A regular Thursday activity for me is attending an English-language discussion group.
Today’s session once again proved thought-provoking. The group leader spoke about the Passover holiday starting tomorrow evening and how until 70 AD and the destruction of the second temple, the Passover holiday was for most a one-day celebration. For those living beyond the area covered by the 'Dan to Beersheva' region, the celebration lasted two days.
With the destruction of the second temple, the rabbis conceived the idea of a multi-day Passover holiday and the creation of the Haggadah which is read each Passover and purportedly tells the story of the Jew's flight from Egypt.
Assuming the above is true, and I have no doubt it is; the group leader is a distinguished archaeologist, his state adds further weight to the notion that religion was 'created by man to enslave man'.
His second challenging statement concerned the defeat of the Jews at Masada by the Roman legions. The siege of Masada was one of the final events in the First Jewish–Roman War, occurring from 73 to 74. The siege is known to history via a single source, Flavius Josephus, a Jewish rebel leader captured by the Romans, in whose service he became a historian.
According to Flavius Josephus, the Jews defenders choose suicide rather than being captured by the Romans. And yet, there is no proof of any kind that supports this assertion. It was felt that Flavius Josephus simply wanted to write the history of the Masada victory to show the Romans in a positive, supreme light. Maybe an early example of fake news? And of course, teachers follow through by distilling the story to their students. Distortion of history.
The following article from the UK Guardian newspaper is worth reading. As the article sub-header asks “In a world of scientific miracles, what does faith have to offer us?”
The big idea: do we still need religion? https://www.theguardian.com/books/2022/mar/28/the-big-idea-do-we-still-need-religion
Just sometimes there appears an article that brings a warm glow to the heart. Such is the following story:
Former Haredi soldier paves own path at IDF canine unit. Although Staff Sergeant P. grew up in an observant family, she knew from a young age that she wanted to join the military. Going against community's objections, she fulfilled her lifelong dream at the age of 21, joining the IDF canine unit, despite a fear of dogs, and becoming best friends with a Belgian shepherd named Bingo. https://www.israelhayom.com/2022/04/11/former-haredi-soldier-paves-own-path-at-idf-canine-unit/
And then some stories simply make your blood boil. I am talking about none other than Bezalel Smotrich. US commentator, Bill O'Reilly is fond of describing the dipsticks and wallies of this world as Kool-Aid drinks. Apt labeling following Smotrich’s call for synagogues to turn away members of the governing coalition claiming that their political actions should exclude them from communal religious life.
Prime Minister Naftali Bennett's response is spot-on:
‘This led to our destruction’: Bennett assails Smotrich for urging synagogue ban PM and interior minister accuse former political ally of endangering the Jewish state, citing senseless hatred that led to the destruction of the Second Temple https://www.timesofisrael.com/this-led-to-our-destruction-bennett-assails-smotrich-for-urging-synagogue-ban/
And of course, you have Smotrich’s extremist friends who planned to have a pre-Passover animal sacrifice at the Temple Mount. Thank goodness the police stopped this insanity which could well have provoked even further violence and bloodshed. One can only assume they also are Kool-Aid drinkers.
Four extremist Jews arrested for planning animal sacrifice atop Temple Mount Goat found at suspect’s home, following Facebook post offering cash prize for animal sacrifices at locale; police vow to work 24/7 against anyone violating order at flashpoint site https://www.timesofisrael.com/four-extremist-jews-arrested-for-planning-animal-sacrifice-atop-temple-mount/