This weekend, Easter and Pesach coincide. This gives us the welcome opportunity to compare and contrast the two festivals and come to a firm conclusion about whether Christians or Jews have the better time.
On the surface the assumption is that the Christians win hands down. They get to eat chocolate eggs whereas our eggs are hard-boiled… and have salt water over poured over them for good measure. Plus they get chocolate bunnies and we don't get any bunnies at all, even with salt water on.
Christians can eat whatever they want at Easter (although I'm guessing it's fish for supper tonight) whereas we are condemned to subsisting on perforated cardboard, otherwise known as matzah. They go on Easter-egg hunts and we go on matzah rambles - ie a walk to somewhere quite cold and possibly rainy with only perforated cardboard to eat. So Easter must be more fun than Pesach, right?
Well, hang on a minute. You see, Easter is actually not that much fun at all. For a start, Good Friday is a misnomer. All day today, Christians will be in sombre mood because this is the day commemorating Jesus's death. And their depression is more or less undiminished by the fact that they know that he will rise again on Sunday - weird, huh? We, on the other hand, are in good spirits right the way through Pesach, because we won a great victory against the Egyptians (in much the same way as the Allies won a great victory against the Germans at Dunkirk).
Also on Easter Sunday, when you would imagine Christians would be holding huge parties and giving each other presents and mince pies - after all, this is what happens when they celebrate Jesus being born for the first time - they actually spend the day going to church and coming over all reflective.
They get chocolate, we get cardboard (matzah). Still, at least we cheer up on Sunday
Plus all the shops are shut, so are the supermarkets, the kids are bored and there's nothing to do except go for a matzah ramble, which they don't do because they are Christian.
Actually, I get the impression that non-Jews never seem to know quite what to do at Easter, beyond eating too much chocolate, feeling a little queasy and dreading going back to work when it is all over.
On the other hand, Jews know exactly what we should be doing on Pesach - we sit down with our extended families to drink four glasses of tooth-rottingly sweet wine, eat perforated cardboard and hard boiled eggs, recite stuff about Rabbi Akiva, eat a Hillel sandwich (not as tasty as it sounds) and chew parsley. It may not be that much fun, but we are used to it and we even look forward to it in a strange kind of way.
Which brings me to the single greatest and most enjoyable thing about Pesach.
After eight days of subjecting your digestive system to torment, attempting to eat things without wheat in, rambling about in the rain, spending too much time with your family, leaning quite a bit, asking questions you already know the answer to and leaving glasses of wine out for some bloke who never actually turns up, you get to go back to normal - yippee.
And as you eat that first slice of toast and drink that beer it is as if you are reborn.
Just like another guy I could mention.