Quotes for Events - Passover

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Quotes for Passover, which is a day that commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.

Embarrassing moment for President Bush today. He called the pope to wish him a happy Passover.

And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the Lord throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance forever. Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses; for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel. And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation, and in the seventh day there shall be an holy convocation to you; no manner of work shall be done in them, save that which every man must eat, that only may be done by you. And ye shall observe the feast of unleavened bread; for in this very same day have I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt; therefore shall ye observe this day in your generations by an ordinance forever.
Pesach has come to the Ghetto again. The lore-laden words of the Seder are said, And the cup of the Prophet Elijah awaits, But the Angel of Death has intruded, instead.
Among the many meals of the spiritual year, the evening meal of the Passover at which the father of the household gathers together all his family is the meal of meals. It is the only one that from first to last has the character of worship; hence the Seder (Order) is, from first to last, liturgically regulated. From the very start the word "freedom" sheds its light upon it.
Passover dishes are probably the most interesting of any in the Jewish cuisine because of the lack of leaven and the resulting challenge to fine cooks. There are all kinds of torten and almond cakes and puddings, and an infinity of uses for mazzah or matzos: matzo klos, or dumplings, cakes and puddings of the matzo meal. Everything is doubly rich, as if to compensate for the lack of leaven, and clarified goose and chicken fat, and beef drippings, carefully excluding suet, are used most artfully.
The bread of freedom is a hard bread. The contrast between bread and matzo possibly points to the contrast between the lush Nile civilization that the Jews left behind them on the first Passover and the gray rubbled desert in which they came into their identity.
Grandmother Hannah comes to me at Pesach and when I am lighting the sabbath candles. The sweet wine in the cup has her breath. The challah is braided like her long, long hair.
The Jewish day is delineated by a schedule of prayers; the Jewish year is freighted with time-bound obligations--six days to fast, eight days to eat unleavened bread on Passover, eight days to light candles on Hanukkah, seven weeks to "count the omer," enumerating the days between the Israelites' liberation from slavery in Egypt and the giving of the law on Mount Sinai. Counting is a way of noticing and anticipating: it reminds us that a day counts or it doesn't. Counting imputes meaning; we rarely count what we do not value.
Passover remains relevant and contemporary, while at the same time a ritual several thousand years old. The sanction of thousands of years of tradition is retained because the ritual form is retained. The content--at least some of it--is flexible and determined by the participants at specific celebrations. Thus, the holy day is still meaningful to younger generations, because it allows for creative input and participation. It breathes.
Memory insinuated itself into every nook and cranny of the festivities, from the recitation of the Haggadah, a ritualized exercise in collective memory, to the physical appearance of the seder table. Assembled over time and place from a variety of sources--Grandmother's cupboard, Aunt Sadie's basement--the items displayed on the table served as tangible, physical embodiments of family history and collective memory. As much an opportunity for the display of family history as of elegance, the seder fostered a unique aesthetic.
As for the bitter herbs, it may be that they were instituted in order to remind people of the bitterness of the suffering of the Israelites. . . . when I began to give my own Seders with my husband . . . we instituted cutting up a horseradish root into thin slices and giving everyone a taste, to really get the effect of the strength of the herb. To see everyone with tears coursing down their faces, laughing and gasping at the same time, is fun and also makes the point--bitter herbs must be really bitter to experience the suffering at all.
What does spring cleaning and clearing the house of crumbs have to do with freedom and history, anyway? Is it an artificial and self-serving way to attach importance to a housewife's ritual? Is it investing the everyday with spirituality? Do ceremony, excitement, and special food simply serve to lock ritual into a child's mind, securing it for the future? Without the meal and the commotion, the tradition of remembering the Exodus would certainly have died.