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Aish.com in the Wall Street Journal

Apr 6, 2012 at 02:57:41 AM

Sometimes, our efforts don't go unnoticed.

The front page of today's Wall Street Journal profiles Aish.com's popular Passover videos:

One Orthodox website, Aish.com, has produced a takeoff on the rock band Queen's iconic "Bohemian Rhapsody." Called "Passover Rhapsody, a Jewish Rock Opera," it features goofy-looking singing puppets who chant a holiday message using the same melodies and rhythms as the original song.

Last year, the site summoned a religious hero to star in its "Google Exodus." The clip shows Moses consulting Google to research topics like "awesome plagues" and using Facebook to send messages to "pharaoh@egypt.gov." With each key click audible over a light jazzy tune, he types "Let My People Go. Now." It has been viewed more than two million times and "is still going strong," says Rabbi Nechemia Coopersmith, Aish.com's chief editor.

Interestingly, we received a few comments wondering why we used a rock song to tell the Passover story.

Let's answer by looking at the Passover Seder itself:

Did you ever notice that when we raise the matzah, we make the "hamotzi" blessing to thank God for "bringing forth bread from the ground"? This is odd because actually God brings wheat from the ground - and man turns it into bread!

All of God's creation exists of raw materials, which we are then enjoined to transform into positive, life-affirming products and ideas. The Talmud says that one of the questions every person is asked when they get to Heaven is: "Did you enjoy all the fruits of the world?" On Seder night, we eat a festive meal to celebrate the freedom that gives us the ability to sanctify life in all its aspects.

Interestingly, the Seder is the only one of the 613 mitzvot that is performed specifically at night. This is reminiscent of how the Jews in Egypt had sunk to the 49th level of spiritual impurity. At that moment of greatest darkness, we were redeemed. Thus the eternal message of Passover: we must work to turn the darkness into light.

It is with all this in mind that we "reworked" a popular rock song to tell the Passover story. Judging from the hundreds of positive comments, this year's "Passover Rhapsody" was a huge success.

May it be a harbinger of great things to come for all the Jewish people, and may this Passover usher in an era of true peace and prosperity. Chag Sameach!

Published: April 6, 2012


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