The Jewish holiday Passover is similar to Orthodox Easter. Celebrations also last a week. How is Jewish Passover calculated? It comes on the fourteenth day of the holy month of Nisan, which corresponds to March-April in the Gregorian calendar. This holiday is considered the most important and holy for the Jews, it marks the beginning of the birth of the Jewish people. How did this holiday come about? What traditions correspond to it? How to observe the rituals and celebrate Passover?
Passover date in 2019
The period of the celebration of the main triumph of the Israelites is approaching. In 2019, Jewish Easter falls on the period from April 19 to April 27. The night is considered to be the main one from April 19 to April 20, then six days of holiday weekdays and the last, seventh day, a day off.
history of the holiday
According to traditional beliefs, Passover is celebrated as a sign of the exodus of the Jews from the captivity of Egypt. A detailed account of the ordeal of the Jewish people is set forth in the second book of Moses - the Book of Exodus. This is the second of the five volumes of the Torah.
The very word "Passover" is translated as "jump over." According to another version - "go ahead." What kind of holiday is Passover? The history of the Jewish people begins from the time of Jacob. He settled with his family on the land of the Pharaohs and lived richly and happily. But years passed, the rulers of Egypt were replaced, new laws were written and new rules were established. People who came from other countries began to oppress. Gradually, the family of Jacob from peaceful settlers turned into slaves.
Meanwhile, the miracles of the Lord appeared to Moses. And God commanded him to follow into the lands of Egypt and liberate the Jewish people. He sent miracles as a sign of his intention and blessing. Moses appeared before Pharaoh, but he refused to let the Jews go. Then the Lord sent ten executions to him. Terrible disasters captured Egypt: pestilence swept through the country and killed herds of cattle, the entire crop was lost.
Despite the threatening famine and devastation, the pharaoh did not agree to let the slaves go. And the time has come for the most terrible tenth execution. The Lord cursed the people in the land of the Egyptians and said that in one night all the first-born in each house will be killed. God gave Moses a warning. To protect the Jews and their children in every house where they lived, it was necessary to put a label. In the evening, before the bloody night, the Jews slaughtered a lamb and painted a security sign on each door with its blood. The angel of death saw the mark and bypassed Jewish families. And on the night of the fourteenth day of the month of Nisan, the Angel killed all the first-born of the Egyptians, and the Jewish first-born remained unharmed. It is this sign that is called “Passover” (from Hebrew - “pass by”). Only after this did Pharaoh let the Jewish people go with Moses. So the fourteenth day of Nisan was marked by the liberation of the Jewish people from the oppression of the Egyptians. And all the children of the Jews were saved.
The meaning of the holiday for the Jews
The theme of the Exodus permeates the entire religion of the Jews. The events following him are connected with the arrival on the land of Israel and the creation of a separate state. In ancient times, the holiday was marked by festivities, services and a solemn meal with the ritual killing of a lamb.
The time of the celebration of the exodus of Jews from Egyptian land coincided with the holiday of the arrival of spring. Therefore, the celebration has a number of similar names. Passover is the main name, the meaning of the ritual action in the celebration of the Jewish people as a sign of liberation and independence.
The second option is Hag a-Matsot, from the word "matzah". This name appeared at the holiday due to the fact that, leaving Egypt, the exhausted Jews were in such a hurry that they did not manage to take practically anything with them. They also did not have food, they had to cook bread on the go from what was available. So matzo appeared - yeast-free bread. Interesting rituals of the modern Passover celebration are associated with it.
Another option is Hag Haviv, in translation - the holiday of spring. This is a traditional spring festival among many nations, including Jews. It marks the beginning of sowing, joy and the new birth of nature.
The fourth option is Hag a Herut, the festival of freedom. The meaning also refers to the outcome of the Jews. Passover according to Jewish beliefs is celebrated as a time of liberation and justice. There is a whole set of laws for the celebration of Passover, its name is Psachim.
Preparation for the celebration
Before the triumph of the general cleaning. Its peculiarity is that the owner or mistress of the house needs to endure and destroy what is capable of wandering (leaven). All bakery products, cereals and cereals, sauces and much more fall into this category. These products can be eaten before the holiday or taken to the house of people of a different faith for storage. Kvass products are called chametz.
It is advisable that the entire Jewish family take part in the preparation for the holiday. So the cleaning takes place more carefully, because it is forbidden to find even the little chametz in the house. All available dishes are washed with hot water, cleaning from food debris. Before the first day of the Jewish holiday of Passover, the landlord traditionally walks around all the rooms with a candle in his hand. He should have a pen and a spoon in his hands. This process symbolizes the search for a chametz in the house. Found must be destroyed immediately.
Kabbalistic doctrine says that the fermentation of dough symbolizes pride in a person - something that he thinks about when someone hurt him, offended. The destruction of the chametz directs believers to pacify pride. Passover revives the divine in the soul. Therefore, it is necessary to sweep out everything superfluous, fermented from it.
The only bread allowed on Jewish Passover is matzo. It symbolizes the rush with which the Jews broke free from slavery. Matzo is a cake from a dough that did not have time to come up. Matzo preparedness is achieved in a period of not more than eighteen minutes. A special cake is being prepared for the holiday, it is called a shmura.
