Passover in 2020
Passover is the oldest and, perhaps, the main holiday of the Jews in general and the Jews in particular. They prepare for it for a long time, and the well-being of the family for the whole year may depend on how correctly the holiday week is spent. There are a lot of rules and traditions associated with this holiday - in this article we will get acquainted only with the main ones.
Is Passover and Easter the same or not?
Definitely, these are two different holidays dedicated to completely different events in distant eras from one another. However, Passover intersects with Christian Easter not only in time but also in content. Firstly, the Last Supper, held on Maundy Thursday, is nothing but a celebration of the first day of Passover. It was to this holiday that Jesus, as a true Jew, returned to Jerusalem, which caused all subsequent events. And secondly, believers draw parallels in the moral of history: they say, Jesus sacrificed himself for the salvation of mankind, as the Jews of Egypt sacrificed lambs for the salvation of their children and their entire people.
What are we celebrating? The meaning and content of the holiday Passover
The stories recalled and retold these days tell of the main story for the Jewish people - the liberation from slavery of the Egyptians and the departure to new lands. This became possible only after the Lord sent successive 10 terrible executions to Egypt, the last of which was the death of all the first-born in all families, even among the pharaoh - except for Jewish families. It was after these events that Moses led the Jews away in search of the Promised Land. However, the pharaoh was not pleased with the loss of so many slaves, and sent an army to return them. A week later, the military overtook the fugitives on the shores of the Red Sea, but a miracle happened: the water parted before the chosen people, opening the road to salvation, and immediately surged behind them, sinking the troops of the pharaoh.
The name of this holiday in Hebrew means “pass by,” “pass,” and it means that God passed the doors of the Jews marked with the blood of sacrificial lambs, thereby saving them not only from this execution, but also from centuries of slavery.
In addition, this holiday is called Hag a-Herut, Hag a-Matsot or Hag a-Aviv, which translates as a festival of freedom, matzah and spring, respectively.
What date does Passover begin?
The date of the beginning and end of Passover is stable only according to the Jewish calendar: from 14 to 21 Nisan, the first spring month. However, this calendar is focused not only on the solar, but also on the lunar phases, therefore it is impossible to strictly associate it with the usual Gregorian one - every year the date is re-calculated. The first day of Passover is always the nearest new moon after the vernal equinox.
In 2020, Passover falls on April 8 - 16, while in Israel itself, as always, they will celebrate a day less - from April 9.
Kashrut on Passover: what you can eat (by day)
Like Christians in Holy Week, Jews on Passover must observe special dietary restrictions - though not so strict.
Firstly, kashrut continues to operate this week - a set of food rules that Orthodox Jews must always observe.
And secondly, it is precisely for the Passover period that the chametz is forbidden - absolutely any cereal products that are at least slightly fermented. Besides the obvious yeast pastries and beer, almost everything flour, even pasta, is banned. It is believed that fermentation begins as early as 18 minutes after the flour is in contact with water. That is, everything that was not finally cooked - baked, cooked or fried by this time, is prohibited. Bread this week replaces matzo - fresh cakes of flour and water.
There are also a lot of specific instructions about the festive table on the first evening - it should have obligatory symbolic products, which are usually laid out in a special dish - keare - with 6 sections in a circle and one large one in the center. It is served by the following products:
- Maror - horseradish, basil, salad or other bitter greens - as a symbol of the bitter life in slavery.
- Haroset - a slurry of apples, nuts and dates, sometimes with wine, symbolizes the main material with which the Jews worked in slavery - clay.
- Zroa is a piece of fried meat on the bone, preferably lamb, in memory of the lambs sacrificed by the Jews for the salvation of the first-born.
- Hard-boiled egg - a legacy from temple worship traditions
- Salt water dipped in food - a symbol of tears shed in captivity
- A slice of any spring vegetable
- And, of course, in the center of the dish are matzo, or unleavened bread.
What can not be done during the holiday week
Firstly, it is forbidden to work on the first and last days of the holiday - in Israel this is a public weekend. For Jewish diasporas around the world, this ban is also extended on the 2nd day of Passover - after all, they celebrate 1 day longer.
Secondly, it is forbidden not only to eat chametz (products from cereals that have gone through fermentation), but also to own it. Everyone is trying to finish it before the holiday, and the remnants are either burned or symbolically sold to people of a different faith with the help of a rabbi. In this case, a small amount is paid immediately, and it is necessary to agree on the price after the holiday - but, as a rule, at the end of Passover, the Jews buy back their leaven back for the first security deposit. For failure to comply with this custom, Jews face the expulsion of the soul from the community of believers, not by the rabbi, but by the Lord himself.
In addition, it is not customary to talk about your own problems, but you need to tell and discuss stories related to the theme of the holiday - the exodus of the Jewish people from Egypt as often as possible.
It is also forbidden to wash, write any texts, cut or shave hair, light a fire (you can light a new one only from an already burning one), turn on something in the power grid, and work on the ground and in the garden.
How Jewish families celebrate Passover
Regarding Passover, there are a number of traditions and customs of celebration. Jews try to observe them as accurately as possible, because the well-being and prosperity of the family for the whole next year depend on it, and for special violations it promises carriages - a death sentence to the soul.
Preparations for celebrating a major event in history
Before Passover, in addition to preparing festive clothes for the whole family and a rich table with a variety of dishes, it is customary to carry out a general cleaning in the house. Its purpose is to identify and destroy any chametz and its traces. And although the Torah orders to get rid of the largest olives, often the housewives seek to destroy even all the breadcrumbs. Then the head of the family goes around the house with a control search and blessing. So that he would definitely find at least a piece of leaven and the blessing was not for nothing, usually 10 small chamets are hidden in the house.
In the morning on the eve of the holiday, all the first-born are supposed to fast - in gratitude for the salvation during the 10 execution. However, relief is allowed at the festive table in the temple after morning service.
The first gala dinner - the Seder - and its traditions
On the first day after sunset, the whole family gathers at a table, and lonely acquaintances are invited - no one should be alone with themselves. Everyone dresses in the best holiday dresses, but the head of the family should be in a starched snow-white shirt. At the same time, the rules do not allow starchy festive tablecloths.
On the table, in addition to dishes with symbolic products, which we wrote about above, other festive dishes are also served, and each one is entitled to 4 glasses of wine or grape juice. The meal that evening is not just dinner, but a whole ritual with a strict script and recitation of prayers and stories from the Haggadah - a special collection specifically for Passover.
Midweek: how to spend time
The following days are usually working, although often on an abbreviated schedule. They try to relax more and spend time with their family, have fun and tell stories from the Torah.
The last day of the holiday and its customs
On the last day of Passover, they remember how the sea parted before the Jews, saving them from the Egyptian army - after all, this happened on the 7th day after the exodus from Egypt. At this time, it is customary to go with the whole family, if not to the sea, then at least to the nearest body of water - good, in Israel this day is also a state holiday.
Weather in Moscow at the time of Passover
Considering the weather at this time in recent years, weather forecasters promise a cloudy or clear sky with a daily temperature of +10 - + 130С for the whole week. In a word, it's time to rejoice in the spring and get out into nature with the whole family.