The Matzah Connection

A new seder song

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Avadim Hayinu

We were slaves to King Pharaoh,
that terrible king,
and he made us do all kinds
of difficult things.
Like building a pyramid
of chocolate ice cream
when the sun was so hot
that the Nile turned to steam,
and digging a ditch
with a spade of soft cotton.
That Pharaoh was wicked
and nasty and rotten!
He made us prepare him
a big birthday cake
and buy fancy presents
for Pharaoh to take,
and he kept us awake
with a terrible noise,
but he never allowed us
to play with his toys.
It's a good thing that God
took us out of that place
and gave evil old Pharaoh
a slap in the face.
Because if he hadn't,
we'd all be in trouble,
still slaving away
in the dust and the rubble,
cleaning up the king's mess
and still folding his clothes
and arranging his torn socks
in eighty-four rows,
and balancing eggs
on the tips of our toes.
Yes, even if we were
as smart as my mother,
as wise as my best friend Dov's
four-month-old brother,
if we'd read all the books
in the public library
or watched as much TV
as old Auntie Mary--
We still should keep telling
this wonderful story
of how we got out
in a huff and a hurry.

The Four Children

To our seder last year
came a strange-looking man
with four sons:
Nasty, and
Simple, and
Now Smarty was smart--
yes, so clever and wise,
he could do the whole seder
while closing his eyes.
From beginning to end,
from the end to the start,
he recited it
over and over by heart.
In Hebrew and Hindu,
in Snufic and Roman,
from the first Ha Lachma
to the last Afikoman.
But Nasty refused
to take part in the seder.
He just sat there and smiled
with his pet alligator
as he pulled people's hair
and he poked people's eyes
and sprinkled their matzah
with beetles and flies.
What he needs is a thwack
on the back of the hands,
or a slap in the face
or a kick in the pants.
Away in the corner
sits sweet sister Simple.
Whenever she smiles
her face breaks out in dimples.
She only asks
about simple facts
like "What's a
and "Tell me how tall is a Gloogasaurus Zax?"
And Sam doesn't even
know what to say.
He just sits in his box
till the end of the day,
till his Dad packs him up
and takes him away/

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Eliezer Segal

Dr. Eliezer Segal is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Calgary. A native of Montreal, he holds a PhD in Talmud from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of Holidays, History, and Halakhah, and many of his writings can be found on his personal website.