Hello! I am vms915, and Tiggerkat has asked me to do a guest post on Passover, since I am Jewish, and know some stuff about it. ^.^
So, what is Passover?
Passover is a holiday to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt by the Jewish people. So, if you are unfamiliar with the story, click here.
I am not sure exactly what Tiggerkat wants me to post about Passover, but I will do a little bit of everything.
There are many traditions associated with Passover. One of them is holding a Seder. A Seder is basically a commemorative feast held to remember when the Jews left Egypt. During the seven days of Passover, you have to keep kosher, which means that you can not eat anything with wheat, rye, etc. There is a Seder plate at the Seder, which contains special food items.
Each food item/thing on the plate symbolizes a certain aspect of the Passover story.
The charoset, or a mixture of apples, wine, and nuts, symbolizes the mortar the slaves used to build when they were enslaved by the Pharaoh.
The egg represents the holiday offering brought in the days of the Holy Temple.
The shank bone (don't worry, we don't eat this!) symbolizes the sacrifice that was made on the eve of the Exodus from Egypt.
The parsley, which is sometimes dipped in salt water (to represent tears of sadness), represents how Israel flourished when it was first in Egypt, before the people were enslaved.
Maror, the bitter herb, represents the bitterness of slavery. It is usually horseradish, or something similar.
And, of course, although it is not on the Seder plate, there is matzoh, which is the bread the Jewish people had to eat because their bread didn't have time to rise.
When families get together for a Seder, they will sometimes hide the afikomen, a piece of matzoh, around the house, and the child who finds it gets a prize.
The Four Questions are also read at the Seder. They are (in Hebrew) in this video:
(no, that's not me)
They translate out to:
Why is this night different from all other nights?
1. Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzoh, but on this night we eat matzoh?
2.Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but on this night we eat bitter herbs?
3. Why is it on all other nights we do not dip even once, but on this night we dip twice?
4.Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?
The meaning of Passover:
Passover has a lot of different aspects and meanings. It is to celebrate the Exodus from Egypt, being freed from bondage, and not being slaves anymore.
But, last week, my rabbi said something that made me think:
He said that we are still in Egypt. Not physically, though. We are still in bondage.
I thought about this for a little while.
Then I understood what Passover means to me.
Passover is to remind us that, although we are free, not everybody else is. There are still more people in bondage. And, until everybody has freedom, we can not say we have completed the Exodus.
However, Passover has different meanings for everybody.
~vms915 signing off from her guest post on this awesome and inspirational blog!