Before Passover

Before Passover

by: Talia Goldberg, Community Shlicha


There is so much to do before Passover arrives. There are the Federation events that still have details to complete, spring cleaning my apartment, and trying to eat all of my chamez. But I still want to find time for myself to re-watch the Prince of Egypt movie. This movie is one of my favorites! I truly don't know why it's considered a kid’s movie. I think there's a lot of interesting messages that the movie gives its audience to think about. Everytime I watch it I see new aspects of the story of Passover, and it truly puts me in “Haggadah mode.”

So now I'm sure you’re asking yourself, “what is Haggadah mode?” Well, it's the Jewish way of asking yourself “ma nishtana?” - meaning, what has changed. How many movies or books can you watch or read over and over again where your perspective changes?

For me, that's what's so interesting about the holiday of Passover. Every year, we read the same text, but yet, we change, so something about this text changes us. Things and experiences that happen to us make us take a look at the written words and see a change.

So, where am I going with all of this talk of Haggadah mode and change? I think mainly to share with you the new thoughts I had after watching Prince of Egypt this year.

1. Ofra Chaza has the most beautiful voice - I do think that every year but somehow I forget from one Passover to the next.

2. I never realized how the writers tried to insert more than one perspective into this movie; the sympathy also for Pharaoh, and the sympathy for the Jewish people, because every good story has two sides.

3. This movie tests my memory of the Bible. As I was watching Prince of Egypt this year with a friend, she kept asking me about the characters and what was happening. I realized as I was answering that my responses were from school and not specifically the movie.

4. We all have an “Egypt” we want to escape. I remember someone reading a poem about this to me once. That kind of “Egypt” is different for everyone.

5. Slavery. I never realized how directly this movie speaks out against slavery, with hints to modern slavery in the US. In the past, I just thought the movie simply focused on the Jewish story of Passover but this year I noticed the comparison to slavery in the US. Maybe an extra year spent in the US has given me some new perspective?


My dad says rituals are good for you. My way of listening to him is to re-watch the Prince of Egypt every year right before Passover. I highly recommend it! And feel free to share with me any rituals or customs you do every year before Passover that make you re-look at familiar words and see something new.