VIDEO Passover (Pesach) 2018

  • Passover 2018 will be celebrated from March 30- April 7.
  • The first Seder will be on March 30 after nightfall, and the second Seder will be on March 31 after nightfall.
  • Passover is celebrated by eating matzah (unleaven bread) and maror (bitter herbs).
  • For the duration of the 8 (or 7 days in Israel) of Passover, chametz (leaven) is strictly avoided.

What Is Passover?

The eight-day festival of Passover is celebrated in the early spring, from the 15th through the 22nd of the Hebrew month of Nissan, March 30-April 7, 2018. Passover (Pesach) commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. Pesach is observed by avoiding leaven, and highlighted by the Seder meals that include four cups of wine, eating matzah and bitter herbs, and retelling the story of the Exodus.

In Hebrew it is known as Pesach (which means “to pass over”), because G‑d passed over the Jewish homes when killing the Egyptian firstborn on the very first Passover eve.

The Passover Story in a Nutshell

After many decades of slavery to the Egyptian pharaohs, during which time the Israelites were subjected to backbreaking labor and unbearable horrors, G‑d saw the people’s distress and sent Moses to Pharaoh with a message: “Send forth My people, so that they may serve Me.” But despite numerous warnings, Pharaoh refused to heed G‑d’s command. G‑d then sent upon Egypt ten devastating plagues, afflicting them and destroying everything from their livestock to their crops.

At the stroke of midnight of 15 Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 BCE), G‑d visited the last of the ten plagues on the Egyptians, killing all their firstborn. While doing so, G‑d spared the children of Israel, “passing over” their homes—hence the name of the holiday. Pharaoh’s resistance was broken, and he virtually chased his former slaves out of the land. The Israelites left in such a hurry, in fact, that the bread they baked as provisions for the way did not have time to rise. Six hundred thousand adult males, plus many more women and children, left Egypt on that day and began the trek to Mount Sinai and their birth as G‑d’s chosen people.

In ancient times the Passover observance included the sacrifice of the paschal lamb, which was roasted and eaten at the Seder on the first night of the holiday. This was the case until Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed in the 1st century.

Click here for the full Passover story.

Click here to learn why the Passover lamb is no longer brought.

Passover Observances

Passover is divided into two parts:

The first two days and last two days (the latter commemorating the splitting of the Red Sea) are full-fledged holidays. Holiday candles are lit at night, and kiddush and sumptuous holiday meals are enjoyed on both nights and days. We don’t go to work, drive, write, or switch on or off electric devices. We are permitted to cook and to carry outdoors (click herefor the details).

The middle four days are called Chol Hamoed, semi-festive “intermediate days,” when most forms of work are permitted.

No Chametz

To commemorate the unleavened bread that the Israelites ate when they left Egypt, we don’t eat—or even retain in our possession—any chametz from midday of the day before Passover until the conclusion of the holiday. Chametz means leavened grain—any food or drink that contains even a trace of wheat, barley, rye, oats, spelt or their derivatives, and which wasn’t guarded from leavening or fermentation. This includes bread, cake, cookies, cereal, pasta, and most alcoholic beverages. Moreover, almost any processed food or drink can be assumed to be chametz unless certified otherwise.

Ridding our homes of chametz is an intensive process. It involves a full-out spring-cleaning search-and-destroy mission during the weeks before Passover, and culminates with a ceremonial search for chametz on the night before Passover, and then a burning of the chametz ceremony on the morning before the holiday. Chametz that cannot be disposed of can be sold to a non-Jew (and bought back after the holiday).

For more on this topic, see Operation Zero Chametz.

Click here to sell your chametz online.

Matzah

Instead of chametz, we eat matzah—flat unleavened bread. It is a mitzvah to partake of matzah on the two Seder nights (see below for more on this), and during the rest of the holiday it is optional.

Click here for more on matzah.

