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Passover Traditions

Passover (Pesach) is observed for seven days, eight outside of Israel. Pesach celebrates the freedom from almost four hundred years of Egyptian slavery. Pharaoh was asked to let our people go but he refused. It took 10 plagues to convince him, but in the end he let the People of Israel leave Egypt. Then when he thought about it he sent his army after us. HaShem parted the waters of the sea and we walked across to safety. The army of the Pharaoh was drowned.

In Israel, the first and the seventh days are celebrated as full holidays. The five days in between, called the Intermediate Days (Chol Ha-Moed) are celebrated as half holidays.

Nisan Days of Passover

Outside of Israel, Passover is an eight-day holiday. The first two days and the last two days are celebrated as full holidays, and the four Intermediate Days are celebrated as half holidays.

Passover is a family holiday. It starts by cleaning the house of all Chametz (leaven) is out of the house. There is a ceremony to search for the Chametz, and it is called Bedikat Chametz (the searching out of the leaven) and Biur Chametz (the burning of leaven).

The highlight of Passover is the Seder (which means order). The Seder service is held at the dining table in most homes, and during the service the story of the Exodus from Egypt is told. The “order” of the Seder is told in a special book called the Haggadah (which means narrative).

During Passover, we recite special passages from the Torah and the Haftarah.

Here is a handy Cleaning for Pesach Checklist for you.