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and accounted as the dust of the earth.” He then places in a linen rag the lamp and spoon with all the pieces of bread, which are carefully kept till the next morning. Early the following day all manner of leavened bread, beer, or liquors made of grain, must be removed from the house, as well as all vessels containing them. For the Passover all utensils are either new, or only used from one Passover to the other. If a renovation is to be made in the apparel of a poor family, it is generally delayed to welcome this feast. Among the very humblest the walls of their houses are whitewashed, their floors scrubbed, and all things made to put on a new appearance. On this first day of the Passover it is customary for all the first-born to fast, in remembrance of the deliverance of the first-born of their forefathers. Should the first-born not be eleven years old, his father is to fast for him ; and should his father be dead, this duty devolves upon his mother.
After sunset, on the fourteenth day, the feast commences. On returning home from the synagogue, the Jews find their table laid out in the following manner: In the centre is a dish covered with a napkin: on the napkin is placed a large Passover cake, marked with three notches called Israelite. This cake is covered with a napkin, and a second is placed on it with two notches, called Levite: this again being covered with a napkin. A third cake, having only one notch, is laid upon
this is called Cohen. A reserve cake is also kept near at hand called Saphec, or doubtful, in case either of the three other cakes should be broken. In another dish is put a shank-bone of a shoulder of lamb, with a small piece of meat upon it, and an egg boiled hard : the former commemorates the Paschal lamb, and the egg signifies that it is to be roasted whole. In a third dish some lettuce or horse-radish is
placed, in remembrance of the bitter herbs which were to be eaten with the lamb. A cup of salt and water, or vinegar, and a compound of almonds, etc., worked up into a paste, are also on the table: the one in memory of the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea, and the other as a reminder of the bricks and mortar with which they worked in Egypt.
All being prepared, every one of the family, including the lowest servants, sit together at table during the meal, because in bondage they were all equally alike, and they should all equally return thanks for their redemption. Before each individual is a glass of wine, for on this occasion all are obliged to drink four glasses of wine, called Arbang Cosoth, or the four cups, in commemoration of the four different expressions made use of in Exodus at their redemption: “I will bring you
”—“I will rid you "_“I will redeem you”—“I will take you.” An extra glass of wine is placed on the table for Elias the prophet, who is expected, as the forerunner of the Messiah, to visit them in the course of the evening.
All being seated, having first washed their hands, the head of the family takes a glass of wine in his right hand and says: “ Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, the Creator of the fruit of the vine. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who selected us from all other people, and exalted us above all other nations, and sanctified us with Thy commandments, and granted to us, O Lord our God, in love, solemn feasts to rejoice, with festivals and time of gladness, this day of the feast of unleavened bread, the time of our redemption, an holy convocation, a memorial of our departure from Egypt; for Thou didst select us, and sanctify us from all other people, and Thy holy seasons hast Thou caused us to inherit, with love and favour, joy and glad
Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the Sanctifier of Israel, and of the times. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the tiniverse, who hast maintained us and preserved us to enjoy this season.
They all now drink the wine. The master of the household, after having broken the middle cake in the dish, and having given some of the lettuce dipped in saltwater to all around his table, lifts up the bone of the lamb and the egg, all at table taking hold of the dish. He then says: “Lo, this is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt; let all those who are hungry enter and eat thereof, and all who are necessitous come and celebrate the Passover. At present we celebrate it here, but next year in the land of Israel ; this year we are servants, but next year we hope to be freemen in the land of Israel.” Hereupon the youngest son asks his father, “What signifies this Feast ?” The father replies by explaining why the different things in the various dishes are to be eaten on that occasion. The cake is then shown to all as a memorial of their freedom, whilst the head of the house says: “These unleavened cakes, why do we eat them ? Because there was not sufficient time for the dough of our ancestors to leaven before the Holy Supreme King of kings appeared unto them, and redeemed them.” He now takes the lettuce or other herb, and shows it as a memorial of their servitude saying: “This bitter herb, why do we eat it ? Because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is said, “And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage.'
All now drink wine, and immediately afterwards each eats a piece of the Passover cake, and some of the compound of almonds, repeating a peculiar kind of blessing. Supper is now served. At its conclusion grace is said, and their