Those outside of the Jewish faith may not be too familiar with what Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, is. Some may know a little bit about Passover from passages found within the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Since Jesus and his Disciples were Jewish, the “Last Supper,” itself was a Passover Seder.
What is Passover?
Passover commemorates the Jewish people leaving Egypt, and going to the land of Israel after enduring hundreds of years of slavery. Passover, is considered to many, to be the “birth of the Jewish nation.” The story of the Passover can be found in any Torah, Tanach (the Jewish Bible), or Christian Bible, within the Exodus, or Shemot in Hebrew, Chapter.
Passover is a holiday that lasts for eight days outside of Israel, and seven days within the land of Israel. According to The ABC’s of Passover , “The name derives from the fact that during the final plague – the slaying of the first born – God ‘passed over’ the Jewish Homes.”
What is a Passover Seder?
A Passover Seder is celebration dinner during the first two nights of Passover. In Israel, a Seder dinner only takes place on the first night. The purpose of the Seder is, according to The ABC’s of Passover , “to give each Jew the experience of ‘going from slavery unto freedom.'” During the dinner, the story of the Exodus is read from a book called a Haggadah. While reading from the Haggadah, various foods are eaten as symbols of slavery and freedom.
There are many different prayers said during the Seder dinner, such as the Hallel prayer, which is a prayer for praise. The Seder dinner ends with the saying, ” Next year in Jerusalem ” meaning that “we are on our way back home” to the land of Israel.
The Hallel Prayer
The Hallel Prayer, is a special prayer that is recited on Jewish Holidays as well as on the Rosh Hodesh, or the festival of the new moon.
The Hallel Prayer has five major themes:
- The Exodus from Egypt
- The parting of the Red Sea
- The giving of the Torah
- The revival of the dead
- The difficulties preceding the Messianic Age
This prayer is an important part of the Passover celebration since the prayer itself tells the story of the Jewish history from the Exodus to the Messianic Era. The Hallel prayer itself are the Psalms, or Tehillim in Hebrew, 113-118, and are said verbatim.
Passover, or Pesach, is a very special holiday for those of the Jewish faith. For more information about Passover visit Aish or Chabad . For more information about the foods served during a Passover Seder, read my article, The Passover Seder Plate .
“Next year in Jerusalem!”