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Elijah’s Quarantined in This Haggadah
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Elijah’s Quarantined in This Haggadah

A novel (coronavirus) Haggadah text. Wikimedia Commons
A novel (coronavirus) Haggadah text. Wikimedia Commons

The guy who brought you last year’s “Emoji Haggadah” is tongue-in-cheeking it again this year with a novel (coronavirus) text.

Martin Bodek, a 44-year-old language aficionado and IT specialist who lives in Passaic, N.J., released his “Coronavirus Haggadah” on social media last week as a seder supplement, satiric commentary and morale booster during these days of worry (http://tinyurl.com/CoronavirusHaggadah). The virtual cover, aptly, is a scary-looking image of the virus spore itself.

“I wanted to say to people, ‘This too shall pass over,’” quips Bodek, who said he was inspired to write this Haggadah by the “five billion” disease-related memes he read in recent weeks, including some with Pesach themes. “Humor will help us get through it.”

Is a Haggadah that mocks coronavirus, on a holiday that commemorates freedom from slavery, appropriate? No one who has seen it seems offended, he says. “It seems that humor is the only outlet we have while we’re at home.”

And so, to The Wise Child’s question — “‘What are the advisable things we should be doing during the current crisis?’ — you’ll respond by instructing the child in the responsible measures of social distancing, hand-washing” and so on. Elijah at the door? A no-show. “He was ordered to quarantine with the rest of Israel’s citizens.” The “11th Plague”? Obviously, Covid-19.

Next week, the Bodek seder, often “a minyan” of family guests, will only include the five members of the immediate family. Bodek’s main Haggadah will be a facsimile of the “Sarajevo Haggadah,” which he received as a bar mitzvah gift.

But he’ll read excerpts from his new text, where it will be intoned, tongue planted firmly in cheek: “Does anyone really need to ask why this night is different from all other nights?”

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