Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pesach seder (Passover celebration)

Australian time is nearly a day ahead of American time so I have just got back from my first seder. It was with a local conservative congregation so there was lots of Hebrew chanted and sung -- and we used an Orthodox haggadah. I enjoyed it. It was a relaxed and happy occasion, as it should be. We even had some very pleasant Israelis present.

Will I attend another seder one day? Perhaps. I am not religious so that is a counterindication. But I enjoy Biblical exegesis so if an opportunity came up to attend one in very scholarly company I would be keen. I have only a Christian knowledge of the Torah so I would appreciate a deeper discussion of it. But there are no Yeshivot in Brisbane so I am not holding my breath.

I would be particularly interested in an exegesis of Exodus 12: 43-49. On the face of it, the Lubavitchers have got it right. But, as with all good law, there is a loophole: verse 48. I would fail the loophole myself but there other cases where defining the exception would be interesting.

I think that I should in closing express my great appreciation of the inimitable Garek Fish, who led the Beit Knesset Shalom congregation through the seder ceremonies with thoroughly admirable gusto.


I am reminded of something that Karl Popper once said: "It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood."

When I said above that "We even had some very pleasant Israelis present", that could be construed as implying that Israelis are not usually pleasant! That was not at all my intention, of course. I guess that I should have said that "We even had some Israelis present, who were very pleasant". In these days of political correctness, one has to watch one's words. I say a little more about my visit to the shul on my personal blog

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