Passover 2020

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Harris Bor 

We danced that night like the end of the world was coming
We knew it was, a Purim unconcealing, reckless and absurd
Before the shutters closed, and silence descended
And we took to our homes with matzah and bitter herbs
Did we imagine such re-enactment of our great ceremony? 
The entire world in lock-down waiting for the mist to pass
A shadow across the globe 
He and no angel, He and no emissary
The lintel shakes, the curtain drifts
The blood on the doorposts is ours, the lamb we worshipped
The hyssop, a token from nature’s poisoned lung
Over our heads He passes, through deserted cityscapes
Pharaoh’s ashen face stares grimly 
From my parents’ seder plate
The source of childhood nightmares, signals a new reality
Is this what we have trained for all these years?
To insist like our forebears did
That in war, and plague, and death 
His arm remains outstretched
Reaching for our fingertips?

Dr Harris Bor is an English commercial barrister (trial advocate) specialising in commercial litigation and international arbitration, an adjunct lecturer at the London School of Jewish Studies in the areas of Jewish thought and history, and a semikha scholar with the Montefiore Endowment. After completing a PhD on the Haskalah at Cambridge University, he undertook postdoctoral research at Harvard University, before turning to the study and practice of law which he combines with his other interests. He is currently working on a chapter for a book on Jewish virtue ethics, and other writing projects. He can be reached at