What Precisely Is The Jewish Festival Of Pesach? Are you sure you know?

Apr 9, 2017 | | 2 comments

What is Pesach (Passover), precisely? Do you actually know, beyond the accepted teaching of your community?

Pesach is the yearly Jewish celebration of two very ancient spring festivals in one. A sheppard’s firstborn slaughter festival + a farmer’s wheat harvest festival + modern rabbinical re-invention of these holidays = Pesach, as we know it today! Let’s break this down further, shall we?

There is the spring sheppard festival of celebrating the firstborn of domesticated animals, through slaughtering and consuming these nefesh chayah (living breathing-creatures, as Torah puts it, that are of the four-legged and without-voice kind). This is why this festival is celebrated during the spring season, and it is also why it is called Pesach (passover, the warding off evil from homes by marking entrances with the blood of slaughtered animals).

There is also the farmer’s wheat harvest festival that celebrates the spring time’s first-fruits of the coming year’s barley and wheat harvest. Planted in autumn as seeds and dormant all winter, it is a testament to life and survival to see the land blossom in the new spring after winter’s barrenness. Though likely originally celebrated more closer to summer’s first harvesting, this seasonal festival has been shifted over and merged into this sheppard’s spring festival. This is why matzot (unleavened bread) is eaten at this time of year, ahead of season, during the spring festival rather than in summer when barley has already matured and wheat is reaching its fullest.

Originally, during the monarchy ruled kingdom years of Jewish history, each was celebrated separately in their season, and there was no exodus story tradition to merge them together as one. With the rise of the subsequent priestly ruled kingdom, after the fall of the original monarchy kingdoms, the Jews in the wilderness tradition that pre-existed an exodus story was supplanted by a new tradition of Exodus from Egypt and nation-hood at Sinai.

This is what solidified the festival of Pesach (Exodus and Matzot) as the tradition that we know and celebrate as Jews today. Although, when it comes to how we celebrate this festival, it would take the Rabbi’s of the Common Era (A.D.) to turn it into the Seder meal that we all know and celebrate in some way.

Though the farmer’s and sheppard’s festival is still a vital part of this spring festival celebration, it is the humanistic focus that is now most paramount. The humanism of struggling for and finding freedom and ethic self-autonomy from out of bondage and persecution and slavery, shared on these nights (and in Torah) within a mythical story of a storm god known as Yahweh, who chooses the Jewish people for redemption and national salvation.

The rest is the story near everyone knows, a Levitical priest and Jewish patriarch known as Moshe (Moses) leads an exodus of Jews from Mitzrayim (Egypt) and from slavery, through the spell-binding supernatural feats of the Jewish national god, and establishes them as a nation after a forty year wandering in a dry desert wilderness.

This is a festival story that reminds us to share our more recent histories of exodus from oppression, and to struggle always as a Jewish ethnicity for liberation of those who are oppressed. Whether it is our fellow Jews or others of different ancestry throughout this world, we need this festival of remembrance to remind us and be active.

Hope you all enjoy our spring festival, and chag Pesach sameach!

#Pesach #Passover #Jewish
Because they so need to learn – #maga #inhisimage #inhislikeness

A Humanistic Passover Celebration
http://www.shj.org/humanistic-jewish-life/about-the-holidays/passover/
Humanistic Jews question the traditional explanations of Pesakh. There is no evidence that the Exodus occurred or that the Hebrew people were in Egypt in the numbers described. The traditional Haggada includes an anthropomorphic, active, ethnocentric God and the passive deliverance by God of the Hebrews. There are few, if any, women in the traditional Passover story, and there are no daughters while four sons are described.
A secular Passover relates a nontheistic tale. Humanistic Jews celebrate the actions people take to improve their own lives. A cultural Passover recognizes gender equality and the value of inclusivity so that both girls and boys, men and women feel connected to their history.
So what is meant by a Humanistic Passover celebration? For one thing, Humanistic Jews continue the tradition of telling the Exodus story, but they accept that it is a story, not history. Humanistic Jews also talk about the possible history behind the story, perhaps a small slave escape that grew in the retelling. The Humanistic Passover celebration emphasizes the themes of human freedom and dignity, the power of human beings to change their destiny, and the power of hope.
Events of the twentieth century record the courage of millions of Jews who left the land of their birth to escape persecution and seek freedom in Palestine and the land of Israel. Passover recognizes the struggles of millions of people to overcome oppression to achieve freedom and equality. Telling the story of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe to America, perhaps the largest Jewish Exodus ever, is a powerful part of a Humanistic Passover. Even more significant, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising against the Nazis in 1943 began on the first night of Passover; including a commemoration of this struggle provides a meaningful true story of a people’s fight for dignity, using their own power to control their destinies. The departure of Refuseniks from the former Soviet Union for Israel and America, the successes of the labor, Civil Rights and women’s movements in the twentieth century – all of these find a place in the Humanistic Haggada.

Posted in: Family, History, Jewish, Life Experiences, Non-Theism, Relationships, Religion, Society, Theology

2 Responses

  1. “Here we stand on rather firm ground; of the approximately 1,000 archaeological mikva’ot known today, not a single example (of ritual full-body immersion) predates the Hasmonean period (ca. 140–63 BCE).[13]  The earliest installations—at Jericho, the Upper City of Jerusalem, and at Qumran—date to no earlier than the end of the second century BCE and may possibly date to only the beginning of the next century.[14] The archaeological data thus complement the textual evidence in suggesting that immersion emerged as the method of ritual purification rather late in the Second Temple period, probably no earlier than the late second century BCE. But why did this development occur at this point in time?”

