Contact Us

Exploring Passover

Exploring Passover

 Email

"Has such a great thing ever been," proclaimed Moses forty years later, "or has the like of it ever been heard? ... Has G‑d ever endeavored to come and take for Himself a nation from the womb of a nation, amidst trials, signs, wonders and battles... as G‑d has done for you in Egypt before your eyes?" (Deuteronomy 4:32-34)

A nation from the womb of a nation. On the 15th of Nissan in the year 2448 from creation (1313 bce), a new entity, the People of Israel, was born, delivered by G‑d "from slavery into freedom, from darkness into a great light, from bondage into redemption." Seven days later, our rescue from Egypt was complete when the sea split to allow us passage and drowned Pharaoh's armies in its waters.

The eight-day festival of Passover, which straddles these two events, is our annual appointment in time to access the freedom of the Exodus, the faith that made it possible, and the nationhood we thereby gained.

What is freedom and how is it achieved? What is "faith" and how does it contrast/complement the rational and experiential aspects of our lives? What makes a "people", and why should we need and/or desire to belong to one?

How do the various Passover observances — the Passover offering, the prohibition against chametz (leaven), the three matzahs and the four cups of wine, etc. — access and facilitate our faith, freedom and identity as individual Jews and members of the community of Israel?

These are the issues explored in the twenty six articles and essays, based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, presented below. We have also linked to several popular Passover stories and articles which have appeared in our magazine over the years.

on freedom

The Fifth Question
Why Passover is the "festival of the child"

My Plastic Pharaoh
Musings on the meaning of freedom

The Lady, the Tiger, and Freedom of Choice
If the goal of the Exodus was the covenant at Sinai with its multitude of restrictions on human life, why is Passover "the festival of freedom"?

Is Judaism a Theocracy?
More on the apparent contradiction between the quest for freedom and submission to authority

The Pilfering of Infinity
In the deepest recesses of the soul, liberty is a form of slavery and servitude is the ultimate freedom

the Exodus

The Wildest Story Ever Told
On the uniqueness of the Exodus amongst all other nation-forming mythologies 

Midnight
Why the Exodus had to occur precisely at midnight; on chosenness and deservedness

the Passover offering

Hillel's Paradox
To be or to belong? The role of the Passover offering in our birth as a people and the ever-present dichotomy between individual and communal identity

Burning Night
The spiritual significance of "roasting by fire"

leaven and matzah

A Speck of Flour
The all-out prohibition against leaven; the custom to eat matzah sheruyah (wetted matzah) on the eighth day of Passover

the seder

Telling Stories
Why there's so much talking at the seder

Bread of Faith
The three matzahs and the four cups of wine

The Vegetarian Era
The three staples of the seder — the Passover offering, matzah and maror — in the Jew's approach to materiality

There, Here, and Nowhere
Some thoughts on the four sons of the Haggadah and their fifth sibling

the latter days of Passover

The Exodus, Part II
Why is Pharaoh still chasing after the people of Israel seven days after the Exodus?

Murky Depths
The "Splitting of the Sea" on the cosmic level, and in the soul of man

The Muddy Path
More on the spiritual significance of the Splitting of the Sea

The Four Factions
At the shore of the Red Sea stood the Isolationist Jew, the Submissive Jew, the Fighting Jew, and the Spiritualist Jew. And then was born the Moving Jew

Miriam's Song
The womanly strain in the Song at the Sea

The Third Seder
The connection between the eighth day of Passover and the messianic redemption


Passover stories

The Three Visits of Elijah the Prophet

A Tale of Four Matzah Boxes

The Extra Matzah

Shemurah

My Pesach Story

Freedom

© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
 Email
Start a Discussion
1000 characters remaining
Related Topics