What is Pesach? A guide to the Jewish Passover holiday

JOHANNESBURG – Pesach or Passover is one of Judaism's most significant and widely observed holiday.

Pesach in 2022 takes place from the evening of 15 April until 23 April.

It is celebrated on the 15th day of the Jewish month Nisan and is the celebration of the Israelites' liberation from slavery in Egypt..

The historically and agriculturally significant holiday spans seven days.

The Pesach story

Pesach's primary observances are related to the exodus from Egypt after 400 years of slavery as told in the biblical book of Exodus.

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The name “Passover” is derived from the Hebrew word Pesach, which refers to the fact that G-d “passed over” the houses of the Jews when he was slaying the firstborn of Egypt during the last of the ten plagues.

Food during Passover

A strict diet is followed by those who practice Judaism during Pesach.

This includes removing leavened products (food that has fermented or risen from the use of yeast) from the home, known as _chametz, _which is anything made from the five major grains such as wheat, barley, rye, oats and spelt and that has not been cooked within 18 minutes.

The removal of matzo signifies the plight of the Hebrews who left Egypt in such haste that they did not have enough time to let their bread rise. The practice also exemplifies the removal of pride and arrogance or "puffiness'' from the soul.

Matzo or matzah, which is a flatbread made from flour and water and cooked very quickly, is consumed instead of bread.

During the first two nights of Passover, families and friends participate in a religious feast called _seder, _which is prepared according to strict regulations.

During the meal, the story of the exodus is read out loud from a special text called the Haggadah, which is Hebrew for "telling".

Note: G-d has been hyphenated in respect of a Jewish rule about honouring the Holy one's name.

Sources:, Jewish virtual library and teen vogue.

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