the passover meal aka seder has a moment in which a piece of matzah is hidden. this piece is called the afikomen. traditionally, the service’s leader hides the afikomen and the children present search for it. as the service cannot conclude with the eating of this special matzah, the wise child holds it for ransom and negotiates a finder’s fee. back in the day, the dollar received was a source of childhood happiness.
over twenty years ago, like the “grinch who stole christmas”, there was the “rabbi who stole passover”. rabbi david wolpe, of mysteries of the bible fame, embarked on a series of controversial sermons which arguably ruined passover. jweekly his lectures addressed the fact that, at the time, scholarship that the exodus never happened. no exodus, no passover.
can history be truthful via communal memory?
a pre-rabbinic david wolpe was my summer camp supervisor decades ago. i can attest that he sported a “member’s only” jacket not only can i attest to it, i can even say he looked “cool” wearing it. there are very few that could pull it off. would my memory be sufficient to verify it’s historicity? or, would archeologists want to dig up that old “member’s only” jacket as proof? further, what purpose would it serve if i made it up?
a recent discovery may dispense the total reliance on communal memory to support the exodus. a recent archeological find may give cause for rabbi wolpe to perhaps write a new sermon; a sermon suggesting that there is perhaps now a greater likelihood that the exodus did occur.
the find, not yet peer reviewed, is a curse tablet found on a mt. ebal. this mountain of curses was referred to in both the book of deuteronomy and joshua. the curse tablet has verses relevant to the bible stories. timesofisrael.com the team claims that the tablet is written in an early form of hebrew and that it contains the name of god. this artifact arguably supports early israelite literacy, an earlier existence in israel post-exodus in israel, and the fact that early israelites had the capability of writing the torah very early on.
in sum, this discovery brings us closer to the event of exodus. it is possible that artifact is within 40 years of it. this is based upon the fact that the torah indicated forty years of wandering in the desert.
with this great find, those celebrating passover which tells the story of the exodus can do so with a little more certainty that it did happen. this great find is as tasty as any piece of afikomen.
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