When I was young, before my teens, the schools gave all of us kids a copy of the ‘High Way code’, a summation of the rules regarding the use of vehicles on public highways. It would be another 6 years at least before we would take the wheel of a car but here we were, being asked to study the road signs and breaking distances. Many of us were of an age when we would take our bikes out of an evening or weekend and see what was down the road or over the next hill. The sense of freedom, of Independence was addictive.
As children, even with the additional information of the Highway Code’ book, we didn’t really appreciate the importance of the signs at each junction or the white line that divided the road. We saw the other traffic and figured that we, immortal as all children are in their own minds, just needed to keep clear of those and we would be fine. Usually there would be a close call, a slippery road, a mistimed corner.. our hearts in our throats, the honk of an angry or scared car horn and soon we started to adopt turn signals. Lesson learned.
Because while the Highway Code was printed manly for car drivers, it was for any road user.
Every year for the last 5 years I’ve written a post specific to Pesach. This year I feel it is important to ask the question, ‘I’m a non-Jew, can I celebrate Pesach?’
Much of the back ground behind my answer can be found in a video I recorded recently about the Sabbath.
As will any biblical subject, it is vital to remember 2 important things and ask them of yourself and of the raw data. 1) What does this mean to me, how can I use it in my day to day life and 2) Who was this message given to?
Yes, the Hebrew bible clearly gives instruction to the Israelites that they must remember the night of the Passover with a special meal. It’s a very unique event given by the Creator to an equally unique group, the sons of Jacob. It was not a commandment given to the whole world, to each nation and to every human being. It was given to Israel.. and Israel consists of the offspring of those who were at Sinai. BUT.
As Rabbi Tovia Singer said to me, ”Every child of God should celebrate”
As a non-Jew/Ger/Noahide you are totally entitled to have a special meal to celebrate Pesach. You are .. indeed SHOULD remember and celebrate the freeing of Israel from bondage. It was a world changing even, the start of an epic story, the result of which was YOU hearing the Torah. You, in many ways are one of the results of the God of Israel’s redeeming of the Jewish people.
Should you paint yourself Jewish? No. Never. You have a seat at the table of the Creator, you do not need to steal someone elses.
But you can invite friends and family, read the story of the Exodus, enjoy food that reminds us of the events and enjoy the concept of freedom that was delivered to the Jewish people. I’m sure that many of your found escape from a world of Idolatry through the Torah, a freedom that you can assign to the braking of the Egyptian chains.
Rabbi Skobac says, ”My general feeling is that there is much in Judaism and Jewish teaching that has relevance to non-Jews. The importance of Passover is certainly immense. I see absolutely no problem with non-Jews gathering, friends, family, etc. to (a) learn, discuss, study, explore the lessons and relevance of Passover for them (b) having a meal together around which those discussions can be had…eating maztzah and/or doing anything else that helps them connect to that event and its implications.”
We have to respect that the Jewish people have an obligation to the Passover, to tradition that is their birthright. We have no right to try and undermine or adopt it as ours. We have our own lives to live. We have our own relationship with the Creator.
No, we might not be driving cars but it’s always smart to understand the reason for the rules of the road…
So this coming Pesach, take a moment to think about what the freeing of the Jews from Egypt and the following Exodus, means to you. The giving of Torah, the birth of a nation. A nation you, even as a non-Jew, can support and love. Eat and drink, read and think. It’s a chance to sacrifice your time, money and love by sharing with others your appreciation of the God of Abraham and of His actions, His Torah and His mercy. Who knows? Maybe next year Jerusalem?