Thursday, March 23, 2017

Scarlett Johansson in Albuquerque!

Pesachshpiel @ Congregation Albert: Not nearly as well known as the Purimshpiel, the Pesachshpiel is a "newish" tradition among the Carbondale (kar-BUN-deh-leh) Hassidim.

(The Carbondales, who observe Shabbes on Tuesday and wear miners' helmets instead of shtreimels, are not nearly as well known as the Lubavitchers. Why do they do that? To honor the Carbondale Rebbe! It's a long story.)

Congregation Albert has just announced plans to bring the Pesachshpiel tradition to the Duke City, filling the gap created when Placido Domingo, apparently having a "senior moment," signed a contract to conduct the Pesach sedarim this year at Congregation B'nai Israel of Vallejo - not Albuquerque.

And guess who is going to star?

Yes! Scarlett Johansson (a nice Jewish girl), about whom Abq Jew last wrote (see Scarlett and the Three Sylvesters) in December 2015. Oy! It's been too long!

OK. So if you check your Passover Haggadah, it probably doesn't indicate when the Pesachshpiel is supposed to happen. But the Carbondale Haggadah - A Coal Miner's Midnight Lament - does.

It's right after the Afikoman is found.
Just when seder-goers have begun to hope that they will get to go home soon.

Now, a word about this year's Pesachshpiel, Bridegroom of Blood.

The title is taken from one of the most mysterious passages in the Torah - which appears in Parshat Shemot (Exodus 4:24–26). You can look it up. Or read this -

 ויהי בדרך במלון ויפגשהו ה' ויבקש המיתו׃
 ותקח צפרה צר ותכרת את־ערלת בנה ותגע לרגליו
ותאמר כי חתן־דמים אתה לי׃
וירף ממנו אז אמרה חתן דמים למולת׃ 

Moses's Journey into Egypt and the Circumcision of His Son Eliez by Pietro Perugino, c. 1482

So here is the story: Moses and Zipporah and their two sons, Gershom and Eliezer, were on their way from Midian to Egypt. Moses was in a hurry to announce the Top Ten Plagues, after which they were all going to head for Reuben's Kosher Chinese to celebrate.

They stopped off for the night at the Sands Hotel, and the LORD tried to kill [him]. But Zipporah took a flint and cut off her son's foreskin, and touched [his] feet with it, and said, "Truly [you] are a bridegroom of blood to me!" So [he] fled from [him]. Then she said,

"A Bridegroom of Blood by circumcision."

The standard interpretation of the passage is that God wanted to kill Moses for neglecting the rite of circumcision of his son. Zipporah averts disaster by reacting quickly and hastily performing the rite, thus saving her husband from God's anger.

But the standard interpretation is by no means the only one. All those hes, hims, hises and yous. Who is talking? To whom? And which son got brised?

What can we learn from this?

Congregation Albert's own Rabbi Harry Rosenfeld will be playing the part of Moses the Lawgiver. The parts of Gershom and Eliezer haven't been given out yet.

Which is entirely understandable.
Abq Jew himself has played those parts, and he couldn't walk for a year!

Zipporah, of course, will be played by the inimitable Scarlett Johansson. Who seems to be comfortable with knives, as she (apparently) showed in the 2014 film Lucy.

And who we (well, Abq Jew) last saw in Saturday Night Live's advertisement for Complicit, Ivanka Trump's new scent.

So Abq Jew must tell you (he must! he must!)

No comments: