Typical to the Jewish people, there is a variety of interpretations of the words and symbolism, and even the restrictions on foods allowed differ greatly between the two main groups, the Sephardim and Ashkenazim. In addition to that, even some truly orthodox groups in
The ten plagues inflicted upon the Pharaoh and his Egyptians, in order to let the Hebrews leave with their families and possessions, are also subject to many interpretations. Usually they are listed as Blood, Frogs, Lice, Beasts, Blight, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness and Striking of the First-Born. Some of these sound very benign in today’s world and we have to find a more fitting meaning for the present time. The river of blood could be a senseless war where the blood of innocent victims flows like a river. Today’s
But of course the main idea behind the Passover story is freedom from slavery, which for each of us can have a different meaning. We can be suffering in a hostile workplace, a bad relationship, poverty or sickness. The story teaches us not to give up hope, even when odds seem against us. We have to watch out for the Pharaoh or Laban the Aramean, supposedly even more evil. They may well be hiding among us, pretending to be one of the Hebrews.
Today is Good Friday, a dark day for Christians (Finns call it Long Friday). Like the Jews found freedom, Christians did also, although in a slightly different manner, just two days later, on Easter. But this quest to be free from slavery is not the property of those religions, it is universal and applies to all people. Let us hope we don’t have to go through our ten plagues before we and our leaders see the truth. We have suffered enough.