Posts tagged ‘Death’

The Jews were freed from slavery in Egypt after god sent ten plagues to the Egyptians. In the last plague, the firstborn son of every house in Egypt died. Speaking through Moses, God directed the Jews to do certain things. Death would pass over the house of anyone who obeyed theses directions. Jewish families were told to sacrifice a lamb and to mark their doors with its blood. They were then to roast the lamb, eating it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. They were to dress as if they were traveling, with sandals on their feet and staffs in hand. God also told them that they should celebrate this event in the future by performing the same rite every year.

Moses explained, “When your children ask you, ‘What does this rite of yours mean?’ you shall reply, ‘This is the Passover sacrifice of the Lord, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt; when he struck down the Egyptians, he spared our houses.” (Exodus 12 26:27)

Passover is still celebrated in Jewish homes today, 3000 years after the first Passover in Egypt. Why do you think this event is still celebrated?

Around the end of the 600s, Spain’s Christian rulers outlawed Judaism. Then, in 711, the Moors invaded, and Spain became part of a vast Islamic empire. Under Moorish rule, Spain became a centre of Jewish learning and culture, with Jewish poets, philosophers, and statesmen. This period was known as the Jewish Golden Age in Spain.

Two thinkers of this period were Moses Maimonides (1135-1204) and Moses ben Nachman (1194-1270).

Moses Maimonides was born in Spain and moved to Cairo in 1165. In Egypt, he spent a great deal of time studying the Talmud. Maimonides focused on the human intellect. He wrote about the importance of studying, the “work of the mind.”

Moses ben Nachman – also known as Nachmanides – spent most of his life in Spain, moving to Israel just a few years before his death. Like Maimonides, Nachmanides was both a physician and a Talmud scholar. However, Nachmanides wrote that the human soul and spirit were more important than intellect and studying.

Which is more important to you, the intellect or spirit?

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