An Orthodox Jewish perspective on Passover:
“On this final day of Passover we strive for the highest level of freedom, and focus on the Final Redemption. Following the Baal Shem Tov’s custom, we end Passover with “Moshiach’s Feast”—a festive meal complete with matzah and four cups of wine, during which we celebrate the imminent arrival of the Messiah. The feast begins before sunset and continues until after nightfall.”
I write the following with the utmost respect for men who live their lives dedicated to how Tanach teaches to live under the Covenant given through Moses (i.e. Chabad). Their zeal is beyond commendable. It grieves my heart to know that the LORD speaks of them so clearly in Isaiah 29:13*. I would be glad to discuss the words I’ve chosen below with the most Orthodox of Orthodox with a heart of Isaiah 1:18 in order to come together and reason.
That said, I recognize that words often don’t express the real heart of what’s trying to be conveyed, but, in reading the words from this Ultra-Orthodox website, I can’t help but grieve.
After a week of remembering how G-d delivered our People from the bondage of Egypt, the last day’s activities are culminated in “striving” for freedom. The very freedom that is sought is right there in the Pages of the Book of Jeremiah. Where Deuteronomy (** and ***) teaches that the Mosaic Covenant only brings blessings, peace,and rest when it is fully obeyed, there is a New Covenant that the LORD desires to give. Jeremiah 31 contrasts this New Covenant with the Mosaic Covenant in that it is NOT like the Mosaic one. No 613 Commandments. No performance-based blessings or cursings. The LORD promises to forgive iniquity and remember sin no more. Freedom is provided by the Only One Who can provide it. He did it for our forefathers in ha Eretz Mitzrayim (the Land of Egypt) and He is the Only One Who can do it today.
Next, they will “focus on the Final Redemption”. But, there is no redemption through the Mosaic Covenant. “there is none that doeth good, no, not one” (Psalm 14:3, 53:3). Consider the implication if the Mosaic Covenant (in its fullness — which means keeping all the Commandments) could bring redemption:
- There would be no need for a New Covenant that was unlike the Mosaic. The Passage in Jeremiah would have been a waste of the same Ruach (Spirit) that led the Prophet to write those words.
- There would be no need for the prophecies of Moshiach ben Yosef (Messiah son of Joseph). He is supposed to suffer and die as opposed to Moshaich ben David (Messiah son of David), the coming King. This is an extension of the rabbinic teaching which attempts to explain the seeming contradiction in the Messiah’s Coming spoken of inDaniel 7:13and in Zechariah 9:9.
- There would be no need to consider that Daniel 9 is clear that the Moshiach must have come before the destruction of the Temple in 70 CE. This is amazingly transparent in telling something very important about the Moshiach’s Coming: He’s either already come or He never will.
Finally, the end of Passover is garnished with “Moshiach’s Feast” in order to “celebrate the imminent arrival of the Messiah.” Remember the tradition during the Seder where we open the front door in order to allow the spirit of Elijah to partake in each home’s Seder and the back door is opened to allow him to leave ? In the same way that we rejoice in the spirit of Elijah at our Seder, it was our People’s leaders who rejected the only man who proclaimed that he had come as the voice in the wilderness to prepare the way of the LORD (Isaiah 40:3). This man came in a time-frame that fits with Daniel 9‘s prophecy of the Messiah coming before the Temple’s destruction. This man, according to the writings of another Jewish Book (written by Jewish men about the Jewish Messiah) came in the spirit and power of Elijah. This Other Book is the Brit ha Hadashah — the New Covenant / Testament. This Other Book describes that which was promised in Jeremiah 31. This man, we see, was John the Immerser. He was performing mikvahs in the wilderness — a very Jewish thing. He was the one to proclaim — upon seeing Messiah Y’shua — “Behold the Lamb of G-d, which taketh away the sin of the world.” Such a Jewish heart to that statement !! This should bring visions of Pesach (Passover) and Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement).
The G-d of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is a Jealous G-d (Exodus 20:5). His Promised Messiah has come already. See for yourself how Jealous the LORD is for the Messiah Whom He will give as a light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6****). Only one of the following can be true: Either Y’shua was our Messiah or he wasn’t. If you use Tanach to find out, you’ll see the former to be true. If you use Talmud (rabbinic teaching) and our People’s experiences, you’ll fall into the latter. “It is better to take shelter in the Lord than to trust in man.” (Psalm 118:8, Chabad’s online Tanach).
This Passover would be an extremely appropriate time, mishpochah, to step out of the comfortable realm of simply listening to your beloved rabbi reflect the teachings of the sages and share his own thoughts. Listen for HaShem for yourself through the still, small voice as you look into the Pages of Tanach with your own eyes and your own heart. Read Jeremiah 31:31 – 34 for yourself. Read Isaiah 52:13 through all of Isaiah 53 for yourself. Read Zechariah 9:9 & 12:10 for yourself. Read Proverbs 30:4 for yourself. There are so many other places to see how our Messiah has already come. These are just some places to start.
There is no more Jewish an act than to recognize the Jewish Messiah. He is worthy…even though many have done horrendous acts while claiming to be following Him. They were not representing Him well.
* Isaiah 29:13
13 Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:
** Deuteronomy 11:26 – 28
26 Behold, I set before you this day a blessing and a curse;
27 A blessing, if ye obey the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you this day:
28 And a curse, if ye will not obey the commandments of the LORD your God, but turn aside out of the way which I command you this day, to go after other gods, which ye have not known.
*** Deuteronomy 30:15 – 20
15 See, I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil;
16 In that I command thee this day to love the LORD thy God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commandments and his statutes and his judgments, that thou mayest live and multiply: and the LORD thy God shall bless thee in the land whither thou goest to possess it.
17 But if thine heart turn away, so that thou wilt not hear, but shalt be drawn away, and worship other gods, and serve them;
18 I denounce unto you this day, that ye shall surely perish, and that ye shall not prolong your days upon the land, whither thou passest over Jordan to go to possess it.
19 I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20 That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.
**** Isaiah 42:6
6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;