A Literary Reader for Passover

by Rachel Baker on March 30, 2015

I enjoyed this essay by Martha Anne Toll at The Millions website. She suggests and eight books to read during Passover.

Here’s the Article: Eight for Eight: A Literary Reader for Passover

Passover celebrates the Israelites’ deliverance from slavery in Egypt. Like any good story, it is rife with subtexts. There is the devastation wrought by human bondage. At Passover, or Pesach, we remind ourselves that people remain enslaved today and that we must work to free them. The holiday also features entwined subtexts of persecution and forced emigration. Seen through a contemporary lens, the “Exodus” story looks like the precursor to countless other flights for survival. Enslaved Jews fled Egypt, centuries later they returned, and later still (mid-20th century), they fled Egypt again, for example. There are additional subtexts, too numerous and complex to plumb here. To study them, consult the books.

The primacy of the written word is central to Judaism, in part due to the constant, urgent need to abandon possessions and escape. Books are portable and words are tough to murder. Education is highly valued as a commodity that can’t be expropriated. What follows is a literary sampling inspired by Pesach: eight books for the eight nights of the holiday. However, even if it were possible to read a book a day, it’s not advisable. Much better to take some time. These choices are meant to amplify Passover themes and honor writing itself. For across eons and continents, the written word has fostered communication and learning in the Jewish community, enabling Jewish culture not only to survive but to evolve. A few suggestions:

This article was written by: Rachel Baker – Click to follow on Twitter; or you can follow her at The Crafty Veteran on Bloglovin

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