Passover Free Verse

04/13/2015 - 9:30am
The complete story of Passover told in an Emily Dickinson-style poem.

Courtesy of Maya Sasson.

 

Sing this at the seder table to the tune of the “Gilligan’s Island” theme song for maximum effect.

Sit down my friends and listen close
and I will tell a tale —
of people bound in slavery —
and then how they prevailed

despite the hard and painful work
they didn’t lose their trust —
that one day the creator God
would lift them from the dust

In Pharaoh's eyes he could not fall —
his kingdom, much too strong —
but then the stars betrayed him when
they said that he was wrong

One day a baby boy will come —
and with him liberty
for all the Jews who worked for him —
and were his property

Afraid, he made a daunting law —
that every baby boy
will drown as soon as he is born —
but then failed in his ploy

In one small house — a Jewish one
a boy conceived and born
lit up their home with glowing light —
his parents felt forlorn

They knew that he could not be raised
by their own family —
and so they set him in a boat
adrift beyond the reeds

He traveled there for sev'ral days
till Batya stretched her hand —
and took the baby boy ashore
and on to noble land

As son of Pharoh’s daughter he's
considered royalty —
he sees the Jews are working hard
and wants them to be free

He traveled down to watch the slaves
and something sparked his wrath —
he saw Egyptian beating Jew
and so began his path

He said the holy name of God —
the whipper fell down dead —
he knew he couldn't stay and live
and so he turned and fled

We made his way to Midyan where
he found some scary guys —
were chasing Yitro’s daughters so
he shooed them off like flies

Then Yitro was so grateful he
invited him to eat —
and gave his eldest daughter so
their bond could be complete

Moshe stayed for quite some time
and had two baby sons —
he watched the sheep until the day
he met the Holy One

He saw a bush that glowed with flames
and yet it did not burn —
as he approached he heard God’s voice
who told him to return

“Go back to Egypt,” said the voice
In no uncertain tone —
“and tell the Pharaoh let them go
or step down from the throne”

“They won't believe me” Moshe said
“how will they know it’s true?”
“I'll give three signs” was God's reply —
“and then I will pull through”

So Moshe gathered up his wife
and two beloved boys —
and made his way to Egypt where
the Jews had been "employed"

He went to Pharoh staff in hand
said, "Let my people go!"
but really he was not surprised
when answered with a “no”

As God had promised earlier
he hardened Pharaoh’s heart
and when refused Hashem decreed
to tear the land apart

At first he turned the water red
to vile flowing blood —
the fish all died and raised a stench
and tasted worse than mud

Then came the frogs incessant croak
and jumping slimy skin —
you couldn't open up your mouth
because they'd jump right in

The lice then came, a fearsome swarm
of buzzing- biting- bugs
who made their homes in human hair
and couches, chairs and rugs

Then after that came wild beasts
whose manners weren't the best —
they trampled everything they saw
devoured all the rest

And when the animals had left
the plagues had not yet stopped —
domestic beasts of non-Jews died
abandoning the crops

Then Moshe took a bit of ash
and threw it in the air —
upon contact with natives’ skin
'twas boils everywhere

And when it could not get much worse
it surely did — Surprise!
a hail unlike another fell
with fire hid inside

So when the fields were close to dead
to make sure it was done —
God sent a swarm of locusts down
who ate 'till there was none

Then darkness covered all the land
so no one could have seen —
as God killed the unfaithful Jews
so their slate could be wiped clean

Moshe then told every Jew
to slaughter a young lamb
and spread its blood upon the door
as part of God's good plan

So when the angel Gabriel
swept through the land of slaves —
he killed all of the first born boys
except the Jews he saved

The plagues were done, and Pharaoh beat,
had begged the Jews to run —
but when they did he changed his mind
our story is not done

The Jews had reached the Red Sea's shore
And almost lost all heart —
till God performed a miracle
and split the sea apart

'Twas as they crossed the king caught up
astride his kingly steed —
and when they were about halfway
it was as God decreed

The waters then came crashing down
upon the Pharaoh’s head —
so he and all his army sunk
and drowned till they were dead

The Jews saw that they had survived
and so they sang a song —
of praise and thanks to God above
who had not done them wrong

They turned around and with good cheer
bid Egypt a goodbye —
and so began the lengthy trip
to get to Har Sinai

Twas only after 40 years
of trekking through the sand
they reached the land of Abraham
because of God’s strong hand

From miracle to miracle
Hashem has pulled us through —
and every year we celebrate
the fact that we are Jews

And every father tells his son
this story so he'll see —
that God took us from deepest depths
of bitter slavery

And brought us to his Promised Land
where we could live in peace —
where nations could not hurt us and
the violence fin’lly ceased

The Pesach story tells of love —
the glory of our King —
who makes it so we can break out
and freedom bells can ring

author's bio: 
Dovid Yehoshua Samuels is a junior at Cooper Yeshiva High School for Boys in Memphis.  Maya Sasson is a senior at Rae Kushner Yeshiva High School in Livingston, N.J.