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Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Belated Pesach Post

This is a bit late, but I wanted to add two points about ruins and Pesach.

1. If I were the one striking the Egyptians with ten plagues, I'm pretty sure that at least one of them would target their pagan temples, the storage cities they forced the Israelites to build, the palace, the pyramids, etc. Yet for some reason, not one of the plagues is reported to be aimed at the architecture. Why not? Why wouldn't it be good symbolism to leave the Egyptian buildings in ruin, the same way the economy, monarchy, army and ecosystem were left in ruin? I have no convincing answers to this question, and have never seen any commentators address this issue. If anyone has an idea, I'd love to hear. If not, maybe you can pose this question at next year's seder.

2. During the course of the Pesach seder, we do two things which can loosely be classified as ruinous.
  • We spill out some wine from our cups to show sorrow over the loss of Egyptian life.
  • We break the middle matza in half. This commemorates our ancestors enslavement (as with the matza itself, it mimics the way poor people eat).

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