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April 18th, 2011
09:50 AM ET

Let my people go: Understanding the Passover Seder

CNN.com Religion Editor Dan Gilgoff explains the Jewish festival of Passover, which starts at sundown Monday and commemorates the Israelites' liberation from slavery in Egypt thousands of years ago.

Watch the video above to learn more about the Seder - the meal in which the story of Exodus is told - and the various symbols used during the holiday, including matzo (unleavened bread), bitter herbs, salt water and a lamb shank bone.

We'd like to hear from you: Tell us how you're celebrating Passover this year. Are you doing anything different at your Seder?

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Food • Holidays • Judaism • Moses

soundoff (326 Responses)
  1. Odie'sMama

    @ David Johnson – I can appreciate your input, but be careful not to accept that everything found on Wikipedia is truth. Anyone may contribute there.

    April 19, 2011 at 2:19 pm |
  2. greenj76

    As Jews around the world celebrate Passover, it is a reminder of past history but also of the prophetic significance this Jewish holy day reveals to all who are students of Bible prophecy.

    Thirty-five hundred years ago the Jewish people were released from 400 years of Egyptian bondage by the sacrifice of the lamb and then painting the doorposts of their homes with the lamb's blood so that the Death Angel would pass over their home. God's command to observe the Passover throughout all of their generations forever is still being followed today.

    As you think of the first Passover there in Egypt, one must be reminded that the Jewish Messiah, Jesus Christ, died on Passover 2000 years ago. Interestingly, Jesus was buried on the next Jewish feast day, Unleavened Bread, He resurrected on the Jewish feast of First Fruits, and as He had promised, the Holy Spirit came upon man on Pentecost, the fourth of the Jewish feast days.

    This is evidence of the prophetic significance of these Jewish feasts, but also demands that Jesus Christ fulfill the three remaining feasts as He did the first four. Jesus will come back to earth on the Feast of Trumpets, enter the Temple on the Day of Atonement, and begin His 1000 year Kingdom on the Feast of Tabernacles.

    Jesus Christ, the Jewish Messiah, has been and will be the fulfillment of all Jewish feasts. The observance of the Jewish Passover is indeed evidence that Bible prophecy will be fulfilled.

    April 19, 2011 at 10:51 am |
  3. Doug

    As Christians we are called to love our enemies. Those who call us "foolish", "sheep", and "hopelessly stupid" would probably fall into that category. Those of you who don't believe, I truly hope God will touch your heart and reveal himself to you, for your own sake, and the sake of those who you influence.

    April 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Artist

      Doug, I dont think a mentally ill person can be stupid. With proper treatment they will stopp "seeing and feeling" things that are not actually there. I have hope.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • 11:1

      "I have hope."

      Now faith is the substance of things hoped for 🙂

      April 18, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  4. Karon

    Jesus died during Passover. That is what they don't get... Jesus IS the Passover Lamb.. who died during Passover and that is "why" God insisted they remember... because the TRUE PERFECT LAMB was going to die DURING PASSOVER that sets us all free.

    April 18, 2011 at 6:01 pm |
    • Ed

      this is true for christains but in jewish belief.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
    • Ed

      sorry meant to say its not true in Jewish belief

      April 18, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  5. Andrea

    I am so disappointed that instead of taking this opportunity to honor a rich cultural experience that has brought people and families together for centuries we have chosen to fight with one another. I consider myself a Christian but would like to wish my Jewish brothers and sisters a most enjoyable Passover this evening.

    -All my best
    Drea

    April 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
  6. Karon

    Passover was given to the children of Isreal TO REMEMBER.." something" ... for a reason! God made it a "feast day". So they would always remember. So 'why' did God do that with that lamb and all?.. Well later on was another lamb.. a Perfect Lamb of God(Jesus) came who died during Passover too.....to be the Saviour of us all... and replace the killing of those lambs.
    Thats "why" he wanted them to remember it. That's why he wanted them to always remember it too.. because the Perfect Lamb came and was put on a cross DURING PASSOVER and died so we could all be truely free. Lets tell the whole story shall we?

