LETTERS: Easter myths of Passover

Share
Related Topics
Sir: Keith Botsford's gargantuan buffet of history, myth, tradition, eggs, lambs and other Easter fare ("Time to savour the feast of spring", 5 April) included a few rather indigestible morsels.

"As the Father sacrificed his son, the son became the pure, innocent Lamb of God," proclaims Botsford, "which accounts for the prime place given to lamb on Easter Day."

Well, yes and no. The "prime place given to lamb" at Easter is none other than the place it occupied for Jesus and the disciples when they celebrated Passover. In those days, at Passover each household made the journey to the Temple in Jerusalem, sacrificed a lamb, roasted it and ate it. Since the destruction of the Temple, the Passover lamb is remembered simply as a bone on the Seder plate, to which Botsford makes the fleeting and inaccurate reference. The plate, adorned with the bone and five other symbols of Temple times, takes pride of place on the festive dinner table in Jewish homes on "Seder night", the start of the Passover.

The symbolic egg of Easter, which has become chocolate in modern times, was another Passover sacrifice. A burnt egg lies beside the bone on the Seder plate, and the festive Seder meal - widely assumed to have been the Last Supper of Jesus and his disciples - starts with an egg in salt water. Throughout Passover, incidentally, owing to the lack of bread or leaven, egg dishes are immensely popular.

Keith Botsford mistakenly mentions a "plaited loaf made with egg at Seder, the beginning of Passover." Absolutely not. Passover happens to be the only time of year when hallah - the plaited loaf made with egg - is not eaten: for this is the Festival of Matzah, unleavened bread.

Ignorance about Jews led to the routine Passion Week accusation that Jews use Christian blood for their Passover meal. These accusations made Easter the most dangerous time of year for Jews throughout the Christian world. The word "Easter" still fills many Jews with fear.

Andrew Sanger

London NW2

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Labour leadership contest: 'Moderniser' is just a vague and overused label

Steve Richards
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’  

Children's TV shows like Grange Hill used to connect us to the real world

Grace Dent
Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine