Passover and Lamb Essay

Submitted By anamthesk
Words: 2040
Pages: 9

Introduction - Passover is a Jewish holiday commemorating the Exodus from Egypt as well as marking the beginning of the harvest season. Passover takes place annually over a weekly period, interestingly the event exceeds up to eight days in diaspora which are countries foreign to Israel. According to traditional Jews, Passover begins on ‘Erev Pesach’ defined as just before sundown, on the 14th day of the Jewish month of Nissan which corresponds to 3rd of April in 2015 depending on the lunar cycle. The concept of Erev Pesach may be confusing as Passover is generally dated as Nissan 15 on the Jewish calendar, however it must be taken into consideration that the Jewish day takes place shortly after sundown uptill the early hours of sunrise. Traditionally Passover is dedicated to the Synagogue to perform the ‘Zman shechitat Korban Pesach’, in context this means the time of the slaughter of the Passover lambs. The term slaughter in this context is positive as ‘Korban’ in Hebrew and Arabic is sacrifice; therefore slaughter of the lamb is taking place in the sense of sacrifice for the Lord. In modern days, typically referring to more conservative and reformed Jews they are unlikely to indulge in the sacrificing of the lamb but are more involved in celebrating the festival around the dinner table, cooking the sacred meal of Lamb and bread according to kosher rules, followed by the recounting of the stories of Moses. Passover is derived from the tenth plague put upon the Israelites and was the source of their victory to be passed over their land under the command of Moses.
Origin - According to some scholars the ancient origins of Passover have been attributed religious meaning which apparently began as a countryside ritual to ward off evil. It was carried out by nomadic Israelites which consisted of sacrificing a lamb to begin the harvest season in order to earn divine protection over their flocks and families. The spring harvest yielded multiplying amounts of barley which was the first crop to be ready for harvesting to make bread. Spring was a critical time of the year for lambing and harvesting barley. Merging the most prominent livestock and crop of the harvest season together it resulted as the sacred meal of lamb and bread which is symbolic for the Jewish festival of Pesach. Such event with historical and agricultural meaning was attributed religious meaning when the tenth plague of Death of the Firstborn was inflicted over the Hebrews on the midnight of the fourteenth to the fifteenth of Nissan. The Israelites overcame such calamity by marking their doors with lamb’s blood and erasing all traces of unleavened bread as commanded by the Lord revealed by Moses, as stated in the Exodus, “About midnight I will go throughout Egypt. Every firstborn in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. There will be loud wailing throughout Egypt—worse than there has ever been or ever will be again." Exodus Chapter 11 verse 4-6. The liberation of the Israelites following the freedom from slavery was commemorated in the book Songs of Songs, “For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone, the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing bird is come, and the voice of the turtle (dove) is heard in OUR land.” Exodus Chapter 2 verse 11-12. The simultaneous occurrence of the harvest season and Israelite freedom is combined to celebrate the Jewish biblical festival of Pesach, with spring and the sacred meal of lamb and bread being a symbolic representation of being passed over their land of Egypt by God under the leadership of Moses.
Development - Overtime the customs of Passover have begun to be celebrated differently with significant variations among orthodox, conservative and reformed Jews. Orthodox Jews tend to re-enact the time of the tenth plague by sacrificing a lamb as done by the…