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Postby Dr. Goodword » Fri Apr 14, 2006 10:27 pm

• Pesach •

Pronunciation: pe-sahk • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: Passover, a Jewish holiday beginning on the 15th of Nisan at sundown and continuing for eight days, April 12-20 in 2006 by the Gregorian Calendar. It commemorates the Exodus of the Hebrews from Egypt.

Notes: The highlight of the celebration of Pesach is the Seder, a special supper held on the first night or the first two nights of Pesach. All of the food has meaning: only unleavened matzo (flat bread) is eaten and green vegetables are dipped in a vinegar or salty water to symbolize the suffering of the Jews crossing the desert. Children recite passages and answer questions to show that they have learned the significance of Pesach that they will pass on to their children.

In Play: The Haggadah, the story of the Exodus from which everyone at the table reads, plays a central role at the Seder. The story of the Exodus is told four ways, each emphasizing a different aspect of the Exodus and its importance for the Jewish people. According to the synoptic gospels, the books of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Last Supper that Jesus attended was a traditional Seder. The Book of John places it the day before the Seder, on the day of the slaughter of the sacrificial lamb.

Word History: Today's Good Word is the Hebrew pesaH "Passover" from the verb pasaH "to pass over". (What else?) Pasch "Passover, Easter" is the Aramaic variant of the same Semitic root. It is the origin of the word for Easter in most European languages: French Pâques, Spanish Pascua, Portuguese Páscoa, Italian Pasqua, Swedish Påsk, and Russian Paskha. Those of us here at The Lexiteria and alphaDictionary hope the homes of all our Jewish friends are filled with peace and love during this Pesach season.
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Postby Brazilian dude » Fri Apr 14, 2006 11:17 pm

Three more for your collection, Doc: Dutch Pasen, Romanian Paşti and Catalan Pasqua.

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Postby Perry » Sat Apr 15, 2006 12:05 am

The word 'Seder' means 'order'. This is an apt name for the Pesach meal, due to manner in which this ceremonial meal is carried out; with the symbolism of the food items and the specific texts, questions and stories that are part of this celebration, and have been since the exodus itself.

'Hagadda' means 'telling' from the verb 'l'hagid'. Again a perfect noun, as the emphasis of the holiday is the telling and retelling of the story, so that all generations can see themselves as being rescued from oppression of Ramses in ancient Egypt.
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Postby tcward » Sat Apr 15, 2006 11:20 pm

Thanks, Perry, for more of the story behind the story, and BD, as usual, for enriching our tapestry of words.

I have to get up at 5:15am (EST) Sunday morning... and here it is 11:08pm. I'm going to regret this come sunrise! ;)


...oops, 'twas pm, not am, when I posted.

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Passover/Easter not the same

Postby kwaldroping » Thu Apr 20, 2006 10:17 am

Just wanted to acknowledge that Pesach and Easter do NOT come from the same Aramaic variance of one word. The word Easter is a variant of the word Ashtera, the name of a false goddess of the pagans, who was a fertility symbol whos symbols are the bunny and the egg. Easter "replaced" Passover when Constantine became a "Christian" and decided that instead of converting the 99%- Pagans to biblical Christianity which at that point in time still celebrated the biblical feasts, he would convert the 1%- the Christians to paganism and just call it Christianity. And kill whoever did otherwise.

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Postby gailr » Thu Apr 20, 2006 8:37 pm

Eostre or Eoster, Ashera, and Astarte fill similar theological roles but have different geographical, cultural and language backgrounds.

Unless you are proposing one original, common language; that always makes for an entertaining and flying-fur-filled discussion on this board and its predecessor! An overview (perhaps more than you wanted to know) can be found here.


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