PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — Starting Friday night, Jewish people begin their first of eight days of Passover.
The holiday celebrates when the Jewish people escaped from slavery in Egypt.
“Passover is the most celebrated Jewish holiday of Jews around the world. Even more than Yom Kippur, of course, and even Hannukah,” said Rabbi Eli Langsam, executive director for the Chabad Jewish Center of Peoria.
Jewish people gather to have dinner, discuss the story of Passover, and indulge in tasty foods.
“The Seder, in Hebrew, means order. It is a specific way of having a traditional meal at the start of Passover. So it involves four cups of wine, eating bitter herbs, tasting of saltwater and fresh greens, and recounting the Passover story,” said Executive Director for the Bradley University Hillel Matt Lorch.
But there is one restriction during the holiday: Bread is not allowed.
Langsam said, “One cannot eat any type of leaven bread or anything that is leaven: any type of cookie, cakes, anything that has flour or water that rises more than 18 minutes. Therefore, we only eat matzah.”
When the Jewish slaves of Egypt were fleeing, they did not have time for their bread to rise. The Jewish people commemorate that time by getting rid of any and all bread in the home and eat matzah instead, an unleavened flatbread.
To celebrate, they also remember the time in Egypt by eating bitter herbs, to resemble the harsh times the Jewish people went through.
The children also ask four questions, to discover why Passover is different from any other night.
Rabbi Langsam said that it’s the message of Passover that’s most important. “People feel they’re so stuck in their own ways, that they can’t move on. Comes the holiday of Passover and it tells us every person can get out of their Egypt, get out of their limitations and boundaries. The Jews were enslaved for 210 years and they broke through, they finally got out.”