Passover, the Incomplete Festival

Most Jews don't understand that the Exodus we celebrate at Passover is only a prelude to the main event at Mt. Sinai.


03/09/2006 07:05:23 PM

Dayenu to me is a song of one's faith in G-d's ability to deliver the goods when necessary - in the past, now, and in the future. For each event in the Pesach story, one states that "it would have been enough" just for that particular event to occur. This to me means that by being satisfied with a positive outcome for just one event, one builds on one's faith from current and past events that ultimately, future positive outcomes will occur for oneself, despite seemingly difficult circumstances that one has endured, is ccurently enduring, or will endure in one's life. The Talmud says that the bad should always come before the good in order to have a sort of "measuring stick" so that one will be able to appreciate the good in one's life. Oy Vey and Amen! :)


05/11/2005 05:31:34 AM

Most Christians have the same problem with Easter and Pentecost. I think the giving of the Torah is very important. People give freedom for once in there life need guidence. Do you think they would have keep the observance of the Passover if not for the Torah?


05/01/2005 12:17:56 AM

first david's article on jews and jesus was diapointing and now passover the incomplete festival. come on-so passover leads to the counting of the omer etc. it is still, to be literal, a great individual holiday. if the rest had not happened-like the 10 commandments at mt sinai for example, passover would and could have stood on its own. once again, david-good luck on your next article. I hope you get it right!. You do have good headings that get me to read your articles, tho! Laura


04/29/2005 08:31:50 AM

Tom Payne, Brother Aiden, Susan Jenswine Thanks for your inputs. Brother Aiden, as you said, we will never agree on this one, but I thank you for stating your position without preaching and with simple explanation for your point of view. Proselytizing really ticks me off... 8-) Susanjenswine, I found your post fascinating. Again, a divergent point of view in some ways, but very respectfully presented.


04/28/2005 06:36:24 PM

"He also told Abraham that through him all nations would be blessed. " Of course we Jews believe in this part of the Covenant but not the way Christians do. We think that this blessing was to be conferred through us carrying out our G_d-given charge to be "a light unto all the nations", "a holy nation of priests" and to "perfect the world" -- and of course ultimately through the Meshiach, when his time comes. I of course believe that Christianity spreading G_d's word has greatly helped us in our mission. Islam, for the most part, has as well, by "borrowing" many Jewish teachings (including acceptance and worship of the God of Abraham) and apreading them to a billion people.


04/28/2005 04:44:49 PM

One other thing, in my Eastern Orthodox tradition we will never try to convert you. You have your own convenant with the Lord and we recognixe that. You are correct, you don't need the new. But we Gentiles do need it and your God was generous enough to bestow on us what we call the New Covenant and graft us into His family by the descendant of Abraham, Jesus Christ


04/28/2005 04:40:05 PM

Dear Eastcoastlady: I am only looking at the Lord's promise to and covenant with Abraham (Gen. 12 and 15). Ishmael was not a child of the promise or the covenant. The Angel of the Lord made a separate covenant with Ishmael after Sarah drove his mother away (Gen. 16). That by the way, although it is quite non-PC, is why I would not consider Islam an Abrahamic religion. But when the Lord called Abraham he promised him 2 things: that he would make him a great nation, which He did through Isaac and Jacob and the 12 Patriarchs and the Sinai covenant in creating the people of Israel. He also told Abraham that through him all nations would be blessed. The Church has always understood that to be a prophecy about its own coming coming forth through the death and resurrection of Christ, a descendant of Abraham. We may never agree on this, looking at the text through two different interpretive lenses.


04/28/2005 04:18:19 PM

I suspect that the Xian fascination with Passover which author Klinghoffer references is more about Americans who wish they had a real identity than Chrisitian (benignly intended) usurpation of Jewish liturgy. The majority of this interest which I have observed (I'm a chaplain and an Episcopalian theologian) is among the nondenominational folks. Such folks come from a 19th century rejection of liturgical and credal practice. It's left 'em pretty hungry. Human beings like to know who they are and what they hold to be true. Jews have been faithful to the vision of both for milennia and against incredible pressure to the contrary. So, of course you're very attractive! In our new love affair, be gentle o be gentle... p.s. Paul said a lot of things which the liturgical/credal Xians don't buy; it needs to be taken in context.


04/28/2005 12:57:46 PM

Brother Aiden, Must argue with you on this one. We believe that G-d's covenant was fulfilled with us via what you call the OT. We did not and do not need the NT. Further, Islam is much more of an Abrahamic religion (through Ishmael), than is Christianity. Islam and Judaism both revere our common ancestor, Abraham.


04/28/2005 12:32:01 PM

Had no idea that Christians thought about Passover anymore then Jews think about Christian holidays. The only problems associated with Chirstians about Passover I ever heard of was that many of them thought matzo was made of the blood of Christian children. This "story" was used as an excuse to do horrid things to Jews at this time of year. Such people would not have cared or even known, maybe, about the things David talks about in the article. Hopefully even the most ignorant of non-Jews, when it comes to Passover, would not even think of this anymore. Bet there are still those that do, tho! Laura


04/28/2005 10:48:46 AM

In the Abrahamic Covenant God told Abraham 2 things: He would make Abraham a great nation and through Abraham all nations would be blessed. That Covenant is fulfilled in the Old Testatment Covenant and in the New Testament Covenant. God made Abraham a great nation with Passover and the giving of the Law on Sinai. He blessed the other nations - the Gentiles - throught Abraham by the Jewish descendant of Abraham, Jesus Christ. These are the two great Abrahamic religions.


