Passover is a predominantly Jewish holiday and festival. It commemorates the story of the flight for freedom of the Jewish people from the days of Moses.
The story is told at the end of the biblical book of Genesis when Joseph brings his family to Egypt. His family and theirÂ descendantsÂ enjoyed decades of prosperity andÂ freedom. The Hebrews became so numerous that when newÂ PharaohÂ RamsesÂ the Second came to power, he feared that the Hebrews might decide to rise up against the Egyptians. He decided that the best way to avoid this situation was first to enslave them. According to tradition, these Â Hebrews were the ancestors of modern day Judaism and Israel.
The concept of one G-D was given to Moses and the Jewish people. The Jewish people were chosen to promote and protect the teachings and values of this faith and concept. Â Humble servants of the universal creator are expected to follow the values of the Torah in all aspects of their and our lives. Moses was known for his humility. Jews believe that he was the most humble of all people. He was blessed to receive the holy laws due to his kind and gentle spirit. Moses is referred to by the Hebrew word anav or meek. The word signifies complete gentleness and devotion to the one G-D which is the heart of Judaism.
1. Blood - The waters of Egypt were turned to blood.
2. Frogs - Hordes of frogs swarmed the land of Egypt.
3. Gnats or Lice - Masses of gnats or lice invaded Egyptian homes and plagued the Egyptian people.
4. Wild Animals - Wild animals invaded Egyptian homes and lands, causing destruction and wrecking havoc.
5. Pestilence - Egyptian livestock were struck down with disease.
6. Boils - The Egyptian people were plagued by painful boils.
7. Hail - Severe weather destroyed Egyptian crops.
8. Locusts - Locusts swarmed Â Egypt upon and eat any remaining crops and food.
9. Darkness - Darkness covered the land of Egypt for three days.
10. Death of the Firstborn - The firstborn of every Egyptian family were killed.
The tenth plague is where the Jewish holiday ofÂ PassoverÂ derives its name, because while the Angel of Death visited Egypt it "passed over" Hebrew homes, which had been marked with lambs blood on the doorpost.
In the Diaspora, the first two and last two days of Passover are "holiday" days and have significant restrictions similar to Shabbat or Sabbath. Here in Israel, only the first and last days are "holiday" days, which contributes to the fact that we only have one Seder in Israel as opposed to the second night elsewhere.