Monday, March 29, 2010

Zisn Pesach !! Happy Passover! Get your horshradish and koser wine out! L'Chaim!

Zisn Pesach !! Happy Passover! Get your horshradish and koser wine out! L'Chaim!

Today is a special holiday for Jewish people around the world!

Its Passover or Pesach, a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival remembering and honoring the Hebrews' escape from enslavement in Egypt as recounted in the bible.

Passover is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays (Yom Tov), and is a time to contemplate the endurance of the Jewish people throughout history.

Tonight, in most Jewish households, there will be a special dinner called the Passover Seder (Hebrew: סֵדֶר[ˈsedeʁ], "order, arrangement").

The Seder is a Jewish ritual feast that is held on the evening of the 14th day of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, which corresponds to late March or April in the Gregorian calendar.

From Wikipedia: "The Seder is a ritual performed by a community or by multiple generations of a family, involving a retelling of the story of the liberation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. This story is in the Book of Exodus (Shemot) in the Hebrew Bible. The Seder itself is based on the Biblical verse commanding Jews to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt: "And you shall tell it to your son on that day, saying, 'Because of this God did for us when He took me out of Egypt.'" (Exodus 13:8) Traditionally, families and friends gather in the evening to read the text of the Haggadah, an ancient work derived from the Mishnah (Pesahim 10).[1][2] The Haggadah contains the narrative of the Israelite exodus from Egypt, special blessings and rituals, commentaries from the Talmud, and special Passover songs. Seder customs include drinking four cups of wine, eating matza and partaking of symbolic foods placed on the Passover Seder Plate. The Seder is performed in much the same way by Jews all over the world."

The traditional food of the Seder involves some unique items that are eaten in specific orders:
At several points during the Seder, everyone leans to the left - when drinking the four cups of kosher wine,  then eating the Afikoman (desert), and indulging in the korech sandwich

"They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it." (Ex. 12:8)

Korech Sandwich

"Instead of eating the Pascal lamb, however, today we substitute charoset. We take some matzah and smear some maror (horseradish) on one end and some charoset on the other. We then top off the matzah with another piece. When we eat, we begin with the bitter side and move to the sweet side, reminding us that though our slavery was indeed bitter, our redemption is sweeter still..."

This concludes the first part of the Seder. Families will now will eat dinner (shulchan orech) and continue the Seder after the meal is completed....while keeping in mind the spirit of the night, the importance of family, tenacity, endurance and keeping traditions alive! 

Hearty appetite!

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