Moshe tells Pharaoh that
The Jewish people are commanded to take a sheep on the 10th of the month and guard it until the 14th. The sheep is then to be slaughtered as a Pesach offering, its blood put on their door-posts, and its roasted meat eaten. The blood on the door-post will be a sign that their homes will be passed-over when
I can attest that the following is a true story.
Before returning to New York City after his post-high school tour, “Reuven,” or “Robert” as he was then called, decided he would like to honor his Judaism and visit the Western Wall in Jerusalem. He picked as his caravanserai the Intercontinental Hotel on the Mount of Olives. He didn’t realize that the Intercontinental was built on a graveyard, and not just any graveyard. The Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives is the most ancient and most important Jewish cemetery in Jerusalem. Burial on the Mount of Olives started some 3,000 years ago in the First Temple Period, and continues to this day.
On the eve of Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 there were about 60,000 graves on the Mount of Olives. During the 19 years of Jordanian rule in eastern Jerusalem, roads were paved through the cemeteries, causing bones to be scattered, and tombstones were used as paving stones for roads in the Jordanian Army camp in Azariya, where an entire telephone booth was built out of tombstones. Jewish tombstones were also used as flooring in the latrines. Some of these graves were a thousand years old. A gas station and other buildings, including Robert’s choice of lodging, the Intercontinental Hotel, were erected on top of the Mount. After the site was retaken by the Israeli army in 1967, about 38,000 smashed or damaged tombstones were counted.
On his first night at the Intercontinental, Robert thought he might sample some of the much-celebrated cuisine at the hotel’s gourmet restaurant. He browsed the menu and selected the “well-aged” steak with champignons and chips a la star anise, flavored with cloves, nutmeg and mulled wine. “Mmm! Delicious!” he thought to himself.
The main course was served with all the false obsequiousness that only a waiter in an over-priced eatery can muster. “Enjoy your steak, dear sir!” Robert cut into his steak and out crawled a very alive worm.
Many years later, Robert, or Reuven as he was now called, reflected on the fact that dining on the graves of his grandfathers deserved a message that one day he would be steak for a worm.
“…My signs that I placed among them – that you may know I am
§ Sources: Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs