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Rel 134

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Judaism festival of Passover

Abstract
In this paper we will be discussing the Jewish festival of Passover, what makes this day(s) considered a “Holy Day”. We will determine the types of religious practices do the differing sects of Judaism part take in during this festival. We will cover the origins of this festival citing the Hebrew Bible in reference to the origins of Passover and the Exodus of Egypt. Determining the time in which this celebration will also be discussed in this paper. This paper is meant to cover the Jewish celebration of Passover and what this festival symbolizes.

Keywords: Passover, Judaism, Pesach, Karaite, Samaritans, Nisan, Passover seder.

In every society there are times of great tradition and celebration. Religion is made up of several different societies or beliefs however they have deep rooted traditions and celebrations that may be considered holy days. The Jewish faith celebrates several holy days such as Yom Kippur, Rosh Hashanah, and many other holy days. In this paper we will be looking deeper in the holy day of Passover. Passover or Pesach as it is called by the Jewish people is a celebration in honor of the Jewish people being granted their freedom from slavery and the Egyptian people. There are a few problems with actually determining when this festival or celebration actually takes place. It is said that Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan which would typically fall in the month of March or April according to the Gregorian calendar. The actual date of this celebration changes depending on what type of Jewish calendar you use and which Judaism sect you belong to, for example the Karaite Jews and the Samaritans use different types of Jewish calendars. These calendars are typically out of sync with modern Jewish calendars by a day or two. Now using two different calendars that show differing times for when this Festival is supposed to start could be a big problem. These differing dates could lead to conflict by the different Sects of Judaism, because they may feel that another sect is not properly honoring the lord and celebrating the festival properly being that they differ on the date that Passover actually takes place. Passover marks the beginning of the Festival of Unleavened Bread, the origins of this festival can be found in the Hebrew Bible where the Commandment to keep Passover is handed down in the book of Leviticus. Leviticus 23:5 states “In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month between the two evenings is the Lord's Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the feast of unleavened bread unto the Lord; seven days ye shall eat unleavened bread. In the first day ye shall have a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work. And ye shall bring an offering made by fire unto the Lord seven days; in the seventh day is a holy convocation; ye shall do no manner of servile work.” The Bible states in the book of Exodus God brought about “Ten plagues” to convince the Egyptian pharaoh to free the Israelis people. The final plague that God sent down on the Egyptian people was the most severe. God sent down his spirit and struck down the first born son of all the Egyptian people. God handed down instructions to the Israeli people that they were to mark the doorpost of their house with the blood of a lamb so that the spirit of the lord would know to Passover their homes and spare their first born sons. After this plague was sent the Pharaoh immediately released the Israelis people, the Israeli people left with in such a hurry that they did not even wait for the bread they took to rise. Therefor during this time of celebration the Jewish people do not eat bread that is leavened There are several traditions that are practiced by both traditional and non-traditional Jewish families besides the eating of only non-leaven breads. One of these religious practices is the “fast of the firstborn”. On the morning of the Passover seder the firstborn sons in traditional Jewish families are made observe the “fast of the Firstborn to honor the lord for sparing the Hebrews firstborn sons. This fast typically last all day until the Passover seder, The Passover seder is another religious practice that celebrates this festival. In tradition of the Passover seder it is custom for Jewish families to gather for a dinner where the Haggadah is used to retell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. During the Passover seder there are 15 parts to this religious practice, these practices are made to parallel the 15 steps that were taken in the Temple of Jerusalem where the Levites stood during the temple service that are known as the Shir HaMa’a lot found in Pslams 120-134. There are several elements that make Passover a holy day for the Jewish people. Despite the differences that may arise between the different Sects of Judaism they all realize that this is a time of religious tradition that is meant to honor the lord, remember the Hebrew people that have come before them. To me that is what really makes this a holy day, despite the differences and differing points about the finer details on when Passover actually begins the differing sects of Judaism still celebrate this day in their own ways.

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