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What Passover Means and How it is Relevant in 2023

The Jewish Celebration of Passover.

The Passover holiday begins this year on the evening of Wednesday, April 5 and ends the evening of Thursday, April 13th, 2023. Passover presents an opportunity to remember and celebrate our family heritage and the importance of connecting with one another. During this time, we can come together with those we love and care about, sharing stories, food, prayers, and more while emphasizing the bond between family members. This year will also provide the perfect opportunity to pass down cultural and religious practices to younger generations, allowing us to connect with and mentor those closest to us.

But what does all of this have to do with today? How is this relevant in our current, difficult, challenging, and divisive world today? 

Rabbi Daniel Cohen, senior rabbi at Congregation Agudath Sholom in Stamford, Connecticut, the largest modern orthodox synagogue in New England, and author of What Will They Say About You When You Are Gone, and The Secret of the Light, shares the importance beyond the rituals. Here are a few of the ways he says Passover applies to us today, including:

Passover is a reminder of the centrality of family. Passover is a reminder of the centrality of family in several ways. One of the most important traditions during the Passover holiday is the Seder meal, which is typically celebrated with extended family and friends. This tradition encourages us to come together with those we love and care about, sharing food, stories, and prayers, all while emphasizing the importance of family bonds and community. 

How often do multiple generations gather together?  What is the definition of family? Does it only apply to our immediate nuclear family, or are there other relatives, or people in your community that need family? Adopt them. Passover means that everyone should have a place at the table. This is the opportunity to build community by breaking bread together. 

It is also a time for families to pass down cultural and religious practices and values to younger generations. This highlights the importance of role modeling and connecting with family members, as well as mentoring and guiding the next generation. Additionally, Passover stresses the importance of family history and heritage. Overall, Passover is a powerful reminder of the role that family plays in our lives and highlights the importance of building and nurturing meaningful connections with our loved ones.

Passover reminds us of the importance of empathy and understanding people. Passover reminds us of the importance of empathy and understanding people in several ways. Firstly, the story of Passover involves the Israelites fleeing from slavery and oppression in Egypt, highlighting the importance of recognizing and standing up against injustice. The Haggadah emphasizes the importance of empathy and putting oneself in the shoes of the oppressed, as well as helping them find freedom and security if possible. 

Passover also involves a strong tradition of welcoming strangers or outsiders to the Seder dinner, symbolizing the importance of hospitality and kindness towards others regardless of their background or status. 

Passover emphasizes the importance of remembering the past and preserving cultural and religious traditions across generations. This helps us to better understand and respect the experiences and perspectives of our ancestors and others who came before us, which can increase our capacity for empathy and compassion towards others. 

Remember the widow. Remember the orphan. Remember those on the edges of society. Remember that because you have undergone your own difficult moments of suffering; you can harness that experience and share with others to help them through their difficult times. Because we have freedom, we should help others. The more freedom we have, the more we can help others, whether it’s domestic, poverty, or loss. This is an opportunity to see the face of God in others. Have empathy, understanding, and help others.  

No holiday is more focused on time than Passover. Time is central to Passover because the holiday commemorates the Jews’ exodus from Egypt, where they were held as slaves for over 400 years. 

The story of Passover, as told in the Haggadah, emphasizes the timing of events leading to their escape, such as the arrival of the Ten Plagues and their sudden departure from Egypt. According to tradition, God commanded the Jewish people to celebrate Passover at the same time each year as a reminder of their liberation and the importance of freedom. Thus, observing Passover at the correct time is an essential part of honoring the story and passing it down from generation to generation. 

Unleavened bread is different from bread by only one minute, which shows how important time is. We need to sanctify time. Do we save or maximize our time? We may be a more advanced generation, technologically speaking, but we are greater time wasters than any other generation before us. What good is it to save one minute only to throw away an hour scrolling on social media. That’s not to say social media is bad, but rather that it’s important to pay attention to how you spend your moments of time. Rather than waste time, use it to lift up another. Use it to pause, lift your head, and help another.  

Passover continues to be relevant today as it provides us with important messages and lessons that are still applicable in our lives. Here are five main points to remember:



Ethics and Morality

Family & Community

Renewal & Spring

It remains relevant and meaningful, offering lessons, messages, and reminders that are still important in our lives today.


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