“The SEASON OF
April 10, 2017 - First Home Seder
April 11, 2017 - Second Seder at Gates of Prayer at 6:00 P.M.
April 17, 2016 - Passover Worship/Yizkor at 10:30 A.M.
The Origin of Pesach
Pesach (Passover), which celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, begins on the fifteenth of the month of Nisan and continues for seven days; though many in diaspora communities celebrate it for eight days. The name Passover is taken from the verses in Exodus 12:26-27: And when your children ask you “What do you mean by this rite?”, you shall say, “it is the Passover sacrifice to the Lord, because he passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he smote the Egyptians, but saved our houses.” That night Pharaoh finally agreed to let the Israelites go; and ever since then, we gather together on that night to celebrate that time, and to contemplate the meaning of being freed by the “mighty hand and outstretched arm” of the Holy One.
In addition to “Passover”, the Torah uses two other names to describe the holiday celebrated on the 15th of Nisan. The first is Chag HaAviv, the Spring Festival. As it is written: “Observe the month of Aviv and keep the Passover unto the Lord thy God”(Deuteronomy 16:1). The term Aviv designates the green ears of grain and thus refers to the beginning of the spring harvest. The second is Chag HaMatzot, the Festival of Unleavened Bread. As it is written: “You shall enjoy the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day throughout the ages as an institution for all time.” (Exodus 12:17) Modern Pesach observance is a unique blend of these festivals which culminate with the commemoration of the exodus from Egypt-the Seder.
The mitzvah of participating in the seder and reciting the Haggadah.
The highlight of the Pesach observance is the Seder with its many symbolic foods and its elaborate liturgy, the Haggadah. It is a mitzvah for every Jew to participate in the recitation of the Haggadah, which recalls the exodus from Egypt. All should look upon themselves as having personally experienced the exodus. In every generation, each person should feel as though he/she personally had gone forth from Egypt, as it is written: “And you should explain to your child on that day, it is because of what the Lord did for me when I myself went forth from Egypt.” (Exodus 13:8)
The Seder Plate ( K’arah ) contains all the symbols of the Seder.
1) Karpas - A vegetable, usually green such as parsley, symbolizing spring and rebirth.
- 2) Haroset - A mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wine and spices. It symbolizes the mortar that the slaves made for bricks in Egypt.
- 3) Maror - The bitter herbs, usually horseradish, is used as a symbol of the bitterness
- 4) Beitzah - A roasted egg, symbol of the festival sacrifice offered by each Jew going up
the Temple in Jerusalem. The egg should be hard boiled and partially scorched.
- 5) Zeroa - A roasted bone, commonly a shank bone, symbol of the Passover sacrifice.
bone is roasted and then scorched to simulate the Passover sacrifice which was roasted.
- 6) Hazeret - Some seder plates have a sixth symbol called hazeret. This is an additional maror, often lettuce, to be used with the koreikh sandwich. (matzah & maror sandwich)
What To Eat Or What Not To Eat? That is the question….
The Torah prohibits the eating of Chamets during the festival of Pesach. As it is written, “You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your settlements you shall eat unleavened bread.” ( Exodus 12:20 ) The word Chamets is translated as “leavened bread”. Basically it refers to food prepared from the five species of grain-wheat, barley, oats, spelt and rye-that has been allowed to leaven, as well as foods that have come into contact with leaven. Leavening occurs when the grain or its product come into contact with water. This excludes moistening with other liquids such as undiluted fruit juices.
All fresh fruits and most vegetables are permitted. Fruits and those vegetables normally permitted for Passover use are permitted in their frozen state. The following foods are permitted in unopened packages or containers and require no Kosher l’Pesach label: natural coffee, sugar, tea, salt, pepper and vegetables, other than peas or beans. String beans are permitted.
The following foods are forbidden for use during Pesach. They are bread, biscuits, crackers, ice cream, syrups, candies (unless specially approved), cereals, wheat, barley, oats, peas, and beans. Foods which require a reliable Kosher l’Pesach label are candies, milk, butter, cheese, soda water, and soft drinks. Corn syrup, corn starch and grain vinegar often render otherwise permitted foods to be forbidden. By custom Askenazic Jews do not eat foods such as corn, lentils and rice because they can be confused with grain.