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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q5.12 TOC Q5.14 >

Question 5.13:
What happened to the observance on 14 Nisan as Passover?

Answer:

Actually, the Torah only refers to the afternoon of the 14th as Passover. This is the time during which the Passover offering was brought. It doesn't even imply that the day was named "Passover", just that it refers to that period as "during the Passover [offering]". The offering was actually eaten that night, on the fifteenth, the begining of the holiday the Torah calls Chag haMatzos (the holiday of matzahs). There is partial observation on the afternoon of 14 Nissan, as the afternoon is the preferable time to make the Matzat Mitzva.

Why the name change? We call the holiday "Passover" to commemorate what G-d did for us. He passed over the Israelites' homes and saved them from Egypt. However, in writing the Torah, G-d stresses what man did and does. So in the text of the bible, the name is taken from the commandment of the day.


The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

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