Sanctifying the Day
The Reader holds up the first glass of wine.
READER: Blessed art Thou Oh Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who hast maybe created the plague that afflicts us but Who at least has kept us out of the E.R., at least so far. And let us say, Amen, we guess.
The first glass of wine is drunk.
The Reader holds up a deep bowl and a pitcher.
READER: Here is the pitcher of water and the bowl. And yet, fuck it. Let us instead go to the bathrooms, and wash our hands like a maniac while singing “Happy Birthday,” because contagiousness.
Everyone goes to their bathroom and washes their hands. When they return to the table, the second glass of wine is drunk.
The Story of This Passover
The Reader calls for quiet and recites:
READER: We were vectors of COVID in North America. And Fauci arose from the people and did go unto POTUS and say, “Make my people stay.”
Then POTUS said, “No, that’s completely unnecessary. Look, I’m a very smart guy. I’ve been talking to a lot of doctors, they can’t believe how much I get this stuff, okay? So we’re doing a great job, which is really incredible, and which you don’t hear from the fake news media. And that’s okay, although it’s very bad and not good.”
Then the governors of the states said unto POTUS, “WTF?” And Fauci said, “Make my people stay,” and the governors told the people to stay. And the people stayed in their houses and apartments, even in their studios and lofts and trailers, plus their co-ops and condos and dorms and barracks and similar habitations. And there was boredom, and confinement, and the forced meeting of spouse and spouse, and plus the kids didn’t go unto school, and so the people went nuts.
Then, after the tenth day, the people cried out, “Wait—are you saying we’re going to have to wander through the living room for forty years?”
The third glass of wine is drunk.
The Four Questions
The Reader refills the glass with wine without spilling, mostly, and announces:
READER: It is customary, now, for the youngest among us to pose The Four Questions, that we may identify the unique aspects of this holiday and give the kid something to do. Let him or her therefore ask:
- Why isn’t this night different from all other nights?
2. Does this mean I’ll never have to go back to school?!
3. How come Jason gets to play Corpse Rampage IV: Annihilation and I don’t?
4. I want to watch tv.
Then you shall answer the Questions, saying:
- Get used to it. Find something to do. Read a book.
2. God forbid.
3. Jason is forty-one. He is your father.
4. That is not a question. No.
The fourth glass of wine is drunk.
The Seder Plate
The Reader holds up the Seder 2020 Plate.
READER: Behold the Seder 2020 Plate. Here is the Manchego cheese, left over from that dinner party last February. We eat it to commemorate having people over, and because we wrapped it pretty well so it’s not bad, considering.
This is the Orioles cap. We hold it up to symbolize all the sporting events we have been denied, both in person and on tv or whatever. I mean like even Little League.
Here is the egg. Do not eat it. It is the last one. We will use it for something. Pancakes, brownie mix, I do not know.
This is the little packet of the moist towelette left over from that barbecue place. We kept it just in case, and now it reminds us to use it when we go out somewhere, because even though it is not strictly anti-bacterial or whatnot, it cannot hurt.
This is the salsa, a mixture of tomatoes and onions and other things. It symbolizes when we used to go out for Mexican, lest we forget that we once did so.
The fifth glass of wine is drunk.
The Seder Bread
The Reader holds up a bright orange bag.
READER: This is the bread of affliction. When our spouses left the supermarket, they did so in great haste, and did not have time to find something better, and in addition all the good rye-bread was gone. And so tonight we eat these Hawaiian sweet rolls, because it is better than nothing, let us say.
The Ten Plagues
The Reader recites the Ten Plagues, pausing after each one to take a sip of wine.
READER: Let us take a sip of wine for each time we recite the Ten Plagues that oppress us, secure in the knowledge that these sips do not count against the glasses of the wine to come.
These are the Ten Plagues with which we are beset:
- Worry about the afflicted
2. Anxiety over face masks
3. Uncertainty over that little cough
4. Lack of haircuts
5. Running out of cilantro
6. Becoming weird about touching the mail
7. Despair at the news
8. Fear of whatever is in that Tupperware in the back of the freezer
10. Hoarding of the toilet paper
The Reader, if he or she can still see straight, points to a glass of wine on the table apart from all the others.
READER: This is the glass of wine for Elijah, the Instacart delivery guy they keep telling us will be here in an hour. Have they not been telling us this, from generation to generation, for like a week now? And yet let us open the door to our dwelling to see if he has come.
Children open the doors to the homes and look outside. They see no one. No, literally, no one.
READER: If Elijah ever does come, we will discover that the order has been maybe half-filled, tops. There will be no dairy, no apples, and the wrong kind of napkins. Let us therefore drink the wine now and, if it happens, then, too.
The Final Benediction
The Reader, to the extent that he or she can still stand, stands and holds up the final glass of wine.
READER: Let us conclude the ceremony with this toast: Next year in Jerusalem! Or Paris. Or McDonald’s. Anyway, somewhere else. Or at least all in the same room, and not in our different homes, united only by Zoom or Skype or FaceTime. And let us say,