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20 April 2011

Happy Passover / Pesach 15 Nissan 5771 !

Click once or twice to enlarge.

Happy Passover 15 Nissan 5771 !
Okay, it's Passover / Pesach, the celebration of the Exodus of the Jews from the land of their enslavement, Egypt.

The end of the story -- escape from slavery -- makes Passover the happiest of Jewish holy days, and one with meaning and hope not just for Jews, but for all human beings enduring enslavement, oppression, or any form of inequality or second-class citizenship.

But what leads up to the happy ending is pretty grim. Pharaoh refused to grant the Jews' petition to let them leave Egypt, and for his stubborn recalcitrance, God visited ten ghastly plagues, each one more hideous than the plague before, on Egypt. Above, some renditions of the plagues by Tissot and Doré.

Some believe Passover is the oldest continuously celebrated religious holiday on Earth. It's celebrated not in the synagogue, but with a festive and often raucous family supper -- with quite a bit of wine -- in the home. The presence of children is essential, because Passover teaches each new generation the story of the liberation from slavery.

There are several degrees of Jewish observance, from the strict ultra-Orthodox, to the Conservative, to Reform, and most recently to the Reconstructionist movement. The Reconstructionist and Reform have ordained women rabbis for a few decades. Not so the Conservative movement, and absolutely not the Orthodox.

In the center of the Passover table is a traditional seder (meaning "order," referring to the order of the supper and religious service) plate with various foods, each symbolising an aspect of the Passover story. 

A few years ago I attended a Passover seder, and noticed something odd about its seder plate -- an orange, and I was pretty darned sure I'd never seen an orange on the seder plate before.

A young woman guest explained. A prestigious American Conservative rabbi was asked when the Conservatives would ordain a woman rabbi, and he replied, "A woman rabbi would be like an orange on the seder plate."

And from that year on, oranges began appearing on the symbolic seder plates.

Even the most ancient celebrations move forward, evolve, progress into the future. Every year, Passover liberates and brings equality to more human beings.


PatTheAtheist said...

Yes, but an equality the women had to fight for. Another reason why religion is man-made and stupid. Now if your average god, jahwe, Nigel or The Great Eye In the Sky were responsible for evolution under scientific principles and the Creation of Man he would have given the sexes equality in the first place. If it were in his Master Plan that woman still have to fight for their religious rights then I can see a bloody serious fault in that Plan. Religion was created by blokes to suppress all people, take away your rights as a human being and your freedom of thought in terms of equality.

Now evenI being a liberal I fell into the trap of thinking that this is a nice and subtle way of these people to put oranges on the seder plates after the non-constructive comment of the rebbe. that should not be. the best thing for these people would be to stop listening to the rebbe altogether and abandon religion for good and drop the yolk of mind control by an archaic system of oppression and artificial guilt.

Anyways, have fun in whatever you do !

Note to first readers: I am not a loony, I came to these conclusions considering philosophy, empiric thinking and scientific principles.

Vleeptron Dude said...

Yeah yeah yeah ... why belong to a religion that spends its time insulting you and slapping you in the face.

I just finished reading a New York Times article about gays and lesbians from strict Christian backgrounds who attended evangelical (and homophobic) colleges and universities.

Well, there's that old joke ...


Hey, buddy, why do you keep bashing your head against the wall?

Because it feels so good when I stop.


Yeah, I don't get it either. Your answer -- and I have a lot of respect for it -- it No Religion At All. Me, I see a little more wiggle room for tolerance, acceptance, kindness and enlightenment in a Universe that seems to have some sort of Deity.

PatTheAtheist said...

Well, Religion if fairly intolerant, not me.

I consider myself to be liberal and tolerant too. We have to distinguish between the Idea of Deity and the judeo-christian and Islamic traditions. Suppose for one second that Deity you mentioned exists I assume that hesheit would have completely different intentions than, say the christian god. your Deity would create the universe on scientific, mathematical and empirical principles, the ellipses of the planets were near perfect, Evolution would not have any flaws and drawbacks. Your deity would leave clues in astronomy (and the mathematical calculations required) or in DNA, chemistry etc to hint at hisherits existence. I assume that this would be your kind of Deity. If such a thing would exist I would much prefer it to the christian god. Now that one is a nasty piece of work. mean, petty, filled with wrath, egoism and hate. The rebbes who made the statement about the oranges believe in this god.

Unfortunately sine there is not even a hint at a Master Plan in, say astronomy, biology or chemistry and the human mind does not seem to have been engineered by any kind of deity I must disappoint you. Sorry mate, no god, no Deity, no Higher Beings.

What is more fun, assuming that there might be a Celestial Tea Pot or the life and times of Tycho Brahe ?

I hope I don't sound like Mr Spock here, being empiric and rational is not everything. Actually I am a hopeless romantic...

oh and I still think there is an anathema on me in the Dwingeloo Galaxy. YAY !

James J. Olson said...

Oranges on the Seder plate. Bril.

PatTheAtheist said...

It is Good Friday and the Easter Weekend a I write this and I am not even going into the haigiography of this nonsense.

Now your average Atheist or a scientific mind will wonder if there is any truth to the claim of the Exodus. And you know what ?

Apparently there is. Egyptology assumes that such an event MIGHT have taken place at around the 14th C. BC, around the time of Ramses II or his successor/s. The evidence is sparse and hints that the Exodus was not one single event, but a culmination of several unconnected events which took place at several periods of time. Apparently it was not of significance th the egyptian scribes and historians. Leading egyptologists like Flinders Petrie and Gardiner (who is immortal for catalogizing the hieroglyphs into logical order) did claim that the Exodus was more or less an established historical fact, but not in the sense that this was one unit. Several events were linked to each other by mythology, legend and haigiography from genetation to generation and thus elements were added, changed and distorted and blended into one event.

These “facts” ended up in the Old Testament, the Thora and lead to the Haggada. As I understand it the Haggada is a set of rules how Pessach and the seder evening should be celebrated. Correct me if I am wrong there with the Haggada.

The figure of Moses is unknown to Egyptology, it seems like the Book of Moses contains about 5 % distorted facts, the rest are lies, myth, saga and fairy tales of fantastic proportions, false allegories and warped logic. The story grew in the telling on each seder night as it seems. Haven’t I said that religion is man-made ?

One can argue that philosophy and science are also man-made, but these subjects have the advantage that you can falsify or prove a given theory on Logic, Reason and Deduction. Not so in Theology.
Note: Spinzoa i.e. was anathematized not for his alleged atheism (which he wasn’t) but for trying to modernize, reform and update the ideology of his community. And what did he get ? A ban for alleged atheism for questioning the establishment and the rule makers.. Ha ! Conclusion: Always question any sort of authority, religious or not.

Fun fact: Pessach is celebrated during the month of Nissan. Is there also a month called Volvo, Datsun or Toyota ? Probably not....