Author Topic: The Real Message Of Passover  (Read 1622 times)

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The Real Message Of Passover
« on: February 28, 2007, 09:25:50 PM »
The Real Message Of Passover

Pharaoh was the absolute dictator of the mighty Egyptian empire, which was the most powerful nation on earth by far. The huge Egyptian army had ruthlessly crushed the armies of dozens of other nations. The Egyptians never lost a war. Every battle they fought turned into a military triumph.

No one dared to challenge mighty Egypt. Everyone in the world knew that any battle against Egypt was completely hopeless.

The Hebrew slaves, on the other hand, did not know how to fight. For hundreds of years, the Jews were passive and utterly humiliated servants to their brutal Egyptian masters. And the Jews were completely unarmed.

Suddenly, Moses, the leader of the weakest of the nations, challenges Pharaoh, the leader of the strongest.

Pharaoh would leave his palace every morning to bath in the Nile River. The Nile River was one of Egypt's many gods. Pharaoh, the ultimate egotist, loved to see his reflection in the water. He would gaze at his face in the water's reflection, and convince himself that he is also a god. Indeed, all of Egypt's pharaohs were gods.

One morning, the G-d of Israel commanded Moses to confront Pharaoh during his bathing session in the Nile River.

Moses told Pharaoh that G-d was ordering him to free the Hebrew slaves. Pharaoh and his ministers naturally reacted to Moses with utter contempt. Moses then told his brother Aaron to lift his staff up and to strike the Nile River with his staff in the presence of Pharaoh and his ministers.

Immediately, the entire Nile River turned into blood. The fish and the other creatures in the river quickly died as the river became completely polluted. In fact, not only the Nile River, but everywhere in Egypt where there was water - canals, reservoirs, even wooden barrels and stone jars that were used to store water - turned into blood.

The Nile River, the god of Egypt, was completely polluted. And Pharaoh, another god of Egypt, could no longer see his reflection in the water.

This plague only affected the Egyptians, not the Hebrews. In the Hebrew areas of Egypt, such as Goshen, the water remained clear and pure.

The blood plague lasted seven days. But G-d hardened the hearts of Pharaoh and Egypt so that they would not free the Jews. Because G-d wanted to bring nine other plagues upon the Egyptians.

This is just the beginning of this magnificent story - the most beautiful and glorious story ever told about the triumph of good over evil.

What is the real message of Passover?

Throughout this story, it is clear that G-d will not tolerate the evil, murderous, Jew-hating religion of Egypt.

G-d commands Moses and Aaron to defile the gods of Egypt. By turning the Nile River, one of Egypt's main gods, into polluted, stinking blobs of blood and dead fish, G-d proves His supremacy over the powerless Egyptian god. G-d also proves He can stop Pharaoh, another Egyptian god, from seeing his face in the water's reflection. Now Pharaoh can only see polluted blood and dead fish.

Right up until the end of the ten plagues that G-d brought upon Egypt, G-d demands that the false gods of Egypt be defiled to prove their impotency.

In the tenth and final plague, G-d decides to kill all of the first-born of Egypt. But first, G-d commands the Jews to slaughter lambs, and to smear the blood of the lambs on the doorposts of their homes so that when the Angel of Death flies over their homes, when he sees the blood of the lambs on their doorposts, he will know that he has to pass over their houses and spare them from death.

This is why the holiday is called Passover - because the Angel of Death passed over all of the Jewish houses that smeared the blood of the lambs on their doorposts.

The lamb was also a major god in Egypt. Egyptians worshipped the lamb with great awe and reverence. Slaughtering and eating the lamb-god was unthinkable. To add insult to injury, smearing its blood on doorposts was the ultimate desecration.

After slaughtering, cooking and eating the Egyptian lamb god, the Jews were commanded to keep the skeleton of the lamb god intact, and not break any of its bones. The next day, the Jews were commanded to hang the skeletons of the slaughtered lamb gods in the public market places of Egypt, so that their Egyptian neighbors would see what had been done to their god.

We are taught by the great rabbinical sages of the Talmud that the Jewish willingness to do this, despite the obvious risk of a very violent Egyptian reaction, was one of the reasons the Jews merited the magnificent miracles that accompanied their spectacular liberation from Egypt. The Jews did what G-d told them to do despite the enormous risks. Therefore, the Jews exhibited true emunah (faith) and mesirut nefesh (willingness to risk their lives).

What an intolerant, extreme right-wing story! Why didn't G-d command the Jews to respect the religious beliefs of their Egyptian neighbors? Why didn't G-d command co-existence? Why didn't G-d order the Jews to have interfaith prayer services with Egyptian imams and ayatollahs? Why didn't G-d order that the Koran of those days be brought into the White House for a special ceremony?

While it's true that the ancient Egyptians in the name of their religion enslaved, raped, and committed genocide against millions of "infidels," you can't blame an entire religion for the behavior of "extremists." Didn't G-d understand that there are "moderate" Egyptians?

Obviously, He did not. He killed all of the first-born of Egypt.

Didn't G-d understand that "extremists" and "terrorists" hijacked the ancient Egyptian religion, which like all religions, is a "religion of peace"?

G-d didn't see it that way. He ordered the Jews to do everything possible to destroy the Egyptian religion and all of its belief systems.

The commandment to wage an uncompromising struggle to defeat evil is the real lesson of Passover. A lesson worth learning for both Jews and Gentiles, for both Israel and America.

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