Passover (Pesach) is one of the three Jewish festivals in the year. It falls in the beginning of the Spring season usually and last for 7 days with a holiday one the first day and the seventh, with 5 days of “Chol Hamoed” in the middle. It is known throughout the Jewish world for the Matzah food, the fun Seder, and a time spent with family remembering our roots and common ancestry.
Passover always falls on the 15th of the Jewish month of Nissan. This date is the date that the Jewish people were drawn out from Egypt after a series of miraculous events. For over 200 years we were enslaved by pharaoh and the Egyptians. We were forced to do back breaking work and forbidden to practice many of the mitzvot. In a time when nearly all hope was lost, we left Egypt which such haste that we did not even allow the bread to properly rise before leaving. In prayers Passover is referred to as the time of our freedom, and the entire holiday is full of this idea. Jewish tradition teaches that it is one of the Jewish new year, like Rosh Hashanah which is the new year for the world, while Passover is the new year for the Jewish nation.
Matzah in today's world has become a symbol for the entire festival. Matzah is baked flour and water which must be complete in less than 18 minutes which is the time it takes for the dough to rise. It is typically circle or square and the most common type is hard like a cracker. The greatest mitzvah of Passover, aside from refraining from any foods that do contain leavening, is to eat matzah on the first night of Passover. One reason why is to remind us that sometimes when a great thing comes along (like freedom) no time should be spared. Additionally, matzah is like the humble mans bread, since it lacks significant flavor, it helps remind us of our beginnings despite many luxuries in our lives.
The Passover Seder follows step by step instructions passed down for over 2000 years. The book to accompany the Seder Is called the Haggadah and describes the events of being taken out of Egypt. There are many customs that families do during the Seder and endless songs that keep the children interested. One centerpiece of the Seder is the Seder plate which contains specific foods following the theme of the festival, like maror, and charoset. There is even a cup of wine left on the table for Eliyahu the prophet, who, tradition says, will come to announce the coming of the Messiah. The Seder is acted out by Jewish families around the world in excitement as we recognize that Passover was the start of a nation who were elevated to receive the Torah shortly after and because of this, thousands of years later, we are still a cohesive people.
No posts found