    April 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Finger Puppet

      Why would he be so mean as to require either lambs or a perfect lamb, and why do so many think they need to keep repeating it again and again. It it gonna "take" one of these days ?

      April 18, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
  7. Dudley041518

    This is an excellent observation and question, d.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  8. Dudley041518

    This is interesting. I made a comment, softly worded with no troubling references. It was 'awaiting moderation.' I changed it by omitting the three-letter word for the almighty starting with G, which I capitalized, and it posted without moderation.

    Strange – a Belief Blog in which the word God cannot be used.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      LMAO.
      Welcome to the CNN Belief Blog.
      Get "Realitry" to send you his partial list of what gets moded off. It will help a little.
      "Moderated" is an oxymoron here. Has nothing to do with moderation, more like "extremation", or some such.

      April 18, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
  9. Dudley041518

    As you believe, so may it be.

    Those of you who do not believe, may you receive precisely what you strive for.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  10. d

    I still don't understand why atheist read the belief section on cnn.com.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  11. Artist

    We have a duty to shed light on the illness called religion...please pass this on:
    .
    Schizophrenia
    .
    Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
    .
    Some of the symptons
    .
    •False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
    .
    •Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)

    April 18, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • Dudley041518

      It is only a delusion, schizophrenia or others if it is not actuality. Imagination and fantasy are encourage in all areas of human existence. Why do you feel differently about belief?

      I await your scientific proof that the almighty does not exist, Artist, as proof is the responsibility of the prosecutor.

      What about World Peace? Is that actual, real or truthful? Should not those who believe in this be given a home in a medical facility for believing in something that can never be?

      April 18, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • Artist

      Dudley041518

      It is only a delusion, schizophrenia or others if it is not actuality. Imagination and fantasy are encourage in all areas of human existence. Why do you feel differently about belief?

      I await your scientific proof that the almighty does not exist, Artist, as proof is the responsibility of the prosecutor.
      -----------–

      Nothing wrong with imagination and fantasy as long as it remains in that spectrum. There is no direct evidence of any god existing through time. There are of course many gods of dead religions and presently active religions. What we do have is assumptions by men/women and writings of men. Faith of a believer of any religion is in man itself. The "lack of" any evidence speaks for itself and I rest my case. The burden is on the believer who is making the claim there is a god. Ball in your court. Do you have anything to offer other than assumptions and writings of men?Also please identify which god you believe in, there are many.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • Artist

      ps can we prove what any skitzo sees or hears is not real? And why not?

      April 18, 2011 at 6:04 pm |
    • Ed

      @Artist
      before the BIg Bang the universe was a great big mass of matter an oblject at rest. According the law of inertia an objct at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. What was the outside force.
      Before the universe was a mass of matter it had to be created according to science matter can ot be created or destryed by ordinary means. What was the extraordinary means the created the matter that became the mass the expaned into the universe?
      God can be considered a philsophical theory-Theories whose subject matter consists not in empirical data, but rather in ideas are in the realm of philosophical theories as contrasted with scientific theories. At least some of the elementary theorems of a philosophical theory are statements whose truth cannot necessarily be scientifically tested through empirical observation.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm |
    • Artist

      Ed

      @Artist
      before the BIg Bang the universe was a great big mass of matter an oblject at rest. According the law of inertia an objct at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. What was the outside force.
      Before the universe was a mass of matter it had to be created according to science matter can ot be created or destryed by ordinary means. What was the extraordinary means the created the matter that became the mass the expaned into the universe?
      God can be considered a philsophical theory-Theories whose subject matter consists not in empirical data, but rather in ideas are in the realm of philosophical theories as contrasted with scientific theories. At least some of the elementary theorems of a philosophical theory are statements whose truth cannot necessarily be scientifically tested through empirical observation.

      -------------

      I understand what you are saying. While I think man has written some interesting fantasy, I have always been open to the idea of us possibly being created not by a god in man's imagination, more like advanced beings. Whatever the truth migh be, it is not in man and a strong chance long forgotten. I used to be a christian but eventually realized my faith was in man. Was this easy, of course not...takes quite a bit to remove fear and programming. As they say, Elvis has left the building. If something did create us, they or it has long left. If mankkind were to start over, what lessons or protections would you create? to protect man from itself, he must remain ignorance of his own abilities...kept like a child. If there is nothing new under the sun then we have been down this road before. Who knows how many times we have repeated this cycle?

