“In every generation one is obligated to see oneself as one who personally went out of Egypt.”
From this line in the Haggadah, we learn of our dual obligation to reflect on our own freedom, as well as to act on behalf of those who are still suffering.
Passover is a holiday with rich rituals, customs and symbols. They remind us of our Jewish history and make us more attuned to the oppression which exists in the world today. Incorporating new customs into your holiday can add meaning to your Passover and make the obligation of remembering Egypt a fresh and interesting experience year after year.
Research and find new customs to try out this Passover, or create your own! Here are some interesting Passover customs from across the globe and across Jewish history:
- Some Persian and Afghani Jews have the custom at the seder of lightly whipping each other with leeks and green onion stalks, simulating the beatings suffered in Egypt.
- Charoset is a mixture of chopped nuts and fruit, wine and spices eaten at the seder, representing the brick mortar used by Israelite slaves in Egypt. The Jews of Gibraltar mix a few particles from real bricks into their charoset!
- Jews from the coastal areas of Morocco customarily go to the seashore the morning of the first day after Passover and dip their bare feet into the water to symbolize the Israelites crossing the Red Sea during the Exodus.
- The Talmud discusses the ancient custom of giving candy and nuts to children at the beginning of the seder in order to encourage them to stay alert and to reward them for asking questions.
Portions of this “Learn Something Jewish” are excerpted from Hillel’s Joseph Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Learning’s recently reprinted Passover education pamphlets. 30,000 pamphlets were distributed to students at 60 campuses across North America.