What is Passover? Passover is from the Hebrew word Pesach, which means “passed over”. That is how we got the English name for the holiday of Passover. This year, Passover will begin at sunset, April 19, 2019 with a traditional Seder sponsored by the Puerto Vallarta Jewish Community.
The Story of Passover is first described in the Bible as the Exodus from Egypt. The Torah, the Law of G-D as revealed to Moses and recorded in the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures (the Pentateuch), recounts how the children of Israel were enslaved by the Pharaoh, who feared them. After being oppressed for many generations, G-D spoke to Moses, an Israelite, commanding that he go to the Pharaoh to tell him to let G-D’s people go free. Pharaoh refused. Then Moses, as the messenger of G-D, brought a series of ten plagues on Egypt.
The last plaque was the slaying of the first-born. The Israelites were told to place a marking of blood from the Pascal Lamb on the threshold of their homes. G-D went through Egypt and killed the first-born, but passed over the homes of the Israelites, sparing their children. The plague was so terrible that the Pharaoh let the Israelites leave. As the Israelites hurried to leave, they took their unleavened bread. This is known as matzah.
The Pharaoh changed his mind, entrapping the Children of Israel at the Red Sea/ Sea of Reeds. G-D instructed Moses to stretch his staff over Red Sea/ Sea of Reeds. The water parted and the Children of Israel crossed on the dry land. As the Pharaoh and his soldiers pursued them, the waters closed, drowning them.
The Torah commands the observance of Passover for seven days. Most Jews in North American and in Israel follow this. Some Jews outside of Israel celebrate Passover for eight days. The reason for this dates back to 700-600 BCE. In those days, people were notified of holidays by a specific network of mountaintop bonfires. To eliminate any timing errors, an additional day was included. Even though now we have modern calendars, this process remains in Jewish Law with some Jews outside of Israel abiding by it.
During Passover, no leavened food products are eaten (bread, pasta, etc.). Some people clean out the entire house of leavened food products. Others put it in a separate place in the house.
Mirian was Moses’ sister. We first see her in the Torah when she placed him in a basket into the waters of the Nile. She hid in the reeds to make sure that he was found by someone who would take care of him.
- Later she is associated with the “well” that followed them, Bnei Yisrael, the Children of Israel as they traveled through the desert.
- Water drunk from her cup during Seder, during times of song reminds participants of how Mirian led the Israelite women in song after crossing the Red Sea (Shemot 15:20-21).
We would love to have you join us at our Seder. Details on our Facebook page: Puerto Vallarta Jewish Community. All Reservations with payment are requested by April 10, 2019 to: firstname.lastname@example.org