Last day of Passover
Passover is the Jewish celebration of the Israelites’ freedom from slavery. Sometimes called the Feast of Unleavened Bread, during which Jews will pray, attend blessings and synagogues, read for the Torah, and it a traditional meal rooted in the story of the Exodus of the Israelites. The duration of the celebration varies according to culture, but it usually lasts around 8 days. Many cultures consider the first and last day of Passover a public hours, with often limited work and school hours in between.
The Story of the Exodus
In Leviticus, the Bible states the requirement to celebrate Passover, but the event’s inspiration comes from Exodus. Although the story of the Jew’s enslavement starts generations before, the story of the Exodus in some ways begins with Moses. When the Pharaoh grew concerned over the growing Jewish numbers, he ordered Hebrew baby boys to be killed. His mother hid him in a basket and placed him in the river, to be found and adopted by a woman in the Egyptian royal family. Moses fled this new home after killing an Egyptian man who was mistreating Jewish slaves. It is then that Moses received his “burning bush” vision and was sent back to Egypt to free the Israelites.
When the Pharaoh did not heed Moses’s requests, Egypt encountered the Ten Plagues, after which the Pharaoh let the Jewish people go. However, the Passover story comes specifically from the tenth plague, in which the Angel of Death killed all the firstborn sons except for the Israelite’s marked doors. The name comes from the event of the angel “passing over” the Hebrew houses.
The last day of Passover focuses on the future liberation of the Jews, rooted in a prophecy called the Haftorah. There is often a religious service, where attendants perform the Yizkor, a prayer in the name of the deceased. It also features a meal, the Feast of Moshiach, during which these prophecies are read aloud from the Torah. This includes the story of the Leviathan and the Shor Habar, an ox, who engage in a fight that destroys the both of them. They represent the “spiritual” and “physical” elements of spirituality. Since the Leviathan lives in the ocean, it represents the spiritual because it lives in a “hidden” place, much like the nature of spirituality. Certain cultures institute the last day as a day of rest to the point of avoiding using electricity or driving cars.
After this day, Passover has concluded, and observers abandon Passover’s dietary restrictions.