Passover is definitely one of the most important holidays in the Jewish religion. It comemorates an important event in Jewish history and also marks the welcoming of spring. There is a lot to know about this holiday, but please don’t be alarmed, I’m not going to bore you with all the small details… Just some I believe to be more interesting and some that I think even you may have not heard about…
The Jews celebrate Passover to commemorate the Exodus of their ancestors who were held as slaves in ancient Egypt. I’m referring to a period of time that took place hundreds of years ago, during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II.
God chose Moses as his spokesperson and instructed him to go to Pharaoh and demand freedom for the Jewish people. Pharaoh, of course, refused, and the Egyptians were punished with a terrible plague. This was not enough to convince Pharaoh to free the Jews, so, once again God struck Egypt with an even worse plague and this he did eight more times.
Though the punishments God sent became more severe every time, Pharaoh did not relent. Finally it was the tenth plague that broke him – after which he let the Jewish people go free.
The term Passover comes from the final and most awful plague with which God struck Egypt: The killing of the first born. It is described in the book of Exodus in the following passage, when God says to Moses:
“It is the Lord’s Passover, I will go through the land of Egypt on this night and I will kill all the firstborn, both man and beast and I will execute judgment against all the gods of Egypt. When I see the sign of the blood, I will pass over you and this plague will not destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. In all future generations you will keep this feast for ever.”
The Angel of Death passed over the Jewish homes that were marked with lamb’s blood, while at the same time stopping to kill every first born of the Egyptians. Amongst the firstborn that died was Pharaoh’s son. After suffering his lose, he summoned Moses and told him the Jewish people could go free.
Beginning on the evening of the 14th day of Nisan and throughout the eight days of Passover, there are two main things you are commanded to do as a Jewish person:
The first thing that may have popped into your mind is that we need to eat matzoh and are forbidden to eat any foods containing leavening. We do this to remember the bread the Israelites ate at the time of the Exodus. In their rush to leave Egypt, they did not have time to wait for the bread to rise.
This is my favorite, the retelling of the Exodus. We do this at the Seder, which I will tell you about in just a moment. Some don’t know this, but, in ancient times (and actually, until today among the Samaritans) there was another ritual that took place. The offering of a lamb, on the evening of the 14th of Nisan, and the eating of this Passover sacrifice.
The Passover Seder is a loved communal ritual that we celebrate on the first two evenings of the holiday (in Israel, it’s celebrated only on the first evening). It is one of the most widely observed of all Jewish customs. The main idea is to get together with your family and friends and retell the story of the Jews’ Exodus. During the Seder, it is customary to eat food that symbolizes various aspects of the Jews’ experiences as slaves in Egypt.
At the center of the Seder is the Passover Seder plate. The plate has six dishes for the six symbols of the Passover Seder: Maror, Karpas , Chazeret, Charoset, Zeroa and Beitzah. Some Seder plates have only five dishes. This is because there is some controversy among the authorities as to the requirement of chazeret.
Over the years, the Seder plate has become a focus of Jewish artistic expression. This is mainly because of the popularity of the Seder and the plate’s central position in it.
By now you must have figured out, I can’t resist a good holiday snack. If you feel the same, you will with no doubt LOVE this delicious Passover recipe I have for you. It is easy enough and takes no time at all.