It is ideal to use handmade shmurah matzah, which has been zealously guarded against moisture from the moment of the harvest. You can purchase shmurah matzah here.

The Seders

The highlight of Passover is the Seder, observed on each of the first two nights of the holiday. The Seder is a fifteen-step family-oriented tradition and ritual-packed feast.

The focal points of the Seder are:

A Passover Message

Passover, celebrating the greatest series of miracles ever experienced in history, is a time to reach above nature to the miraculous. But how are miracles achieved? Let’s take our cue from the matzah. Flat and unflavored, it embodies humility. Through ridding ourselves of inflated egos, we are able to tap into the miraculous well of divine energy we all have within our souls.

More useful links

Watch this inspirational video to get you into the freedom-filled Passover spirit.

 

Watch video here

God’s Timing

And some of them said, “Could not this Man, who opened the eyes of the blind, also have kept this man [Lazarus] from dying?” John 11:37

A young man visited the father of his girlfriend to ask the father’s permission to marry his daughter. To his surprise, the father said “No.” The young man thought it was a formality; the father took it much more seriously. The father explained to the young man that there were character and behavioral issues in the young man’s life that concerned him. If he would agree to work on those issues, they could talk again about marriage.

Timing in life is often a puzzle to us. We ask God for something and we wonder why He doesn’t immediately say “Yes.” Even more puzzling, God is aware of our needs even before we ask (Matthew 6:8), so why doesn’t He just provide what we need without our having to ask? Jesus once initially told a woman whose daughter had an unclean spirit to “Let the children be filled first” (Mark 7:27); He only healed one person out of all the sick at the Pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15); and He waited four days before raising Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).

Delays are only from our perspective. God’s timing and reasons are always perfect (Romans 8:28-29).

God has His hours and His delays.  J. A. Bengel

The High Cost of Sin

Hebrews 10:1-14

Anyone who has read through the book of Leviticus can’t help but notice the emphasis on sacrifices. There were prescribed animals for different kinds of personal and national offerings, as well as for occasions like the Sabbath and feasts. Why did God require this? And why was He so specific about the details of worship?

There were three lessons God was teaching Israel through His law.

• God is holy and separate from sinful man.
• Sin is costly, requiring a payment or sacrifice.
• There is no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.

All the laws, ceremonies, priests, and offerings in the Old Testament were a shadow of the good things to come. None of the animal sacrifices could actually take away sin. While serving as a reminder of sin, those offerings also pointed ahead to the Lamb of God: Jesus Christ came to be the final sacrifice. He gave His life at Calvary, bringing complete forgiveness for all sin.

We who live on this side of the cross may be tempted to think too lightly of our sins because we have never sacrificed an animal or seen blood flowing from the throat of an innocent lamb because of our wrongdoing. Nor did we watch the crucifixion of our Lord as He hung on the cross, bearing God’s judgment for our sins. The only cost we actually see involves the consequences we suffer for our rebellion and disobedience.

As difficult and painful as it may be, let’s seriously consider what our sins cost the Savior. If we allow our hearts to be broken, our worship and gratitude will overflow, and we’ll respond by living a holy life.

Born Again Only by the Word of God

“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.” (1 Peter 1:23)

Our rebirth into the family of God is quite unlike our natural birth. All human birth and, indeed, due to the universal curse placed on all creation (Romans 8:20-22) at the time of Adam’s rebellion (Genesis 3), all plant (1 Peter 1:24) and animal reproduction as well, is “of corruptible seed,” withering and dying.

Our spirits, however, if we have availed ourselves of God’s free offer of eternal life through the death of His dear Son, have been reborn of “incorruptible” seed, not subject to decay or death. The agent that brought about this transformation is the incorruptible “word of the Lord [which] endureth for ever” (v. 25).

This “word” is modified by two descriptors, both of which are emphatic in the Greek. First, it liveth; i.e., it actually possesses life. His sacrificial death yields our eternal life. Note the precious truth: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20). Secondly, the Word of God “abideth” (same word as “endureth” in verse 25) forever. There are two emphases here: One is on the quality of the Word; i.e., it will never change or lose its relevance. The other is on the self-perpetuating nature of the Word. It so consists of life that it is able to give life.

