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Rose Cohen, "Passover Service"

Passover Service

Rose Cohen

While traveling in foreign parts

Avoiding arrows dodging darts

And guided by some ancient charts

I bought from an Arab

I came across a manuscript

Half buried in a dusty crypt

Called exodus from old Egypt

Inscribed on a scarab

As I remember it the Jews

Built pyramids and sang the blues

So Pharaohs could forever snooze

Above the baking sand

Egyptian lords embalmed in spice

Lay in eternal Paradise

While Jews their lives a living sacrifice

Slaved in a foreign land

And one was born named tongue-tied Moses

One chosen by the God of the long noses

To free his people from the rubber hoses

The Pharaoh's men would wield.

By trick of fate he chanced to be

Raised in Egyptian luxury

Brought up within the Pharaoh's family

And one day God revealed…

But let's all drink a toast to Moses

To the God of the long noses

And one day God revealed his plan

To free His people from the Man

And thus to Moses he began:

“Early tomorrow morn

Rise up and go to Pharaoh's door

Take brother Aaron as your orator

Say let my people go we slave no more”

And deep as a French horn

God's mighty voice in anger boomed

God who appeared that day costumed

As bush that would not be consumed

Although it burned in flame

So Moses eighty years of age

Stepped up upon the Pharaoh's stage

To free his people from their prison cage

He called upon God's name

And gave his staff a little shake

And hurled it down as it would break

And lo it turned into a snake

Then Pharaoh gave a sign

And his magicians threw their rods

Which turned to snakes in writhing squads

But Moses' snake ate all the other bods

On each one did it dine

Let's drink to slavery's abolition

To Pharaoh's mummy's slow decomposition

But Pharaoh would not let them go

And thus the Lord spake unto Mo:

“Stretch out thine hand you and your bro

And wherever waters flow

They will be turned to blood” and lo

It came to pass exactly so

Before the peoples' eyes, before Pharaoh

And still his word was No

And so the Lord sent frogs, then lice

Then flies, then cattle paid the price

All of them dead to be precise

Then boils on everyone

Then hail, then locusts filled the air

But still the Pharaoh didn't care

He'd say “Go free” caught up in his despair

Then when a plague was done

He'd change his mind insist they stay

Then God sent darkness every day

So thick Egyptians felt it weigh

Upon their every breath

Until the Pharaoh cried: “Go free

But leave your herds right here with me”

“We need our herds” “Then stay in slavery

And it will be your death…”

Let's drink to innocent Egyptians

To God who caused Pharaoh conniptions

“If once again you see my face

On that day shall your death take place

You'll disappear without a trace”

And then the Lord dealt out

Of all His punishments the worst

The land of Egypt was accursed

It came to pass that night he killed the first

Born and a tremendous shout

A shout throughout the land a cry

Went up from every mouth unto the sky

Because in every house at least one did die

Except among the Jews

For God had given strict instruction

On how they could avoid destruction

And more important than mere reproduction

He said they must forever fuse

The image of this holy day

Upon their souls and never stray

In the least detail from this holy way

For God said: “Kill a lamb

And smear its blood upon the door

Tonight when I do what I swore

And smite Egyptian first born by the score

I God of Abraham…”

We must drink up for Abraham

To the blood of the sacrificial lamb

To the God of those who eat no ham

“I shall Passover the marks of red

While filling Egyptian homes with dead

This night eat ye unleavened bread

And ye must eat in haste

There is no time for dough to rise

Eat bitter herbs to symbolize

The pain of bondage and to memorize

Forever slavery's taste”

And Pharaoh called for Moses in the middle of the night

“Begone with all your people thou accursed Israelite”

And so six hundred thousand folk on foot began their flight

And then the manuscript

Went on: “And this day shall be unto you for a memorial”

Spake God unto His children God the incorporeal

“And ye shall keep it as a feast for time immemorial

How I brought you out of Egypt

And went before to lead the way

By night a flaming pillar, a ray

In a pillar of cloud I led by day

I led you in my glory

Remember how I divided the sea

Gave you water from stone, from the sky toast and tea

Gave you a commandment on adultery

But all that's another story”

Now eat we this unleavened bread

With bitter herbs as the Lord said

And drink to God the fountainhead

That's why we celebrate the miracle

Of Passover it's just empirical

And sometimes the Lord likes to hear it told lyrical

So remember

The Lord of Hosts lays down some heavy shit

And He insists that all ye mortals hearken unto it.