PASSOVER IN THE NEWS!Over two and a half thousand years ago, G-d saved the Jewish people and took them out of slavery in Egypt, leading them through the Split Sea and into the land of Israel.
Each year we celebrate our redemption from Egypt by reading the story of Passover out loud during the Passover Seder.
Here’s how it all began…
For a long time, Pharaoh’s advisors had been warning him as to the growing threat of the Jewish nation. His sorcerers had seen in the stars that a Jewish boy would be born who would grow up, overturn the entire Egyptian empire and lead his people to freedom.
“All Jews must work from sunrise to sunset…without pay!” Pharaoh declared. “Children must work as hard as adults. No parents are allowed to spend time with their kids. Egyptians may use a Jewish slave to do whatever they need.” And worst of all: “All Jewish baby boys are to be thrown into the Nile!”
MOSES IS SAVED
A Jewish woman called Yocheved had a baby boy. Desperately trying to save his life, she hid him until he was three months old, then placed him in a basket and sent him floating down the Nile. His sister Miriam watched him, hiding amongst the reeds on the banks of the river. The floating basket was picked up by the Princess of Egypt – Batya – Pharaoh’s own daughter! Discovering the beautiful infant inside, Batya named him Moses and took him to the palace where he grew up in the lap of luxury.
FLEEING FOR HIS LIFE!
Despite the fact that he grew up in the palace, Moses could not bear to see the suffering of the Jewish people. One day, Moses chanced upon an Egyptian taskmaster, savagely whipping a Jewish slave to death. Furious, Moses cried out one of G-d’s Holy Names, and the Egyptian immediately died. Certain that Pharaoh’s officers would be after him, Moses fled to Midian.
THE BURNING BUSH
Moses lived in Midian for a number of years, and was a shepherd for his father-in-law, Yitro. One day, a lamb ran away from the rest of the flock. Moses chased after it and saw a strange sight: a bush covered in fire, yet the bush was not being burnt by the flames! Amazed Moses drew even nearer, and all of a sudden heard the voice of G-d speaking to him.
“Go down to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let My people go!”
THE TEN PLAGUES
Moses and his brother Aaron came before Pharaoh. “Let my people go!” they declared. But Pharaoh just laughed. They threatened Pharaoh with 10 terrible plagues if he did not listen to G-d, but he did not believe them.
Plague after plague soon struck the Egyptians, each one more shocking than the next. Blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, sick animals, boils, hail, locusts, darkness – and the worst plague of all – death of the firstborn.
Finally, Pharaoh had enough. He ran frantically through the streets of Egypt searching for Moses. “Go!” He yelled, “And take all the Jews with you!”
Moses sent word to all the Jews. “The time has come” he told them, “grab your bags and get ready to leave at once. Don’t wait for your bread to rise, just go!”
The Jews left Egypt with sacks on their backs, and faith in their hearts.
FREEDOM AT LAST!
The Jews walked until they reached the sea. And there they stopped. They were trapped! They could see the Egyptian army chasing after them, swords at the ready. Pharaoh had changed his mind. He was chasing after his slaves, trying to recapture them. G-d told Moses to stretch his arm out over the waters, and all at once, the sea split! Miraculously, the Jews were able to walk through on dry land, but as soon as the Egyptians stepped foot in the sea, the walls of water came crashing down on them. The Jews were free!