Five Minutes for Israel
wishes all those who celebrate
a very happy Pessach
Pessach, also known in English as Passover, is perhaps the most Israeli of the major Jewish festivals. It commemorates our arrival. Second arrival if you consider Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
The Jewish people celebrate this festival as a commemoration of their liberation by God from slavery in Egypt and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. Most ethnic origin stories trace themselves back to gods and kings. Who would invent a story that projects such humble roots?
It is one of the three pilgrimage festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire population of the kingdom of Judah made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.
This has become very relevant with the Palestinian campaign to deny Jewish connection to Israel and the recent passive-aggressive UNESCO declaration which didn’t so much deny Jewish connection to Jerusalem as ignore it entirely.
The first written reference to Pessach is the Book of Exodus (in Hebrew Shemot). By tradition this dates back to Moses (calculated by various religious authorities as somewhere between the 13th and 16th centuries Before the Christian Era but some scholars either near the end of the Judean monarchy in the late seventh century BCE or in the exilic and post-exilic period of the sixth and fifth centuries BCE. Greek translations probably go back to the 3rd century BCE, probably for the use of Greek speaking Jews in Alexandria, Egypt. All well before there was any historic reference to Arabs let alone Palestinians.
Christianity adopted the Hebrew Bible which became known as the Old Testament (by comparison to Christianity’s New Testament).
Surprisingly for some the Koran has many references to the Exodus story. Moses (in Arabic Mussa) is a prophet in the Koran.
“O children of Israel! Remember those blessings of Mine with which I graced you, and how I favored you above all other people. And guard yourselves against a day when no soul will in aught avail another, nor will intercession be accepted from it, nor will compensation be received from it, nor will they be helped. And remember the time when We saved you from Pharaoh’s people, who afflicted you with cruel suffering, slaughtering your sons and sparing only your women — which was an awesome trial from your Sustainer; and when We cleft the sea before you, and thus saved you and caused Pharaoh’s people to drown before your very eyes.” (Quran 2:47-50)
Many Muslims believe that the grave of Moses is located at Maqam El-Nabi Musa,which lies 11 km (6.8 mi) south of Jericho and 20 km (12 mi) east of Jerusalem in the Judean wilderness.
The attempts to deny ancient Jewish connection to Israel are historically totally inaccurate; in Islamic terms sacrilege and make genuine peace impossible.
I have often said that peace could only have come to South Africa when the black majority accepted the Afrikaners as the white tribe of Africa. The same also applies to our section of the Middle East. The refusal to accept the Jews as native to the land with the implication that they should be expelled back to their so-called lands of origin guarantees continuing warfare.
The traditional Seder Night on Pessach ends with Nirtzah נירצה ‘Next Year in Jerusalem’ and has since at least 170 BCE. Nothing Abbas or UNESCO says can change that.
- Out of Egypt: The Story of Passover in the Quran, Shahul Hameed, The Religion of Islam, 03 Jan 2011