The Festival of Unleavened Bread
"Guard the month of Abib, and perform the Passover to יהוה your Elohim, for in the month of Abib יהוה your Elohim brought you out of Mitsrayim by night." (Deb/Deut. 16:1)
"And this day shall become to you a remembrance. And you shall observe it as a festival to יהוה throughout your generations – observe it as a festival, an everlasting law." (Shem/Ex. 12:14)
begins 4/4/23 at sundown
FESTIVAL OF UNLEAVENED BREAD (Chag HaMatzot)
begins 4/5/23 at sundown and
continues until 4/12/23 at sundown
*The first day and the seventh days are Sabbaths.
Search for the chametz on Tue. night (4/4),
and then get rid of it/burn it by Wed. afternoon (4/5).
Passover is called the Time of our Freedom (Zman Cheruteinu). We observe it every year to remember the Exodus, the redemption from slavery.
YAHUAH Elohim, the Most High, showed His might and His power and His incredible compassion when He heard the cries of His people in Mitsrayim (Egypt) and set them free from slavery.
Through ten plagues, Mitsrayim was judged and punished for its cruelty to YAH's people. The last plague was the plague of death to the firstborn of each household. The Hebrew households were spared when they obeyed YAHUAH's instructions to place the blood of a lamb on their lintels and doorposts. When YAHUAH saw the blood, He would "pass over" that house and not allow the destroyer to enter.
The tenth plague was the last straw, and Pharaoh finally let the Hebrews go free.
The redemption from slavery came quickly - so quickly that they did not have time for their dough to rise. They baked their unleavened bread in haste and left slavery for good. This is why it's called the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
Read Shemoth/Exodus 12 for the full account of this great deliverance.
"In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month,
between the evenings, is the Passover to יהוה.
And on the fifteenth day of this month
is the Festival of Unleavened Bread to יהוה –
seven days you eat unleavened bread.
On the first day you have a set-apart gathering,
you do no servile work.
And you shall bring an offering made by fire
to יהוה for seven days.
On the seventh day is a set-apart gathering,
you do no servile work.”
Passover is on the 14th of Abib (aka Nissan) and the Festival of Unleavened Bread is a seven-day festival from the 15th of Abib to the 21st.
To find these dates, you have to use a Hebrew (Jewish) calendar which you can find in any Judaica shop or online. Passover always occurs in the spring of the year and usually falls between March and April. Find this year's dates here.
Passover (Pesach) is actually only one day, the 14th of Abib. What is normally called "Passover" is actually the Festival of Unleavened Bread (Chag Hamatzot). We observe Passover (the 14th) as the day to prepare for the Festival of Unleavened Bread which then lasts for the following seven days (15th-21st). To simplify, we will use the word "Passover" to refer to both Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread.
* The first and the seventh days of the festival (15th & 21st) are Sabbaths. We rest and do not work.
The "main event" of the Passover observance is the Seder, the Passover meal. It is held on the first night of the festival (the evening of the 15th of Abib/Nissan).
Usually, the seder takes place at home with family and friends. However, many congregations choose to celebrate together and have a communal seder with all congregants and guests observing together.
We have observed it both ways and find both to be equally significant and enjoyable.
Simple answer: Because YAHUAH said so.
YAH commanded us to keep Passover throughout our generations - an everlasting law (Ex. 12:4). It is a witness to each and every generation, teaching us of His great deliverance so His people never forget Who He is or what He did. It's an annual reminder that YAHUAH can and does save His people from any and all forms of oppression when we look to Him for salvation.
Traditionally, Passover is open to any and all.
However, at Family of Messiah, we feel the Passover is for those who have come out or are coming out of Mitsrayim (Egypt). In today's terms, that means those who have come out of false worship and have returned to the true, set-apart Hebrew belief. Since Passover is a remembrance for those who have come out of Mitsrayim, it will be difficult for those who haven't yet come out to observe it properly. For more information about what this means, contact us.
“And now, come, I am sending you to Pharaoh, to bring My people, the children of Yisra’el,
out of Mitsrayim.” (Shem/Ex. 3:10)
"Do not eat that which is leavened – in all your dwellings you are to eat unleavened bread.” (Shem/Ex. 12:20)
For the Festival of Unleavened Bread, YAHUAH commands us to get rid of the leavened bread (chametz) and eat unleavened bread (matzah) for seven days.
WHAT IS CHAMETZ?
Chametz is anything made of grain that has had time to ferment and rise. Basically, if it has wheat (or rye, barley, oat, or spelt) and doesn't say "Kosher for Passover" -- then toss it! Bread, cake, cookies, cereal, waffles, croutons, crackers, pretzels, etc.
If you have sourdough, then that has to go as well. Sourdough is a "starter" dough. A small piece is always reserved to make the next batch of dough. If you're not sure if you have any, then you probably don't.
WHAT IS MATZAH?
Matzah is any 'bread' made from grain that has NOT had time to rise or ferment.
The easiest way to get matzah: buy it from the store. It's a box of what looks like large, square (or round) crackers. Your grocery store may or may not carry it. If it doesn't, you can order some online or...
Make your own! Here's a very simple recipe for matzah. The key is to work quickly so the dough does not have time to rise.
To properly observe Passover, we have to both eat unleavened bread (matzah) AND not eat leavened bread (chametz).
One or the other is incomplete. If we don't eat chametz, that's only half of the obligation. We also have to eat matzah.
If we eat matzah, that's also only half of the obligation. We also have to abstain from chametz.
Eating chametz or even just keeping it in our possession is violating the commandment (Ex. 12:15). If we don't eat matzah, we are also violating the commandment.
BITTER HERBS & LAMB
"And they shall eat the flesh on that night, roasted in fire – with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat it." (Shem/Ex. 12:8)
We are also commanded to observe Passover with roasted lamb (the Pesach) and bitter herbs (maror). The lamb reminds us of the lamb's blood that spared the Hebrew households from death and also the Pesach offering that was made every year at the Set-Apart Place.
The bitter herbs remind us of the bitterness of slavery and oppression that our ancestors faced. The bitterness makes deliverance that much sweeter.
We obey YAHUAH's command by eating matzah, maror, and roasted lamb at the seder.
Seder means "order." It is the special dinner held on the first night of the festival. The seder was created to help us make sure we cover all the bases. It guides us through remembering the Exodus and in fulfilling the commands to eat matzah, bitter herbs, and roasted lamb. The seder is outlined in a book called the Haggadah (which means 'telling').
We have compiled our own Haggadah outlining a seder that is simple, easy to follow, and covers all the essentials - remembering the Exodus and eating matzah, bitter herbs, and roasted lamb.
For the rest of the Festival, continue to eat matzah and abstain from chametz.
Celebrate the Season of our Freedom!
Passover Prep Checklist
Set-Apart Passover Haggadah
Guide for the Seder on the first night of Pesach.
Note: This is not a traditional Haggadah. It has been condensed and adapted to fit our congregation and our set-apart belief.
* The haggadot below were created for the orthodox Jewish community, so you will have to change a few words as you go to make it a set-apart haggadah.
A very simple 2-page Haggadah that covers the essential parts in a very short amount of time.
Download & print 10-Minute Seder free from here.
A simple seder that covers all the parts of a traditional Haggadah but in a shorter, easier format. A little more detailed than the 10-minute seder.
Traditional Orthodox Haggadah:
Purchase any Haggadah online or print one free here.