Holidays --> Passover - Pesach
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(Hebrew: ??????, Tiberian: p?sah, Israeli: Pesach, Pesah,
Pesakh, Yiddish: Paysokh), is celebrated on the 14th day of
the month called Nissan (Leviticus 23:4; Numbers 9:3,5; 28:16),
first month of the Jewish year (on the Hebrew calendar). It
immediately precedes the Festival of Unleavened Bread (???
??????????, ha? ham:as?:o?, Chag Hamatzot/s), a Jewish holiday
which begins on the 15th day of Nissan (Leviticus 23:6; Numbers
28:17, 33:3) and is celebrated in the northern spring season.
In 2007, it arrives at nightfall on April 2. Passover commemorates
the Exodus and freedom of the Israelites from ancient Egypt.
As described in the Book of Exodus, Passover marks the "birth"
of the Children of Israel who become the Jewish nation, as
the Jews' ancestors were freed from being slaves of Pharaoh
and allowed to become followers of God instead.
two names for the holiday are a coalescence of two related
celebrations. The name Passover (Pesakh, meaning "skipping"
or passing over) derives from the night of the Tenth Plague,
when the Angel of Death saw the blood of the Passover lamb
on the doorposts of the houses of Israel and "skipped
over" them and did not kill their firstborn. The meal
of the Passover Seder commemorates this event. The name
Feast of Unleavened Bread (Khag Ha'Matsot) refers to the
weeklong period when leaven has been removed, and unleavened
bread or matsa ("flatbread") is eaten.
with Sukkot ("Tabernacles") and Shavuot ("Pentecost"),
Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals (Shloshet
Ha'Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace made
a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, at the time when the Temple in
Jerusalem was standing.
Israel, Passover is a 7-day holiday, with the first and
last days celebrated as a full festival (involving abstention
from work, special prayer services and holiday meals). In
the Jewish diaspora outside Israel, the holiday is traditionally
celebrated for 8 days (although Reform Jews celebrate for
7 days), with the first two days and last two days celebrated
as full festivals. The intervening days are known as Chol
HaMoed ("festival weekdays").
primary symbol of Passover is the matzo, a flat, unleavened
"bread" which recalls the hurriedly-baked bread
that the Israelites ate after their hasty departure from
Egypt. According to Halakha, matzo may be made from flour
derived from five types of grain: wheat, barley, spelt,
oats, rye. The dough for matzo is made when flour is added
to water only, which has not been allowed to rise for more
than 18–22 minutes prior to baking.
Jews observe the positive Torah commandment of eating matzo
on the first night of Passover at the Passover Seder, as
well as the Torah prohibition against eating or owning Chametz
which includes any leavened products — such as bread, cake,
cookies, beer, whiskey or pasta (or anything made from raw
dough that had been left alone for more than 18 minutes,
as it then begins to ferment) — for the duration of the
of the festival
The term Pesach (Hebrew: ??????) or, more exactly, the verb
"pasàch" (Hebrew: ??????) is first mentioned
in the Torah account of the Exodus from Egypt (Exodus 12:23).
It is found in Moses' words that God "will pass over"
the houses of the Israelites during the final plague of
the Ten Plagues of Egypt, the killing of the first-born.
On the night of that plague, which occurred on the 15th
day of Nisan, the Israelites smeared their lintels and doorposts
with the blood of the Passover sacrifice and were spared.
is some debate about the exact meaning of the verb pasàch
(??????) as it appears in Exodus. The commonly held assumption
that it means "he passed over", stems from the
translation provided in the Septuagint (pa?e?e?seta? in
Ex. 12:23, and es?epase? in Ex. 12:27). Judging from other
instances of the verb, and instances of parallelism, a more
faithful translation may be "he hovered over, guarding."
Indeed, this is the image used by Isaiah by his use of this
verb in Isaiah. 31:5: "As birds hovering, so will the
Lord of hosts protect Jerusalem; He will deliver it as He
protecteth it, He will rescue it as He passeth over"
(???????????? ??????--???? ????? ?????? ????????, ???-????????????;
??????? ?????????, ??????? ??????????.)
term Pesach also refers to the lamb or kid which was designated
as the Passover sacrifice (called the Korban Pesach in Hebrew).
Four days before the Exodus, the Israelites were commanded
to set aside a lamb or kid (Exodus 12:3) and inspect it
daily for blemishes. During the day on the 14th of Nisan,
they were to slaughter the animal and use its blood to mark
their lintels and doorposts. Up until midnight on the 15th
of Nisan, they were to consume the lamb. Each family (or
group of families) gathered together to eat a meal that
included the meat of the Korban Pesach while the Tenth Plague
subsequent years, during the existence of the Tabernacle
and later the Temple in Jerusalem, the Korban Pesach was
eaten during the Passover Seder on the 15th of Nisan. However,
following the destruction of the Temple, no sacrifices may
be offered or eaten. The story of the Korban Pesach is therefore
retold at the Passover Seder, and the symbolic food which
represents it on the Seder Plate is usually a roasted lamb
shankbone, chicken wing, or chicken neck.