      April 18, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Ed

      @Artist
      Good point we may have been down this road before and may have to go down it again. I think God started the process with the Big Bang. I don't think any of the worlds rligions have it completely correct I think christainity is closer than most. I not sure that the God is the same one so many people claim to. I think he is beyond what we know yet. I also think to many people get caught up in the details. If we as a species would follow the basic ideas of all the religions it would improve much. I think the most important teaching of Christ are do on to others as you would have done to you. He wasn't the first to say it or the last but it is good advice. Since you asked if I were to restart man the is the only rule I think I would give, although I certainly hope the next trip has a better starter than me I'm just not qualified. So I'll leave the rule making to God/advanced beings whether its the one christian believe in or not If we followed it it would solve so much. Of course we would likely fail again due to human nature. I beleive man can become so much more than we are and I think this is what ever started the process wants. Hopefully we will get it right in one trip down this road eventually.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Artist

      Ed, thank you. I can respect that and understand where you are coming from.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • airwx

      Your arguement can be classified by 2 words.....non sequiter

      April 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Ed

      Thank you artist

      April 18, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
    • Ed

      @airwx, which one and how so?

      April 18, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • airwx

      Refering to Artisit's original statement. Claiming that religion is an illness and the giving a definition of a mental disorder brings us to the point that "it does not follow". The A then B proposition is disjointed and unsubstatiated.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
    • Artist

      airwx

      Refering to Artisit's original statement. Claiming that religion is an illness and the giving a definition of a mental disorder brings us to the point that "it does not follow". The A then B proposition is disjointed and unsubstatiated.

      ------------------
      I forget people dont know my sense of humor. However, I will entertain your post. I disagree and think people can make the jump in the symptons and how people act and what they say about mythical beings. Unsubstatiated? You bet it is...after all religion is off limits to dare speak against. But it is still interesting to see some of the behaviors of some religious people vs skitzos.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • Ed

      @airwx,
      Fair enough not sure I agree its illlogical but I'll let artist defend it

      April 18, 2011 at 7:14 pm |
    • airwx

      @ Artist...sorry, I didn't take your comment as sarcastic as I have seen the exact same statement used by others. I respect your right to disagree with me, which is why I commented on the form of the post rather than your motivations. I love good debate. That usually takes people with strong opposing veiwpoints who can be respectful to each other.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
    • Ed

      Actually I didn't realize it was meant sarcastically either buts its nice to know you doon't think I'm nuts just wrong.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Artist

      Ed, I do think some could fall into that catagory (extreme nutjobs). Fine line I guess lol. No I do not think you are nuts. HeavenSent...yes she is nuts as he ll. lol

      April 18, 2011 at 7:52 pm |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      @ Ed,
      Sorry, but your Big Bang thingy is totally wrong. Not even ONE scientist has ever proposed a theory that said there was matter before the Big Bang. So your whole rant is full of VERY strange reasoning,and so wrong scientifically that we are all laughing. All scientists who think the Big Bang Theory is correct do NOT believe there was matter or (remember Einstein...E=MC(squared)) energy before the Big Bang. There was no "before" the Big Bang. The dimensions of space-time began at the Big Bang, (thought to be very likely a quantum gravitational fluctuation).

      April 18, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • Varangian

      @Artist
      Just because you don't believe in something doesn't make it false. If I told you that elephants exist but you had never seen one, would you believe in them?

      April 18, 2011 at 10:41 pm |
    • Ed

      yes but which Heavensent there are at least 2 one is out there by Plut I think the other not so much and there may be more than 2

      April 19, 2011 at 8:14 am |
    • Ed

      @Jason
      Even if there was no mater or energy before the big bang something must have casued the big bang. I saw some one else say it was an expansion not a explosion. If thats the case the matter must already have been there. If not then the explosion that created the matter must still have been caused by something. In either case it was soemthing extraordinary and possible intelligent. It also had to have incredible power to cause such a large bang. If it was intelligent and had that much power it could be what we would describe as a God. Maybe not the God christians, jews and muslims believe in but a God none the less.

