Journey to Easter: Passover

2014-04-14T07:30:00Z 2014-04-18T11:59:29Z Journey to Easter: PassoverArizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
April 14, 2014 7:30 am  • 

Jesus' crucification was at Passover (or Pesach), the Jewish holiday that begins at sunset today and ends at nightfall April 22.

Passover is celebration of God's rescue of the Israelite people from slavery in Egypt and is described in Exodus 12 both the Old Testament of the Bible and the Torah, the Jewish holy scripture, which is composed of the Five Books of Moses.

God's instructed the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb at twilight on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nisan, before the sun set. That night the Israelites were to eat the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. The lamb’s blood was to be swabbed on their doorposts as a sign. God, seeing the sign, would then “pass over” the houses of the Israelites, while slamming the Egyptians with the 10th plague, the killing of the first-born sons.

Passover is celebrated with a Seder meal that commemorates the Exodus from Egypt. Throughout the meal, the biblical story is retold; the food is linked symbolically with the Exodus. 

According to chabad.org, The Seder, observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday, is a15-step family-oriented tradition and ritual-packed feast that includes:

  • Eating matzah.
  • Eating bitter herbs — to commemorate the bitter slavery endured by the Israelites.
  • Drinking four cups of wine or grape juice — a royal drink to celebrate the newfound freedom.
  • The recitation of the Haggadah, a liturgy that describes in detail the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Haggadah is the fulfillment of the biblical obligation to recount to the children the story of the Exodus on the night of Passover.

MATZAH NOT CHAMETZ

To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt,  chametz (leavened foods) is kept in the house from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz includes leavened grain and includes bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta and most alcoholic beverages.  

Ridding homes of chametz is a full-out spring-cleaning — right down to dusting out bread crumbs from the cabinets. It ends with a ceremonial search for chametz on the night before Passover and burning the chametz on the morning before the holiday.

Matzah — flat unleavened bread — is eaten. It is a mitzvah (a good deed) to eat matzah on the Seder nights.

Primary source: chabad.org 

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