In honor and loving memory of Phyllis Samuels and Mary Blumenthal
Last week I shared some tips on how to get other people to ask interesting questions at the Passover Seder.
This week, I’m going to share with you a question that you can ask that I guarantee no one else at your table will know the answer to.
(Of course there may be more than one right answer, but read on....)
Here’s the question:
As a rule, Passover begins on the 15th of the lunar month of Nissan. Why Nissan? (You can give them this as a warm-up; most people will say because it’s the springtime.) But the stumper is: Why the 15th?
The 15th of the lunar month coincides, of course, with the full moon. We know that the Egyptians (like most ancient peoples) were big on astrology. We also know that they practiced all kinds of idolatry. In fact, one of the reasons that the lamb was chosen for the Passover sacrifice is because the sheep was their numero uno god. It was the most sacrosanct creature in their universe.
So when the Israelites tied up a sheep for five days in preparation of the sacrifice, that was a tremendous act of chutzpah – a direct challenge to their Egyptian neighbors’ entire culture.
Now, according to astrology, the month of Nissan corresponds to which sign of the Zodiac? You guessed it: the sheep (Aries). And astrologers believe that when it’s your month, the “strongest” time of that month for you is going to be the full moon of that month.
Therefore, the message of the 15th is: not only are we killing your god and leaving this joint in broad daylight, we are going to do all this on the precise moment when according to your philosophy you should be strongest.
Only when your oppressor’s greatest weapons are powerless against you, that’s freedom. As long as there is a threat, one cannot feel totally free.
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Now, the Jewish People have been threatened with annihilation so many times that we’ve lost count. We have always been a tiny minority, but for some reason the world has always cared more about us than anyone else. But for some reason we have survived.
On that topic, here’s an amazing quote from Mark Twain about the Jews that you can download and share when people start yawning after that third cup of wine.
Click here for last week's Seder tips and story.
For a copy of my transliterated Art of Amazement Haggadah, send an email.
Shabbat Shalom and
An amazing Passover.