“This is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you” (1 Peter 1:25), by which we are born again to incorruptibility and immortality. “That by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Peter 1:4). JDM

Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given

Matthew 2:1-18

Matthew 2:1-2

They had seen a bright particular star, which tradition connected with the birth of a great king. The wise men missed their way, and went to Jerusalem; the shepherds did not. The wise are often less able to find Jesus than the poor and simple.

Matthew 2:3-6

Thus by means of a cruel enemy the Lord obtained a grand public testimony from all the great teachers of the Jews that Messiah was to be born at Bethlehem, and by this means it was noised abroad that a star had appeared, and strangers had come from far to see the newly-born king of the Jews. Truly, God glorifies his Son even by his foes.

Matthew 2:9-11

True faith is not disappointed at the lowliness of the Saviour. Though the wise men found Jesus in a mean abode, they discerned his majesty, and adored him with offerings suitable to a prophet, priest, and king.

Matthew 2:14, 15

Providence both watched over the safety of the Lord, and enabled Joseph to support the mother and child by the offerings of the eastern sages. In the same manner is the church the peculiar care of heaven in all its persecutions and needs.

Matthew 2:16-18

Thus did our Lord narrowly escape a cruel death. He had poor welcome among men, whom he came to redeem. Angels celebrated his birth with songs, but among men the malice of the wicked greeted him with the blood of infants and the wailings of bereaved mothers. O dear Redeemer, how sorrowfully did thy life for us begin! Alas! how sorrowfully did it end!

 

As with gladness men of old

Did the guiding star behold,

As with joy they hailed its light,

Leading onward, beaming bright,

 

So, most gracious God, may we

Evermore be led by thee!

As with joyful steps they sped

To that lowly manger-bed,

 

There to bend the knee before

Him whom heaven and earth adore,

So may we, with willing feet,

Ever seek thy mercy-seat,

 

Just Let Fear Become Trust

Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear. (Romans 8:15)

What can we do but pray for the throngs of defiant men and women who believe that their humanistic view of life is all-sufficient? They believe that they are responsible “captains” of their own souls.

The sad fact is that even while they are joining in the age-old rejection of Jesus Christ—”We will not have this Man to rule over us”—they still are beset with fears within.

The present competitive world and its selfish society have brought many new fears to the human race. I can sympathize with those troubled beings who lie awake at night worrying about the possible destruction of the race through some evil, misguided use of the world’s store of nuclear weapons. The tragedy is that they have lost all sense of the sovereignty and omnipotence and faithfulness of the living God.

Although the material world has never understood it, our faith is well-placed in the Scriptures! Those who take God’s Word seriously are convinced of an actual heavenly realm as real as this world we inhabit!

 

Lead the Way

“The Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail.” Deut. 28:13

If we obey the Lord, He will compel our adversaries to see that His blessing rests upon us. Though this be a promise of the law, yet it stands good to the people of God; for Jesus has removed the curse, but He has established the blessing.

It is for saints to lead the way among men by holy influence: they are not to be the tail, to be dragged hither and thither by others. We must not yield to the spirit of the age, but compel the age to do homage to Christ. If the Lord be with us, we shall not crave toleration for religion, but we shall seek to seat it on the throne of society. Has not the Lord Jesus made His people priests? Surely they are to teach, and must not be learners from the philosophies of unbelievers. Are we not in Christ made kings to reign upon the earth? How, then, can we be the servants of custom, the slaves of human opinion?

Have you, dear friend, taken up your true position for Jesus? Too many are silent because diffident, if not cowardly. Should we allow the name of the Lord Jesus to be kept in the background? Should our religion drag along as a tail? Should it not rather lead the way and be the ruling force with ourselves and others?

 

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