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Passover, also known as Pesach, is a Jewish spring holiday. It commemorates the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt and their journey to freedom. The holiday reminds us of the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice. Jews around the world celebrate Pesach with customs and a Sederסדר
plural: סדרים‎ sedarim a Hebrew word meaning “order” or “sequence” For more info click here
feast. The holiday also marks the end of winter, and it is traditional for Jews to clean their homes before it begins. The story of the Exodus is passed down to future generations as a reminder of liberation and the love of freedom.

The book we use at the Seder is called Haggadahהַגָּדָה
“telling”; plural: Haggadot is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder. According to Jewish practice, reading the Haggadah at the Seder table is a fulfillment of the mitzvah to each Jew to tell their children the story from the Book of Exodus about God bringing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. For more info click here
in Hebrew. It includes history, explanations, fables, legends, stories, prayers, and songs. The Haggadahהַגָּדָה
“telling”; plural: Haggadot is a Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder. According to Jewish practice, reading the Haggadah at the Seder table is a fulfillment of the mitzvah to each Jew to tell their children the story from the Book of Exodus about God bringing the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt, with a strong hand and an outstretched arm. For more info click here
is an old book that was written well before the time of the Maccabees. The Haggadah from 1,800 years ago is pretty similar to the one we have now, but some changes have taken place. Originally, the Haggadah included three questions for the child to ask, but one was dropped and replaced with a question about leaning while eating. Later, a fourth question was added about bitter herbs.

The Haggadot are an essential part of the Passoverפֶּסַח
Transliteration: pesaḥ Pronunciation: peh’-sakh Passover is a major Jewish holiday for Rabbinical Judaism, Karaite Judaism, and Samaritanism, one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals, that celebrates the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Biblical Egypt For more info click here
celebration. They have been translated into many languages to ensure that everyone at the Sederסדר
plural: סדרים‎ sedarim a Hebrew word meaning “order” or “sequence” For more info click here
understands the story of the Jewish people’s liberation from slavery in Egypt. This narrative is crucial to the understanding of Jewish identity and tradition.

After World War II, additional parts were added to the Haggadot, commemorating the victory over tyranny. These sections serve as a reminder of the importance of freedom and the need to combat oppression and injustice. Today, there are various Haggadot that give special meaning to different groups of Jews. Each one reflects the diversity of the Jewish community and the richness of its heritage.

As long as the story is taught to children, blessings are said, and symbols are discussed, every person at the Seder understands they were freed from slavery. This understanding serves as a powerful reminder of the Jewish people’s resilience and determination in the face of adversity. It is a celebration of the human spirit and gives hope to those who struggle for freedom today.

The Haggadot serve as a bridge between our past and present. They connect us to our heritage and remind us of our values. By incorporating these texts into our Passoverפֶּסַח
Transliteration: pesaḥ Pronunciation: peh’-sakh Passover is a major Jewish holiday for Rabbinical Judaism, Karaite Judaism, and Samaritanism, one of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals, that celebrates the Exodus of the Israelites from slavery in Biblical Egypt For more info click here
celebrations, we keep the spirit of the Jewish people alive and ensure that our traditions continue to thrive for generations to come.

The Great Shabbath

In the synagogue, preparation for Pesach. begins before the holiday comes. The Shabbat immediately before the first Sederסדר
plural: סדרים‎ sedarim a Hebrew word meaning “order” or “sequence” For more info click here
is called Shabbat ha-Gadol, the Great Sab­bath. It is so called because the Haftarah portion which is read on that day is from the Biblical book of Malachi 3:4-24. It speaks of the time when Elijahאֵלִיָּהוּ
romanized: ʾĒlīyyāhū,ˈlaɪdʒə/ il-EYE-jə; meaning “My God is Yahweh/YHWH”;Greek form: Elias /ɪˈlaɪəs/ il-EYE-əs)or more info click here
will be sent to announce the “great day of the Lord.”

Some say this Shabbat got its name because people gathered in the synagogue on the Shabbat before Pesach to listen to a lecture on observing the holiday. The speaker was the greatest authority; and he spoke for the greatest time.

Another sort of preparation has to do with the com­mandment that a Jew feed the hungry and the unfor­tunate-at all times. On Pesach, the poor too must have special Passover food. In Europe, the rabbi and two leading members of the congregation would go from house to house during the weeks before Pesach, collect­ing money. This money maot hittim, or money for wheat (matzah) was given to the poor so they could buy food for Pesach. Today, in larger communities, we still have maot hittim funds, and there is always a spe­cial effort to see that Jews away from home in colleges, hospitals, or the armed forces will be able to celebrate a Sederסדר
plural: סדרים‎ sedarim a Hebrew word meaning “order” or “sequence” For more info click here
.

To make bread, ordinary bread, yeast or some other leavening is added to the dough. This makes the dough rise, expand; it takes several hours. But Jews didn’t have hours when they left Egypt. In memory of the Exodus, Jews are commanded to “put all leaven out of”
our houses and to eat unleavened bread, matzah, dur­ing Pesach.

To make sure there is no leaven material that will ferment, or turn sour-in the house, it is the Pass­over custom for Jews to clean their homes from top to bottom. It is like the spring house cleaning many peo­ple do. Special dishes, used only for Pesach, are brought out and used during the holiday.

On the evening before Pesach begins, the house is searched for leaven hametz. But since the house has already been thoroughly cleaned for the holiday, there’s no hametz to be found. This gave rise to the custom of hiding little pieces of bread about the house so that the search for hametz, aided by a can­dle and a feather, would be successful. The hametz is swept up, taken outside and burned the next day as a sign that the house is free of leaven.

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