Moses the cheated prophet
At sundown on Friday, Jews worldwide will begin the celebration of Passover. Outside of Israel, the first two days of the holiday begin with a Seder (Jewish holidays begin in the evening). In Israel, it’s one day. During the Seder, we tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. But the Haggadah, the book that acts as the script for the Seder, only mentions Moses, the key human figure in the biblical Exodus story, once!–. Yes, THAT Moses… Prophet, miracle maker, former tennis player, and the prince of Egypt got royally screwed. How do I know he was a tennis player? The bible says Moses served in the courts of Pharaoh?
Almost totally leaving Moses out of the Haggadah was not a biblical command. Nowhere in the book of Exodus does it say, “Thus sayeth the Lord, when you remember this day ‘ixnay on the osesmay.’ The basic omission of Moses’ was a man-made, rabbinical decision. This is the age where everyone gets a participation trophy, and Moses did much more than participate. Moses still has to suffer the indignity of a lousy joke saying if he made a right instead of left, the Jews would have all the oil.
The Haggadah was put together by Rabbis after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. The Haggadah was created so Jews would have a guideline for the Passover Seders. Before the Romans destroyed the Second Temple, a big part of the holiday ritual was animal sacrifices as required by the Torah. Those sacrifices could only be conducted in the Holy Temple; therefore, sacrifices ended with the Temple’s destruction; Well—either because of the destruction of the Temple atop the Temple Mount in Jerusalem or an anticipation that PETA would be created in the future.
Those Haggadah compiling Rabbis decided not to honor Moses, who not only led the nascent Jews out of Egypt, but every time the Israelites screwed up prayed, he prayed to the Lord to forgive them.
Instead of Moses, they decided to honor Elijah– a prophet and a sourpuss. In chapter 19 of the book of Kings, God tried to get Elijah to pray for God to be merciful when punishing another screwup by the nascent Jewish people. But instead of asking for mercy, the prophet displayed righteous indignation. The sourpuss demonstrated that he could not accept that the Israelites were humans and had faults.
Think about it for a minute, at age 80, when most people sitting on their front porches yelling at kids to get off their lawn, poor Moses had to lead 600,000 Jews (called Israelites at the time) on a forty-year trip through the wilderness, being rewarded with nothing but the newly freed people whining. During that long wilderness walk, Jews began a tradition that still exists today, complaining about the food during a trip. Oy, the complaints! Can you imagine what nonsense poor Moses had to deal with? They complained about the food received directly from God. Come on, Folks! When God sends you food (manna), you don’t run up to your leader and say, “Hey Moses, what is this crap?”
When Moses was 120 years old, just when he finally got the Jews close to their destination, The Lord replaced him with a younger guy, Joshua (who was only 90). He tells Moses he can’t enter the holy land. The poor guy never got to enter Israel and taste falafel, some good hummus, or even look at the beautiful sea of Galilee while dining at my favorite Chines Restaurant, Pagoda in Tiberias.
Moses deserved better treatment, not only because he endured forty years of leading the Israelites through the wilderness, but for 3,500 years of being blamed for, not asking for directions, making a wrong turn, and giving the Arabs all the oil.
Near the end of the Seder, a glass of wine is poured, the front door is opened, and an ancient prophet is invited in to parse his thirst with a glass of wine. Moses? No, Elijah.
Not Moses but ELIJAH ?!?!?
Moses endured Pharaoh, the Exodus, forty years of wandering in a desert-like wilderness with Jews constantly complaining about the food. He doesn’t even get offered something to drink? Not even a glass of freaking water which he could get without getting in trouble for hitting a rock.
But Elijah, Mr. “ride a flaming chariot into heaven,” get a glass of wine at every Seder, in every Jewish house worldwide.
The last line of the entire Torah begins with, “And there was no other prophet who arose in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face,” but the rabbis decided Elijah gets to party during Passover seders.
And guess what, it’s not just Passover. At every bris (ritual circumcision), the child’s parents put out an extra chair– for Elijah! So while the guy who wouldn’t pray for the Jewish people gets wine on Passover, and bagels and whitefish every bris…Moses gets nothing.
Moses is called Moshe Rabbeinu in Hebrew, which means Moses the Teacher. Perhaps he can join a teacher’s union and get to take off with full pay during a pandemic and direct the CDC on what rules they should shove down the public’s throats during a pandemic. After all, if anyone deserves union protection, to be prevented from being cheated out of recognition, it’s Moses, the screwed prophet.
The biggest point is, to everybody, no matter what faith and how you celebrate, may you be blessed by God, and may you have a blessed holy season, Chag Pesach Samayach-Happy Passover Holiday.
To help prevent anyone in the Jewish nation (all Jews) from being forced into slavery or being denied recognition, I joined the Zionist Herut Movement dedicated to protecting Israel and the Jewish people worldwide Herut is an international movement for Zionist pride and education. It is dedicated to the ideals of pre-World War II Zionist leader Ze’ev Jabotinsky. Jeff Dunetz (The Lid) is an active member and on the organization’s board. More about Herut can be found at www.HerutNA.org.Please click on this link and consider joining me in this great organization.
Moses the cheated prophet