Friday Night’s Alright for Writing #20 – Cooks, Commandments and a Confession

Say whaaaat?  I know, I haven’t done one of these in months (nearly 8 to be exact, oy) and it’s about time I get back to it.  So here goes…

Many moons ago, I volunteered to help out during the Model Seder in Maya’s class.  What’s that, you ask? It’s a mock (not as in “to ridicule,” but “to pretend”) version of the Passover Seder that will take place in many Jewish homes on Monday (and sometimes Tuesday) night.  Passover is the holiday that celebrates/remembers the Jewish exodus from Egypt and all the crappy things that happened to them there (according to …well, the recorders of the time), the one where you don’t eat anything leavened, and the one where you appreciate all the freedoms you have today.  Oh, and depending on your degree of dedication to the religion, the list of what you don’t eat and do during could be a lot longer.

I (along with 80 billion other parent volunteers…”cooks”) helped plate the traditional yummies, including matzoh, charoset, hard-boiled egg, radish, parsley, macaroons and chicken. We transported the plates to the classrooms and hung around like paparazzi afterwards, awaiting the start of the meal so we could experience the little ones conducting the Seder.  I was thrilled to be able to take the day off because a) that meant I got a break from work and 2) I actually got to participate in Maya’s daytime life for a change as opposed to just early morning and evenings.  Yes, the 80 billion was an exaggerated number, but suffice it to say, there were too many cooks and not enough executive chefs in the kitchen. There was a lot of not knowing what needed to be done next, and a ridiculous amount of counting of plates, but I wasn’t particularly bothered because it was not my show to run. It turned out fine in the end and the kids (not to mention the teachers!) did a fantastic job doing a brief, meaningful Seder even some adults have a hard time completing in less than 3 hours.

Here she is pretending to sip her Manischewitz and holding her Haggadah (the book that guides the Seder)
Sippin’ her Manischewitz and holding her Haggadah

While I don’t consider myself particularly religious, I was and still am quite happy with Maya attending a religious preschool because my values are in line with what is taught in an age-appropriate manner, and it is fostering a sense of community in her that I never felt at her age.  Her Dad’s parents make this possible, and for that I have been and will always be grateful.

Returning to what I said though about me not being particularly religious (at all, really) – I always say, if everyone just followed The Ten Commandments life would likely be more peaceful for the lot of us.  How do I know this if I’m not religious?  The answer to that is simple (and it’s also the crux of the confession I alluded to above) – Cecil B. DeMille.  I know my parents had a great role in teaching me right from wrong, and I’m not knocking that…I’m simply giving credit where credit is due…  Every year for as long as I can remember, at some point between Passover and Easter, I’ve watched The Ten Commandments. When I went away to college, and couldn’t come home for the holidays, I watched this and ate matzoh ball soup. And therein lies my confession — DeMille’s epic taught me most, if not all of what I know about the Exodus tale, and a whole lot about cheesy-looking special effects and overacting.  I love that movie so much, I actually own the 50th anniversary version on DVD.

But really, it also reminds me of the rules I wish everyone (including “religious” people of all varieties) would follow, so we could all live simply and peacefully…

Believe in a higher power…have a little faith in the good to come.

Don’t worship false idols…like $$ or Justin Bieber.

Don’t swear unnecessarily.  And while you’re at it, don’t break promises or lie.

Remember the Sabbath. Black if you’re into Ozzy, but more importantly, take care of yourself, have a rest day, and celebrate what is important to you.

Respect your parents and teachers. This might be the best one.

Don’t harm anyone physically. Be kind in your actions.

Don’t cheat on your lover.

Don’t steal, or deceive in business. Kidnapping is also a no-no.

Don’t harm a person through speech. Be kind in your words.

Don’t covet.  There’s no need to keep up with the Jones, or the flippin’ Kardashians.

During dinner tonight, after Maya sang a song to me about frogs being in Pharaoh’s underwear, I told her that we might have to watch the movie this weekend. I think she is now at the age where she might get a little kick out of it, especially the part about the plagues.

So it was written, so it shall be done…

Happy Friday and a Happy Passover to all my fellow Jews 🙂

By Joy

I'm 42, a remarried mom of an 8 year old girl and a toddler son, a teacher, and a writer. People tell me I tend to be brutally honest and ...tell it like it is, so I had hoped to use this outlet to keep me sane while I got used to my new life as a stay-at-home Mom back when I was home with my worked. And it's been therapeutic through the end of a marriage and the emergence of me...


  1. What a wonderful Ten Commandments! I have to agree – if everybody followed them, we’d ALL be better off. Cheers, Laura

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