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I'm a non-observant and faith-less Jew trying to celebrate Passover. Can you please explain to me why this night is different from all other nights...in a way that is meaningful to me?
G-dless in the garden state
Dear G-dless in the garden state,
There is a lot in the telling of the Passover story but I will try to give you some thoughts. If you are Jewish you should feel Jewish and enjoy this happy holiday.
Passover is the spring festival observed for eight days by eating Matzah and abstaining from chametz (leavened bread). It recalls for us the Exodus from Egypt and the redemption from bondage. The name is derived from Exodus 12, telling of the "passing over" -- the sparing of the houses of the Israelites when the first-born of Egypt were smitten.
The first two nights are celebrated with the family around the table participating in an elaborate feast called the Seder, in which the story of the Haggadah (story of freedom) is repeated. The eating of bitter herbs (maror) symbolizes the bitterness of the past but the drinking of the four cups of wine represents the Jewish hope and faith, joy in liberation and freedom. Passover is thus to us an annual and eternal symbol of liberty.
Children are anxious to participate in the telling of the story by asking the various questions about sitting, eating the herbs, and why this night is different from all other nights. This gives children food for thought and the head of the table answers all the questions so that the children will always remember that they are Jewish and be happy. They are part of the whole.
Have any more questions? Ask and you shall be answered. That is how we gain knowledge.
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