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Passover - History and Events

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Vivek Nambiar 9CJW The History: The festival of Passover originated about 3500 years ago, when God, via Moses, and Pharaoh had a dispute over the tribe of the Israelites. Jacob and his twelve sons settled in Egypt. His family grew into a nation (more like a large tribe). Eventually the nation or the Israelites became slaves. Moses, was an Israelite by birth but he was unaware of this fact. As a baby he had been abandoned, so that he would be protected from Pharaoh, who wanted to kill all the baby boys. Unfortunately for Pharaoh his daughter found Moses and raised him as her own in the Pharaoh's palace. As he grew older Moses found out that he was an Israelite and ran away. He was disgraced at the way his people were being treated. Soon after God appeared to Moses, as a burning bush. The bush was on fire, yet it was not being engulfed. He commanded Moses, to tell Pharaoh, to let his people go or the Egyptians would suffer the consequences, but Pharaoh refused. God sent ten plagues to Egypt. ...read more.


Leaven or Chametz is yeast, or any rising agents. No rising agents are used for the Passover week. The father of each Jewish family is set a specific job. He must search the whole house to check that there is no sign or trace of Leaven left in the house. He performs this task using a feather and a candle, which is the ancient equivalent of a torch and brush. Once this event is complete the table is covered with a white cloth and the candles placed on top. The Seder meal, which helps to retell a version of the Exodus story, is then laid upon the table To aid in the telling of the story a special Seder plate is prepared which contains six symbolic foods: Matzoth: three flat, unleavened, cakes of bread. Also known as "bread of affliction." Haroset: a thick paste made using apple, cinnamon nuts and wine. It acts as a reminder of the mortar used by the Israelite slaves, while working in Egypt. Karpas: nearly always parsley. It is dipped in the saltwater before being eaten. It is meant to symbolise the tears that their ancestors produced when they lived the harsh life of Egyptian slaves. ...read more.


Sometimes special children's' versions of the book are available, because children seem to play a very important role in the Seder meal. This book is called the Haghada. It helps the family follow the story more easily. So the father reads the Haghada (means story) which gives the answers to the child's questions. A recurring phrase at the meal is: "Ha Kodosh baruh-hu. This means: "The Holy one, Blessed is He." The egg is then dipped in the salt water to mark the Temple's destruction as mourners eat eggs. Wine is then drunk, four glasses per person. This is because of the four ways in which God spoke to the Israelites: * I will bring you out * I will deliver you * I will redeem you (redeem means to get back, something you once owned) * I will take you to me Finally Hallel (praise) psalms are recited and a blessing said. Hands are washed and the main meal follows. After the meal the father recites Havdalah (separation). Forthcoming Passovers: The festival of Pessach will begin on the following days; April 8, 2001 (Jewish Year 5761) March 28, 2002 (Jewish Year 5762) April 17, 2003 (Jewish Year 5763) April 6, 2004 (Jewish Year 5764) ...read more.

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