Passover

Passover 2021 Concludes This Weekend

Passover, the Jewish holiday that commemorates the Biblical story of the Jews escaping captivity in Egypt, started last Saturday, March 27th, and will end this Sunday, April 4th. Passover begins with a Seder dinner which includes specific dishes that help recall parts of the story, readings, questions, and songs. According to chabad.org, dipping a vegetable (often parsley or celery) not only engages children in asking about the custom, but also recalls the salty tears Jews shed during their captivity.  Matzo, a type of flatbread without leavening, recalls the haste with which the Jews departed Egypt.  This Friday, April 2d, Jews will celebrate Shvi’i Shel Pesach, recalling the story of the parting of the Red Sea to allow the Jews to cross unharmed while their Egypian pursuers drowned when the waters closed up behind Moses and his people.

 

This commemoration has a personal meaning as well. According to Rabbi Akiva Weingarten at migwan.ch, “Egypt and slavery represent the enslavement we all have to our negative thoughts and behaviours; Pharaoh represents the evil power that controls our minds and keeps us enslaved. And that is the state of mind we fall into through bad choices or bad circumstances of life, we didn’t choose it, we of course want to be able to do the right thing, but we become slaves of our own actions which in an endless cycle doesn’t allow us to get out of that situation.”

 

The final day of Passover looks ahead to the coming of Moshiach, the Messiah, to usher in an era of peace and redemption (chabad.org).

 

Doug Emhoff, second gentleman of the US (by virtue of being married to Kamala Harris, the US Vice President) hosted a virtual Passover celebration at the White House. Emoff is the first Jewish spouse of a President or Vice President, according to ABC news.  The virtual event drew “at least 34,000 unique viewers on Zoom, with several thousand more watching on YouTube.”