Good prosers, prosettes, proseters, prosaños, and prosittas, and of course, cool prosenicks, lend me your ears!
in a few days, the Jewish holiday of Passover will be upon us.
for those of you who do not know, Passover celebrates the emancipation of the Hebrew slaves from their servitude in Egypt. the opressed slaves were delivered onto freedom through acts of miracle(and great destruction ) by god, known as the 10 calamities. I am no serious follower of any faith, but I find that Passover and the exodus and subsequent events it entails are very interesting .
one of the family traditions of the holiday, is to tell the story of these events, and try to find similarities between it and current events. you may think it absurd that every year we 'succeed' in finding a parallel, but the events of the past two years are disturbingly similar.
last year, being in quaranteen in the city of Wuhan, i posted a commentary about the exodus of Egypt. as i mentioned, much of the happenings of that year, mirrored what was going on in the story. there was great confusion and pain, a leader of men who sees no reason, and listens only to his very falliable intellect and caprice. of course , there were the great blows that god had dealt the Egyptians, which were suffered by good and evil alike, much like the calamities we all had to suffer through.
of course the fact that i was trapped at the time, physically unable to even leave my small neighborhood had much in resemblance to that ancient story, or so i felt at least.
(if you would like to read further into that article, here is the address : https://theprose.com/post/346306/the-final-days-of-the-wuhan-quarantine-and-passover)
this year, I would like to pick at this story again. for though much has changed, our current condition still mirrors much of that great epoch.
You see, after the ancient slaves were freed, and the chriots of pharoah and his minions found their end at the depths of "the sea of reeds" (or as later translators mistakenly write : the red sea) ,
they found themselves in a new , hostile environment: the desert. it was a very alien
world for them. contrary to popular belief, Egypt is far from being merely a desert land, but rather has fertile valleys, and green fields, feeding off of the innundations of the great river Nile.
the slaves who were freed, were unfamiliar with living in these harsh conditions and looked to Moses and the tribal elders for guidance , leadership and above all else - a direction. they cried in despair as the hardships mounted. some even pleaded to be allowed to go back to the "flesh pots" of captivity .
" where are the vegetables we were used to?"
" the service here is terrible! why do we have to stand in line?"
"you know what, you guys? with all the persecution and oppression that was going on, things were pretty sweet back in the land of Goshen! "
"i know my rights! if i want to waste the water on a half-hour shower, it's none of your business! and don't tell me that there's not enough water to go around! FREEDOME!!"
and so on..
could you concieve of such a mess? we truly are lucky there's nothing like that today..
Moses pleaded with god for relief, he preyed and asked for guidance, He even offered to resign in frustration. he faced the harsh criticism that was ungratefully cast upon him. his efforts were not appreciated and perhaps sabotaged even by the 'Make Pyramids Great Again' faction, who still endlessly griped over those fleshpots they recalled so well. the sea of reeds, or better yet, "the sea of reads" was a divide for them separating the past with the present, geographically and symbolically or in today's climate: nostalgia versus facts and learning.
despite all these emotional hurdles and the actual hardship facing them all, they kept going, in their path through the Sinai desert, they had to face hunger, thirst, hostile natives, disease, and surly sun strokes and blistered skin on occasion.
much of what was needed was provided for the people. Mannah was provided to all who needed food, water was handed out of sheer rock. a logistical miracle, that still left everyone complaining that the food was too mealy, or the water had a slight aftertaste.
oh and and riots and brawls and fewds were rampant.
it took them all 40 years of wandering in the sands to reach the land that was promised them.
now, a question; why is it that it took them so long?! google the distance between the Nile river and across the Sinai desert to what is today the state of Israel. you will see, that they covered a distance of around 300 miles in forty years. I am no mathemarician, but it seems they travelled less than ten miles in each year?!
what a slow bunch they were! couldn't they have picked up the pace just a bit?! didn't they have a proper incentive to get a move on? it's as if they enjoyed this misery!
maybe someone at the top had an angle in the great tent or used camel business?
of course the answer to that is easy; the great length of time it took for the crossing , is the resault of "wandering" rather then "traveling". the freed slaves walked for years, making far better nomads than i had indicated previously. they just failed to walk in a straight line!
no, this is no question of Euclidean geometry, nor was it a preposterous error in navigation . indeed, resembling our own times, Moses by the time of the exodus, was no stranger to the desert, having traveled its paths in his youth.
no. there was no mistake in negotiating the terrain, it was all about the need for remaking the people. the people who left Egypt were torn between a sugar-coated memory and a hard uncertain future. their values were all wrong, they failed in many occasions to have a vision of how thing should be.
as that no man, even the greatest of leaders, can inspire everyone of the collective indefinitely, there were many terrible setbacks and relapses. it took much time and many travails until they reached their journey's end.
most of all, the former slave's values, were so warped, both by their lives as slaves, and later, by the expectation that they would be miraculously delivered to safety and taken care of, that they needed to have the ten commandments spelling out to them how things should be . a constitutional amendment to abolish the past within their hearts and move on.
do you need to have a written document, telling you it is wrong to steal? or bare false witness?
isn't that, something in later days, people called 'self evident?' it is because it can't be otherwise?
or was it the extremes of the times that caused everyone to lise their minds?
truly, so corrupted were they, by their experiences, that even as the new code of right and wrong was being delivered into the hands of Moses, the nomads, were making idols and golden calves!
or maybe they were having a massive going out of business party ..
by this time, dear friends, you might ask what is the point? why bother finding correlation between the past and our epic present? you may even say that these similarities are an illusion, that i am forcing things down , picking and choosing facts...
but here we are. mask mandates, vaccines, trump finally cast down from his perch on the branch, and tweets no more. things are starting to come around.
but are they?
Did we learn anything from this last year?
have we changed our ways, did we embrace a vision of a future rather than a sacchrine past, or a poisoned present?
Are we destined to wander aimlessly through privations and troubles that are intrinsically our own fault?
Will it take us forty years, till we start having focus?
will we eat too much, while others starve?
will we waste our breath screaming, when we could do better and listen?
will we do things rather than talk of doing things and expect that we did our part?
only time will tell.
I will close with wishing you all a happy holiday. be safe, healthy and strong, and keep wearing those masks!