    Judaism as we now know it, like Christianity and Islam, is a modern C.E. (A.D.) religious creation. The henotheistic and further back polytheistic Jewish practices of the B.C.E. (B.C.) time period were considerably different in many ways – to include the understanding of what specific words meant. Through the Jewish creative invention of the “Bible” (a single document that redacts multiple writings of multiple time periods into one singular narrative) and the establishment of normative religious behavior (Jewish halakhah) in the years just before the Common Era (A.D.), the greater Middle East and Western world experienced a transformation that would for two thousand years (until the scientific enlightenment age) fundamentally doctrinize our understanding of the world. This was the age that monotheistic proselytizing religions were born and were rapidly spreading.

    On the Origins of Tevilah (Ritual Immersion)
    http://thetorah.com/on-the-origins-of-tevilah-ritual-immersion/
    When and why washing became immersion: between traditional-rabbinic and scientific-critical approaches to the origin of immersion and the mikveh.

    #tevilah #ritualimmersion #jewish #judaism #thetorah #halakhah #monotheism

    Judaism as we now know it, like Christianity and Islam, is a modern A.D. religious creation. The henotheistic and further back polytheistic Jewish practices of the B.C. time period were considerably different in many ways – to include the understanding of what specific words meant. Through the Jewish creative invention of the “Bible” and the establishment of normative religious behavior in the years just before the Common Era (A.D.), the greater Middle East and Western world experienced a transformation that would for two thousand years fundamentally doctrinize our understanding of the world. This was the age that monotheistic proselytizing religions were born and were rapidly spreading.

  2. Who is Anatyahu? Do you know? It is a Jewish name for the Jewish G-d-dess. Yes, you read correctly, the Jewish Goddess of 6 century BCE. Just as the ancient polytheistic Jewish cult of Yahwism (in Judea and Israel) gave way to combining the many Jewish gods and goddesses into a singular male Jewish national god (known in the later henotheistic priestly temple cult as Elohim), so too did Jewish polytheistic religious observance outside of Judea/Israel give way to a singular name for the national Jewish god. In Egypt and, more specifically, in Yev (the Egyptian Isle of Elephantine), the Jewish citizens reverenced a female god, and this G-d-dess was known as Anatyahu (a hybrid of YHWH and the Semitic goddess Anat).

    This pattern of unifying through hybrid god names precedes the now world-known scribal redaction of Elohim next to Yahweh in the 2nd century BCE (when the first Hebrew bible was created by monotheistic rabbinical Judaism, that combines many of the surviving ancient scrolls into one thematic religious narrative), and this ultimately led to the god name Adoshem (a hybrid of YHWH and Adonai) which is the modern Jewish name for G-d in traditional Jewish religious observance. Is “God” a male or a female or both? Is “God” one of many gods and goddesses or the only god who is known by many different names?

    Jewish tradition by actual Jewish community historical examples would say simply “yes” to both of these questions. The Jewish bible, when read on its own terms (meaning, without hindsight generational theological re-interpretation) indeed also says simply “yes” to both of these questions. So, … what does this mean? Is god (or gods and goddesses) a human invented fiction? Or is there a real god, or a pantheon of gods and goddesses from which to pick from? Who really gets to decide which god-name is the right one to reverence? History would suggest that it is a matter of personal and communal decision (despite some modern religions’ emphatic views about this), now doesn’t it?

    #elephantine #egypt #jewish #judaism #anatyahu #anat #adoshem #yhwh #adonai
    because they need to learn, too – #inhisimage #inhislikeness

    Darius II Delays the Festival of Matzot in 418 BCE
    http://thetorah.com/darius-ii-delays-the-festival-of-matzot-in-418-bce/
    This is not to suggest that the Passover (paschal sacrifice) was not observed in Elephantine—it is indeed mentioned on two ostraca (inscribed potsherds) found on the island. However, neither Passover ostracon refers to the Festival of Matzot, just as this papyrus makes no mention of the Passover. This is notable, particularly given that the Festival of Matzot and the Passover were originally separate entities.[13]
    All this strengthens the case that at this time-period, no Yahwistic or Judean body had independent calendrical authority;[16] the biblical festivals were celebrated according to the Persian civil calendar.[17]

    There’s a new official motto for the United States, established in 1956: “In God We Trust”. But, since “God” is a generic religious word that merely represents a theistic creative/law-and-order power, it must be asked: In whose god do we trust? Of all the names gods and goddesses used by humans, which ones are we to invoke? Are all the gods and goddesses really references to one “true” god? If so, then, by whose bible do we define this “God”? What about those, like a few of our nation’s founders, who do not have belief in gods? Is there an atheist “God” in which the non-religious are to “Trust”? If we are, as citizens, to take this recently established national motto seriously, then this generic “God” must be defined further. If it is true that citizens of this nation have “Trust” in “God”, as the 1956 Christian-established national motto suggests, then is this “God” Brahman, or Allah, or Yahweh (Jehovah), or is it Jesus Christ, or some lesser known deity of native tribal tradition? If there is not a “God” that all or most of the citizens of this pluralistic secular nation can agree upon, then isn’t this national motto more of a joke, than anything else?

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