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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture Class- Holidays in Israel Series at HebrewPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring the traditions behind Israeli holidays and observances. I’m Eric, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 2. Passover
One of the most important holidays in Judaism is Passover or פסח (pesaħ) in Hebrew, which is also known as the "Festival of Freedom" or חג החירות (ħag ha-ħerut), because it commemorates the liberation of Israel from slavery in Egypt. Passover is celebrated for seven days in the spring. According to the Hebrew calendar, it starts on the fifteenth of Nissan. In 2015, it started on April 3rd, and in 2016, it will start on April 22.
Now, before we get into more detail, I've got a question for you-
At the evening meal people pour glasses of wine for each of the guests—plus one extra glass. Do you know who that glass of wine is for?
If you don't already know, keep listening! The answer will be revealed at the end of this lesson!
When the Israelites left Egypt, or מצרים (mitz’rayim) in Hebrew, they were very quick to flee. The prepared dough did not have enough time to rise, so instead of bread they baked matza. Therefore, during Passover it is customary to eat matza and it is forbidden to eat ħametz—any food with grain flour mixed with water and leavened. Before the holiday, many Jewish people clean their homes of any remnant of ħametz, and observant Jews even burn their ħametz in a special ceremony.
On the first night of the holiday, a gala feast is held, to which family members near and far are invited, and even strangers—so no one would be alone on the eve of the holiday. This evening and the entire night is called ליל הסדר (leil ha-seder) which means "the Eve of the Seder." Each community observes slightly different customs, but one thing is for sure–on this evening, sitting around the table, they all tell the story of the exodus from Egypt, or in Hebrew יציאת מצרים (yetzi’at mitzrayim), singing hymns and reading a book called the Passover Haggadah. The Haggadah is a collection of prayers, stories, songs, and blessings associated with the holiday.
The Haggadah also determines the order of the festive meal that consists of foods with symbolic meaning. On the center of the table is a special plate on which some of these foods are arranged. For example, maror—bitter vegetable that symbolize the difficulties of slavery; matza—unleavened bread, like that eaten by the children of Israel; and Ħaroset—a fruit puree whose appearance reminds us of mortar, the building material prepared by Israelite slaves in Egypt.
So that the children will remain awake throughout the Seder, people hide a piece of matza, called Affikoman, and the children search for it throughout the evening. Whoever finds it can request a gift.
Now it's time to answer our quiz question-
Do you know who the extra glass of wine at dinner is for?
People pour an extra glass of wine for the Prophet, Elijah, or אליהו (eliyahu) in Hebrew, who, according to tradition, visits each Jewish home at the Seder where he is invisible and can see but not be seen. The kids anticipate this moment all evening, and hope to catch a glimpse of Elijah drinking from the cup.
How was this lesson? Did you learn something interesting?
Does your culture have a holiday dedicated to freedom?
Leave a comment letting us know at HebrewPod101.com, and we'll see you in the next lesson!

9 Comments

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😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Does your culture have a holiday dedicated to freedom?

HebrewPod101.com
Tuesday at 03:51 AM
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Hi Glauco,


Thanks for the feedback!


Your comment is טובה מאד as well 😄😉


Keep up the good work!

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com

Glauco
Sunday at 11:18 AM
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טוב מאד

HebrewPod101.com
Saturday at 06:17 PM
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Hi Everyone,


Thanks for commenting and for sharing your thoughts and feedback!


We're happy you like this lesson! 😄


We hope you will enjoy learning Hebrew with us 😄 Please feel free to comment and post your thoughts and questions - we'll do our best to assist! 👍


Yours,

Roi

Team HebrewPod101.com


Ihta
Saturday at 04:37 AM
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O k it looks as a great celebration

AK
Saturday at 02:57 PM
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😄

Rebecca
Saturday at 02:31 AM
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👍this was great, toda


Cindy Yourison
Friday at 07:05 AM
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This was great—I’ve never heard the full set of traditions behind Passover before. Thanks.

simion bett
Friday at 02:50 AM
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Leave a comment... Passover celebration for seven days, wonderful.(pesa)