Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Passover That Beer Mate

This post is for Jess. Rather then just a small reply I decided to write a post since I have some time to kill until my father comes home.

So what is Passover? It's a Jewish holiday that happens aroudndthe time of Easter every year. It spans over 8 days and the date always changed per year because the Jewish calendar follows the Lunar cycle. It is basically a holiday to remember the events that happened in the past around this time thousands of years ago. We spend the first two nights celebrating by having the family gather around the table and we read from a book called the Hagada which is full of stories and information to remember the stories of the past. The story best represented in the movie the Ten Commandments, starring Charleton Heston, is about an astronaut that crash lands on a planet filled with talking Apes and... No wait that's Planet of The Apes. The Ten Commandments is the sory of Moses the then leader of the Jewish People.

As for how the Jews ended up in Egypt, going further back in the bible, Jacob, son of Isaac, son of Abraham, had 12 sons. One of them was his favorite, Joseph, and the others resented him for it. Long story short, they faked his death and sold him off as slave and he ended up in Egypt. After helping the Pharoh of Egypt decipher some crazy dreams he had, Joseph eventually went up the ranks in Egypt. Many years later, Jacob and his sons came to Egypt for the harvest and Joseph came forward revealing he was in fact alive and well. Eventually Jacob and his extended family move to Egypt and all is well.

I think years pass by and Egypt is full of Jews. The nice Pharoh who let them into the country dies and an Evil Pharoh takes over. He makes all the Jews slaves and they have to build pyramids and cities for him. He also puts out a law to kill all the new born children. One woman takes her son and puts him in a basket and then throws it in the river so he can escape death. As the baby boy is floating along, the Evil Pahroh's sister, notices the basket, finds the boy and claims him her son. The boy is raised as royalty in the Pharoh's household and it looked upon well by the Pharoh which makes his own son, Ramses uber jealous.

Somewhere along the line, Moses discovers he's really Jewish and leaves the Pharoh's estate and journeys on his own. He eventually comes across a burning bush and is spoken to by God. I can't remember what happens next but he eventually becomes a messenger of God and in his name goes to Ramses, the new Evil Pharoh since his father dies of old age or something, and asks to let the Jews out of Egypt. Ramses says no and Moses, with God's help does some fancy tricks like turn his staff into a stick. Then he says something about "if you don't do what go says, you guys will be in trouble" and Ramses says something like "Yeah right!"

After this results the ten plagues where all kinds of crazy things happen in Egypt. I can't remember them all but remember some being water turned to blood, locusts, darkness and all the cattle died. The last plaque was the death of all the first born children. Now the holiday gets it's name from the fact that the angel that was to pass over and kill the first born children was told to "pass over" all the houses that had lambs blood smeared on their door frames, to signify they were Jewish homes.

After this the Jews with Moses as their leader and Joshua as second as command (yes I'm in the bible, and I knew everyone then as well, from Ezeikiel to Schlomo...) marched out of Egypt with the Egyptians following behind. The story goes that in their exodus from Egypt, because they were in such a rush, the women didn't have enough time to let the bread rise and they ended up with unleavened Bread which is signified by the Mathias we eat now during the holidays.

On the way, they pass Mount Sinai where Moses climbed up and stayed up there I think for 40 days and was given the 10 commandments by God (hence the name of the movie). He finally comes down and finds all the Jews doing totally non-jewish things like worshipping idols and what not. They broke all the rules before they even existed!

I'm not sure what happened next but I think that's what spawned another Jewish Holiday, Yom Kippur (day of Atonement) which is when we fast for 24 hours, but that's a story for another time.

I'm sure half the stuff I said was wrong but I hope that helps answer Jess' question. Anyone, please feel free to correct all my mistakes...


Billy Ruffian said...

Yeah, well the real fun begins on T'isha B'hav.

Lady Jesslyn said...

Thanks josh, very well explained. Funnily enough i watched the ten commandments on tv last night. So i am now enlightened about the ways of passover.