Monday, April 18, 2011

A little history of Passover

Passover is a Jewish Holy Day/Festival It is one of the most widely observed Jewish Holidays, it is celebrated for seven to eight days that begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan , which is Spring (March or April). It commemorates the story of the Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery.

The Passover "Seder":

is a tradition for Jewish families to gather on the first night of Passover for a special dinner called "Seder". The table is set with the finest china and silverware to show the importance of the meal. During the meal, Haggadah is retold which means The story of Exodus then Four cups of wine are consumed at various stages in the narrative, Haggadah is divided into 15 parts:

  1. Kadeish - Recital of Kiddush blessing and drinking of the first cup of wine
  2. Urchatz - the washing of the hands - without blessing
  3. Karpas - dipping of the karpas in salt water
  4. Yachatz - breaking the middle matzo; the large piece becomes the afikoman which is eaten later during the ritual of Tzafun
  5. Maggid - retelling the Passover story; including the recital of "the four questions" and drinking of the second cup of wine
  6. Rachtzah - second washing of the hands - with blessing
  7. Motzi - traditional blessing before eating bread products
  8. Matzo - blessing before eating Matzo
  9. Maror - eating of the maror
  10. Koreich - eating of a sandwich made of matzo and maror
  11. Schulchan oreich - "set table" -- the serving of the holiday meal
  12. Tzafun - eating of the afikoman
  13. Bareich - blessing after the meal and drinking of the third cup of wine
  14. Hallel - recital of the Hallel, traditionally recited on festivals; drinking of the fourth cup of wine
  15. Mirtzah - conclusion

- This commandment is being executed today by eating bitter herbs (horseradish, romaine lettuce, or green onions) together with matzo.

Recounting the Exodus

- A Jew recounts the story of the Exodus.

Four cups of wine

- Each cup have different parts of the Seder: first cup is for Kiddush, the second is recounting of the Exodus, third cup concludes Birkat Hamazon and the fourth cup is associated with Hallel.
These 15 parts means the 15 steps in the Temple of Jerusalem .

Seventh Day of Passover

another important Jewish holiday, with special prayer services and Festive meals. It commemorates the Children of Israel who reached the Red Sea and witnessed the Splitting of The Red Sea.
Second Passover

is considered to be a make-up day for people who were unable to offer sacrifice on time due to distance from Jerusalem.
Children's role in Passover "The four questions"
~ youngest child is prompted to ask questions, to encourage to discuss the significance of the symbols in the meal.

  • Why us this Night different from all other nights?
  • On all other nights, we eat either unleavened or leavened bread, but tonight we eat only unleavened bread?
  • On all other nights, we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight, we eat only bitter herbs?
  • On all other nights. we do not dip [our food] even once, but tonight we dip twice?
  • On all other nights, we eat either sitting or reclining, but tonight we only recline?

Passover dishes

~Families typically own complete sets of serving dishes, glassware and silverware which have never come into contact with chametz, they are only used especially for Passover.
Common foods that can be eaten during Passover:

  • Matza brei - Softened matzo fried with egg and fat; served either savory or sweet
  • Matzo Cereal- Matzo meal boiled in water and often served with milk and butter
  • Matzo kugel- A kugel made with matzo instead of noodles
  • Charoset- A sweet, dark-colored, lumpy paste made of fruits and nuts
  • Chrain - Horseradish and beet relish
  • Gefilte fish - Poached fish patties or fish balls made from a mixture of ground deboned fish, mostly carp or pike
  • Chicken soup with matzah balls - Chicken soup served with matzo-meal dumplings
  • Rice, often with saffron or raisins - Nearly all Sephardi Jews and many Mizrachi Jews consider rice to be an essential food for the Paaover table; Ashkenazi Jews and Hasidic Jews do not eat rice during Passover as a matter of minhag.

Have a Great Passover!

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Debbie P.
My Life is Beautiful


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