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Haggadah: Perhaps He Is A Fool: from The Diary of A Former Slave V

The Egyptians have been outside since the Wild Beasts disappeared. They are learning how to do their own work, and they are not doing a very good job: their animals are dying. Some of them are pulling their animals into their barns.  I hear conflicting reports: A rabbi named Rashi is saying that only animals that are outside are dying. Some other rabbis, Ramban and Rabbeinu Bachya, are saying that even the animals inside are dying.


It was a little scary today. We were outside taking care of our animals when Pharaoh’s personal troops came marching into our neighborhood. The children have this magical belief in God and aren’t frightened. I’ll admit that I was terrified. These guys are monsters!

I almost fainted when they knocked at my door. “Sweetheart, you don’t have to be scared,’ said my wife, “they never knocked before. They would just barge in. Answer the door.”

I opened the door and there was this giant soldier with his helmet in his arm facing me. He looked more scared than did I!

“Excuse me sir.”

“Sir,” I wondered. One of Pharaoh’s elite troops is calling me sir?

“May we check your animals?”

“Why? None of our animals are sick.”

“None of your animals,” he asked.

“That’s right. Not a single one. You won’t find a single Jewish family that lost an animal to this disease.”

“Thank you, sir. Pharaoh is searching for a single Jewish animal that died.”


“Because he refuses to believe that God can protect you so well and that this isn’t a normal case of mad cow disease.”

“Are you telling me that the great Pharaoh is looking for a single animal to die in order to prove to himself that this isn’t a Divine plague?”

“Yes sir,” he replied with a sheepish grin. “I think he’s desperate.”

When the soldiers left, my wife remarked, “Even his own soldiers know that he is a fool. I wonder why they remain loyal.”

It was embarrassing to hear my wife describe Pharaoh as a fool. Look at how long it took me to believe in God and Moses. Was I being a fool?

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