      April 19, 2011 at 8:20 am |
  12. JDenver

    For my passover, I took the unique opportunity to celebrate by murdering a first born Egyptian child. Really, this is the only year we're likely to have in a long time when getting away with that is really easy, and what better way to celebrate God than by acting as he would.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  13. Edward

    This was wonderful clear and simple to understand. Thanks for an excellent report.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  14. jj

    The video about Passover is not necessary – all people need to do is read the Old Testament.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • TRH

      ...or get a DVD of "The Ten Commandments".

      April 18, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
  15. GAW

    Look out here come all those fundy atheists who cant wait to get everyone irritated by telling us there is no God and that we're stupid if we do. You guys sound like a bunch of street preachers. Try getting a date on Friday so that you can get your minds off your "There is no God" fixation. But take a shower first.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • NO

      right ... atheists can't get a date on a Friday ... and atheists don't shower ... ok buddy, just look at the mirror, and you will see the definition of an idiot ... with your ignorance, you have fallen far from your religious path ...

      April 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Ed

      Got to agree with No here Gaw your kind of being a jerk

      April 18, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  16. Stacie

    From wiki pedia: "In the narrative of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God helped the Children of Israel escape slavery in Egypt by inflicting ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves; the tenth and worst of the plagues was the slaughter of the first-born. The Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb and, upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover""

    What a BEAUTIFUL holiday. Celebrating the slaughter of a bunch of infants. Religion is so wonderful.

    April 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • Ed

      Just to point out the Pharoh had just ordered his soldiers to Kill the first born of each Jewish house it was his action that created the last plague. Moses had warned Pharoh not to do it telling him what he did to the Jewish would be the next plague done to Egypt. He killed first born Jews the spirit killed the first born of Egyptif he had just flipped Moses off that would have been the last plague. Not saying it was good just stating what happened both sets of deaths are recorded in Egyptian history as well as the Bible and the Pharohs act did come first

      April 18, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Hannibal

      ...and the lambs!

      April 18, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • NO

      God should obey his own ten commandments before he expects humans to follow through with his nonsense ... Do all the killing and expect humans to not kill ... What a hypocrite ... No wonder His followers turned out to be warmongers as well ...

      April 18, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
    • Ed

      The lambs were part of the dinner.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      This has always troubled me also. If it was evil for Herod to slaughter the Innocents in (and BTW only), Math., why was it ok in Exodus. The point is not the Pharoh "asked for it", the point is they were innocent.

      April 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm |
  17. Matt

    America is a Christian nation with only 2% Jewish. Stop publishing anything to do with Jewish holidays !

    April 18, 2011 at 5:08 pm |
    • TRH

      Well, THAT remark is certainly a proud example of tolerance.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
    • FBS

      Judaism came before Christianity....too bad so many have lost their way.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Ed

      way to be a racist jerk Matt by the way Jesus was Jew the last super was the passover meal.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • JD

      Our forefathers did not come here to establish a Christian nation, rather a free nation where we could all choose. Get your facts straight. I'm a Christian but I don't believe in blabbering stuff just because I like the way it sounds.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:42 pm |
    • The Hammer

      Matt:
      Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?
      We, the "2%", pray directly to the Man. We don't pray to any intermediaties like you!

      April 18, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
    • wr

      And yet, you probably believe the US is controlled by "Zionists."
      Silly redneck.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
    • Artist

      Matt = Christian Taliban

      April 18, 2011 at 6:38 pm |
    • Grandmaster

      As a atheist, I have to say how very Christian of you Matt.

      April 18, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • Jason the Pendleton Rat

      Jesus was Jewish, thought he was Jewish, acted like a Jew, prayed like a Jew, taught the Jews, went to synagogues, cared enough about the temple to risk his life performing civil disobedience there, never said anything about founding a new religion, kept the Passover custom meal a few days before he died. What's wrong with the picture here ?

