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Meaning of Passover

March 28, 2010

Of all the Jewish holidays, Passover is the most commonly observed.  Taking place the first two nights of the eight day holiday is the Seder.  It’s the most important event of the Passover celebration and includes the gathering together of  family and friends.  The Seder is part of long held traditions and customs.

Only foods that are “Kosher For Passover” are allowed.  No leavened (containing yeast) foods or grains are eaten.  In their place matzoh and foods containing matzoh are eaten. This is to commemorate the Israelites who fled quickly into the desert with no time for their bread to rise. They were forced to put the dough on hard crackers to bake in the desert sun.

The Seder table is is set with the Seder plate at the center.  The Seder plate contains five foods that remind us of the struggle the Israelites endured in their quest and journey for freedom.  These five foods are Haroseth, parsley ( dipped in salt water), roasted egg, shank bone and bitter herbs.

1.  Haroseth is a mixture of walnuts,wine,cinnamon, and apples that represent the mortar the Israelites used to assemble the Pharaoh’s bricks.

2.  Parsley symbolizes springtime, it is dipped in salt water to remind us of for the tears of the Jewish slaves.

3.  Egg another symbol of spring.

4.  Shank Bone symbolic of the sacrificial lamb offering, the bone can come from whatever the family is eating, such as the leg bone of a roasted turkey.

5.  Bitter Herbs  freshly grated horseradish reflects the bitter affliction of slavery.

During the Sedar four glasses of wine are poured to represent the four stages of exodus.
1.  Freedom
2.  Deliverance
3.  Redemption
4.  Release

A fifth cup of wine is always placed at the Seder table.  This is the cup of Elijah, an offering to the Prophet Elijah.  During the Seder the door to the home is always open to invite the prophet Elijah to enter.

After the Seder the main meal is eaten.  Typical Passover foods are Brisket, Matzoh Ball Soup, Potato and Vegetable Kugel, Macaroons, Cinnamon Apple Apricot Cake, and just plain Matzoh.

by Yarusha Jimenez

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 30, 2010 9:02 AM

    Thank you, nicely written….

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