Monday, December 14, 2015

My thoughts about Passover

I have considered observing the passover properly (actually cooking a lamb) but Torah says that we're not supposed to do it just anywhere.

However, Samaritans observe the passover (you can see video of the ceremony on my blog or YouTube). Also, Hebrews observed passover in Egypt (see Exodus) and the laws can't change, so if they could do it in Egypt, we can do it as well. Hebrews also observed passover after they have crossed to the promised land (see Joshua). 

I was thinking that Deut 16:5 refers not to the specific place, but rather any place that God "chooses" so to speak. For example, if I live in the apartment and you live on a farm, your farm would be the chosen place for the passover, because its kinda hard to skin and cook the lamb in the apartment building. This is exactly how Hebrews observed the passover in Egypt. See Exodus 12:7. It uses the plural form (houses) where the passover lamb was to be eaten. I do not think that they could celebrate the passover in Egypt one way, and then God decided to change the laws and command to celebrate it some other way. So there is no other thing to do than to conclude that passover can still be performed in the same fashion that Hebrews did on the day they left Egypt. However, since we are in exile of sorts, it may be necessary to celebrate passover in the second month (as per Numbers 9:10-13)

So there is a possibility that there could be more than one "place".  However, the fact that Dt 16:5 indicates that we are not supposed to do it within our gates would indicate to me that the place is not up to our choosing, but in the place where He has chosen to make His Name abide.  It is true that we theoretically could share a lamb as indicated elsewhere, but it would need to be done in the place where His Name abides.  It is true that they did so at their homes in Egypt, but Dt 16 was given after they departed Egypt.  

I was thinking more about second month issue, and I would think this would be because the Israelites that were defiled by the dead would be able to be purified by the time that the feast came again.  However, it does not seem that such a means for purification from the dead exists today.  The new priesthood would have to be initiated by someone who had never been defiled by the dead, and then we would need to sacrifice a red heifer such that the others could be purified.

However, Deut 16:6 can not contradict any previous verses of the Torah (i.e Exodus 12:7). Torah can't contradict itself. Perhaps Deut 16:6 is equivalent to Exodus 12:46. Perhaps what Deut 16:6 means is that the lamb must be eaten in one place or house where people would be willing to assemble or where it would be possible for the people to assemble and prepare the lamb. In both these verses the singular form is used.

And as far as the "Name" goes, I think what it means is simply the place where the words of Torah are present. I.e something comparable to the rabbinic synagogues, maybe something like Chabad houses (if you have ever seen one). I do not believe that Deut 16:6 refers to the specific place (i.e Jerusalem or Mt. Gerizim). This just simply does not make sense as it would be logistically impossible for all Hebrews to observe the passover in one particular physical place. I mean, just imagine the crowds, how and where would you apply blood to the lintels from all the lambs, e.t.c.

I was also thinking that if you are far away from home (which would mean the promised land) then you would do it in the second month. Like I pointed out above, all of us are most likely impure and do have to be purified. Maybe it has to be done by someone who is clean (pure). Yet I think anyone who knows what he is doing can purify the priests. I.e a Prophet like Moses (as the Torah stated) and as it was done. 

Deut 16:5 and Exodus 34:23-24 seem to indicate that the Israelites are intended to meet up at a specific place to observe the aforementioned feasts. But it's not necessarily asserting that there could only be one place that sacrifice is allowed, because obviously sacrifices have been commanded at various places (Ebal/Gerizim, the wilderness, Egypt). But I would think that perhaps a prophetic injunction of some sort would accompany such an establishment of a place.

On the other hand, Exodus 34:23-24 may refer to any place where Levites live. This may include the Tabernacle (or even the Temple), but in my opinion, any place where Levites live is sufficient, since they are the recipients of the first-fruits, offerings, e.t.c. But, as far as Passover goes, Exodus tells us that it has to be slaughtered in many "places", and its blood must cover the lintels of these places. Plural form, basically. So to me, the idea that all Hebrews were to slaughter Passover in just one physical place is contradictory to what the text says. This is also a rabbinical idea, so this is another argument against it.

The idea of the Passover to me is to remind Hebrews of the time they left Egypt, so as far as I understand it, this is why it was commanded to be done in many places, so it would sort of remind them as closely as possible how it was. This is why I do not agree on the idea that it was to be ever celebrated in one physical place. At least as long as there is no such place or the Tabernacle. This is why it is important for us to rebuild the Tabernacle.

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