Let’s start with a little background. I was raised in a Easter/Christmas “Christian” family. I was personal never baptized or confirmed; I never really “got” the whole Jesus thing. Perhaps that, along with a certain call I’ve felt for a long time is why I’ve been quietly studying Judaism on my own for several years now. My hope being to formally convert when I move to a larger city (there are no synagogues, Rabbi or study groups anywhere even remotely near where I live now.)
I’m telling you all of this because I want to communicate that I’ve been familiar with the Passover story in at least a vague way since I was a child and as an adult I’ve read and studied it with more depth.
Now a week or so ago I was discussing this story with my 8yo son…and I was suddenly and for the first time hit with the utter horror of it.
I’m just completely heart sick with the idea of the deaths of so many innocent children…I sat looking at my first born, my only son, and the suffering of the Egyptian mothers was suddenly there.
I see the symmetry of it. The ordered death of all male Jewish babies…but this was the order of Pharaoh. Why did the innocent children of innocent people (who would have suffered under Pharaoh’s oppression as well) have to pay this price?
I'm truly feeling ill about this, and about the fact that the injustice of it never occurred to me before.
Help me to understand and make peace with this…:
As far as the babies being innocent - I agree that babies are innocent. However, babies do suffer for the sins of their parents. Much of that suffering is the natural consequences of the parent's choices. For example - a baby born to an alcoholic mother will suffer having fetal alcohol syndrome. Also, there are biblical examples of entire groups of peoples being cursed for generations and of children suffering for their parent's sins. David's son who he conceived illicitly with Bathsheba died as a result of his parent's sins.
I don't think it is all necessarily fair, but it is righteous according to God. It is only through His mercy that we all don't suffer more than we already do.
That is my response as a Christian. I was raised Jewish, but my Jewish upbringing was a lot like your Christian one - we only went to services on the high holy days and other special events and were Reform Jews and I don't really know if there is a better Jewish response.
One reason I left the Jewish religion was that I did not get answers to my questions there.
But, perhaps there are some Jewish mamas here who can give you some better answers.
One of the tough things about Judaism, I think, is that it doesn't have all the answers, and never claims to. The Egyptian babies were just as defenseless as the Jewish ones, and I'm not sure ANY answer can make you feel better about it. I see that as part of the beauty of Judaism that we are always struggling with G-d, as our ancestors did.
I know that this probably isn't helpful. Just a and some comfort that you're not alone in feeling weird about this.
Sara , Keith , Toby 6/08, Nomi 4/10, Mona 1/12
Mama of three, lover, student rabbi, spoonie, friend, musician, narcoleptic, space muffin, pretty much a dragon. Crunchy like matzoh.
maybe this isn't the best answer. and maybe it doesn't make you feel lots better. My heart hurts when I read about those things too. I find deep conflict within myself over it. wondering how he can let any child suffer... I just can't even begin to fathom it. But... I beleive there is a greater purpose. if I did not believe this, I would not be able to believe in God. If I did not believe in God I would not be able to believe there was a great purpose. it goes hand in hand in my book.
Believing in God means believing He is almight and all knowing and without fault. It doesn't mean we will ever understand it either.
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Well, the way I learned the Pesach story... yes, there was suffering on the Egyptian side, and no, it wasn't all fair. That's one of the reasons that we spill wine when we count the ten plauges-- to remember that there was a taking, that there was suffering, and because it shouldn't all be full cups and rejoicing when there was bad juju going down on the other side. Ten drops for the plagues, three drops for the acrostic of the plagues... and there were more, but I can't remember just now.
It helps to know I'm not alone on this one, and to know that the losses are acknowledged.
Thanks to everyone.
Also the haggadah my cousin uses has a part that talks about the terror of the night of the slaying of the first born...I don't think the price that freedom was bought with is forgotten.
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