Jewish Holiday in Israel | Passover 2022

Passover 2022 begins at sundown Friday, 15 April and ends at nightfall on Saturday, 23 April 2022, that is, the Hebrew calendar dates of Nissan 15-22. Passover or Pesach is an annual weeklong festival commemorating the Biblical story of Exodus where God freed the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Israelites leaving Egypt. Photo Credit: Sue Bentley / FreeBibleimages.org

The Story of Exodus

Moses went to Pharaoh and asked that he let the Israelites go free from Egypt. Pharaoh said no, so God sent down 10 plagues to force the king to change his mind. The tenth and final plague was the most drastic: the killing of the firstborn sons by the angel of death. The Israelites were spared from the plague because Moses told them to mark their door posts with lamb’s blood so that the angel of death would pass over them. Thus, the name “Passover”. Pharaoh’s son died from the plague. In his grief, Pharaoh ordered Moses and the Israelites to leave Egypt.

Israelites marking their door posts with lamb’s blood. Photo Credit: Sue Bentley / FreeBibleimages.org

The people were happy but mistrustful of Pharaoh, afraid he would go back on his word again. In their haste to leave Egypt, the Israelites could not let their bread rise and so they brought unleavened bread and followed Moses into the desert. In commemoration of this, Passover is also called the Festival of Unleavened Bread where only flat unleavened bread or “Matzo” is consumed.

Seder

Passover is celebrated with great pomp and ceremony, especially on the first night, when a special family meal called the seder is held. During the seder (meaning “order” in Hebrew), family members eat, pray, drink, sing, discuss current social justice issues and tell stories as prescribed by the Haggadah, the Passover book.

The Sedar plate holds five or six items, each of which symbolizes a part of the Passover story. Parsley symbolises the new spring. Charoset, a sweet mixture of apples and honey, represents the mortar that the Israelite slaves used to construct buildings for Pharaoh. A bitter herb, often horseradish, associates with the bitterness of slavery. A second bitter herb, often Romaine lettuce, is used. A roasted lamb shank bone serves as a visual reminder of the sacrifice that the Israelites offered immediately before leaving Egypt. A roasted or hard-boiled egg represents a sign of new life.

Want to greet your Jewish friends a happy holiday? The greeting for Passover is simply “Chag Sameach!” (Happy Holidays) or “Chag Pesach Sameach!” (Happy Passover Holiday).


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