Passover, the Oral Law and a Gentile
So, for Jews, Passover and the festival of Matzos has started. And as a Gentile, especially one passionate about the Seven Laws for humanity, I have nothing to do with the observance of Passover or Matzos. Here’s what I told someone who shared that it was allowed for “noahides” to do something or other during the holy festival.
For me, the issue has nothing to do with if I, as a Gentile, am allowed to participate in some way in the meal or the week. I ask myself who was enjoined to keep the festival. The answer is easy: the nation of Israel. Am I part of that nation? No. Does the practice have anything to do with my practical day-to-day life? No. Is there any logical obligation for me, as a total foreigner to the nation of Israel, to keep the meal or the week? Nope! The universal lessons of Passover can be learned without picking up a finger to do it.
So what does the practice of the meal and the week have to do with me or my observance of the commandments God enjoined on me as a Gentile and the responsibilities that come with being made in God’s image? Absolutely nothing.
So being allowed to have something to do with the practicalities of the Jewish commandment is not an issue for me. I leave it well alone.
Times such as these reinforce for me the words of rabbi Samson Raphael Hirsch, that when Jews are occupied with their Torah law and we Gentiles are occupied with our law, then the kingdom of God will be established in earth … Or something like that.
Unfortunately, my wife is part of a church that claims to be Israel and thus have the responsibility of keeping the commandments that God placed upon the Jews (an abhorrent idea to me). Not only that, but they also reject the oral tradition. So I’ve had the “pleasure” of helping her get ready for this christian innovation imposed on Passover.
Surprisingly enough, I actually had what I consider to be a positive learning experience from doing it.
As I was putting out the bread and other stuff that was supposed to be “leavened,” something quite significant dawned on me. It was this: scripturally, and purely scripturally, I had no clue what I was doing! HA! LOL! It was kinda fantastic.
I realised that based only on the Bible, I did not know what leaven was exactly. In the latter days of my christianity over 15 years ago, I had thought it was just the case of looking for yeast or raising agents that was in the ingredients of certain foods. But thinking about it, I see now that I now strong biblical basis for this. The Hebrew word, chametz, what right did I have to equate this to yeast or raising agent?
I did a search online to find out how others keep it. To my initial dismay, I found that the first sites talking about how to keep the festival was christian. But as I looked into them, much to my amusement, I found that the same christians who reject the oral law were using it, as well as unbiblical information from the rabbis, to formulate what to do during the festival.
Talk about self-defeating!
This taught me a few things. As you can see, one of those lessons was the vital importance of the oral tradition. The biblical information is not enough to draw conclusions on how Matzos was originally kept and how it should be kept now in line with Torah law.
Another important lesson for me was that I’m a Gentile, a non-Jew outside of any Torah-faithful Jewish community. Lacking such a relationship with the Jews, and because it has nothing to do with my obligations and responsibilities towards honouring God, it’s good that I have nothing to do with trying to keep the practicalities of the Jewish festival. Except for having to deal with my family attempting to keep some christian perversion of the real God-given observance, I can generally learn from the universal lessons and focus on my “Divine calling” and not that of the Jewish people.
As a friend of mine wrote, why is today the same as any other day? Because I’m not a Jew. So I can happily get on with my own business.