The Origins Of Pesach


Our favorite holiday has many names. Here’s an explanation.

Z’Man Chayrutaynu/The Season of Our Freedom

This designation reflects a major reason why this season is of importance in Jewish life. We are taught that each and every Jew must re-live the story of the Exodus from Egypt as if he or she actually made the journey toward freedom.

Chag Ha-Pesach/Festival of the Pesachal Lamb

The origins of Passover can be traced to an early shepherd festival in which a spring thanksgiving sacrifice was made to acknowledge the increase in flocks. Later tradition identified this festical with the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt. The Book of Exodus describes how the mantel of each Hebrew home was marked with the blook of the sacrificial paschal lamb. Thus the inhabitant were spared from the Angel of Death, who passed over their houses taking the lives of the first-born Egyptians only.

Chag Ha-Matzot/Festival of the Matzah

This title refers to the hastily baked bread, made without leaven at the time of the Exodus. Freedom demanded certain sacrifices, and any luxuries were left behind in Egypt. We eat matzah in order to be reminded of the Hebrews’ flight from slavery to freedom and of the sacrifices that freedom sometimes requires of us.

Chag Ha-Aviv/Festival of Spring

The origins of the festival marked the new season – the time of new crops, new life, new hope. This name may serve as a reminder of the coming of springtime and the re-birth of nature.

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