Pesach, more commonly referred to as Passover, is the most commonly observed Jewish holy day. According to the 1990 National Jewish Population Survey, eighty percent of Jews have attended a Pesach Seder, a traditional meal eaten to celebrate the holy day. Passover, also referred to as “the Spring Festival,” “the Festival of Matzah” or “the Time of Our Freedom,” is a celebration held to commemorate the Israelites deliverance out of slavery in Egypt (Rich, T.). It is a time for all Jewish people to remember their ancestors and the trust and faith they had in God that led them to freedom. The celebration of Passover dates back thousands of years, is still observed today, and has significant parallels to an important Christian feast day, Easter.
Passover can trace its origins to three specific books in the Bible: Exodus, Leviticus, and Deuteronomy. In Exodus 12, the first mention of the Passover is made. This chapter tells the story of the tenth plague, the last of the Ten Plagues. These catastrophic events were carried out by God through Moses, to force the Pharaoh to free the Israelites from slavery. The tenth plague is referred to as the “Death of the Firstborn.” Exodus 12 explains how God told Moses to mark the two doorposts and lintel of each Israelites’ house with the blood of a slaughtered lamb. When the Angel of Death passed through Egypt, it would “pass over” the houses marked with lamb’s blood and strike down the firstborn male, human or animal, of every unmarked house. When the Pharaoh awoke to find his firstborn son killed, he allowed the Israelites to leave Egypt, thus beginning the exodus and their journey to the Promised Land. This chapter also lays out specific guidelines for Jews to follow on how and when they should perform the Passover sacrifice. God tells Moses to mark the month of the Passover as the first month of the year. The rituals are to be passed down and carried out by all generations to follow. The festival is to be held...
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