is a holiday beginning on the 14th of Nisan (first month of the
religious calendar, corresponding to March–April) and
traditionally continuing for eight days, commemorating the exodus of
the Hebrews from Egypt. Every component of the observance,
from the way the food is prepared to the order in which the food is
consumed, has a historic and symbolic meaning. Services are held at the
synagogues and lavish meals are served in elaborately decorated homes.
The name "Passover" comes from God's decision to spare the Jews when
smiting down all the first borns in Egypt after Pharaoh refused to free
the Jews from slavery.
Because Judaism uses a lunar calendar, its festivals do not fall on
regular days according to the Gregorian calendar used by most
the Western world. To compensate for "lost" days and to keep the
calendar in tune with the seasons of nature, Judaism inserts a "leap
month" or a second month of Adar every few years.
2016, Passover begins at
sundown on April
continues until April 30. Holiday
observances begin April 22 and
the first Passover
seder is held that evening,
with the following day being the
first full day of Passover.
The first two days of Passover are no-work-allowed holiday days,
followed by four days of Chol Hamoed, when work is allowed.
Chol Hamoed is followed by another two full holiday days.
One of the most important ritual actions of the Passover festival is
the Seder which takes place on the first night of the seventh
The Seder is a traditional meal and prayer service commemorating the
exodus of Jewish slaves out of Egypt. It follows the story of Moses,
who according to the Old Testament, convinced the Pharaoh to free the
Jews after unleashing ten plagues. In
appearance, the ten plagues are as follows
4. Wild Animals
10. First Born
final plague was the killing
born son. Moses warned the Jews to mark their door with lamb's
blood, the plague would just "pass over" and spare their children.
According to Judaic law, there are certain foods that are not to be
Though there are variations, prohibited foods include the following:
-- leavened bread (bread with yeast or
- anything that rises)
-- cakes, biscuits, crackers
-- cereal and coffees containing cereal
-- wheat, barley, oats, spelt, rye
-- corn, millet
-- legumes (beans and peas; however,
-- all liquids containing ingredients or
made from grain alcohol
Stores in Israel are prohibited by law from selling or even displaying
Hametz (leavened bread) during Passover, according to the Matzot
(Prohibition of Hametz) Law (5746-1986).
Pie (Mina Del Pesach)
Book of New Israeli Food
For the crust (for a 12-inch
1/2 cup olive oil, for brushing
For the filling:
4 tablespoons oil
2-3 onions, chopped finely
3 cloves garlic
1 1/2 ground beef or lamb
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 to 3 tablespoons matzo meal
1 to 2 potatoes, cooked and mashed
1/2 cup pine nuts, roasted
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
3/4 cup chicken stock
matzos in a bowl of cold water for a few seconds,
wrap in a towel and leave for 10-15 minutes until they soften and
Prepare the filling: Fry the onions in the oil until they become
golden. Add the garlic and the meat and continue frying until the meat
Add the spices, remove from the stove, cool slightly and add the eggs,
matzo meal, mashed potatoes, pine nuts and parsley. Mix well.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Assemble the pie. Grease the
dish. Brush the wet
matzos on both sides with a little oil and arrange on the bottom
draping enough over the side to later cover the filling.
Spoon half the meat mixture into the baking dish and flatten. Cover
with a layer of matzos and top with the remaining half of the meat.
Fold the matzo draped over the side of the dish to cover the filling,
brush with oil, place an additional matzo on top and brush that, too,
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven, spoon
the soup over the pie and return to oven for another 5 minutes.
Cook slightly and serve.
Many Jews eat matzo during Passover. A special unleavened bread, matzo
is served to commemorate the hasty departure from Egypt when there was
no time to bake regular leavened bread.
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