      April 18, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • E

      LOL!

      July 5, 2011 at 12:40 pm |
    • E

      You still haven't won yet..

      July 21, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
    • L

      guess it depends on where you are going

      October 13, 2011 at 6:44 pm |
    • e

      😉

      November 1, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • L

      😛

      August 7, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • e

      😛

      November 13, 2012 at 10:58 am |
  18. Lance

    Sounds to me like a celebration of a successful terrorist campaign - poisoning the water supply, infecting cattle with anthrax, indiscriminately murdering children, etc.

    April 18, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
  19. Lisa

    Thank you, Lord for all you do. You have and always will reign. Have mercy on those who mock. That they may turn away from their wrongs before it is to late.

    April 18, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • Artist

      Ah putting a wishful statement out there with your wishful thinking. Food for thought:

      Schizophrenia
      .
      Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that makes it difficult to tell the difference between real and unreal experiences, to think logically, to have normal emotional responses, and to behave normally in social situations.
      .
      Some of the symptons
      .
      •False beliefs or thoughts that are not based in reality (delusions)
      .
      •Hearing, seeing, or feeling things that are not there (hallucinations)
      ----------

      What is the difference between a skitzo and christian? One hides behind a book.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
    • Varangian

      @Artist
      Could you not then be a Schizophrenic too? You profess that what you see and believe is reality but how can you be sure? If a Schizo can't see the difference and you were in fact a schizo, how would you tell the difference?

      April 18, 2011 at 10:29 pm |
  20. M22

    david: "I found this in Wikipedia ...
    On the Origins of Israel
    There is no archaeological evidence to corroborate the stories of Adam and Eve, Noah's flood and Abraham."

    You're quoting Wikipedia as proof of fact?

    Hate Jews or Christians all you want, but ignoring the historical record because you hate religion is the height of dishonesty and willful ignorance.

    There is an archaeological/geological record of a massive flood in the Middle East, that most likely gave rise to many ancient flood stories. Just like the ones in the Old Testament, Gilgamesh, etc.

    April 18, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • Evy

      Go back to reading your bible "fairy tales"....

      April 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • Lycidas

      Evy...I believe he is referencing historical events. Not "fairy tales".

      April 18, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • M22

      evy: "Go back to reading your bible "fairy tales"...."

      Who said I'm religious?

      Whether you're religious or not the archaeological record is the archaeological record. Ignoring it is dishonest and makes you look absurd.

      If you can disprove the findings of historians and archaeologists the world over, go ahead. But merely believing something on a hunch, or out of a spiteful hate for religion, isn't enough.

      April 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
    • Evy

      @ M22 –

      It's OBVIOUS that archaeologists and historians tie in their "religious" crappy beliefs into their findings and use this as part of the "religious agenda" to keep fools like you believing......oh how narrowly you see the world......sad really sad.....

      April 18, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • JD

      What's really sad is the amount of hate Evy is filled with. It comes out loud and clear. I'm not religious but I do try to be spiritual. There is a huge difference but I imagine Evy can't see the difference because of the wall built up in front of her. Sad, really sad.

      April 18, 2011 at 5:39 pm |
    • Lycidas

      "It's OBVIOUS that archaeologists and historians tie in their "religious" crappy beliefs into their findings..."

      I suggest your read Biblical Archaeological Review. Most archaeologists are minimilists.

      Curious, do you go around and accuse biologists of putting their beliefs into their findings? Or is this just a selective bias of yours to ppl that do not agree with you?

      April 18, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • Ed

      @Evy
      "It's OBVIOUS that archaeologists and historians tie in their "religious" crappy beliefs into their findings and use this as part of the "religious agenda" to keep fools like you believing"

      Got to tell Evy this sunds a little paranoid.

      April 18, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • Dorianmode

      It seems you are both talking about two different things. There is all sorts of archeological evidence, but the creation of the national myth came later, probably written during the Babylonian Exile. If you aren't willing to spend the time to study the whole picture, you are doomed to an ignorant state.

      April 18, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.