A virus, invisible to the naked eye, ravages the planet. There is no cure. There is no vaccine. We sit at home, looking at the world through a glass darkly, hoping this is the last of the plagues, praying for it to pass over.
At our intimate Passover Seder of two, my wife and I broke a piece of masa. We quickly realized that a raw corn tortilla is even more bland than Jewish matzah. Moreover, a small box of matzah sells for over $5. A pack of 80 tortillas goes for less than $3. A true “poor man’s bread.” It was only fitting for Passover in Phoenix, Arizona, where the people who risked their lives to deliver our groceries in the midst of a pandemic — enabling us to stay in the safety of our homes — were all hispanic.
No, they are not heroes. They are victims of the unjust world we’ve created. So are the healthcare workers who are scrambling to save lives without adequate protection. So are we all, enslaved to the governments and corporations that we’ve imagined into existence. They have become our Pharaohs.
The word government comes from the Greek verb to steer. Who is steering whom here? Somehow the systems that have been designed to work for us have convinced us to work for them. They wage war on each other without our consent. They incarcerate and kill aimlessly. They hoard the money that they exclusively print. They exploit our time in exchange for the minimum healthcare that keeps us just alive enough to continue working in miserable conditions. If this isn’t the Matrix, I don’t know what is.
For some, this ninth plague of darkness will be their last. From darkness will come light. For others, death is coming. Darkness will be eternal.
As I see it, the Jews in the story of Passover are not the Chosen People. They are those who bravely chose to heed the call. We don't hear about those who stayed behind in fear; they have been lost and forgotten. History is written by the victors.
I, too, have a choice. Will I try to continue bargaining with our planet, asking it to further endure mass pollution and environmental destruction while I consume endlessly? By now I am confident which side would have the upper hand in such a negotiation. I'm open to finding a different way.
When this passes, as everything shall, will I choose the light, or will I slip back into darkness? Will I get back into my petroleum-guzzling car and spend my days sitting in one or another man-engineered compartment of space? Will I continue to pay taxes to fund endless war and the systemic exploitation of “second-class” people? Will I finally turn off the TV and write my show?
It’s time to gather those whom I love, leave the unimportant baggage behind, and embark on a new journey into the vast desert where I will be who I am.
It’s ride or die.