The Feast of Unleavened Bread


“Why does this night differ from all other nights? For on all other nights we eat either leavened or unleavened bread; why on this night only unleavened bread?”


Seder is the most important feast on the Jewish calendar. Passover commemorates the Exodus from Egypt when the Jewish people were freed from slavery and began their trek to the Holy land. The foods and rituals of Pesach are closely prescribed but there are two general traditions, namely the Sephardic and the Ashkenazi. More than any other feast, this one exemplifies the spirit of sharing food in a spiritual manner and it remains an essential reminder of Jewish identity.

The importance of sharing this meal makes it special to the Jewish tradition and there are many places where people gather in large groups. Even people who are not regular practitioners will come together for this meal because it is such an important part of the Jewish identity. The central part of this celebration is the telling of the story to the children which makes them part of the adult world and begins to give them awareness of adult concerns and responsibilities. When it comes time to ask the four questions of which the question about unleavened bread is one, it is given to the children to pose the questions. This is different in the Sephardic tradition but the effect is much the same in that the children are wholly involved in the ritual.