Saturday, April 19, 2008

Happy Passover/Pesach

Happy Pasach to my Family and Jewish Friends. For everyone who does not know about the Jewish Holiday of Passover here is a lesson.

Pesach, known as Passover in English, is a major Jewish spring festival, commemorating the Exodus from Egypt over 3,000 years ago. The ritual observance of this holiday centers around a special home service called the seder (meaning "order") and a festive meal; the prohibition of chametz (leaven); and the eating of matzah (an unleavened bread). On the eve of the fifteenth day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, we read from a book called the hagaddah, meaning "telling," which contains the order of prayers, rituals, readings and songs for the Pesach seder. The Pesach seder is the only ritual meal in the Jewish calendar year for which such an order is prescribed, hence its name. The seder plate contains various symbolic foods referred to in the seder itself. It will have bitter herbs, a shankbone, charoset, parsley, and a hard boiled egg. Today will be spent making a brisket and turkey and the Charoset. Charoset is made from apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine. It is all ground together and symbolic of the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to build Egyptian structures. The charoset is sweet because sweetness is symbolic of God's kindness, which was able to make slavery more bearable.

Printed from

Passover A to Z A quick overview of the Passover process

Please note: 5768 (2008) is one of the relatively rare years when the day before Passover falls on Shabbat. Please pay close attention to the following schedule, because many details are different than other years.

A month before Passover:
Begin learning about Passover and studying its laws.
Begin the house cleaning process. Methodically inspect and rid every part of your home of any traces of chametz. Be on the lookout for crumbs of all sorts, hidden stashes of crunchy chocolate, fermented drinks (nearly all are made with grain), etc. Make a list of all the rooms in your house, and cross off each one as you complete it.Enforce the pre-Passover house rules: No food may leave the kitchen. After eating, clothes must be brushed off and hands thoroughly washed.
Set aside a special space or spaces to stash the chametz you will be selling for the duration of Passover (see next item). This can be a closet, a cabinet in the kitchen, or a room in the basement, as long as it can be locked or closed off and inaccessible to you for all of Passover.
Arrange for the selling of your chametz. Fill out a form and bring it to your rabbi, delegating to him the task of selling your chametz before Passover. (You can also sell your chametz online.)
Buy the Passover essentials: purchase your matzah and wine in advance, and store it in a place where it is absolutely safe from any contact with any chametz.If you're not making a Seder at home, your local Chabad-Lubavitch center has reserved a place for you! Click here to register for a Seder at the location of your choice.

A few days before Passover:
Begin work on making your kitchen "Kosher for Passover." Put away all utensils that have been used year-round, and lock or seal those cabinets. Put away all non-kosher-for-Passover food, and seal those cabinets. Once your kitchen is completely clean, do the special procedure to kosher your kitchen and appliances for Passover.(Now that your kitchen is clean and all your non-kosher-for-Passover food put away, you will only be able to prepare and eat kosher-for-Passover foods there. If you're not ready to start eating only kosher-for-Passover food yet, you can buy ready-prepared food and eat it outside of the house, or in a place that will be "sold" for the duration of Passover.)

Take stock of your Passover inventory. Take out any special-for-Passover dishes or silver from where they are stored. Polish the silver. Make sure you have Haggadahs for the seder.
Do your Passover shopping. Buy the seder ingredients, plus general food for Passover. Store these in your newly cleaned refrigerator and cabinets -- empty, of course, of any non-Passover food. You can now begin cooking for the holiday in your Kosher-for-Passover kitchen.
Make sure that your holiday clothes and shoes are ready, ironed, and polished. Treat yourself to something new -- an outfit, shoes, or even just a tie.

Thrsday (April 17th)
If you are a first-born son, or the father of a first-born son under the age of Bar Mitzvah, participate in a Siyyum or other mitzvah feast, in order to be absolved of the "Fast of the Firstborn."

Thursday night (48 hours before Passover):
Do the ritual search for Chametz. Take a candle, a spoon, and a feather, and search the house for any remaining or forgotten chametz.

