The Long and Winding Road…that leads to Canaan

I’ve got a plan. And I need your help.

I love the seder. Note the use of the singular. I love one seder. Two? It’s a bit much for me. If you ask me, there’s a good reason that wasn’t part of the original blueprint for this holiday. (A second seder is a relatively late Rabbinic prescription for life in the diaspora.) But, I don’t live in Israel, and I’m not a Reform Jew, so two seders it is.

Usually the major differences between our first night seder and our second night seder are the menus and the guests. This year we’re trying something else. Inspired by a very musical shabbat dinner, when we sat up half the night (well, until, like 11) drinking wine and singing Beatles songs, I’ve decided to host a Beatles seder. What will this look like, exactly? I’m not quite sure. We’ll include the major have-to’s – you know, the four cups of wine, maror, karpas, etcetera…the fun stuff. We’ll certainly give Zoe a second shot at the mah-nishtana. But are we going to parse out every single syllable of “My father was a wandering Aramean?” Not so much.


This year, instead of quoting Rabbi José (ok, Yosi. Whatever.) and Rabbi Eliezer, we are going to make midrash out of Rabbis Paul and John. (And maybe Rabbi George. But probably not Rabbi Ringo.) I’ve had some great suggestions via Facebook – “It’s Been a Hard Day’s Night” and “I’m So Tired” representing the slaves’ toil, and “Revolution” for the Exodus. I’m hoping you, dear readers, will have some more suggestions.

Yes, I understand that this seder strays pretty far from tradition. I get that it’s not what the Rabbis had in mind, and I know that for some readers this is a terrible idea. But, I’m comfortable with a non-traditional second seder. I’m looking for suggestions of Beatles songs, not suggestions for how to be a more halachic Jew, please.


My favorite thing about this idea? On the first night, we go out of our way to make the seder fun for the kids. This year, on the second night, we are going out of our way to make it fun for the grown-ups. And when the kids see us having so much fun, I know they’ll have fun too, even if they don’t know that many Beatles songs. Yet.

Please post your suggestions as a comment. I can’t wait to read your ideas!

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posted April 7, 2011 at 8:44 am

I LOVE this idea and wish I could come, too! I’ll see if I have any inspiration.

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akiva dejack

posted April 7, 2011 at 11:24 am

its akiva dejack from ashland–if you don’t remember me, you must remember my beautiful boy, eli! i’m in the greater philly region now and have been reading your blog for more than a year. my wife and i regularly use beatles (and other, much worse) melodies for bruchas, and i love your beatles themed seder. if i have any suggestions, i’ll post. you’re probably not interested in my wife’s favorite minhag of doing the birkat hamazon to lady gaga’s bad romance…
have a great pesach, akiva and dassi

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posted April 7, 2011 at 12:57 pm

I’m not sure whether you’re singing the songs straight up or changing the words slightly… Let it Be could work if you’re changing words. otherwise I’ve got nothing, but I’d love to see what else you come up with.

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posted April 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Ooh, Ooh, I want to come!!!

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posted April 7, 2011 at 3:26 pm

We just met at the conference-you were very kind to me during Shachrit. I have a Seder songbook edited by Rabbi Barry Dov Lerner which has many different rewritten seder tunes from Gilligan’s Island to traditional. It includes “Eight Days A Year,” “Help,” “Yesterday,” “Ticket to Ride,” “King Pharoah’s Empty City Band,” and “Moses is the Guy We’ll Follow,” (tune of Lucy in the Sky) If you can’t find them on the internet, let me know and I will scan and send them.
Best regards,

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posted April 7, 2011 at 3:31 pm

Ok, obviously, they can cross Yam Suf in a Yellow Submarine. Octopus’ Garden also fits.

“I’ll follow the Sun,” a great song on leaving, or “Ticket to Ride.”

“Help!” for the Israelites “crying out” to HaShem.

“We can work it out” is a great response from Pharaoh, nu?
Or, “Hello, Goodbye”

“With a Little Help from My Friends” – after all, you can’t start a revolt all by yourself, right?

“Lady Madonna,” on the condition of the enslaved Israelites. OK, this is getting weird – clearly the Beatles had the Exodus as an operating motif. :)

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posted April 7, 2011 at 3:33 pm

And of course, Mean Mr. Mustard is the pharaoh.

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posted April 7, 2011 at 4:26 pm

‘Carry that Weight,’ for Arami Oved, ‘Get Back’ to where you once belonged as the promise to return, Hey Jude (esp if it becomes “Hey Jew” and “Remember to let God into your heart” (unless that’s a little too Goddy for ya).

Oh, and of course, “The Taxman”! You know our enslavement started out as a labor tax, and then became a permanent forced labor.

OK, I really have to stop now, this is way too much fun.

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posted April 7, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Well, I managed to put off scrubbing the fridge for another 1/2 hour. Better go to it. :)

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Daphne Steinberg

posted April 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

Wow! You’re really inspired, Tzipporah! Lemme see if I can add to the mix…
For the Exodus: “All Together Now” and/or “Come Together”
For the Exodus: “Magical Mystery Tour”
Wandering in the desert: “Nowhere Man”
Before the 10 plagues: “Listen” (Do You Wanna Know a Secret)
Before the 10 Plagues: “From Me to You”
Before the 10 Plagues: (from Pharaoh’s perspective) “Yesterday”
Round about Dayenu: “Getting Better”

Sounds like a great time, Amy. Hope you’ll share how it went afterward! To all, Zeisen Pesach!

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Joseph C Moore, USN Ret

posted April 12, 2011 at 11:09 am

I am disgusted!

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posted April 12, 2011 at 6:53 pm

Why NOT Rabbi Ringo? His family is rumored to be Jewish, unlike those of the other three Beatles.

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posted April 19, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Oh yeah yeah yeah, the Fab Four must have been inspired by the Torah. Don’t forget Moishe at the burning bush when he learned, ‘He Loves You.’ Love the blog and the ideas it inspired in the responses.

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posted April 20, 2011 at 9:41 pm

Where exactly would “I wanna hold your hand” fit into this Beatle seder?

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