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PASSOVER

(April 14 (evening) - April 22, 2014)

Passover, which is celebrated for eight days beginning on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan, commemorates the miraculous story of God's liberation of the Jewish people from Egyptian slavery and their emergence, under the leadership of Moses, as a nation free to serve God. Upon Pharaoh's refusal to release the Jews from bondage, God unleashed the Ten Plagues on the Egyptians. Following the tenth plague, the Plague of the Firstborn, and Pharaoh's permission to leave, Moses led the Jews out in such haste that their dough was unable to rise and they were left with unleavened bread. Our Passover matzah recalls this event. When Pharaoh chased them to the Sea of Reeds and demanded their return, God allowed Moses to split the sea for the Jews to walk across on the dry sea bed. Then, the towering walls of water collapsed on the pursuing Egyptian army and drowned them.

Celebration of this holiday includes the elimination of all leavened bread and grain products from the home before Passover begins, and the refraining from eating or owning these foods for the duration of the holiday. On the first two nights of the Pesach, the traditional Seder is held at home. There, the historical story of the Exodus is recounted and the ideal of freedom is reaffirmed through the reading of the Haggadah and the enactment of many different commandments and customs. We sit in a reclining position, symbolizing kingship. Specific amounts of matzoh and marror, bitter herbs, are eaten; four cups of wine are drunk; the traditional four questions are asked by the youngest person present; and a Seder plate, filled with many symbolic foods, is placed on the table.

Browse the ArtScroll.com selection of Haggadahs, Machzorim - Holiday Prayer Books and other Passover ArtScroll books.

 
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