second night of Passover, also known as Pesach (פסח), a Jewish
holiday lasting seven days that commemorates the exodus and freedom of the
Israelites from Egypt.
Personally it is one of my faviorite Jewish holidays; the first two nights are
big family diners called a seder during which you retell the story of the jews exodus
In my family it is history lesson meets diner theater with relatives and
friends reading parts of the story in different voices, trying to get into
character… and then the evening turns musical as the whole family chimes in to
sing traditional songs that everyone loves. With a mandatory 4 cups of wine – I’ve
never been to a seder that wasn’t fun!
According to the story in Exodus, God pronounced to the
people of Israel enslaved in
Egypt that he would free
them, and "Smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt."
God instructed the Israelites to put a sign of lamb's blood on their door
posts: "and when I see the blood, I will pass over you."
During the seder, a platter called the "Seder
Plate," covered with symbols of Passover, is placed at the center of the
table in view of all. On the plate is a roasted shank bone of a paschal lamb (representing
the offerings at the temple at Jerusalem on Passover), a roasted egg (which
represents the second offerings given at the temple in Jerusalem on Pesach), a green,
leafy vegetable (celery, parsley or lettuce) called "Karpas" (to remind
participants that Passover corresponds with Spring and the harvest), a dish of
chopped fruits, nuts, and wine called "Charoset" (representing
the mortar used by the Jews in bondage), and is a dish of "maror" or
bitter herbs (horse raddish) which represent the bitterness of slavery.