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It’s that special time of year again for the Jewish people. In the spring of 2021, Passover is usually celebrated from March 27 to April 4. Passover is a seven-day festival that celebrates the great liberation of the Jewish people in the Book of Exodus. The escape from Egypt is an integral part of history for the Jews, so Passover is a major week of remembrance.
Are you ready to get started on your preparations for Passover? You have to do a few things according to Hebrew law, so be sure to follow the rules carefully as you celebrate. Here is what you need to know about Passover and what it means to uphold ancient traditions.
Understanding the Historical Importance of Passover
Three thousand years ago, Moses led the Israelites to freedom from the Egyptians. It was an important event for the Jewish people and remains one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. Every spring, Passover commemorates G-d’s children with fun, feasts, and observed rituals under the Hebrew law. Note that since the Gregorian calendar we use doesn’t match up with the Hebrew calendar, the dates change depending on the year.
What to Do in Passover
You start Passover by cleaning every corner of your household in a process known as chametz. Now you can begin with a seven-day feast, which is known as a seder. In Hebrew, the word “Seder” means “order”. It’s important to understand the historical context of this holiday, representing the bitterness of Jewish slavery. As a result, the foods you eat reflect this principle, along with the usual kosher restrictions.
With your loved ones, you can enjoy traditional Jewish meals under Hebrew law. It means you cannot eat leavened food, which are grains like bread and pasta. The reason is that the Israelites didn’t have time to grow their grains when they fled Egypt. At the end of the seder, there is the Haggadah when the Book of Exodus is recited in a certain order.
Remember that the first and last days of this feast are considerably important as you recite prayers with your meals. On the last day of Passover, some Jews choose to stay up the entire night to observe the Red Sea crossing.
The Best Food for the Festival
Matzah is a major food to eat in Passover. Unlike other bread pieces, it’s unleavened; it means it doesn’t contain rising agents such as yeast. It’s a traditional meal that’s served in the vast majority of Passover feasts.
Other types of food you can feast on all carry symbolic value to the Jewish people. Maror is bitter herbs like horseradish, which represents slavery. Charoset is made of fruits and nuts and is a sweet paste. Zeroah in Hebrew is bone from a lamb, which means sacrifice. Beitzah is an egg that is hard-boiled, which represents birth. Finally, you have saltwater, which represents the tears of the Israelites.
How to Greet Someone for Passover in Hebrew
There are different ways you can greet someone during Passover. The English greeting is “Happy Passover”, which can be used for the non-observant. You can even wish someone well with a “kosher and joyous Passover”.
However, if you’re greeting an Orthodox Jew, you should use the appropriate Hebrew language. You can say “happy Pesach”, which is the Hebrew way of saying “Happy Passover”. Another Hebrew greeting is “chag Pesach Kasher vesame’ach,” which stands for “kosher and joyous Passover”.
Do keep in mind – the “ch” in Hebrew words like Pesach have a different sound than “ch” in English words. Instead of sounding like (ch)apel, the “ch” sounds like the word Ba(ch). Hebrew words like chag and sameach use the “k” sound, so be sure to pronounce them correctly.
Enjoy Passover this Year
Passover is a historically important holiday that is still celebrated thousands of years later. In remembrance of Moses and the ancient Israelites who fought for their freedom, Jews continue to uphold this tradition every spring. With classic Jewish dishes served during the seven-day feast, you can maintain a stronger relationship with the Jewish people and G-d. Take the time to remember how far the Jewish people have gone since they crossed the Red Sea. As they say in Hebrew, “chag Pesach Kasher vesame’ach.”