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Forget Festivus. Thanks to a Brooklyn rabbi, now there’s a new holiday to celebrate with the “Seinfeld” gang: Passover. Giddy up!
When the Passover seder — the Jewish people’s retelling of the story of the Exodus from slavery to freedom — begins Saturday at sundown, it can feel like a marathon sitting through the entire Haggadah text that is recited during the seder meal. But Rabbi Sam Reinstein is making it a “Seinfeld” marathon with his new book, “The Haggadah About Nothing: The (Unofficial) ‘Seinfeld’ Haggadah.”
“I love the sitcom, I love Passover and I started to map out a surprising number of overlapping themes and undercurrents between the two,” Reinstein told The Post. The 31-year-old married father of three was inspired to write the book last year while watching the show on overnight shifts feeding his twin daughters, now 10 months old.
A Modern Orthodox rabbi in Crown Heights, Reinstein relates the story’s four sons and 10 plagues through the prism of the show’s characters. Junior Mints, which Kramer once accidentally dropped into a surgical theater, are the new hail, and he imagined Jerry’s version of the four questions: “What’s the deal with this night being different than all other nights?”
“Jerry is so clearly the wise son: He cares about the rules and wants to do the right thing,” Reinstein said.
“The show reveals that if you don’t change, you wind up in jail,” he added, noting the crew was locked up for being jerks in the show’s finale. “But in Exodus, if you do change, you’ll be free. Conceptually, it really is the same idea and same overall meaning. If you don’t try to move forward and evolve, then you’ll be [condemned to be] the ‘Seinfeld’ characters; if you do, you’ll be free on Passover.”
The Jewish people abstain from all manner of leavened bread (“chametz” in Hebrew) during the eight-day holiday. Reinstein’s take: “Jerry treats his girlfriends the way Jews treat chametz before Passover, by rapidly ridding himself of any relationship with a crumb of imperfection.”
Sure, George Costanza — who once said, “No way wine is better than Pepsi” — would probably grouse at the four cups of wine you must drink. But the rabbi countered that George’s preference for soda would be missing the point: The wine symbolizes redemption, just as bitter herbs serve as a reminder of the bitterness of slavery. “[Seder is] not just about having a good time and what tastes the best,” he said.
Reinstein, who heads Congregation Kol Israel in Brooklyn Heights, also compares the Israelites wandering through the desert to the “Seinfeld” gang wandering a Long Island mall to find their car.
The book, released on Amazon earlier this year, is already a hit with locals. Riverdale comedian Eli Lebowicz can’t wait to crack it open during his own seder next week.“This year is perfect for it, because many people will be doing remote, virtual seders,” said Lebowicz, 32. “You bond over your love of ‘Seinfeld.’”
As “Seinfeld” co-creator Larry David would say, “It’s pretty, pretty good.”
The wisdom of ‘The Haggadah About Nothing’
- “By reclining [as required during the meal], we can act like we are the head of the Ottomon Empire: ‘a whole empire based on putting your feet up.’”
- “This is our bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Anyone who is famished should come and eat, for we can spare a square…”
- “Take from the greens; dip it, as Joe DiMaggio does with his Dinky Donuts, into the salt water…”
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