By Steve Lissner
Guest Columnist 

Celebrating Passover

 

March 17, 2021 | View PDF

Jews around the world will elaborate Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) 2021 starting on the evening of Saturday, March 27th, and ending at sunset on Sunday, April 4th, in the Civil Calendar. In the Hebrew Calendar, Passover every year begins on 15 Nisan and ends on 22 Nisan. Passover celebrates the Jews Exodus from Egypt, when the descendants of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob liberated themselves from slavery and became a new and unique nation under God.

Jews had lived peaceably and friendly in Egypt for hundreds of years and were loyal subjects of the realm. Pharoah had no reason to hate them. On the contrary, Jacob’s son Joseph saved the country from famine. When a new Pharoah arose, one who claimed to be unaware of the Jews’ pivotal contribution to Egypt’s survival and enhanced international reputation, he insisted that something must be done about the Jews for they had too much power.


He enslaved the Jews, made their lives impossible, and tried to kill them by drowning all newborn Jewish boys. The oppressed Jews cried out to God, Who punished the Egyptians with a series of plagues which killed their crops, their livestock, and their firstborn sons. Angrily and dispiritedly, Pharaoh allowed the Israelites to depart permanently from Egypt, but then chose to pursue them with his army of men and chariots, that all drowned in the Sea of Reeds as the Lord brought the waters over them.

The Passover Haggadah (The Story) declares this a recurring pattern: “For not merely one rose upon us to destroy us. Rather, in every generation they rise over us to destroy us, and the Holy One, Blessed be He, saves us from their hands.”


Fifty days after leaving Egypt, the Jews were camped at the foot of Mount Sinai, where they experienced a Divine Revelation and accepted upon themselves a unique mission and code of conduct engraved on the Two Stone Tablets, which Moses had received from the Lord. This acceptance and requirement of the Jews’ responsibility to uphold God’s mission for them has preserved the Jewish people through the ages.

Jews throughout the world remember and observe and fulfill the Passover with prayers, a special home meal called a Seder, and the strict adherence to eat only certain foods during eight consecutive days to recall the hardships which our ancestors endured.

Passover comprises two essential and eternal meanings: 1) a holiday celebrating the national liberation and freedom of a people; and 2) the receipt of the Ten Statements (mistakenly called the Ten Commandments), so that people will live according to God’s requirements and rules and code of conduct.


On Passover, we celebrate the birth of an eternal nation!

 

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