Passover vs. Pesach

Passover vs. Pesach. Many people wonder whether the “right” name of the holiday is Passover or Pesach. Both are right. But they mean different things.

Pesach (the noun) is first mentioned in the Torah in Exodus 12:11, p. 136 JPS

“This is how you should eat it…you shall eat it hurriedly, it is a Passover offering.”

Pesach (the noun) literally means the Sacrifice

Exodus 12:21, p. 137 JPS
“Moses then summoned all of the elders of Israeli and said to them “Go, pick out lambs for your families, and slaughter the Passover offering. Take a bunch of hyssop, dip it in the blood…and apply the (blood) to the two doorposts.”

Any household that didn’t make (the) Pesach Sacrifice lost their first-born child. This represents a loss of life, of future generations and it represents the transformation of the Hebrew slaves of Egypt, to the Israelites wandering in the Wilderness and reaching Freedom in the Promised Land.

Sacrifice in Hebrew is Korban, literally “to draw closer,” to become closer with God or man by making a sacrifice. It does not mean “giving something up.”

Passover (the verb) is first mentioned in Exodus 12:23, p. 137 JPS

“The Lord will pass over the door”

“For when the Lord goes through to smite the Egyptians, He will see the blood on the lintel and the two doorposts, and the Lord will PASSOVER the door and not let the destroyer enter and smite your home. You shall observe this as an institution for all time, for you and for your descendants”

As a result, Pesach is the ritual sacrifice of the lamb and is also the Passing Over of the Israelites home by the sign of the blood on the lintel from the Pesach sacrifice. It is a circular and interactive movement. (Similarly balance is both a noun and a verb. It is truly the interactive state of being.)

Related Posts

Looking Forward to a Magical 2017! As we enter the New Year, I wanted to reflect on Breaking Matzo. We launched Hanukkah and Passover editions in 2015 and Succot edition in 2016. I ...
What’s in a Name? 5 Things to Know About Han... According to tradition, Hanukkah, or the “Festival of Dedication,” celebrates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after its defilement by...
A Hanukkah Heroine: The Story of Judith Pictured above: Judith carrying the head of Holofernes. Artist: Michelangelo, Sistine Chapel Ceiling, Vatical City, c. 1512. Judith was one of the...
Chronology of the Jewish People and Hanukkah OVERVIEW OF JEWISH HISTORY   DATE EVENT 1700 BCE The Patriarchs: Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob 1700 BCE The Matriar...
Other Hanukkah Sources: Books and Websites   Title Author Publishing Date Chanukah - Eight Nights of Light, Eight Gifts For The Soul Apisdorf, Shimon 2000 The Christmas Men...