For the first evening of Passover celebration, three matzahs are made and laid out one on top of the other. All family members are preparing for the first dinner. The best tablecloth is set on the table and beautiful dishes are placed. If there are silver appliances, then it is allowed to use them. Especially faithful families keep a separate set of dishes for the celebration. Bitter greens are served on the table as a sign of bitterness carried over by the people of Israel, and wine. Drinks for the festival should be prepared only by a Jew, otherwise juice or wine will be considered non-kosher.
There is a separate set of rules for the Jewish holiday of Passover - Haggadah. Before the celebration, the mistress of the house lights candles; there must be at least two of them. If Passover fell overnight from Friday to Saturday, then the candles are used the same as for Shabbat. They light them eighteen minutes before the sun sets over the horizon. Prayers and blessings are read on candles.
When Passover comes on Saturday, candles are set at a maximum of fifty minutes after sunset. On other days of the week they are brought in immediately before the celebration, but from the fire that was lit before sunset. Such subtleties are associated with the belief that on Holy Saturday it is impossible to touch what fire gives. And during the holidays you can’t create a flame, but there is permission to transfer it from one person to another, lighting a candle from another candle, for example. In this way, the holiday is separated from everyday life, consecrated by flame.
On the first evening of the holiday, Jews gather at a rich table. This evening is called Seder. Its essence boils down to the fact that Jews remember the exodus from Egypt (it is forbidden to remember in Judaism, therefore, every Seder Jewish families reside again in liberation). First of all, a special dish is put on the table. On it in a strictly defined order is kosher food. Each cooked product carries its own meaning and symbolism. Even his place on the dish was chosen for a reason. There is a certain order of actions (the word Seder itself is translated as "order") in the process of celebrating the first evening of Passover. It consists of several stages:
1. Kadesh. At this point, a prayer of three blessings is pronounced. Its name is Kiddush. This action gives a blessing to the celebration. They drink the first glass of wine. It is recommended for these purposes to start with a small tank in order to drink the whole thing without stopping.
2. Urhats. Hand washing. During the ritual, the head of the family sits at the beginning of the festive table. Items for the procedure presented to him by the rest of the family.
3. Karpas. This word refers to a dish consisting of vegetables. For its preparation use potatoes, celery. It is a symbol of the hard work that the Jews performed on Egyptian soil. Before eating, Karpas is dipped in water with dissolved salt, a symbol of tears, and a prayer of blessing is read.
4. Yakhats. The middle matzo prepared for the solemn meal is broken into several pieces. The largest slice is wrapped in a napkin and hidden in the house. One of the children who find this piece will receive a gift. The name of this slice of matzo is afikoman. The remaining pieces are hidden between two other matzohs.
5. Magid. At this stage, legends are told about the Haggadah, the story of the exodus of the Jews and how Passover originated. Initially reproduced in Hebrew and, if necessary, later translated for guests. Next, the youngest child asks the head of the family four questions about how the Passover night differs from others, whether there is anything to be ashamed of the Jews, why the Hebrew and the history of the Israelites are forgotten and respect for the Jews. The essence of the questions boils down to the fact that the people were a slave, and now they have freed themselves and can remember their history and live openly, with their heads held high. Dialogue is built in every family, this tradition is unique and central to the Seder ritual. After this speech, empty the second glass of wine.
6. Matzo. A prayer is performed over the second matzo. The upper is broken into the number of pieces equal to the number of those present at the celebration. This piece should be eaten in a relaxed position, reclining on pillows, as a symbol of newfound freedom and independence.
7. Maror. The next dish, which is celebrated, symbolizes all the bitterness of the Jews in slavery. Maror is a mountain greens or a mixture of horseradish, dipped in haroset (a kind of sauce). You can combine products, for example, make a sandwich made of matzo and maror. It is called chickens.
8. Shulkhan-nut. The stage at which the feast begins. You can eat everything that the table owners are rich in. Serve soup, baked meat or fish.
9. Tsafun. The process of eating a found piece of matzo. It is divided into all those present and combined with the matzo that is on the table. This is the final meal, after which it is forbidden to eat.
10. Bareh. The final point. Read a prayer and empty the third glass of wine.
Before drinking the fourth glass, they open the door and “let in” the prophet Elijah. He informed the Jews of the onset of deliverance from slavery and is considered a harbinger of the coming of the Savior. His glass is left untouched on the table. All those present are finishing their fourth glass of wine, accompanying this action with prayers. At the end of the festive evening, they sing songs on the theme of Jewish Passover. All participants in the meal communicate on theological topics and on the traditions of celebration. Elders share worldly wisdom (below in the photo - Passover in a Jewish family).
What should be present at the festive table?
Before the beginning of the Seder, the Jews determine what place at the table each of the guests will get. In a similar way, the dishes that will be served are distributed.