Friday morning:
Burn any leftover Chametz that is not being sold, including anything that was found Thursday night at the Search for the Chametz. The only chametz which should remain is the challah which will be eaten by the two Shabbat meals. The chametz is burned before the end of the fifth "seasonal hour" of the morning (click here for local times.) By this time, all cabinets and areas containing chametz that will be sold should be sealed.

Friday Afternoon:
Prepare for the Seder. Ready the items for the Seder plate. Light Shabbat candles before sunset (click here for local times).

Friday Night:
Enjoy a Kosher for Passover Shabbat meal. The only chametz eaten, the challah, is carefully consumed over a paper napkin or tissue. Afterwards, the paper, together with any remaining chametz crumbs, is flushed down the toilet. Extra care should be taken that no chametz crumbs should fall on the floor.

Shabbat morning:
The morning services are recited early in the morning in order to allow enough time to start the Shabbat meal and eat the challah before the end of the fourth seasonal hour. Once again, The challah is carefully consumed over a paper napkin or tissue, and then, together with any remaining chametz crumbs, is flushed down the toilet. The deadline for eating chametz is approximately two hours before midday (click here for local times). Past this point, no chametz is eaten until after the festival. During the fifth seasonal hour, the nullification of the chametz (Kol Chamira) is recited.

Shabbat afternoon:
Recite the "Order of the Passover Offering," recalling and reliving the Korban Pesach which was offered in the Holy Temple at this time.

Saturday night:
Light the festival candles after nightfall from a pre-existing flame; click here for local times. Then go to the synagogue for the evening holiday services, which include the special addition of the Hallel prayer.
Hold the first Passover Seder. Follow the 15 steps, recite the Haggadah, tell and relive the story of the Exodus, and enjoy the matzah, wine, and bitter herbs. Make sure to eat the Afikoman by midnight.

Sunday morning:
Go to the synagogue for the Passover prayer services (which include a special prayer for dew) and Torah reading.

Sunday night:
The Omer Count begins tonight.Outside the Holy Land, tonight begins a second day of Yom Tov (hallowed festival day) which is basically a repeat of the first. Light the festival candles from a pre-existing flame (as it is forbidden to create a new flame on Yom Tov) after nightfall. The entire Seder is repeated tonight. (This time, however, there's no midnight deadline; you can go on until morning.)

Today is the second festival day; go to the synagogue for the special Passover prayers and Torah reading.

Monday night:
Tonight begin the four "intermediate days" of Passover. Celebrate the intermediate days with matzah, kosher-for-Passover cooking, family trips (in the newly cleaned car), and more retelling of the Exodus story. It's still Passover, so we don't eat, own, or derive enjoyment from Chametz, but most activities prohibited the first and last two days are permitted. We also add special passages to our prayers: Hallel, Yaaleh Veyavo, and Musaf.
Friday evening:
Tonight begin the final two festival days of Passover. Light candles at the specified time, and enjoy festive meals Friday night, Shabbat afternoon, Saturday night, and Sunday afternoon.Some have the custom to stay awake Friday night (the night of the Splitting of the Sea) and study Torah through the night.

Sunday morning:
Yizkor, the memorial prayer for departed parents, is recited following the reading of the Torah during the morning prayer service.
Sunday afternoon:
As the day wanes, spend the final hours of Passover with "Moshiach's Meal" -- a special feast in honor of the Redemption. We've spent eight days celebrating the exodus from Egypt. Now, as we leave Passover, we pray for the exodus from our present exile and a brighter tomorrow.

Sunday night:
At nightfall, the Passover holiday comes to an end. Make Havdalah over your last cup of kosher-for-Passover wine. Put away the Passover dishes, Haggadahs, and all other Passover items, locking them away until next year. Then, ...You can once again enjoy chametz food and drinks, and feast on pizza, bread, beer -- anything kosher. (Just make sure it's not chametz that was in the possession of a Jew during Passover.) But as you do, don't forget the eight days of freedom you've just experienced, and remember that throughout the year, as you enjoy all your leavened food, you still carry a bit of the matzah spirit with you!

The content on this page is copyrighted by the author, publisher and/or, and is produced by If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with the copyright policy.

Debbi (email)
©2006 - 2008 DubiQuilts

1 comment:

Tanya Brown said...

This was interesting; thank you for posting it. It's all very complex.

I hope that this was a fulfilling Passover for you.