Passover as Myth


Passover – the most observed of all Jewish holidays.  Years ago a Jewish fellow emailed me to say that he had read about a rabbi who claimed that the Exodus never really happened!  Now what, he asked, what if the story of Egypt and the Pharaoh aren’t true?  It doesn’t matter, I told him.  Whether it is fact or a myth, it is our story and it has shaped our existence for thousands of years. 

I trust that the literalists in the crowd will not be upset.  Think about how much of our lives we live by symbols.  What would life be without the great myths?  Their messages are captured today in our language. 

He has the Midas touch.

I feel like I’m tilting at windmills.

I heard the sirens’ song.

I took a history class with at Lehrhaus Jehon Grist and I suspect there is truth to the Exodus story, but if not, it is still a good story. 

For the Christians on the list, do you believe that Jesus literally turned water to wine?  Some do, some don’t; but the story has power nevertheless.

For the Muslims, do you believe that Muhammed made a midnight flight to heaven on a winged horse?  Again, a story that carries meaning no matter how you view it.

I hope that each of you will sit down to a seder that imparts not just the story of the Exodus, but also the mythic quality of it’s message.