The only possible bread, as already mentioned, is matzo. Jews make pies, soup dumplings, sandwiches from yeast-free flour, add to the salad and make pancakes. The taste of fresh matzo returns to the Jews the memory of their ancestors, symbolizes the hardships and sorrows that happened to this people. A special dish called zroa is prepared from lamb on the bone. Instead of the lamb, you can use chicken. This dish symbolizes the lamb sacrificed to the Savior, the blood of which put the signs of dogs on the doors of Jewish houses.
Beytsa - hard boiled egg. In Judaism, it means rebirth and a happy life. Maror - bitter greens (lettuce, horseradish, basil). Karpas - coarse vegetables (often boiled potatoes) as a symbol of the overwork of slaves on Egyptian soil. Haroset sauce - the personification of the liquid mixture for the construction of the pyramids in ancient Egypt. He was used by the Jewish slaves. Composition includes: apples, wine, seasonings and walnuts. There are many recipes for its preparation. On the table, as a rule, there are additionally nuts and fruits.
From drinks used kosher homemade wine or grape juice. A single wine glass represents the four obligations that the Lord voiced to the Jews at the end: “And I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians ...”, “And I will deliver you ...”, “And I will save you ...”, “And I will accept you ... ".
On the first day of the celebration, Jews are forbidden to work. It is customary to attend a synagogue, pray, and follow traditions. Priests bless the people on Passover.
In the next six days, Jewish Passover continues. A feast like Seder will no longer be. Pious Jews work less when Passover is celebrated, or do not work at all. It is a mistake to think that the entire period of celebration is filled with prayers and absorption of food. On the second day, it is customary to visit relatives, to relax and relax with them. In Pesach one cannot forget about anyone. Lonely people are invited to the table by neighbors or friends. Israel is filled with a single spirit, community. The Jews talk to each other a lot, visit relatives they have not seen for a long time.
This day marks the passage of Jews led by Moses of the Red Sea. Having asked the Lord for help on the seashore, the leader of the Jews received it. The sea opened in two halves, and a road along its bottom opened before those present. On the seventh day of Jewish Easter, festivities are planned. People dancing, singing in the streets. And at night they arrange a performance with an imitation of a passage through the deep sea.
Passover and Easter
Despite the obvious similarities in the name, these two holidays have completely different roots. Pesach chronologically happened before Easter, so it traditionally takes place at earlier dates. Unlike the Jews who celebrate their liberation from slavery in Passover, Easter is the Resurrection of Christ. The holidays are not connected in any way, although their names are similar.
On Easter it is customary to set a rich table using traditional dishes (colored eggs, Easter cakes, Easter). But the spiritual content of the celebrations is completely different, and they have no relationship to each other. Catholic and Jewish Easter are also very different, although the dates of celebration often coincide. Catholics, like Christians, celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord.
Passover was the first holiday that Jews began to celebrate. All Jewish celebrations begin in the evening, therefore, on the days of their holding all institutions are closed earlier, and the Jews go to celebrate. Passover is no exception. At the time of the celebration, bread disappears not only in the houses, but also on the shelves in order to eliminate the temptation. Since the calculation of the start date of the festival takes place according to the Jewish calendar, the start date changes every year.
Matzah as a symbol of the Jewish Easter holiday has several names. In the Torah, it is called "poor bread" or "poor bread." Although its composition is not diverse, a special matzo is baked on Passover. This is not a high-calorie product, only 111 calories in one piece. In everyday life, apple juice, berries, eggs and more are added to matzo. In Seder, such bread is forbidden, it is allowed exclusively without yeast and without additives. In 1838, A. Singer invented a device for the production of matzo, but Orthodox Jews try to cook it at home. This bread can not be eaten for a month before the onset of Passover, so that later it tastes better. The day before the holiday, first-born men in the family must observe the fast.
Three matzohs on the table in the evening of the Seder - the personification of the Coens, ordinary Jews and Levites. A month after Passover, those Jews who could not celebrate for some reason celebrate Passover. On this day, you can cook a lamb or chicken, and matzo can be eaten without destroying the chametz.
What kind of holiday is Passover? He awakens the desire for unity in people. Prayers and theological discourse encourage rejection of criticism of others. During celebrations, it is forbidden to envy and condemn one's neighbor. The lonely is surrounded by care, the hungry will be fed. The main idea of the whole celebration is to think not only about oneself, but also about others, to help selflessly.
The salvation of the Jewish people by going through the desert, historical information is not confirmed. From this, experts conclude that the outcome probably occurred earlier, and they could not fix it. Kabbalah interprets the essence of Passover differently. In a metaphorical sense, the Jews got rid of the oppression of tyrants, and this contributed to the establishment of Israel as a separate state. Nevertheless, celebrations in honor of the liberation of Jews from slavery are held everywhere, the joy of gaining freedom still does not subside in the blood of the Jews. It is said that the Seder meal is an amazing phenomenon. Indeed, for hundreds of centuries, every Jewish family repeats the same script for a gala dinner. Today in Israel, on Passover, schools and kindergartens are closed; children are with their parents all day. The Israelis say that during this period it is difficult to go outside, so crowded there.
Jewish holiday Passover is an ancient, one of the most revered. The Ten Commandments of Moses, who roamed the desert for forty years with the Jews, formed the basis of universally recognized moral values.