The Holiday Where We Enslave Ourselves to Celebrate Our Freedom from Slavery

Pesach. Passover. Ugh. I guess the best place to start here is with a little bit of explanation. I would imagine that the vast majority of people think of two things when they hear the word “Passover”: 

1. Matzah.
2. Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments.

That’s in no particular order, but let’s be real, Charlton Heston is probably #1.

Anyway, in case you are unfamiliar with the basic gist of the holiday, Passover celebrates when God freed the Jews from slavery in Egypt.  Charlton Heston Moses approaches Pharaoh and demands that he release the Jewish people. When Pharaoh refuses, God unleashes the ten plagues on Egypt, the most horrible of which being the death of the firstborn son. The Jews paint lamb blood on the doorposts of their homes and are “passed over” by this plague. Afterward, Pharaoh allows the Jews to leave, so they grab their unleavened bread and get the heck out of there. Pharaoh, though, has a change of heart, and sends his army after the Jews to bring them back. God performs another miracle and parts the sea so that the Jews can pass, but releases the waters once they are through, crushing the pursuing Egyptian army beneath the waves.

To commemorate this amazing story, the Torah commands that we do a number of things. Do not eat bread with leavening for the entirety of the holiday, which can be either 7 or 8 days, an explanation for which can be found here. Retell the story of the exodus from Egypt. Have a festive meal where you drink at least 4 cups of wine while relating the exodus story. Wow, this sounds great, right?  Continue reading “The Holiday Where We Enslave Ourselves to Celebrate Our Freedom from Slavery”