Rabbi Moshe Elbaz
The Valdosta Daily Times
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.
Passover begins at sunset today, March 25, and continues for full eight days to April 2. A traditional community-wide kosher for Passover Seder will be held at Temple Israel of Valdosta, 511 Baytree Road, 7 p.m., today, March 25. RSVP for the Seder is made by calling Temple Israel (244-1813) ASAP. Also you can make reservations through our website: www.templeisrtaelvaldosta.org More information: Call Rabbi Moshe Elbaz and Temple Israel. The Rabbi and the Board of Directors extends Joyous Passover wishes to the entire community.