Passover (Jewish Holiday)


What Does Passover Symbolize?

The Passover narrative can be found in Chapter 12 of the Book of Exodus. I have taken part in my fair share of Passover Seders in 22 years (I have Jewish god-parents). Passover Seders are full of symbols that come directly from the text of the Exodus.

•    Karpas- some kind of vegetable dipped into salt water. The salt water is symbolic of the tears of the Israelite slaves when they were in Egypt.
•    Yachatz- breaking of the Matzah. Recalls God splitting the Red Sea.
•    Maggid- the question is asked: Why is this night different from all other nights? The haggadah (the story of the Exodus) is told.
•    Tzafun- no more hiding. The Matzah (afikoman) that was hidden earlier that night is found by a child. It symbolizes thee Paschal lamb that was eaten at the end of the meal.

Myths tell us who we are and the haggadah does that. It tells the people who they are and most importantly it answers the question of why the night of the Seder is different than all other nights. The Passover Seder is symbolic of the Israelites leaving Egypt. It is also for many Jews, a continuation of the creation narrative found in the book of Genesis, at the end of the Seder everyone says, “Leshanah haba’ah bee-rushalayim” which translates into “Next year in Jerusalem.”

Jerusalem was the land that was promised to the Israelites by the promises that God made to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The Seder, the haggadah, are reminders that God always hears the cry of his people, his Israel.  The people are reminded of what God told Moses at Mount Horeb, not only Moses’ task, but the words of the Lord concerning who the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob was, is, and always will be “I am who I am…This is my name forever, and this is my title for all generations.”

Any religious beliefs stated above we done so to discuss the symbolism and were in no way meant to offend anyone nor do they necessarily express the beliefs of the writer or of this website.


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