Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2014

Passover, a holiday for all, starts with a blood-red moon

Compiled by Herb Scribner, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Mon, April 14 1:25 p.m. MDT

 The moon is seen during a total lunar eclipse above a statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus at Notre Dame Cathedral outside Jerusalem's Old City, early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. As Passover kicks off this year, some theories have popped up about its connection with the lunar eclipse that starts on April 14.

The moon is seen during a total lunar eclipse above a statue of the Virgin Mary holding Jesus at Notre Dame Cathedral outside Jerusalem's Old City, early Thursday, Feb. 21, 2008. As Passover kicks off this year, some theories have popped up about its connection with the lunar eclipse that starts on April 14.

(Kevin Frayer, Associated Press)

Passover starts Monday with a blood-red moon.

But more on that later.

As Passover — a Jewish holiday that celebrates Moses leading the children of Israel out of Egypt — kicks off Monday at sunset, it’s a reminder about what the religious celebration means to society.

Faith Street said Passover is a nod to how the impossible becomes possible as it shows believers how sacrificing and listening to God’s will can yield positive results.

“The Bible offered a blueprint for a master narrative of freedom from oppression that has been mimicked and re-enacted throughout history, from the American Revolution to other liberation theologies,” wrote Erica Brown for Faith Street. “It is one that we relive every time we fight social injustice through our personal commitments. It reminds us, even at our darkest moments, to dwell in sacred possibility.”

But is Passover only for Jews?

The Atlantic reported on Monday that people from multiple faiths are finding ways to celebrate the holiday. Restaurants will often offer Passover-inspired meals to inspire believers to find a connection to the days of exodus, wrote Lauren Davidson of The Atlantic.

“What is it about Passover that speaks to non-Jews and entices them to participate in what is, at least in its traditional format, a multi-hour Hebrew service over a meal with no bread?”

It might be because it is an invitation to a free meal, or an invite to be a part of an experience, Davidson wrote. “But for many, the allure of Passover stretches beyond a curiosity ticket to a Jewish ritual,” Davidson wrote. “The seder itself and the themes it explores have a way of resonating outside the boundaries of the tribe.” Passover has even had connections to baseball, as noted by Newsday.

To help the non-Jewish believers understand Passover, The Huffington Post published the basics of the holiday, including an interactive graphic about the seder meal.

So, going back, what about this blood-red moon?

The moon’s color will be an effect of the lunar eclipse starting tonight as the Earth aligns between the moon and the sun, causing the moon’s color to brighten with a blood-red hue. Some Christian pastors have noted this as the end of the world. USA Today reported that televangelist pastor John Hagee sees this eclipse as the end times.

How does this connect to Passover? Well, Jewish holidays, after all, are based on the lunar calendar, so there’s that.

But “there is nothing extraordinary about these holy days coinciding with a full moon. But that hasn’t stopped some well-known Christians from drawing supernatural connections," wrote Kenneth L. Waters Sr. for CNN.

Prophecies and predictions about the end of the world have come often in the last decade. But Waters said religious folks, especially Christians, should look for something else instead of the end times.

“Instead of looking to the heavens for signs of the future, Christians should focus on the hope and promise of the Gospel message and seek to reflect Christ in word and deed,” Waters wrote. “And especially as we enter Holy Week and anticipate Easter, may each of us look within our own hearts for those shadows that keep us from enjoying the fullness of relationship with the Creator of the sun, the moon, and the stars.”

Email: hscribner@deseretdigital.com

Twitter: @herbscribner

Recommended
1. The Scientist
Provo, UT,
April 14, 2014

"...it’s a reminder about what the religious celebration means to society. ...Passover is a nod to how the impossible becomes possible as it shows believers how sacrificing and listening to God’s will can yield positive results."

Nonsense. In researching their book "American Grace," authors Putnam and Campbell found that over HALF of all American Jews do not even believe in a god. For such, Passover is a reminder of emancipation from oppression.

Judaism and Atheism are not contradictory. The tradition of Judaism to question God from top to bottom. Unlike Christianity and Islam, Judaism is not dogmatic (no creeds or articles of faith to adhere to), so atheists can be open about their lack of belief and still belong to a synagogue.

Jonathan Sarna, professor of American Jewish history at Brandeis University, points out that "An individual who attends synagogue, participates in Jewish communal affairs, and contributes heavily to Jewish charities would undoubtedly be considered a very fine Jew, without asking questions about whether or not that person believed in God."

Rabbis and their congregations welcome the doubters and the skeptics.

2. Hutterite
American Fork, UT,
April 14, 2014

Science has explained the phases of the moon, and eclipses.

3. donn
layton, UT,
April 14, 2014

RE: The Scientist, “Passover is a nod to how the impossible becomes possible as it shows believers how sacrificing and listening to God’s will can yield positive results."

“One of the most significant Jewish holidays, Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, recalls and rejoices over the Israelites' redemption from slavery in Egypt. The symbolic elements of the feast cause us not only to look back and remember what the Lord did for our people in the past; they also foreshadow a greater redemption through Jesus, the Passover Lamb. Jewish people around the world have celebrated Passover for thousands of years; however, “Most do not understand” the ultimate significance of the festival.“ Jews for Jesus

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover. He is the Lamb of God, sacrificed to set us free from bondage to sin. (John 1:29; Psalm 22; Isaiah 53) His blood covers and protects us, and his body was broken to free us from eternal death. (1 Corinthians 5:7) Christians

4. A Scientist
Provo, UT,
April 14, 2014

donn,

Nice fairy tales. But that's all they are. There is more spiritual and eternal significance in the Easter Bunny and a pack of Peeps than in ancient fables.

5. sj
Spanish Fork, UT,
April 14, 2014

Donn.. well said.