Sunday, April 20, 2008

What's Bugs Got to Do With It? (Gotta do with it...)

As far as I know the only connection between Easter and Passover is the fact that it is the belief held by Christians that Jesus was betrayed at a Passover Seder, i.e., the Last Supper, and that he was crucified shortly thereafter, only to arise and ascend on the day that is now celebrated as Easter.

It goes without saying that the Jewish religion existed long before the year that is widely held to be that of Christ's birth, since Christ was born a Jew, so the story goes.

Passover is the holiday during which the story of the emancipation of the Jews from slavery in Egypt is told and retold, year after year so as to never forget that the Jews were once enslaved and managed to escape and receive the 10 Commandments from God. Within the story is a theme of renewal and rebirth, of death and of starting over Thus, eggs are featured on the dinner table at the Seder. Easter eggs are something else entirely, and I can't claim to know why eggs and bunnies are part of the Easter celebration.

I just wanted to clarify this.

I also want to clarify that Jews were not always slaves in Egypt. They were once prosperous and highly regarded members of Egyptian society. Their fortunes turned at some point later due to the hatred of one particular Pharaoh. I think this part of the story is very very important because it is repeated throughout history in different contexts, e.g., Spain, Eastern Europe in the Hitler years. Nothing is certain, one cannot be complacent about hate. My grandfather left medical school in Germany when things started to go downhill for the Jews there. He never became a doctor, but he also managed to avoid the terrible fate of so many Jews in Germany during that time period.

We were once free, but then we were slaves.

We were once slaves, but then we were free.

And so on? Let's hope not.



NoJo said...

I thought the Passover was also a prophetic event- to point to the Messiah shedding His blood to save His people. But I only have read my Bible, not any actual commentaries or books on it.
I think once in Church they had a little lesson about what the differnet partsof the Passover signified. I always thought was a neat tradition, but felt it was for Jews and Christians were taboo from Jewish holidays somehow. that's all just from my own head.

Yoga Chickie said...

I am not aware of anything in the Jewish religion that points to the Messiah shedding blood to save his people - that sounds like Christian doctrine to me. Far as I know, in the Jewish religion, the Messiah isn't going to arrive in the form of a human or be signified by a crucification.

skelly said...

The timing of Easter has more to do with paganism as far as I am aware and the spring solstice than passover.

Carl said...

The adoption of the Gregorian calendar by Christian nations had a bit to do with the way the Julian calendar caused Easter to slowly creep forward throughout the years. Check out the Wiki article on the topic.

There's always lots of discussion regarding how symbolism of Christian holiday observances was mostly adopted from paganism and whatever other religions that were displaced in favor of the One True Religion. If it's all true then Christians have been masters of marketing. All the screwball chatter about insidious occult plots is silly in light of the possibility that the Catholic church may have adopted all the Easter symbols merely to rake in massive profits on egg dye, Peeps and plastic basket grass.

Yoga Chickie said...

Woooowwwww...I was unaware that the Vatican had a hand in Necco and Cadbury. Who the hell knew?

DebPC said...

THe messiah shedding his blood to save his people (which, of course, Jews don't believe Jesus was the messiah) sounds a bit like the very false and anti-Semitic story of Jews killing Christian children to use their blood to make matzah. Nojo, I'm not making accusations but ... yipes. That's the first thing that came to my mind.

Passover is not a prophetic event. It simply recalls the freeing of the Jews from slavery in Egypt and, as YC said, calls us as Jews to remember that, while we are now free, other people around the world are still enslaved and that it is our duty as Jews and good human beings to help fight for their freedom.

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I live by a duck pond. I used to live by the East River. I don't work. I used to work a lot. Now, not so much. I used to teach a lot of yoga. Now not so much. I still practice a lot of yoga though. A LOT. I love my kids, being outdoors, taking photos, reading magazines, writing and stirring the pot. Enjoy responsibly.


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