Valdosta Daily Times

Local News

March 25, 2013

Passover: A nation reborn

Holiday starts this evening

VALDOSTA — Passover commemorates the celebration of the historical Exodus of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage 3,300 years ago. We read in Exodus 12, of the first institution of the Festival of including the Passover offering which symbolized the first act of freedom; the religious commandment to eat the Unleavened Bread or Matza during all eight days of the festival. The first observance of Passover was celebrated in Egypt known as a Seder or Passover Offering followed by the Exodus itself at midnight. In Leviticus 23:4, relates to Passover as a Festival of the Lord among other major sacred occasions; and in Numbers 28:16 the Torah describes the Passover offering. These are the major references in the Torah (Five Books of Moses). At the same time, Judaism refers to Passover as the Spring Festival, celebrating the ‘rebirth’ of the earth after the long winter.

The events leading to bondage in Egypt begins with the Patriarch Jacob and his family coming to Egypt 400 year earlier escaping famine in Canaan. A new Pharaoh rose who did not recognize Joseph’s accomplishments, and began to enslave the Children of Israel through forced labor and intimidations, building cities as Pithom and Raamses out of bricks made of mud and straw. Moses, a son to a Levite family becomes their spokesman and delivers an uncompromising message of God to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, the God of

Israel: Let My people go that they may celebrate a festival for Me in the wilderness.”

The major observance of Passover are held in the homes and synagogues on the first two nights of the holiday. This is a festive, ritual meal called "Seder," includes prescribed texts, songs, special food and prayers of praise, and the story of the exodus is told, reenacted, and explained. The story of the Passover is debated by the assembled to early hours of the morning. The Seder begins with lighting candles, benediction over wine, introducing the three main symbols of Passover: Matza, Marror (bitter herbs), Pesach (roasted bone) following the telling of the story of Passover a festive meal is served and concluding with songs of praise.

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