A Time to Rejoice
Spring is the most colorful time of year, a time when flowers bloom and animals come out of hibernation. Spring is symbolic of new beginnings, new life and growth, so it’s very fitting that it’s also host to several very beautiful and spiritual holidays.
Typically sharing the same month as Easter, another equally religious festivity deserves recognition. Passover (or Pesach) is a major Jewish holiday that celebrates one of the most famous stories of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament, Exodus, the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
The Story of Exodus
Over 3,000 years ago, the Pharaoh of Egypt refused to let the Israelite slaves free in spite of Moses bearing threats of God’s wrath. Moses told Pharaoh that if he refused to release the slaves, God would bring 10 devastating plagues throughout the land as punishment until he complied. Pharaoh refused to be commanded by any higher power, and denied Moses’s request. As promised, God brought 9 horrible plagues; turning the Nile river into blood, turning dust into gnats and bringing swarms of locusts that cover Egypt in darkness. Before each plague, Moses returns to the Pharaoh and demands the Israelits’ release.
Passover is a recounting of the final plague of Exodus, the last act of God which brought freedom to the Hebrew people.
For the final plague, God told Moses to alert the Israelites to sacrifice a small, perfect lamb and use its blood to paint above the doors of their homes. For whoever did this, they would be safe from the angel of death that God would soon unleash on Egypt. At midnight, the angel of death swept throughout Egypt, killing the oldest son of every family and bringing devastation to almost every Egyptian home.
This was the Pharaoh’s last straw and the Hebrew people were then released and run out of Egypt; about 600,000 men along with women and their children, and God led them to Canaan in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night.
The name passover comes from the angel of death passing over hebrew homes on the night of the last plague. In honor of this act of God, a seder is held and celebrations are had over the course of up to 8 days.
Passover is a time to rejoice in the freedom of ancestors in the Jewish religion and to practice gratitude for God leading the Children of Israel from slavery over 3000 years ago.