Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is one of the Jewish religion’s most sacred and widely observed holidays. Pesach begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. It is the first of the three major festivals with both historical and agricultural significance
According to the Holy Scripture, God, in order to free the chosen people, sent ten plagues to the Egyptians: turning the water of the Nile into blood, the appearance of a myriad of frogs, hordes of lice, wild animals, the death of cattle, ulcers, the destruction of the harvest from hail and locusts, continuous three-day gloom and finally the death of the firstborn. Before sending the last of ten plagues to Egypt, God ordered the Jews to slaughter the lambs and mark the doors with their blood. On the night of the 14th of Nisan, the Highest passed the houses of the Jews, on which marks were made, and in the other families, all the firstborn died. After that, Moses led the Jewish people out of Egypt.
One of the most important Passover rituals for observant Jews is removing all leavened food products (known as chametz) from their home before the holiday begins and abstaining from them throughout its duration.
This evening, four responsibilities should be performed: eat matzo, talk about the Exodus from Egypt, drink four glasses of wine and eat maror (bitter greens). People put the best dishes (preferably new) and silver on the table. You cannot start the Seder before the stars appear, however, it is worth setting the table in advance and preparing everything necessary.
The main participants of the Seder are children. The story of the exit from Egypt is intended primarily for them.
In the seventh or eighth days of Pesach, as in the first two days, any work is prohibited, and the fire can be lit only from an already burning fire.
On the eighth day of the feast, Yizkor, a memorial prayer is pronounced during the morning. A person praying must give himself a promise to make a donation after the holiday in honor of the deceased According to custom, while uttering Yizkor those with both parents alive must leave the synagogue hall. One whose parent died less than a year ago remains in the synagogue but does not pronounce Yizkor for this parent.
According to Hassidic tradition, on the last day of Pesach they arrange a special “Mashiach meal” - eat matzo and drink four glasses of wine.
The only bread allowed on Pesach is matzo. These are unleavened loaves of wheat flour. The whole process of baking matzo from the moment of adding water to flour should not exceed 18 minutes. Flour is allowed to use from one of five kinds of cereal: wheat, rye, barley, oats, spelled.
Matzo is a reminder that the Jews, having finally received the permission of Pharaoh to leave the country, left Egypt in such a hurry that they had to bake bread from a dough that had not yet come up.
In addition to matzo, the essential ingredients are bitter greens (basil, horseradish, lettuce), symbolizing the bitterness of slavery; a mixture of grated apples, dates, nuts, and wine, which resembles clay, from which the Jews in slavery made bricks. Food is dipped in salt water (a symbol of tears and the sea, which the Jews crossed during the Exodus).
Three symbolic components that are not eaten are also put on a special dish (keare): roasted lamb with a bone (sacrifice), a hard-boiled egg (memory of temple services), a piece of any spring vegetable.
Chicken soup with matzo dumplings, stuffed fish and baked meat are often included in the Easter meal.
The meal is ended with the words of greeting: “Next year in Jerusalem!”
How is Passover different from Christian Easter? Christian Easter is dedicated to the resurrection of Jesus Christ and is associated with the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt only symbolically; in the form of corresponding biblical texts, read during the Christian Easter service. The sacrifice of the Passover lamb is considered in Christian theology as a type of the voluntary self-sacrifice of Jesus in the atonement of the sins of the world.