Saturday, April 23, 2005
For the first time, my family will be taking part in a Passover Seder, thanks to the kind invite of a dear neighbor. We are excited about it, and extend our greetings to people everywhere who have and will be celebrating. aish.com has a nice concise description of what Passover is all about:
"The Exodus was essentially an account of Moses' prodding Pharaoh to "let my people go -- in order that we may serve the Almighty." It took a lot of convincing -- Ten Plagues in all -- but eventually the Jews walked out of Egypt in broad daylight. Seven days later, the Red Sea split, drowning the Egyptian army. Then, 50 days after the Exodus, the entire Jewish nation stood at Mount Sinai to experience divine revelation and receive the Torah.Four glasses of wine!! No wonder it's such a popular holiday. And for those who'd like a more modern twist on it, we can enjoy this bit of Passover madness, thanks to the indefatigable Jackie Chiles over at The Airing of Grievances.
Passover is an eight-day holiday (in Israel, seven days). It is marked by the eating of matzah, unleavened bread, and by the celebration of an elaborate Seder on the first two nights (in Israel, on the first night only).
The Seder is designed to give each Jew the experience of "going from slavery unto freedom." The seder includes telling the Exodus story as recorded in the Haggadah, eating of "slavery symbols" like bitter herbs (Marror), recounting the Ten Plagues, and drinking four cups of wine -- which correspond to the four stages of redemption as recorded in the Biblical book of Exodus. The Seder is highlighted by eating matzah as part of a festive meal.
The name "Passover" derives from the fact that during the final plague, God passed through the land and smote every firstborn Egyptian -- but made sure to "pass over" the Jewish houses."