“Asa, pass me that brick. Listen to me. Yesterday, this man went over to Pharaoh and demanded that he let all of us Jews go off to worship our God.”
“Who vus this kind of man, a crazy Levite?”
“I don’t know Asa, but let me tell you I saw he had a long rod and he was pointing it up to da sky ven all of a sudden he put it on da ground and it turned into a serpent. Vut to do you tink of that!”
“Okay now I know you’re meshugana. Have you been getting too much sun Ben?
“I was afraid to tell you, but now I have nothing to lose. Zipporah told me that she saw him walk on water Sabbath last , and if that vusn’t enough, the man spit on mud and blind Uri could suddenly see. Hev you heard him lately? All Uri vuntz to do is sing. That Levite, the miracles, he must be sent from the Lord. Who else can do these things?”
Asa’s interest blossomed. “Vut else do you know about dis guy? Whose son?”
“From father, I do not know. I heard he vus adopted, but his mother must be a saint. A more trusting woman the world has never known. Her name may be Mary, I dunno. I heard his brother is that guy Aaron who lives by the north pasture.”
“So vut did Pharaoh say; are we leaving? Let me know now, I vill pack my bags and never come back. Vut I would give to have a day off and worship God in peace. In 350 years I haven’t been able to call one day my own. You know Ben, dat’s not the verst thing. ”
“So vut is verst den dat?”
“Heving an Egyptian vith a vip tell me vut to do morning noon and night, dat’s a bad thing, I can hate him. But Ben, how do I get away from the corruption inside my own flesh? I vunt peace in there and all I get is vurry and anger. Vun minute I vunt to steal because I am greedy, the next minute I vunt to spread rumors. Vut am I a slave to myself, a slave to sin? Could I ever be free from this inner devil?”
“ Vut can ve do, Asa. Those thoughts, they are natural; it humanity talking to you.”
“No, Ben. I don’t believe that. I vunt to be free from such thoughts more than I vunt to be free from Pharaoh’s little Arab whipping boy. God help me.”
Just as the two were diving deeper into their conversation Pallu, Reuben’s son, rushes towards Asa and Ben with sweat percolating from his temples and armpits, streaming in rivulets down his back spitting on the cats below. Pallu as if he was angel of the Lord rising over the dusty street’s horizon whispers as a shout, “Brothers, the lamb of God will die for us tonight. Be prepared for freedom, be prepared to live. Tonight.” Passing Ben and Asa, Pallu sent forth his miraculous message until he was swallowed by dust and distance.
There was a time when every household took its unblemished lamb or goat and then the whole assembled congregation of Israel slaughtered the innocent animals at twilight, together for the remission of sinfulness. Someone had to pay. God forbid that it should be the human who would die for his own crimes against God’s ways. Justice is unbearable. But that was not this night. On this night only one lamb was slaughtered and the congregation of Israel passed that lamb’s blood from household to household and dashed bloody paint over the two doorposts and the lintel of each house of Israel, God’s chosen people. As one family, together they ate the body of the lamb. This blood annihilated death.
For that night, death swept through Egypt and every first born both animal and human died, but not one child of God died, on whose doorpost was painted the blood of the lamb, not one died. Powerful blood, life blood, miraculous blood.
On that night Pharaoh, whose dead son pierced his heart, surrendered to the demands of the Levite. On that night the demons shrunk and the holy children of God were set free to march to a new country. On that night death swallowed itself and Asa’s wish came true. The shackles that bound gods to Pharaoh and sin were miraculously unlocked and the path to the Holy Land, the Promised Land that flows with milk and honey became the quest of each and every Child of God. There was just the small matter of traveling there.
This year, Great Lent begins with Passover and the Crucifixion.