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

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Critics of Fiona Woolf say she should step down amid accusations of an establishment cover-up  

Fiona Woolf resignation: As soon as she became the story, she had to leave

James Ashton
 

Letters: Electorate should be given choice on drugs policy

Independent Voices
Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities