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Passover

Passover

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PASSOVER 
By Hillel ben David (Greg Killian)
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I. Introduction
Pesach, Hebrew for Passover, begins on the 15
th
day of the first month. The festival lasts for seven(eight days in the Diaspora) days, in eretz Israel,and ends on the 21
st
(22
nd
for those in theDiaspora) day of the first month, for those wholive in eretz Israel.On Passover we celebrate the liberation of HaShem’s people from Egyptian slavery and,together with it, the liberation from, and negationof the ancient Egyptian system and way of life, the"abominations of Egypt." Thus we celebrate our  physical liberation together with our spiritualfreedom. Indeed, there cannot be one without theother: there can be no real freedom withoutaccepting the precepts of our Torah guiding our daily life; pure and holy living eventually leads toreal freedom.Strong’s defines Passover, from its first usage inTorah, as:
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 Shemot (Exodus) 12:11
And thus shall yeeat it; [with] your loins girded, your shoeson your feet, and your staff in your hand;and ye shall eat it in haste: it [is] HaShem’s Passover.
+----------------------------------------------+6453 pecach, peh'-sakh; from 6452; a pretermission, i.e. exemption; used onlytech. of the Jewish Passover (the festival or the victim):-Passover (offering).---------------- Dictionary Trace ----------------6452 pacach, paw-sakh'; a prim. root; tohop, i.e. (fig.) skip over (or spare); by impl.to hesitate; also (lit.) to limp, to dance:-halt, become lame, leap, pass over.One of the major festivals in the Torah isPassover. It is a holiday of rejoicing when Jews allover the world recall their deliverance fromslavery in Egypt. The word Passover comes fromthe idea that God passed over the houses of theIsraelites, who had marked their doorposts tosignify that they were children of God. This waythe firstborn sons of Israel were spared when Godsmote the firstborn sons of the Egyptiantaskmasters on the eve of the Exodus. The sons of Israel were thus redeemed from the land of sin,Egypt, and redeemed from Pharaoh to serveHaShem.
The Number Four (4)
As you study the Passover, notice how often thenumber four shows up. The great Kabbalist, theMaharal of Prague, teaches that when something istrue, it is true on every possible plane. It is true philosophically, linguistically, mathematically andspiritually.And so we learn that the number four is thenumber more than any other that encapsulates themessage of exile and redemption, otherwise itwould not be the one used. Keep in mind that our Sages teach us that the Egyptian exile is the prototype for all future exiles (see theredemption study for more on this topic)..We were in exile, estranged from our land andfrom our G-d. Therefore, HaShem, Blessed be He,redeemed us with four:
Shemot (Exodus) 6:6
Wherefore say untothe children of Israel,1.I [am] HaShem, and2.I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and3.I will rid you out of their bondage, and4.I will redeem you with a stretched outarm, and with great judgments:The redemption of Shemot 6:6 is represented bythe four cups of wine.The Midrash Rabbah explains that the four cups of wine correspond to these four stages oredemption. By contrast, the Gemara says:
 Pesachim 117b R.
Hanan said to Raba:This proves that Grace after meals requiresa cup [of wine]. Said he to him: Our Rabbisinstituted four cups as symbolizing freedom:let us perform a religious act with each.
The Gemara indicates that the number four expresses freedom, and connects each cup to a particular mitzva of the seder night: the first cup isthat of Kiddush; over the second cup we recite thehaggadah; the third cup is that of birkhat Hamazon(Grace after the Meal); and over the fourth cup werecite hallel.4 cups of wine.The four questions reflect, that our redemption, if we are to be redeemed, must come about when weleave exile and leave estrangement from HaShem.The question of the wise son reflects that we areonly truly free when we stop serving the worldand start serving HaShem:- If we are free, why do we still eat matza -- "the bread of affliction"?- If we want to recall the bitterness of servitude byeating bitter herbs, why do we recline like royalty?
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- Why do we dip our food luxuriously in whatrepresents our tears?4 questions.This exile and estrangement from HaShemembitters the wicked son. He wants to retreat back into the comforting complacency of spiritual exile.It mystifies the son who no longer believes inanswers. We must use the empathy andcompassion that a mother would have for her childto free him enough to listen.But the same paradox frees the simple son toredefine what the experience means to him.The freest of all is the wise son. Once the door isopen, he asks the most honest question of all"How shall I serve the God who has made mefree?"4 sons.The nation of Israel became full and completeupon the fulfillment of the fourth utterance of redemption, the fourth and final stage in their development.Celebrated on the 10 + 4
th
day of Nisan.The women came to His Majesty’s empty graveon the fourth day of Passover.The Jews came out of Mitzrayim (Egypt) after 4 x100 years:
 Bereshit (Genesis) 15:13
And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land [that is] not theirs,and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
The Jews came out of Mitzrayim in the 4
th
generation:
 Bereshit (Genesis) 15:13
But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites [is] not yet full.
We may eat chametz on Erev Pesach only until theend of the fourth hour ("zemanis"), i.e., onlywithin the first third of the day.The festival of Passover is given four differentnames in either the Bible and in the oral Torah:
1.
The Festival of Pesach - Shemot 34:25.
2.
The Festival of Matzoth - Shemot 23:15.
3.
The Time of Freedom and Redemption -(Mishna Pesachim 10:5).
4.
The Festival of Spring - Devarim 16:1."four cups of comfort which HaShem will in thefuture give the Jewish people to drink."In the first chapter of Yechezkel, the number four in various ways, appears fourteen times. As theJews are going into the Babylonian exile, HaSheminforms us that He is going into exile as well.So, as you study Passover, notice how intimatelythe number four is woven into the fabric of thisfeast. Remember:
The number four signals awhole, a fullness, and a completion. It signalsexile, but, it also signals redemption!
Forty (40) is 10 X 4 and is therefore intimatelyassociated with the number four. You will also seethis number showing up repeatedly in the story of our exile and redemption. Some well knownexamples are:Moses was 40 years in Mitzrayim, 40 years inMidian, and 40 years in the wilderness.Moses went up on mount Sinai three differenttimes for 40 days each.The spies spied out the land for 40 days.The Children of Israel were in the wilderness for 40 years.
II. Our Redemption
The primary theme of Passover isREDEMPTION. The Torah indicates that each of 
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