Gershon Hepner

Counting Israel’s Miracles Beseder, with Respect

Posture is important at the seder:

every Jew who’s ever gone to cheder

knows that at the seder we must lean

towards the left, to feel just like a queen

or king, checkmating, championing our freedom.

Cushions may be used by those who need ’em

to lean, relaxed, and not sit bolt upright,

celebrating freedom all the night.

Psychologists have shown an estimate

of any size tends to be far more great

if made when leaning to the right, for when

they’re leaning to the left it seems most men

will make the estimate less big—small cooler—

since that’s where numbers you’ll find on a ruler

are smallest. Since we write from right to left

we’ll find the numbers with the greatest heft

are at the left and not the right. We lean

towards the left that night because we’re keen

to multiply the miracles HaShem

performed when at the Reed Sea, where mayhem

that sunk Egyptians seemed to be far greater

than all Ten Sanctions, plagues of the Creator,

and treated by the Pharaoh with great scorn,

except the last one, death of all firstborn.

To learn about this, we are told we must

lean to the left, a side on which we trust

the data that have been exaggerated

if they are in the Hebrew language stated—

like media’s accounts which, overrated,

midrashically too often are inflated—

while, leaning not beseder, left or right,

we argue about what our judges write,

beseder parsed “politically correct,”

rewarding views with reasonable respect.

The Hebrew word “beseder” not only denotes “in the Passover seder,” during which Jews are supposed to lean to the left, but denotes approval of actions whether the person who performs them leans politically to the left or to the right.

About the Author
Gershon Hepner is a poet who has written over 25,000 poems on subjects ranging from music to literature, politics to Torah. He grew up in England and moved to Los Angeles in 1976. Using his varied interests and experiences, he has authored dozens of papers in medical and academic journals, and authored "Legal Friction: Law, Narrative, and Identity Politics in Biblical Israel." He can be reached at