Passover: Commemorating the story of the Exodus

14 04 2014

Passover, or Pesach is an important Biblically-derived Jewish festival. The Jewish people celebrate Passover as a commemoration of their liberation over 3,300 years ago by God from slavery in ancient Egypt that was ruled by the Pharaohs, and their freedom as a nation under the leadership of Moses. It commemorates the story of the Exodus as described in the Hebrew Bible especially in the Book of Exodus, in which the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt.

 

Matzo - unleavened bread

Matzo – unleavened bread

When the Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread dough to rise (leaven). In commemoration, for the duration of Passover no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason Passover was called the feast of unleavened bread in the Torah or Old Testament. Thus Matzo (flat unleavened bread) is eaten during Passover and it is a tradition of the holiday.

The water that will be used in the making of Matzo is being collected from springs. Once collected, the water will sit overnight, and will be used the next day for the baking. That water is called “Mayim Shelanu”, water that has slept.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews collect spring water during the sunset for the traditional Jewish rite of "Mayim Shelanu" (water which has "slept") outside Jerusalem, on April 3, 2014. Using this water they prepare matzo for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on sunset of April 14 this year. (Xinhua/Li Rui)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews collect spring water during the sunset for the traditional Jewish rite of “Mayim Shelanu” (water which has “slept”) outside Jerusalem, on April 3, 2014. Using this water they prepare matzo for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on sunset of April 14 this year. (Photo by Li Rui/Xinhua)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather on the site to collect spring water during the sunset for the traditional Jewish rite of "Mayim Shelanu" (water which has "slept") outside Jerusalem, on April 3, 2014. Using this water they prepare matzo for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on sunset of April 14 this year. (Xinhua/Li Rui)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews gather on the site to collect spring water during the sunset for the traditional Jewish rite of “Mayim Shelanu” (water which has “slept”) outside Jerusalem, on April 3, 2014. Using this water they prepare matzo for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on sunset of April 14 this year. (Photo by Li Rui/Xinhua)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews collect spring water during the sunset for the traditional Jewish rite of "Mayim Shelanu" (water which has "slept") outside Jerusalem, on April 3, 2014. Using this water they prepare matzo for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on sunset of April 14 this year. (Xinhua/Li Rui)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews collect spring water during the sunset for the traditional Jewish rite of “Mayim Shelanu” (water which has “slept”) outside Jerusalem, on April 3, 2014. Using this water they prepare matzo for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on sunset of April 14 this year. (Photo by Li Rui/Xinhua)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews collect spring water during the sunset for the traditional Jewish rite of "Mayim Shelanu" (water which has "slept") outside Jerusalem, on April 3, 2014. Using this water they prepare matzo for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on sunset of April 14 this year. (Xinhua/Li Rui)

Ultra-Orthodox Jews collect spring water during the sunset for the traditional Jewish rite of “Mayim Shelanu” (water which has “slept”) outside Jerusalem, on April 3, 2014. Using this water they prepare matzo for the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover, which begins on sunset of April 14 this year. (Photo by Li Rui/Xinhua)

 


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