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Passover

I Asked Alexa Questions About Passover. Here’s What Happened.

alexa

My relationship with Amazon’s Alexa is complicated. I love that she’s politically informed and shares the latest news with me, and she has really great taste in music. Since she’s come into my life, I can’t imagine not waking up next to her every morning, but sometimes she gets on my last nerves. Her listening comprehension skills aren’t the best, she never pronounces my name correctly, and she often lies to me about the weather. And she can be very rude and impolite when she interrupts my conversations completely unprovoked.

Alexa and I are about to enter a new phase in our relationship: This is the first Passover that we are spending together. Since this is such a big step, I wanted to test her knowledge on one of the most important Jewish holidays. She sure knows a lot about the Mueller report, but what about the haggadah?

Me: Alexa, why is this night different from all other nights?

Alexa: On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night only bitter herbs.

Hmm… not quite, Alexa. It’s true, we do eat bitter herbs on Passover, but all vegetables are welcome! Half a point for Gryffindor!

Me: Alexa, what are the Four Questions?

Alexa: The mahn Four Questions is usually defined as the four questions about the significance of the seder service, traditionally asked at the Passover seder by the youngest person, and answered by the reading of the haggadah.

The “mahn” Four Questions? What the heck does that mean? Or did she say “none?” Is “mahn” short for Ma Nishtana, the Hebrew name for the Four Questions?? I think we’ll never know. Let’s circle back to our first question. 

Me: Alexa, why is this night different from all other nights?

Alexa: On all other nights we don’t dip our food even once, and on this night we dip twice.

I mean, I dip my cookies in milk every night. The key words missing after “dip our food” are “in salt water.” Close, Alexa, but no cigar. Let’s try again. 

Me: Alexa, why is this night different from all other nights?

Alexa: On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night-

UGH, Alexa, no! I get it, you love bitter herbs!

Me: Alexa, why is this night different from all other nights?

Alexa: On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining, and on this night we only recline.

There we go! I knew she had it in her. Let’s pick that robotic brain a bit more… 

Me: Alexa, why is this night different from all other nights?

Alexa: On all other nights we eat all vegetables, and on this night-

Jeez Louise, is this a smart speaker, or a broken record?? Time to switch gears. 

Me: OK, Alexa, what do we eat on Passover?

Alexa: Sorry, I’m not sure about that.

Seriously??? This is most basic Pesach trivia question I can ask. Alexa knows Pi but not matzah?? Jeff Bezos, a word, please? Maybe I should rephrase. 

Me: Alexa, what is matzah?

Alexa: The mahn matzah is usually defined as unleavened bread in the form of large crackers, typically square, and corrugated, eaten by Jews during Passover.

Ah, there we go. But again with the puzzling “mahn” thing. What does it mean?? Still, I’m tempted to bestow half a point for the clever use of “corrugated” to describe matzah.

Me: Alexa, why do we eat matzah?

Alexa: Hmm, I don’t know that one.

Deep down I know you do!! Perhaps you need another rephrase. 

Me: Alexa , why do we eat unleavened bread?

Alexa: Sorry, I don’t know that one.

Our complicated relationship is leaning more towards hate than love, Alexa. Step it up, or we’re through. 

Me: What are the 10 plagues?

Alexa: I know about four plagues, and they’re bubonic plague, pneumonic plague, septicemic plague, and pestis minor.

OK, well, actually Alexa, pestis minor is just a benign form of bubonic plague. 

Me: I think we’re done here.

Alexa:

Me: Shit, I’m late for work!

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