A Montrealer Seder: the Backstory

One of the funniest articles ever written was "A Montrealer Seder" by Elan Dresher, Norbert Hornstein and J. Lipa Roth.  The article deals with how the religious festival of Passover once overlapped with the secular festival of the Stanley Cup playoffs.  The article no longer describes current customs because the playoffs now occur in June, and alas, Montreal no longer towers over other teams. 

The article first appeared in Strobe, a publication of the Hillel Foundation of McGill University.  When I first found the Big Book of Jewish Humor I though "Should be fun, but they won't know about A Montrealer Seder".  I was wrong - they proved they were mavens by including it in their collection. 

However, one of the editors, Bill Novak, made a lot of changes.  The authors have responded in a very Jewish way, making both versions available.  This is not just to let you have your choice, but more importantly to uphold one of the traditions of the seder in which it is customary for different participants to have different versions of the Haggadah.  When it is your turn to read, you have no idea where you are, and you can argue over which is the correct version.

Original version (1.5 MB)
Elan Dresher, Norbert Hornstein, J. Lipa Roth,  et al. (1971) Strobe 4(2), 40–41. Montréal, Québec: McGill Hillel Students Society.

Big Book of Jewish Humor version (2.2 MB)
Elan Dresher, Norbert Hornstein, J. Lipa Roth. (1981 and 2006). In William Novak and Moshe Waldoks (eds.), The Big Book of Jewish Humor, 114–116. New York, NY: Harper & Row, 1981, and 25th anniversary edition, New York, NY: HarperCollins, 2006.

Honoring scholarly traditions, they also provide a definitive edition, with both texts in parallel columns, but departing from conventions of Talmud study, all fonts are easy to read.

Combined version (Only 38 KB, illustrating how more is less, or is it that less can be more?)


A Montrealer Seder is funny enough to make the Dry Bones haggadah seem like the warm-up act.