Crimestoppers: Easter egg edition

One of Britain’s most lovable traditions is our annual moral panic over Easter eggs. Whether it’s a made-up rumour about the word ‘Easter’ being dropped from packaging or, er, a story about how the word ‘Easter’ isn’t being dropped from packaging, it’s a springtime staple.

This year has been no exception, with police apparently warning retailers that Easter eggs are “not essential” and thus potentially contraband under the new coronavirus lockdown regulations. How this principle can possibly be applied sensibly is another question…

“So you say you were out of the house to buy ‘vegetables’ for your dinner?”
“That is correct.”
“Come, come, Mr Smith. You could quite easily buy vegetables from the Tesco Metro 15 yards closer to your flat.”
“But I was going for the special offer at Asda…”
“Aha! I never told you there was a special offer at Asda! Convicted by your own words. No further questions, m’lud.”

“Why were you on the High Street on the morning of the 29th?”
“I needed some Pringles.”
“You needed some Pringles, did you, Mr Jones?”
“Well… yes.”
“You seriously expect this court to believe that you, a man with a body-mass index of 26.83, winner of three consecutive ‘Heaviest Man in Godalming’ Awards, considered Pringles an essential purchase?”

“I was making my way down Golders Green Road when I saw the defendant purchasing a box of eggs. I asked him why he was out of the house.”
“And what was his response, officer?”
“He said, ‘I’m buying eggs.'”
“And what did you do next?”
“I asked him why he needed eggs.”
“Go on?”
“He stated that he ‘needed’ to burn one of them as part of a religious ceremony. This was plainly sarcastic so I took him into custody.”
“What did he say then?”
“He threatened to kill my firstborn unless I let him go.”

Essential? You decide

Of course, this is all total legal nonsense, a phrase that can aptly describe various other police activity over the last couple of days as well, including sending up drones to spy on people engaged in solitary exercise (which is allowed despite the lockdown), cracking down on dog-walking (which is allowed despite the lockdown) and even shaming politicians who tweeted about dropping off shopping for their elderly parents (which is – you guessed it – allowed despite the lockdown).

Since our constabulary is so keen that we stick to the bare necessities, this predictable song kind of had to be written:


That’s it for now, but stay tuned (or put your email address into the box on the right) for:

  • Friday 3 April – a (serious) coronasermon about what it means to be in lockdown
  • Tuesday 7 April – this year’s Pesach special, Haggadat COVID… I can promise you both that it’ll be worth it and that it’ll be in questionable taste)

Stay safe!

A departure from the royal family (the Purim special 5780)

Vashti or Meghan? You decide

Some people say that history never repeats itself. Then some people point to similarities between the stories of Meghan Markle and Queen Vashti. Then some people say, “That doesn’t count as history repeating itself because Queen Vashti is made-up.” Then it all gets a bit complicated.

Regardless, recently-discovered genizah fragments show how readers of an ancient Persian publication, Do’ar Yomi (which roughly translates as “daily mail”), reacted to the news that Vashti was to leave the palace of King Ahasuerus.

Coronavirus latest

This Purim will be a lot easier in many ways, because everyone is already wearing masks! Brilliant bonus!

Anyway, as anyone who’s suffered through the Book of Leviticus will know, there’s lots to say about infectious diseases. And fortunately enough, a newly-recovered page from the Hubei Genizah reveals what the rabbis wrote in the lost Talmudic tractate of Virusin. Click below to read!

In other Purim news