On Passover, a key requirement is that in each generation, Jews should view the Exodus as though it is happening to them. Making the Passover story relevant today does not mean we should literally re-enact the Exodus. For example and for obvious reasons, we should not (i) put infants in baskets and float them down the Nile River, (ii) build golden calves or (iii) wander through a desert for forty years. That would be taking things a bit too far and, practically speaking, it would be very tough to secure the necessary insurance for such pursuits.
“Hey Hebrews, I need those pyramids done like yesterday.”
Making the Exodus relevant today, however, does mean that we should embrace a "Passover State of Mind," which, incidentally, was the original title to Billy Joel's big hit, “New York State of Mind.” (Mr. Joel’s original lyrics went something like this: "Some Jews like to get away, take a holiday from the neighborhood. Hop a flight to Miami Beach or to Hollywood. But I'm staying in my house, with four cups of Kedem wine. I'm in a Passover State of Mind.")
To put today’s tech-reliant Jews in the proper Passover state of mind, we must make the Passover story technologically relatable. So, the question is: what would the Passover story look like to Jews living in the cellphone generation?
Let's make believe that everyone in the Passover story, from Moses to Pharaoh and all those in between, communicated via cellphone. For example, imagine that Pharaoh sent out an e-mail to his Hebrew slaves with the subject line “Hey and Hay”: “Hey Hebrews, I need those pyramids done like yesterday. BTW: To spice things up, no more hay for brick-making. And yes, this is the last straw!:)”
Next, let's imagine that Moses is on Mount Sinai speaking to the burning bush, during which he takes an epic selfie. (Yes, he uses his staff, which doubles as a selfie stick.) Moses posts the selfie on Facebook with the following caption: "Guess who I bumped into?"
Fast forward to the second plague, frogs, during which Pharaoh (“P”) and Moses (“M”) exchange the following text messages:
P: Yo, what's with all of the Kermits?
M: I warned you. Let me people go.
P: No can do.
After the ninth plague, darkness, they exchange a few more text messages:
P: Yo, who turned the lights out?
M: I told you, let my people go.
P: No can do. Like Bruce Springsteen, I'll be dancing in the dark.
M: Let my people go!
P: O.K. But I may harden my heart again. :)
After the tenth plague, Moses (“M”) sends out a group text to alert the Hebrews (“H”) that their salvation at hand:
M: Pharaoh caved. We out.
H: Where r we going?
M: Mt. Sinai.
M: Waze it.
H: Just did. There's a 10-camel pile-up on the Egyptian Expressway.
M: Thanks. We'll take the Tutankhamun Turnpike.
One annoying and clueless Hebrew replies to Moses separately:
H: Can we push back the Exodus a half-hour? I've got bread in the oven.
M: No, we leave now.
H: But I wanted to pack some sandwiches.
M: Just use what you have.
H: Do you realize how messy it will be eating sandwiches made out of unleavened bread?
M: Yes, I realize.
H: But it also will create a trail of crumbs for the Egyptians to follow.
M: I'll take my chances.
Now fast forward to the splitting of the Red Sea. Moses does a Facetime with a frightened Hebrew:
M: Trust me, it's safe to cross.
H: But I can't swim.
M: You won't need to.
H: I can't even tread water.
M: You're not listening to me!
H: Do you have a pair of floaties?
M: Oy vey iz mir.
Fast forward again, this time to Mount Sinai, where Moses has been up at the top for nearly forty days and forty nights. As the restless and impatient Hebrews build a Golden Calf, Moses's brother Aaron (“A”) texts him:
A: Where r u?
M: Bro, I'm a little busy right now!
A: When r u coming back down?
M: Not really my call.
A: Fine. Do you have any gold?
A: No reason. Just asking . . . for a friend. :)
M: Bro, what is going on done there?
A: A few folks are building an idol.
M: Holy cow!
M: Bro, you must help me schlep two large stone tablets.
A: Is that a commandment?
M: Funny you should use that word.
Bottom-Line: Matzah corners are sharp so, for safety, don’t text and eat matzah at the same time.