Just In Time for Passover: The First Phish Haggadah

April 18, 2019
Just In Time for Passover: The First Phish Haggadah


The first night of Passover is Friday, April 19, and in celebration of the Jewish holiday, Phish fan and writer Josh Fleet has created The Geulah Papyrus: A Phish Haggadah.

As Fleet explains, “The Haggadah is one is of Judaism’s longest established ritual texts—components of the modern version have been in use for 2,000 years— and reading the Haggadah around a table with every member of your clan is one of the rare Jewish rites observed by secular and religious alike. Like the Lizards grousing for salvation from the evil usurper-king Wilson, the particular story of a nascent nation escaping the clutches of an oppressive dictator has timeless, universal relevance. We are commanded to remember our redemption (Exodus 13:3) and to tell our children of what happened (Exodus 13:8) when we were stranded for a moment on the Ocean of Osiris, how G!d wrought many wondrous miracles, split the sea and brought us to freedom, and how we sang and danced beneath a sea of stars in appreciation.

“Though the reading of the basic, traditional text found in most Haggadot fulfills this religious obligation, each new year brings a baker’s dozen of new iterations that seek to make the story meaningful for today’s generation(s). Unlike the Torah scroll, which carries the exact same text across time and continents and denominations, the Haggadah has a unique capacity to expand exponentially. The text you hold contains the traditional script for the Passover Seder (‘seder’ literally means ‘order’) in both Hebrew and English, but it views the ritual from within the framework of a Jewish Phishhead’s wildest mid-show revelation.

“Some may have noticed and questioned why the title of this Haggadah is spelled Geulah and not Guelah (like the song). This is because ‘Geulah’ (geh-oo-lah) is the more accurate transliteration for the Hebrew word גְּאֻלָּה which means means ‘salvation, redemption, freedom, release.’ According to Phish.net, the song’s namesake, who is the mother of Dave’s Energy Guide Abrahams, spells her name ‘Geulah’ (but pronounces it ‘Guelah’). And papyrus is the ancient form of paper used for writing in Egypt. Hence, the Geulah Papyrus, an expansive Phish-filled text about around redemption from the narrowest of places, from Mitzrayim, from Egypt.”

You can find the full version of The Geulah Papyrus: A Phish Haggadah available for download here. (Cover illustration provided by Dori Parker a.k.a. Dori of the Ghost, @colors_in_the_void on Instagram)

Happy Passover from your friends at Relix! Chag Sameach!

Josh Fleet is a writer and winemaker in California, whose ongoing Phish Talmud can be found on Twitter and Facebook. He welcomes any and all contributions to or questions about this project: [email protected].