04/28/2005 10:28:58 AM

um... I think he meant Pope Gregory changing the calendar. Constantine simply moved the captitol to Constantinople and legalized Christianity. To this day, the Church in the East calculates Easter (or Pascha, as we call it) the same as Jewish people do Passover. Passove was Sunday, April 24th; Eastern Orthodox Easter is Sunday, May 1st. It is the Western Church that calculates Easter differently.


04/26/2005 09:51:45 AM

Paul apparently misunderstood the intent of the Torah if he called it a curse. Judaism is not an all or none religion. We feel that each time you perform a mitvah, either repeating one you've done before (like lighting the Shabbat candles), or learn and perform a new one (like taking an additional step in Kashrut or not engaging in loshon hara, evil speech), that's one additional benefit in your favor. You don't necessarily get demerits for the ones you don't perform (unless we're talking about things like murder, of course, to take an extreme example). It's the movement toward holiness and clossness to G-d through striving to perform mitzvot, particularly when it's difficult, that grants us favor in the eyes of G-d.


04/25/2005 09:18:51 PM

I completely agree with David that the new covenant is not new in content but simply a recommitment to what has already been there. Jesus told us that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it. He then went on to tell his disciples that if they were not found holier than the jewish priests, they could not enter the Kingdom. This does not sound like a teacher who is by any means trying to change the law (he in fact observed it too). When Paul talks about the law being a curse, he means it in the sense that it is humanly impossible to fulfill the law entirely because of our human failure and being a people who want to please God, it creates a burdon or curse on us, but in the prophets God talks about that he will pour out his Spirit on all flesh and write his laws on their hearts. The Bible says that we become a new creature when we accept Jesus as Lord and Savior and we become that holy people who, by their inborn nature, automatically follow that law perscribed to us in the Torah.


04/25/2005 10:12:03 AM

rbethell, Why, thank you so much for your generous wish!!


04/22/2005 05:00:05 PM

May Sunday bring all those who celebrate a wonderful Passover. May the freedom Moses led you into always be yours.


04/22/2005 08:21:18 AM

drinne, I hope you don't think I was in any way finding fault with what you wrote or disagreeing at all. I agreed with your post 100%. Last year was the very first time I really had an idea just how important Shavuot is. And it's impossible to overstress the importance of cheesecake! (My favorite....) Last year (two years ago?), we had a great Simchat Torah. We took a non-Kosher Torah scroll and opened it from end to end - it went from the front of the sanctuary near the Bimah, all the way up one side of the shul, straight across the back of the shul, and completely down the other aisle all the way back up to the front of the Bimah. There were dozens of people holding it along the way. People had no idea just how long the Torah scroll really is, and it was WAY impressive.


04/22/2005 07:59:24 AM

Eastcoastlady. I'm glad that you had the opportunity to study for Shavuot last year - Hope you can do it again this year: ) Look, My favorite study session once spend three hours on the first four words in Vayikra, I'm not dissing Shavuot and the all nighters can be real bonding experience ( which you can do with a group at home if you have kids). Oh yeah - and cheesecakes and hot chocolate are pretty joyous things too. (Our synagogue always makes cheesecakes together for Shavuot) I just think each ritual is part of a distinct phase and that Passover does what it is designed to do. Also Simchas Torah to me closes the journey of the ritual year - with one high holy season overlapping the next with Torah and and being all happy about it.


04/21/2005 10:47:04 AM

drinne, I understand how you feel, but last year for the first time I was presented with an opportunity to experience Shavuot differently; I was asked by my rabbi if I wanted to participate in a teaching session, like the all-nighters described in the article, but modified - it was just an evening thing. We combined with a couple of local congregations and rotated around three sessions of about 1/2 hour each. My shul had Deutoronomy. It was a great experience, and the research I did on my portion was time well spent; I never knew, for example, there was so much to learn and know about the Shema.


04/21/2005 06:45:23 AM

Shavout has never truly felt like joy at receiving the work of G-d. It is more an observance of a ritual that has already been celebrated at Passover ending a time period for me. To me, Shavout means we are headed in the next part of the cycle, Simchas Torah where actual joy is expressed – that is the point. Dance with the Torah revel in the fact that we complete the circle for another year. Shavout is a type of book mark – an anniversary. Simchas Torah is a celebration of accomplishment of living with Torah and what came from Sinai and being happy about it. You want to heal our relations with Christians and teach them that Torah is not a curse bring the to Simchas Torah not Shavout.


04/21/2005 06:44:06 AM

I disagree that Passover “misses the Point”. There is a reason it took fifty days for frightened slaves to even be able to receive Torah. Following Moses and believing G-d, who had been quiet for so many generations through so much pain is a tremendous act of will that defined us a people – stiff necked, unsure, frightened and still managing to believe enough to leave. Everyone knows the Passover story as Moses’s story and while I have not seen Prince of Egypt I know most people associate the end of the exodus story with receiving the commandments regardless of religion ala “The Ten Commandments.” Passover is meant to celebrate the actual exodus – that does not make it incomplete. Celebrating/remembering has inspired Jews for thousands of years to hold fast during those generations of oppression when G-d is quiet. That has always been it’s purpose to me – we are on our way to Sinai, we need to grow to be ready to receive. Judaism has always and rightly focused on what we do more than what we receive