Tonight we’ve invited a non-Jewish family to our special Passover dinner to share our culture and traditions. Obsessed with The Wizard of Oz, they’ve politely requested (for their children’s sake, of course!) that we liken the holiday to their favorite movie so they’ll better understand and appreciate our customs. Uh oh! I don’t think we’re in Egypt anymore!
But hey, it might be interesting to at least find a few parallels, metaphorically speaking, right? Let’s see . . . Dorothy (like Moses?) led her people (The Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Cowardly Lion) through a path to freedom on what could’ve been (if the director was a bit more innovative!) a road paved with crispy boards of Matzo instead of yellow bricks.
Later on in Emerald City, a major plot twist occurs with the significant parting of that fateful curtain (and pay no attention to the man behind it!) which exposes the Wizard as ultimately weak and small, incapable of great feats. Now liken that to the meaningful parting of the Red Sea, revealing the great and powerful miracles of God. No never mind, there’s just no comparison!
But a case can possibly be made that the Wicked Witch was sorta like the Pharaoh, torturing and inflicting pain on everyone around her – even her own slaves, those Flying Monkeys. And then she is ultimately destroyed by an act of water (“Help me, I’m melting, I’m melting!”) and this is a good thing. Similarly, a tremendous amount of water played a huge role in the demise of the Egyptian army when the Red Sea closed up on them – and this was also a very good thing! I’m not sure where this entire analogy is even going and maybe it just doesn’t hold water. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.) “Oh, what a world…what a world!”
But let’s continue with an easier creative stretch! The Munchkins can be Jewicized by simply calling them “Menschkins.” (A mensch means a person of integrity) And the little dog Toto, too! (AKA “Todah,” means “thank you” in Hebrew.)
“Poppy! Poppy will put them to sleep!” Can refer to what the Wicked Witch of the West says as she casts her spell on the poppy field . . . OR it signifies every grandfather who tells boring stories at Passover dinner that begin with, “When I was a kid . . . ”
Well enough of my contrived allegories. Let’s move on to music! I’ve always thought adding rhythm to any family holiday enriches the experience, so in addition to the traditional passover songs, (Dayenu and Go Down Moses) we just might sing the following:
Sung Like the Scarecrow to the Tune of “If I Only Had a Brain!” (No doubt pressured by his Jewish parents to get into Yale!)
There was this brand new Pharaoh,
Had us all over a barrel,
And always gave us flack,
Then from bread we must abstain,
But you won’t hear us complain,
Boiled eggs are the perfect snack.
And the pyramids were built,
So to heck with Jewish guilt . . .
Now if we only had some grain!
Sung Like Glinda to the Tune of “Come Out, Come Out!”
Pull him out, pull him out, whoever you are,
And see the new baby who’ll become a Jewish star.
He floated so far, glided half of a mile,
Meet the special young boy who was drawn from the Nile!
He drifted in that river, it flowed very fast,
And later in his role, Charlton Heston would be cast.
Sung like Menschkins to the Tune of “The Lollipop Guild”
We represent the Matzo Ball League, the Matzo Ball League!
And in the name of the Matzo Ball League . . .
We forbid you to eat bread products for 8 more days!
Sung like Dorothy to the Tune of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”
Somewhere out of Egypt, way up high,
There’s a land that I’ve heard of, up on Mt. Sinai.
Somewhere, out of the desert,
A flaming bush will burn.
And through those Ten Commandments,
All the idol worshippers will learn.
(yada yada, repeat again until next lines for big finish!)
Now if happy little children can find
The matzo hidden in the venetian blind . . .
Why, oh why, can’t I ???
Okay, okay, so I guess there’s only one thing left to try and integrate for my Passover dinner guests, and that’s how to address those scary Ten Plagues? I suppose we could start by chanting three of them, “Locusts and Boils and Hail . . . Oh My!
Happy Passover to all my readers who celebrate.