Alternative Haggadah (Part 1)

By ManWithHat

Once upon a time, there was a kingdom called Goshen, which is now called Egypt for reasons that are unimportant. In that kingdom, there was a large immigrant population of people called Hebrews, who constituted a large portion of the blue-collar labor force, largely because prejudice from the natives prevented them from climbing higher in the nation's social circles. Apparently, a patriarch of these immigrants had been an important figure in a historic national crisis years ago, thus they were allowed to stay. After a few hundred years, though, the Egyptians got tired of the Hebrews holding history over their head and got bitter about it. So it goes.

This kingdom, however, was conquered by a tribe of Egyptian warriors from the southern regions, and a new pharaoh was installed from their bloodline, an intelligent and ruthless warrior and strategist. He didn't have the foggiest notion about Egypt's history with the Hebrews, and didn't really care. What he saw was a large population of foreigners threatening the nation's purity. The Egyptian people were highly educated and thus did not produce offspring at as high of a rate as the Hebrews, most of whom were illiterate and spoke only their native tongue. Thus, it was decided among the new Pharaoh and his advisers that, since Hebrews naturally gravitated towards manual labor, that it was to be their lot in life to be laborers, a valuable profession, as it freed the Egyptians from physical work and allowed them to become more educated and inventive, thus creating a perfect economy. To maintain the manual labor force, the Hebrews were freed from the pressures of commerce: all of their needs were seen to by the state, so there was no need for them to be paid. Everyone who was asked seemed fairly happy about this.

However, this measure did not keep the Hebrew population in check as expected; It rather had the opposite effect. Forced labor increased their numbers. The political sphere was becoming unstable. Political groups started to spring up on both sides of the fence, in alliance with the Hebrews and against them. A song called "Egyptian Minority," by the musical group Black Standard, swept the nation and was taken as a rallying cry for the anti-immigration groups, and as a satirical jab by the pro-immigration groups. The Pharaoh was vexed. He confided with his advisors again, and came up with a more final solution: all male Hebrew dependents would be drowned in the Nile river. Everyone who was asked seemed to be satisfied with this course of action. Those who didn't mysteriously disappeared and were presumed to have moved away to the northern socialist nation of Canaan.

On the day the population control measures were to be taken, the Pharaoh's only unwed daughter came to him and claimed to have found a baby floating in a basket on the river, and asked if she could keep it. The Pharaoh was somewhat suspicious as to the nature of this watery conception, but since he could not remember ever seeing her pregnant, he cautiously assumed that her story was mostly true and allowed her to take the baby boy as a royal son, a gift of the Gods. He was named Moshe, an old, archaic Egyptian name meaning "from the river." He was nicknamed "Moses," and this was the name that stuck, as "Moshe" seemed somewhat overly formal for an adopted child-turned-prince.

Moses was given every right that all the other princes were heir to under the Pharaoh. He was given a royal education in war, philosophy, mathematics, divinity, and history, though recent political events were generally glossed over. Moses proved to be an extremely capable orator, and was predicted to become a powerful politician, and had some skill as a sorcerer. He certainly had no capacity in the military, or in theology. He could barely tell the difference between Anubis and Osiris. Pharaoh certainly liked Moses, but less so than his actual offspring, as Moses bore an uncanny likeness to the working class immigrants. Pharaoh presumed himself delusional with guilt from the brash acts of genocide of his youth and said nothing.

One day, Pharaoh noticed that Moses, who had by then aged to a man, had not shown up for any meals, had not taken tea with his adopted father, nor had he gone to his classes. When he asked about the boy, people became nervous and evaded the questions. At long last, he discovered that Moses had run away, and was rumored to have killed one of the foremen on the slave management crew. Pharaoh sent out search parties into the desert for months and months, but no one could discover the whereabouts of the young prince. He had all but vanished.

Many years passed and Goshen grew exponentially. The Pharaoh had great monuments to himself erected, his people flourished and the Hebrew populations were stable. The Pharaoh aged, becoming a more mature leader; his sharp eyes becoming wise, his sharp tongue becoming graceful. His sons became great economists, businessmen, generals and statesmen. Military campaigns expanded the nation's boundaries and resources, and expanded the slave class. But his mind always returned to Moses, the runaway child, the lost potential. Pharaoh had, in happier years, considered going against the grain of tradition and passing his power to Moses, who would have been a magnificent Pharaoh, but now this was clearly impossible. Another, less-capable heir would have to be chosen, and it would probably have to be Pharaoh's first-born son Ramses, who was a great warrior but lacked a leader's charm and candor. So it goes.

It was on a beautiful spring day that news came to Pharaoh that a bearded man had come to court, seeking Pharaoh's audience, who claimed to be named Moses, and accompanied by a brother named Aaron. Pharaoh was overjoyed, but suspicious as to this "Aaron" character, whose name was clearly Hebrew in origin. Regardless, Pharaoh granted the audience, eager to find out if this was truly the lost, prodigal, adopted son.

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Alternative Haggadah (Part 1)

Created: Feb 11, 2010

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