• Ronit Tal Shaltiel

What is Passover?

Updated: Oct 7, 2020

What is a Haggadah?

A Haggadah is a book that’s read during the Seder that tells the story of Passover. The Hebrew word “Haggadah” means “telling,” as its primary purpose is to facilitate the retelling the story of the Exodus from Egypt. It also guides participants through the ritual-rich Seder meal, indicating when and how each rite is performed.

What night is Passover Seder?

The Passover Seder is a feast held on the first night of Passover that marks the beginning of the holiday. Some Jewish diasporas also hold a Seder on the second night of holiday.

What kinds of foods are eaten on Passover?

Passover foods are unique in that, beyond the usual rules of keeping kosher, there are special rules for preparing food that is kosher for Passover. Of course, matzah is a central part of the Seder and of Passover meals throughout the duration of the holiday. Symbolic foods eaten at the Seder are maror (bitter herbs, usually horseradish, a reminder of the bitterness of slavery), saltwater (symbolizing the tears of the slaves), charoset (a sweet paste made of fruit and nuts, symbolizing the mortar the slaves used to build the Egyptian pyramids), zeroah (shank bone, representing the Passover sacrifice), beitzah (hard-boiled egg, symbolic of life and birth associated with the spring season), and karpas (a leafy green vegetable, usually a piece of lettuce, symbolizing hope and redemption). It is required to drink four cups of wine throughout the Seder.

Some traditional Ashkenazi Passover dishes include gefilte fish, matzah ball soup, brisket, and kosher-for-Passover kugels, and tzimmis (sweet carrot and fruit dish), and macaroons and sponge cake (made from matzah meal) for dessert. A popular breakfast food during the holiday is matzah brie(matzah soaked in water, dipped in egg, and fried).

Sephardic Jews have different kosher rules for Passover than Ashkenazi Jews. Sephardic Jews allow legumes (kitniyot), nuts, corn, and rice to be eaten, while Ashkenazi Jews do not.

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