Despite my own personal ideological struggles, I am a Jew who believes in the philosophies of Judaism before I believe in those of any other religion. However, I do feel that now maybe more than any time in history the alliance between Christians and Jews has never been more important. The rise of Islam, a rise that in many places preaches only Islam, has put the concept of freedom of religion in more danger than any time in modern history. With that in mind I am making a short post to discuss, and hopefully create a discussion regarding the connection between Passover and Easter.
I often say, only partially tongue in cheek, that there are 2 major differences between Christianity and Judaism. One is that while Christians are awaiting the 2nd coming, us Jews are still awaiting the 1st. Either way we are still awaiting the supposed Messiah or Messianic era. The second difference would be the disagreement over who is the best Jew of all time. There would be some discussion on the matter, but as a Jew I would put in my vote for Moses, and I would be surprised if I didn’t end up backing the winner. Christians however, even if they have a fondness for Moses, clearly would pick Jesus.
It is widely believed that “The last supper” was actually a Passover Seder. Seeing the apparent time of year and the fact that a group got together around the table for discussion, there is much credence to this belief. Ultimately, those who believe in the Messiah coming in a mystical, ultra spiritual way would see the events celebrated by Christians as a realistic method for the savior to be revealed. Us Jews however do not believe that has actually taken place. However, if either belief causes people to behave in ways of peace, love and tolerance, they help the world far more than hurt the world.
What are your thoughts?
Passover begins tonight at sundown, and as Jewish people all over the world prepare to celebrate being freed from slavery and oppression, I can’t help but feel an added responsibility to use this forum to draw a connection to what took place in Europe between 1933-1945.
It is difficult to get a clear understanding of what took place in Egypt since it happened so long ago, but what is clear was that the goal was to deprive all Jews of their freedom and ultimately destroy the very existence of the Jewish people.
Passover is a time of celebration. As a people we sit around the Seder and celebrate our freedom and our liberation from the oppressor whose sole purpose was to wipe us off the face of the earth. The similarity between the purpose of the Pharaoh and that of Hitler is almost eerily similar. Yet when we discuss the story of Passover we do so with a levity and comfort we do not have when discussing the Holocaust. The reasons are fairly obvious. The magnitude of the destruction done by Nazi Germany is clearly greater. Six million is a staggering, incomprehensible number. And the visual evidence and personal testimonials make it so real to all of us that it becomes more abhorrent and more painful to acknowledge. Even with this being so, the suffering of one person being forced to do slave labor, or the significance of the murder of one individual is just as important and meaningful when they are one of tens or hundreds of thousands as when they are one of six million. The value of their life is the same. Subsequently the value of a people being freed from either oppressor is just as significant and liberating.
It has always been my personal feeling that regardless of what part of history inspires us on a day we celebrate freedom, we must use this day to not only celebrate it, but appreciate it as well. For if there is one thing we must learn from the more recent suffering, is that we should never take our freedom and even survival for granted. And the lesson we learn from sitting down and having a Seder where we tell the story of Passover is that we must never forget what happened, and that the best way to accomplish this is to tell the story.
I wish all of my fellow Jews a Happy Passover, and a Happy Easter to all of you who will be celebrating this Sunday.