|Passover and Ramadan Parallels|
At the beginning of the Passover Seder we say, “Let all who are hungry come and eat.” Opening our homes and sharing food is quintessentially Jewish. Today is both the first day of Nissan, the month of Passover, and for Muslims it is the beginning of the month of Ramadan. There are many interesting parallels between Passover and Ramadan.
Both began as holidays for making a pilgrimage. In Bible times, Jews would make a pilgrimage, walking for days up to the Holy City of Jerusalem. Ramadan is the time Muslims make a pilgrimage to Mecca. One of their Five Commandments (known as the Five Pillars of Islam) is for all Muslims, at least once-in-a-lifetime, to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.
We call our holiday in Hebrew, “Hag.” They call their holiday in Arabic, “Haj,” almost the same word. Jews invite family and friends to a huge feast called the “Seder.” Muslims invite family and friends to feast at a meal called “Suhor.” Passover celebrates liberation from physical slavery, Ramadan is about how to liberate one’s soul from enslavement.
In Hebrew slang, Israeli Jews call Muslims “Bnei Dodim,” the cousins. This acknowledges them, not as “Other,” but as part of the family, the cousins. They too are from the family of Abraham/Ibrahim. In 2020, Israel entered into the Abraham Accords with the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Today six Arab countries have peace arrangements with Israel including Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan. It is important to strengthen our relationships with our cousins abroad and our neighbors closer to home. If you have Muslim neighbors or colleagues it is kind to wish them a “Ramadan Mubarak” or a “Ramadan Kareem,” which mean “Blessed Ramadan,” and “May Ramadan be generous to you.”
Perhaps this year invite a Muslim friend to your Seder, to enable you and them to learn and experience the many parallels shared within the family of Abraham/Ibrahim.
To make your Seder even more engaging, I invite you to join me this Sunday at the Temple from 10am-11am for a session on “Tips for leading your Passover Seder.”
At night look up at the sky and watch the moon grow over the next two weeks. When the moon of the Hebrew month of Nissan (Spring) is full, we will celebrate the Passover Seder on Wednesday, April 5th.
Hag Sameach – Happy Pesach and Hodesh Tov, Wishing us all a good month of Nissan,
Rabbi David Wilfond