True confession: I did not go to a Passover seder last night. In typical Jewish fashion, I felt guilty about skipping this important annual ritual feast. But we did mark the night as different from all other nights.
Instead, my mother and I resurrected an old favorite tradition from when I was a kid. We watched The Ten Commandments, the story of the exodus from Egypt. The old school version, featuring the epic Charlton Heston, used to play on TV each year around this time and we would faithfully watch as part of our Passover observance. For weeks after, I’d often parrot the line made famous by Yul Brynner as Pharoah Ramses: “So it shall be written, so it shall be done.” (What can I say? I was a strange kid.)
Since the 1956 version was not readily available on Netflix Instant, Redbox or Blockbuster, we went with the more updated Ten Commandments TV Miniseries. Though I’m not sure this was what G-d had in mind for how we celebrate the redemption of our people, the movie version proved to be excellently executed. The lessons were clear, the actors captured the tumultuous emotions and arguments with G-d and the miracles seemed supernatural yet somehow realistic at once.
When the almost-three-hour-long movie was over, we experienced a similar feeling to the one you get once you’re done retelling the exodus story duing the Passover seder. At that moment, we decided to incorporate watching this version as one of the two seder nights going forward (Jews in Israel only have one seder, but in the diaspora we have two).
So it shall be written, so it shall be done.