What Is Passover?
(Page 2 of 2)
Israelites ate when they left Egypt, we don’t eat — or even retain in our possession — any chametz from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz means leavened grain—any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn’t guarded from leavening or fermentation. This includes bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta and most alcoholic beverages. Moreover, almost any processed food or drink can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise. Ridding our homes of chametz is an intensive process. It involves a full-out spring-cleaning search-and-destroy mission during the weeks before Passover, and culminates with a ceremonial search for chametz on the night before Passover, and then a burning of the chametz ceremony on the morning before the holiday. Chametz that cannot be disposed of can be sold to a non-Jew for the duration of the holiday.
Instead of chametz, we eat matzah — flat unleavened bread. It is a mitzvah to partake of matzah on the two Seder nights, and during the rest of the holiday it is optional.
The highlight of Passover is the Seder, observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday. The Seder is a fifteen-step family-oriented tradition and ritual-packed feast. The focal points of the Seder are: Eating matzah. Eating bitter herbs — to commemorate the bitter slavery endured by the Israelites. Drinking four cups of wine or grape juice — a royal drink to celebrate our newfound freedom. The recitation of the Haggadah, a liturgy that describes in detail the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Haggadah is the fulfillment of the biblical obligation to recount to our children the story of the Exodus on the night of Passover. To find a seder near you please click on the link below or contact firstname.lastname@example.org