The Coming of Spring: Reflections on Pesach and Judaism by Ivy Helman

Passover and the Earth – What’s the connection?

meandminiIt is, I think, quite common knowledge that most Jewish holidays relate to the seasonal cycles of the Earth.  Sukkot celebrates the fall harvest.  Chanukah sheds light on the winter darkness.  Tu B’Shevat marks the end of the dry season and so begin the prayers for rain in Israel.  For Purim, we throw off our winter doldrums and let off a little steam to settle our cabin fever.  Pesach is no exception: welcome spring: birth, renewal and even creation.  The leaves return to the trees, baby animals are born, flowers bloom, warmer weather arrives and somehow the possibilities of the coming summer are endless.

In fact, the associations between Pesach and spring are many.  Arthur Waskow in Seasons of Our Joy explains the origins of the connections (pages 133-139).  There were probably two different seasonal celebrations – one of shepherds and one of farmers – that came together around the…

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