Pesach, or Passover, is an important Jewish festival, for the commemoration of the Jewish population’s liberation from slavery in ancient Egypt. Pesach is an important Jewish festivity, for the heart and spirit.
Passover commences on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nisan and lasts for either seven days (in Israel) or eight days (in the diaspora). In the northern hemisphere Passover takes place in spring as the Torah prescribes it; it is one of the most widely observed Jewish holidays.
As mentioned before, Pesach or Passover is a festivity which takes place in more than one day. The day before Pesach is the day of the ‘first-born’, which remembers all those first-born Jews saved during the last plague inflicted by the Egyptians.
During the solemn days of the festivity, it is prohibited to perform any kind of work, while during the rest, most activities remain open for half of the day.
During Passover, it is prohibited to eat products which contain yeat, while it is permitted to eat matza’. It is not obligatory to consume matza’, but is is completely prohibited to consume products wich contain yeast (chamez). It is also prohibited to drink beer, since it contains yeast.
Homes have to be completely cleaned out of any substance or food item that may contain yeast (chamez). Each house if deeply cleaned, this is why many call it ‘spring cleaning’, to indicate a rigorous cleaning of one’s home. This process starts in the rooms where you wouldn’t expect to find any of these products (like the bedroom), moving towards the dining room and the kitchen. At the end of this cleaning process, the adults of the house create a sort of ‘treasure hunt’ for the children, hiding 10 crumbs of bread around the house for the kids to find. Once they have been found, the crumbs are burned.
During Passover a special set of dishes, pots, and cutlery is used; an alternative is to ‘kosherize’ (to make them suitable for the festivity) plates and pots with a specific wash and to keep away all that cannot be washed. All the food containing yeast and the utensils which are not kosher, must be sold to someone who is not Jewish. Usually this is a symbolic act, and everything that has been sold is bought back straight after the festivity.
Israel as a country sells all of its chamez items to another state as a symbolic act, buying it back right after the holiday.
During the first evening of Pesach, a dinner called Seder takes place, during which the various phases of the Exodus are read aloud. The needy are invited, especially those who do not have a family, to participate in the dinner where unleavened bread, wine and bitter herbs are served.
The unleavened bread and bitter herbs are a symbol of the sacrifices which a soul must make for G-d.
Even though meals are made up of unleavened bread, it is a joyous festivity, filled with songs and sweets (with no yeast).
At the end of the Passover festivities, women buy some flower and make special pancakes with yeast and covered with honey.
Our restaurant is open for Pesach (19 and 20 April 2019): discover more about the menu.