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Monday, Nissan 3, 5779 / April 8, 2019


Questions & Answers about the Pesach holiday


Q.   How many years is it since the Exodus from Egypt?


A.   3,331 years.


Q.   Which two miracles does the Pesach (Passover) holiday commemorate?


A.  The beginning of Pesach commemorates the miracles of the Exodus from Egypt. The end of Pesach celebrates the miracle of the splitting of the sea. The Jewish people crossed through the sea on dry land, while the Egyptians, who were chasing after them, drowned as the water returned. Thus, the Jewish people were again saved from the Egyptians.


Q.  The Seder Plate consists of three whole matzot, placed one on top of the other. Before the children ask the four questions we break the middle matzah. The bigger piece is wrapped in a cloth or napkin and hidden in order to be eaten later after the meal. This piece of matzah is called “Afikoman.” The smaller piece of matzah is placed back between the two whole matzot.  Why do we break the middle matzah?


A.The Torah refers to matzah as "Lechem oni" - "bread of poverty."  A poor man fears that he may not have anything to eat later, so whenever he eats his meal he breaks off a piece and saves it for another time.  Thus, we recite the story of the Exodus over the "broken" matzah which represents the "bread of poverty."


Q.  What is the reason for "wrapping" the Afikoman before "hiding" it?


A.  In describing the story of the Exodus, the Torah tells us that the Jewish people "took their dough before it was leavened… bound up in their clothes upon their shoulders..."  By "wrapping" the Afikoman, we recall the fact that when our ancestors left Egypt, their dough was "bound in their clothes."  


Q.  Why do we “hide” the Afikoman?


A.  To involve the children to search for the Afikoman so that they will stay awake through the Seder looking forward to the fun and prizes for finding the Afikoman.


Q.  Whydo we open the door towards the end of the Seder?


A.  The Torah calls the night of the seder "Leil Shimurim" - "a night of guarding".  On this night, G-d takes special care to guard the people of Israel. Opening the door expresses our belief that we are not afraid, for G-d is watching over us.