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Friday, March 23, 2007

Pesach: Celebrate or Cancel

Celebrate Pesach
Yesterday, YCT rabbinical student Ben Greenberg stated:
The narrative of the redemption from Egypt is, in my opinion, one of the most powerful accounts of human liberation.The call from Rabban Gamliel in the Mishnah in Pesachim to "view oneself as if they had personally been redeemed from Egypt," and all the theology that is attached to that becomes irrelevant if the actual account of the redemption from Egypt is not viewed as truth.
While Ben Greenberg has posted views on various blogs that I disagree with, his sentiments on the Exodus appears to be one that we fundamentally share.

Cancel Pesach
One year ago today, YCT musmach Rabbi Josh Feiglson stated (which I am very surprised has not been removed from his blog):
The point of the Exodus is less whether or not it happened than the fact that the Jewish people has made the story of its enslavement and liberation the central story of its existence.
Feigelson further states in the comment section:
Do I believe the Exodus happened? Absolutely. Does it matter to me if someone digs up archaeological evidence to the contrary? No, because even if the story did not happen just as it is related in the Torah, we have observed the mitzvah to tell the story and make it our own for generation upon generation. And that story tells a much larger truth about what it means to be human than the small question of whether or not the Exodus "really" happened.
To requote Greenberg, celebrating Pesach "becomes irrelevant if the actual account of the redemption from Egypt is not viewed as truth." Specific parts of the Torah may be viewed as allegorical. The Exodus is not one of them. Notwithstanding the purported archaeological/historical context of "How to read the Bible", the presented standalone statements allow for the rejection of the Exodus as a masoretic fact originating from the first-hand experience of an entire nation.

updated: 3/26/07

- Emunah/Faith
- How to read the Bible
- Weeping for Psalms

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