in celebration of the Passover.

After a day without food
the bitter herbs will taste sweet.

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