Last week Mike and I went to a seder for the first time. For the uninitiated – like us – a seder is the ceremony/meal that Jews hold to celebrate Passover. The Last Supper was a seder. It was an interesting experience, most of all as all of us there were novices. Some of us had been raised as christians, however, so the readings from the Old Testament were somewhat familiar. But the symbolism of the food items served was new to us, eating bitter herbs to remember the bitterness of the slavery in Egypt, an egg with symbolises spring and new life. Indeed, what I enjoyed so much about the text was the possibility of not reading them literally, but as methaphors for a person’s spiritual or just personal growth. There is even one part where the text has you say “I freed myself” and indeed that may be the whole point.
Other parts of the text were actually just ironic. In one part the readers are exorted to not “oppress the stranger for you were strangers in Egypt”. I wonder how Israelis and Jews in generals can read this verse year after year, while they oppress Palestinians with all their might. But rationalizations are wonderful things – and apparently stronger than any religious beliefs.