• Pesach •
Pronunciation: pay-sahk • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, proper
Meaning: Passover, Jewish holidays beginning on the 13th of Nissan and continuing for eight days, began last evening. This year it runs from sundown April 20 to sundown April 28 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 Israelites crossing the desert. Children recite passages and answer questions to show that they have learned the significance of Pesach, which they will pass on to their children.
In Play: The Haggadah is the story of the Exodus from Egypt, which everyone at the Seder table reads. 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 gospel 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". Pasha "Passover, Easter" is the Aramaic variant of the same Semitic root. These words are the origin of the term for "Easter" in most European languages: French Pâques, Spanish Pascua, Portuguese Páscoa, Italian Pasqua, Swedish Påsk, and Russian Paskha. Those of us here at alphaDictionary hope the homes of all our Jewish friends are filled with peace and love during this Pesach season.