Happy Pesach - Chag Pesach Sameach

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, April 10–18, 2017. It commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

It is observed by avoiding leaven, and highlighted by the Seder meals that include four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus.

In Hebrew, it is known as Pesach (which means “to pass over”), because God (Jahve) passed over the Jewish homes when killing the Egyptian firstborn on the very first Passover eve.

The Pesach Story

After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labour and unbearable horrors, God saw the people’s distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me.”

But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed God’s command. God then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops.

At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), God visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, God spared the children of Israel, “passing over” their homes — hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh’s resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land.

The Israelites left in such a hurry, in fact, that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day and began the trek to Mount Sinai and their birth as God’s chosen people, receiving the Ten Commandments, also known as the Decalogue, a set of fundamental principles of Judaism, related to ethics and worship of Jews.

11th April 2017