"Let the people of Israel observe Pesach at its designated time." (Numbers 9:2)

Pesach 5777

“For Adonai will pass through to kill the Egyptians; but when He sees the blood on the top and on the two sides, Adonai will pass over the door and will not allow the Slaughterer to enter your houses and kill you.” (Exodus 12:23)

Pesach is the first of three independent feasts celebrated for eight days collectively in the spring at the beginning of the year on the Hebrew calendar, as given to Moses on Mount Sinai.

In Leviticus 23:5, the first feast of the year begins with Pesach (Passover) “on the fourteenth day of the first month” (Nisan 14). The Seder meal is celebrated this night. During the Seder meal, the four cups of wine, according to the Midrash, allude to Pharaoh’s “cup of wine” in Genesis 40:11-13 a sign of the future liberation of the Israelites. Each cup of wine during the Seder symbolizes a promise made by God in Exodus 6:6-8: “Therefore, say to the people of Israel: ‘I am Adonai. I will free you from the forced labor of the Egyptians, rescue you from their oppression, and redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as my people, and I will be your God. Then you will know that I am Adonai your God, who freed you from the forced labor of the Egyptians. I will bring you into the land, which I swore to give to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—I will give it to you as your inheritance. I am Adonai.”

In Leviticus 23:6, the second feast begins the very next night, “on the fifteenth day of the same month” (Nisan 15) the feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot). Only unleavened bread is consumed for seven days, reflecting the Israelites’ sudden departure from Egypt, which left no time to properly prepare bread.

In Leviticus 23:11, the third feast, Reshi Katzir (First Fruits) begins the day following Chag HaMatzot on Nisan 16. This is a harvest feast where the Jewish people wave sheaf offerings before the Lord and concludes when the kohanim wave sheaf offerings before the LORD on the day after the Sabbath (Nisan 20). Nisan 16 is also the day the “counting the Omer” begins which will take us to the fourth yearly sacred feast, Shavu’ot (Pentecost).

“This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORD–a lasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14) Chag Kasher v’Same’ach, Have a happy and kosher holiday!

#ChagSamaech #ChagHaMatzot #ReshiKatzir #LoveIsrael

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