Parsha for Pesach – Leaving in a hurry – forever – Exodus 12:21-51

The parsha is a small excerpt from parsha Bo, relating the Exodus night to us. This is a good review of the dramatic event of the Passover night during the seven Days of Unleavened Bread (matzot) which immediately follow Passover. The portion relates a perpetual observance of Passover, and the rules for who is allowed to partake of the Passover observance.

The change took a long time to build up to the breaking point, but once the change happened, there was no going back, just like when a dam busts. Expect Change as a normal course of life, and realize that when change happens it is generally irrevocable. There is no going back.

The first, and most obvious issue, is how can we invite non-Israelite (uncircumcised) families to our Passover remembrance? It seems we violate the Torah when we invite others others to Passover. Actually we do not celebrate a Passover meal anymore! We celebrate a remembrance of the Passover event. We do not sacrifice, cook, and eat a lamb, nor put the lamb’s blood on our door posts. We remember the event through food, story, and song.

How long are we to continue this remembrance? For ad olam in the Hebrew. Problem is what does ad olam mean? Think tikkun olam – restoration of the world. Think Adon olam – master of all time, master of the universe. Olam is a difficult word to translate into English (see the Ancient Hebrew Research Center link for more background). Olam is a noun, a thing, which describes time. Look up “time” in the English dictionary. It is a noun, adjective, and verb, with multiple meanings. So it is for Hebrew. Time is elusive and non-physical, thus we find it hard to describe.

Since olam is a general word describing a very long time, it must be translated in context. This is a big problem for people who want to have very specific rules and regulations. Again, how long are we to continue this remembrance, ad olam? Forever? For as far as we can see and then some? To the end of time? Till the after life? Till the Messiah comes? Till we colonize the galaxy? I have no good answer here!

What I do have is a more important follow on principle. Since olam must be translated in context, how do we properly translate and understand the scriptures, a group of books thousands of years old written in ancient languages. And how many other words are difficult or imprecise to translate? The danger is using our preconceptions, ideologies, doctrines and dogmas back in the translation of the scriptures. Unfortunately, almost every translation has a huge bias translated into the text.

Spiritual seekers are interested in living meaningful, loving, quality lives aligned with the larger principles of the One (G~d). Thus, a seeker must ask many questions and be willing to live within multiple paradoxes. We can not get it all “right.” We are not looking for perfection because perfection does not exist except in G~d, and we are not G~d, nor would we want the responsibilities of being G~d.

Get the big picture – Live clean and healthy lives as examples of followers of the One (G~d).

Expect the possibility of sudden Change and flow with it.

Picture from Ancient Hebrew Research Center

Here are some study notes:

Parsha Pesach 5771.doc
Parsha Pesach 5771.pdf