April 15, 2024
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April 15, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

We are living in a golden age of Pesach products — an age where there are products that our grandparents never would have dreamed of. Especially our grandparents in Mitzrayim. I’m sure they were like, “If only there was a towel that we could use for Urchatz. All the towels we usually use for washing have ‘al netilas yadayim’ written on them, but for Urchatz, we don’t say, al netilas yadayim. What do we do?”

I don’t know. You have 85 towels in your house that don’t say al netilas yadayim. But no, nowadays they make a special towel for Urchatz, and it has to say “Urchatz” because what else could it say?

What they should sell instead: A towel for cleaning up wine spills on the Seder table that says something like “Shefoch Chamascha Al Hagoyim.”

And then, of course, there are the Bedikas Chometz kits with 10 pieces of bread. I think that’s silly, but that could just be a generational thing. I bet in the old days, our grandparents thought it was ridiculous that we had a set that had a feather, a candle and a spoon. They were like, “You don’t have any spoons in the house? Or candles? Or feathers?” Nowadays, we actually don’t have feathers, because we no longer have chickens. The yeshivas can’t very well send out packages that just contain a feather.

But now they’re saying, “You know what we’re missing? The bread!” So that if someone forgets to use their kit, they have chametz in their house over Pesach. Or, if a yeshiva sends them out late, half of them could get to people’s houses on Pesach. This sounds like a humorous, low-key terrorist plot for a children’s story tapes.

What they should sell instead: A biur chametz kit, featuring an old lulav.

There are also a bunch of products out there designed to make our Seder more fun. I don’t know what’s supposed to make all the other meals fun. I could definitely use something for leftover night.

When I was a kid, the fun of the Seder came from visiting relatives, staying up hours later than your bedtime, the afikoman situation, the faces everyone else makes during maror, and licking our pinkies after the makkot. But nowadays, they’re trying to convince us that the Seder has to be fun, because Maggid is long. I’ve got news for you: Maggid is only long because of the kids. We’re trying to tell them a story, and they keep interrupting with things their rebbe told them.

“Why does your rebbe keep taking my mitzvah? Let him get his own kids.”

But every single one of the “fun” items they sell focuses on the makkot, which, to be honest, is not the longest part of the Seder. It takes 10 seconds, every Haggadah has pictures, and we get to splash around in the wine with our hands. And our parents can’t say anything!

Also, the makkot, as they were happening, were not actually fun for everybody. I mean, we’re spilling out wine to show that we’re not so happy about this part. But bring out the toys! So for example, you can buy a basket of plagues to show your kids what a blast the makkot were back then. And to spend a half hour on 10 words of the Haggadah.

And then there are all the Pesach products that specifically feature frogs. Just the one makkah. You would think the main point of Pesach is frogs. We worked for 210 years, people died, but for one week there, there were frogs. And these frogs were disgusting and loud. They weren’t cute and smiley with little crowns, or the Egyptians would have been like, “Awwwwwww …” Cute smiley frogs? That’s a makkah? In fact, if you’re looking for a cute animal mascot to represent Pesach, I think sheep had more of a role in the story. And they went in the ovens too!

What they should sell instead: We can have more realistic depictions of the makot that are not whimsical toys: Dam — before Yom Tov, add a red pigment to your house’s water supply. Tzefardeya —I think you can actually order a box of frogs. Biology teachers do. Kinim — lice from your kids’ school. Arov — just casually mention during Maggid that there’s a loose pet in the house. Preferably some kind of rodent or snake. Dever — find some roadkill and leave it lying around outside the house. Shechin — when preparing your menu, play it fast and loose with the allergies of the people at the table. Barad — Barad shaped ice cubes! With jalapenos in them. Arbeh — you can order these too. Choshech — set a timer for the lights to go out halfway through the Seder. Good luck looking for the afikoman! Makat Bechorot — give your oldest son malkos. You might not know what he did to deserve it, but he does.

But one of the most ridiculous things I’ve seen was a T-shirt that says, “Karpas diem.”

It’s a pun; get it? Because carpe diem! Okay, it’s not even a pun. Puns have double meanings. This does not. “Carpe diem” means “seize the day.” So what does “Karpas diem” mean? “Seize the vegetable?” No, because diem doesn’t mean seize, it means day. “Vegetable the day?” “Vegetable day?!” Do you eat vegetables only one day a year so that you’re so excited that it’s vegetable day?

Also, it’s night. I feel like the Haggadah is very clear about this.

What they should sell instead: Why not a T-shirt that says nothing for Urchatz? Or maybe some other ridiculous puns that make no sense such as: “Kadesh d’rabbonon”—“Korech v’chal adaso”—“YOLO v’yavo!”— And some kind of mother-in-law joke about Shefoch Chamascha al Hagoyim.

So what products do you think should exist for Pesach? Write in, so I have something to write about next year. Vegetables the day!


Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published eight books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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