Monday, April 14, 2014

Some things are not ours

Reproduction of the Barcelona Haggadah, 14th century C.E., on display at the Museum of Jewish History in Girona, Spain
Tonight I'll have the privilege of attending a Passover Seder. My longstanding women's group consists mostly of Jews partnered with non-Jews, so we gentiles have become accustomed to retelling the Jewish people's story of liberation from bondage in Egypt with our friends. I've learned some Hebrew blessings and I love the food -- though nothing will convince me that Manischewitz is drinkable wine.

My pleasure in the Seder is enhanced by knowing that this celebration is not mine. I don't have to claim it as my own; I can simply delight in being invited into someone else's ritual.

A wise UCC minister/scholar has written a blog post that explains to Christians that although Jesus is recorded as participating in some kind of ritual meal before his seizure and execution, this cannot have been a Seder.
... we [Christians] really do not know for sure what the “original context” of Jesus’ ‘last supper’ was.  We think we do: since Sunday School we’ve been taught it was a Passover meal, or Seder; but scholars continue to debate the precise character of the meal Jesus shared with his disciples that night. One thing we know for sure, however, is that, although it may have been a Passover meal of some sort, it was not a Seder in the modern sense. We know this because the introduction into Jewish ritual life of the Seder we know today came after the time of Jesus.

Modern day Jewish celebrations of the Passover are a melding of traditions that arose shortly after the destruction of the Temple (70 CE), through Late Antiquity and into Middle Ages. It is a developing tradition, too, with additions being made to the haggadah even to this day. Ironically, some scholars believe that the modern Seder developed in part at least as a reaction and resistance to the growing influence of the Christian church and its sacred meal. ...
She goes on to warn Christians off the temptation to hold their own imitation Seder observances. Churches sometimes think they are being broad-minded or innovative through such exercises. But this beautiful ritual is not ours.
Contempt takes many forms: I think the celebration of a Seder by Christians for Christians for our own Christian agenda is one of them. ...
I could not agree more. But I am thrilled to enjoy my Jewish sisters' Passover meal.
From the Museum of Jewish History, Girona, Spain


amspirnational said...

Unless the temple or organization you are attending supports Freeing Palestine from Zionist occupation, I'm not at all kindly impressed with your ecumenism.

Not that you should care. Nor am I talking about giving the natives a few Bantustans. I recognize there are very small
Jewish denominations which are moderately Israel-critical or which detach themselves from the whole "controversy"--as if an Afrikaaner ethnic group in the US could have refused to take an interest in apartheid.

There is also the problematic nature of parts of the Talmud. if it was "kosher" for the Jewish community to pressure the Catholic Church to re-interpret
sections of the New Testament
pre Vatican Two, I don't suppose it would be "anti-semitic" to ask Jewish organizations to do likewise with objectionable sections of such.

All in all I suppose a Christian shouldn't rock the boat too much here, as 80% of the progeny of Christian-Jewish marriages go on to marry other "Gentiles" and
at least "cultural" Christians.
In fact studies of the intermarried (in the United States) since beginning circa 1960have yet to find a third generation member who still identified as Jewish.
This is why the Orthodox (overwhelmingly Zionist)call intermarriage "cultural genocide" unless the partner converts.

Hattie said...

It is not "kosher"to blame American Jews for the actions of the Israeli state. Not when so many oppose the oppression of Palestinians.
Nor,I have to add,is it fair to attack supporters of Palestinians' rights as anti-Semitic,something that has happened to me.

amspirnational said...

Don't let it worry you, Hattie.
Even conscientious people like Professors Shahak and Sholomo Sand are called anti-semitic self-hating Jews by the Zionist elite.

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