🇺🇸 Jew Who Has It All

🇺🇸 Jew Who Has It All

13-04-2022

12:41

Dear Teachers, The Christian holiday of Easter is approaching. Since it always falls on First Day and sometimes falls during Pesach Break, as it does this year, you may not be aware that our Christian students are celebrating this Christian holiday. 1/27

Christians commemorate the execution of the Christian prophet, Yeshu, on Yom Friday HaTov (Sixth Day this week). They believe that he was mystically revived three days later, on what is called Yom Rishon shel Pascha by Christians. 2/27

Christians who speak English often call the holiday ‘Easter,’ which is named for the pagan deity Eostre, a goddess of the spring, or perhaps an early German word for “dawn.” 3/27

The date of Easter is calculated to ensure that it always falls on a Gregorian “Sunday” (First Day). Although all Christians follow the same Gregorian calendar, they do not all follow the same liturgical calendar, and not all Christians keep Easter on the same date. 4/27

Consult for Western Easter dates, but the Mizrachi Christian calendar may celebrate a week later. 5/27

Religiously observant Christians attend services at their Christian shul in the morning of the Easter holiday, sometimes at sunrise. Musical instruments are sometimes used, as Christian yomim tovim have no restrictions on use of instruments. 6/27

Although this is the holiest day of the Christian year, Christians drive, light flames, and use electricity. You should not assume your Christian friend is mechalel Yom Tov just because they use electronics on Easter. 7/27

A festive seudah may be held after Christian shacharit services, including rich foods previously forbidden during the Christian Omer II season. 8/27

Secular Christian families often hold a seudah even if they do not attend davening. Traditional Easter foods are an important part of the holiday, and many Christian families eat specific foods according to the minhag of their particular ethnic group. 9/27

Symbols of the holiday include a fascinating mix of religious symbols such as that of the execution method used on the Christian prophet and several pagan symbols of spring, including lambs, eggs, and rabbits. 10/27

The association of rabbits with Easter has ancient origins, possibly originating with an ancient belief that a hare could reproduce without loss of virginity (like Christian beliefs about their prophet’s mother), or maybe an allusion to fertility and the arrival of spring. 11/27

Lambs are a symbol of Easter, since they represent spring and new birth. Lambs also relate to the Christian idea that their prophet was a human korban chatat; the Christian prophet Yeshu is therefore sometimes called the Lamb. 12/27

You may be aware of a custom of eating the “body” and the “blood” of the Christian prophet as a religious ritual, but this custom refers to eating bread and drinking wine. 13/27

Although some Christian groups have a custom of eating lamb on Easter, this custom is unrelated to the ritual of the bread and wine and does not constitute consumption of a person, symbolic or otherwise. 14/27

The lamb is not eaten with bitter herbs, it is permissible to break the bones of the meat, and there are no rules as to how young or old the lamb may be. 15/27

Easter has no restriction on eating chametz, and indeed, many of the traditional foods contain chametz. 16/27

If a frum Christian friend keeps a strict treyf diet and requires chametz in their meals it may be a time to avoid inviting them to your home. This is a wonderful time to meet them outdoors where you may respect their dietary needs without bringing chametz into your home. 17/27

Eggs are forbidden during the period of Christian Omer II, so the reintroduction of eggs in the Christian diet is a festive occasion, and eggs are eaten in abundance on Easter. 18/27

Eggs are also a common pagan symbol of rebirth and spring. In the past, Christians would boil them with flowers, a symbol of spring, to color them. Today, Christians use chemical dyes to color their eggs. 19/27

Some eggs are made of chocolate and covered in colored foil to represent the spring flowers. The Christian Easter egg is unrelated to the egg on the Seder plate, and it is not a symbol of the korban chagigah, and there is no need to roast it. 20/27

Christian children go to bed the night before, eager for the arrival of the Arnav shel Easter, a hare who brings gifts to good children. The Arnav shel Easter leaves baskets full of gifts of candy and small toys, nestled in a pile of shredded green plastic, for children. 21/27

In some families, the Arnav shel Easter hides eggs for children to find and collect in a basket. In spite of popular belief, the Arnav shel Easter does not lay the eggs— only brings them and perhaps hides them. 22/27

Some Christian shuls hold a special egg hunt activity for children, so that Christian children have a chance to meet other Christian children and do something fun together. Colored eggs, real, plastic, or chocolate, are hidden for Christian children to find. 23/27

The empty egg is taken as symbolic of the Christian prophet’s empty tomb. Confusingly, plastic eggs are normally filled with candy, and are not left empty. 24/27

Children’s gatherings for Easter may also include races wherein children hold an egg in a spoon and try not to drop it, or races where children roll an egg to a finish line using a spoon to push it. 25/27

Easter falls on the weekend every year, and it usually falls over Spring Break, so students should not need to ask for any days off for it. 26/27

Some students may travel on pilgrimage to Vatican or Jerusalem for their holy day of Easter, so those students may have an excused absence with a letter from their Christian rabbi. Thank you for all your great work. Have a joyous Pesach and a restful Spring Break! 27/27

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