Welcome to With Great Chutzpah Comes Great Responsibility, your every other week dose of Jews and comics!
It is almost Pesach time, AKA Passover time! It’s the eight day festival of crackers (that sounded wrong and fairly racist). Each year, my family migrates from all over the United States to come together for over a week of wackiness. Like many families, some of our funniest memories are formed over the Passover seder plate. In today’s column, I get to teach you all about Passover through comics!
So what do we do on Passover?
The main law of the holiday is avoiding chametz, which means “leavened bread.” Chametz includes the five species of grain that are subject to the leavening process: wheat, oats, barley, spelt and rye. Different denominations of Jews have additional laws based on the traditions of where they are from. For instance, Ethiopians, Sephardim and Ashkenazim all practice a little different. If you don’t understand what those terms mean, look them up. Us Jews are as diverse as the Guardians of the Galaxy. I also consider all of the DC comics universe to be chametz.
The night before Pesach, Jews declare war on chametz. We all become S.H.I.E.L.D. agents on the hunt to destroy every last bit of breading, equipped with only a candle to find the crumbs. Then the next day, we blow all the chametz up to ensure it won’t taint our bread-fasting awesomness. Although we do our best to kill all the chametz, we sell any that may be leftover to random gentiles or Sith lords. We then buy the crap back a week later for a dime.
Jews also use separate sets of eating utensils during the holiday, in case they absorbed any of the leaven. This is similar to when Eddie Brock got rid of the Venom symbiote but a lil’ alien remained, which turned him into Anti-Venom. That is also why we don’t eat Eddie Brock on Passover. Instead of bread, we eat Matzah, which looks like Ben Grimm’s face and makes it so you cannot go Slott for the entire eight days (I use the term Slott as a stand in for poo).
On the first two nights of the holiday, Jews gather with family for seders. At the Seders, we tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt by reading the Haggadah. In the Haggadah, it says “One must look upon himself as if he himself had come out of Egypt, personally.” Since Jews must see themselves as if they walked with Moses through Egypt, and since Superman is clearly an analogy for Moses– that means that every Yid is supposed to make believe they are on the Justice League! So there ya go; remember where ya come from and be a superhero fighting oppression.
Passover Seder Time!
Here is the seder in a nutshell; a four hours shorter nutshell (unless you are my family and are such bad yids that the seder takes about the same amount of time as reading this paragraph): We drink four cups of Manischewitz (unless you are a recovering Alcoholic like me, in which case you just drink grape juice), eat a bunch of food that resembles different slave motifs, wash our hands a million times, ask a bunch of questions, sing a bunch of songs off key, drink delicious matzah ball soup, try and watch Elijah drink our booze and go on a scavenger hunt to find a piece of lucky Matzah.
Did you know that the Passover seder is the most observed Jewish tradition? Yup, how cool is that. It is a time when we come together with our families and friends to enjoy delicious food and good times. Mutants unite as we remember there is still evil in this world, but rededicate ourselves to the cause of fighting oppression.
And now, it’s story time!
Our saga begins:
Before we get to the actual Exodus, we need to see the prequel. First, there is this dude named Joseph. He is a cool guy with incredible superpowers to read dreams. His brothers are jealous of him because he is his father’s favorite and is given a fancy schmancy coat. They kinda sell him into slavery. K, not kinda, they straight up sell him. It is messed up. If this were comics, Joseph would be Thor and his brothers would be Loki; Joe’s pops favors him and gives him a cool hammer and they get crap. After the whole slave thang, Joseph ends up in Egypt where the Pharaoh actually loves him and his dream reading awesomeness. He has a ton of power in Egypt and lives the good life. Eventually, during a bad famine, Joseph invites his entire family to come live with him, and Voilà, Egypt gets a crap load of Jews living up in it.
Later, a new Pharaoh takes over, but this one is a total schmuck. The new Pharaoh is like the Green Goblin, but much more racist and evil. This period is his Dark Reign. This Goblin said “Behold the Children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Come, let us deal wisely with them; lest they multiply…” So this cat enslaves the Jews and eventually starts killing the Jewish firstborn.
Along comes Moses. When he is a lil cute baby, his momma puts him in a basket and sends him down the Nile to save his life. Hmmmmmm, sounds similar to Superman’s birth. The Pharaoh’s daughter finds him and brings him up as her own son. Oh, and she hires Moses’s sister Miriam to help out. When Moses gets older, he cannot stand to see the oppression around him. Hmmmmmmmm, still sounds like Superman. Eventually, he talks to a bush that says to go to Pharaoh and tell him to “Let my people go.” He relays the message many times, but Pharaoh never listens. Pharaoh is more stubborn and egotistical than Doc Ock. Eventually, G-D strikes the Egyptians with the plagues- blood, water, frogs, lice, wild animals, pestilence, boils, fire and ice, locusts, darkness and eventually, the death of the Egyptian’s firstborn. The Jewish houses are passed over during the last plague, hence the name Passover.
The whole death of the firstborn thing scares the crap outta Pharaoh, so he finally sets them free. But Pharaoh is such a pain in the touchie that he changes his mind again and chases after them. The Jews try to get away as quick as possible. They don’t even have time to let their bread rise (hence the lack of leavened bread we eat). The Jews get trapped between the Egyptian army and the sea, but G-D gives Moses the power to split the sea and the Jews get away. Nonetheless, the sea was hungrier than the Blob, and it ate the Egyptian army just like the Sarlacc ate Bobba Fett.
So there ya go. There is a lot more to the holiday, but have you realized how long this column is already? If I wrote down every detail, you would miss the first and second seders trying to read this thing. So get outta here and go enjoy your family. Happy Passover. Next year in Jerusalem!