The Jewish Festival of Passover known as “Pesach” means Passingover or Protection. It extends to 8 days, commemorating the freedom and exodus of the Israelites from Egypt during the reign of the Pharaoh Ramses II. Passover is a time of family gatherings and the story of Passover is retold through the reading of the “Haggadah” and it is as follows. About 3000 years ago, the Israelites were enslaved by the Egyptians. During the rule of the Pharaoh Ramses II, Moses, was instructed by God to go to the pharaoh and demand the freedom of his people(Please vide Book of Exodus) The request of Moses to “ let my people go” was ignored despite the warning of Moses that God would punish the people of Egypt, if the Israelites were not freed. On the Pharaoh ignoring the request of Moses , God unleashed the following 10 plagues on the people of Egypt.
1.Blood. 2. Frogs. 3. Vermin 4.Wild flies.5. Blight.6. Boils.7. Hail.8. Locusts 9.Darkness 10.Death of the First Born
In order to compel the Pharaoh to free the Israelites, God intended to visit the first-born of both man and beast with death. The Israelites were told to protect themselves by marking their dwellings with lamb's blood so that God could identify and “pass over” their homes. Unable to stand the death of the Egyptian first borns, the Pharaoh finally freed the Israelites and they left their homes so quickly that they had no time to even bake their breads. They took the raw dough with them baked the dough in the hot sun into hard crackers called matzohs in the desert. Jews eat matzoh in place of bread during Passover to commemorate their ancestors journey to Freedom.
The Pharaoh's army chased them through the desert towards the Red Sea and they were trapped at the sea blocking their escape. Answering the prayers of Moses, God had the Red Sea parted and the Israelites were able to cross to the other side and the sea closed on the Pharaoh's army trapping them.
Passover celebrates this history of gaining freedom with special foods, songs, and customs. The Seder is the special food taken at the Passover celebration. Passover begins on the 15th day of the Jewish month of Nissan. As the Jewish day begins at sundown the night before, for the year 2004, the first night of Passover will be April 05. The first 2 nights of the 8 day holiday are celebrated with lavish meals called Seders in which the stories and history of Passover are remembered and recited..
We wish all the Jewish Brethren, a very happy Pesach and may the GAOTU bless them with Peace, Prosperity, Happiness and Longevity.
Let us on the happy occasion remember that the Most High will reward or punish us as we have obeyed or disregarded the Divine Commands and may our good deeds and obedience to the divine Commands help us to ward of His wrath.