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Why is the seventh day of Passover a special holiday?

by Rabbi Naftali Silberberg

  

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Finalizing the Redemption...

On the seventh night of Passover, known as Shvi'ee shel Pesach, the Israelites passed through the parted Red Sea. Towards morning, the Sea rolled over on the Egyptian army, and shortly afterwards the Jews sang the Az Yashir, the song of praise which is today part of the daily morning prayers.

This holiday marks the final conclusion of the Egyptian bondage. As long as their Egyptian taskmasters were alive, the Jews could not rid themselves of the fear that perhaps one day the Egyptian army would overpower them and force them back into slavery. While this irrational trepidation may be difficult for us to comprehend, we cannot relate to the psyche of a nation which had been dominated, brutally enslaved and humiliated for many generations. Only after the Egyptians were totally annihilated were the Jews truly a free nation – in spirit as well as in body.

While at the Sea, the Jews witnessed an awesome Divine revelation. In fact, even the little children were actually able to point with their fingers and exclaim, “This is my G-d and I will glorify Him!”

On the last days of Passover we...have the ability to tune in to a Divine energy which allows us to put the finishing touch on our personal redemption which commenced by the Seder
On the last days of Passover we experience the spiritual reenactment of these great historic moments: we have the ability to tune in to a Divine energy which allows us to put the finishing touch on our personal redemption which commenced by the Seder.

[Outside the land of Israel this holiday is celebrated as a two-day holiday, the seventh and eighth day of Passover (see Why do we add extra holiday-days outside of Israel?)]

...and Celebrating the Final Redemption

Passover is the “Season of our Redemption.” According to Chassidic tradition, Passover is a celebration of all our redemptions: on the first days we relive our salvation from Egyptian servitude, and on the last days of Passover – and particularly on the eighth and final day of the holiday – we celebrate the impending Messianic Redemption. This idea is also implied by the Haftorah of the last day of Passover, which discusses various prophecies concerning the qualities of the Moshiach and the nature of the Redemption he will bring.

This is one of the reasons why we do not say the complete Hallel on the last days of Passover. It is difficult to be thoroughly joyous when contemplating a redemption which has not yet arrived. But joyous we still must be; confident in the knowledge that the Redemption will be here very soon!

“The beginning is wedged in the end.” We celebrate the Messianic Redemption on Passover because the Exodus from Egypt “opened the floodgates” of Redemption, thus enabling us to ultimately merit the final and eternal Redemption.

Also see How do we celebrate the last day(s) of Passover?


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Moshiach
The Messiah. Moshiach is the person who will usher in an era of peace and tranquility for all of humanity when there will be no jealousy or hate, wars or famine. This is a fundamental Jewish belief.
Passover
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Hallel
Hebrew word meaning "praise." Normally is a reference to Psalms 113-118-- Psalms of jubilation which are recited during the morning prayers of all joyous holidays.
Chassidic
(Pl.: Chassidim; Adj.: Chassidic) A follower of the teachings of Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov (1698-1760), the founder of "Chassidut." Chassidut emphasizes serving G-d with sincerity and joy, and the importance of connecting to a Rebbe (saintly mentor).
Seder
Festive meal eaten on the first two nights of the holiday of Passover (In Israel, the Seder is observed only the first night of the holiday). Seder highlights include: reading the story of the Exodus, eating Matzah and bitter herbs, and drinking four cups of wine.
Haftorah
Section from the prophetic writings that is read at the conclusion of the Torah reading on the Sabbath, Jewish holidays and fast days. The Haftorah contains a message similar to the weekly reading, or speaks of the current holiday.
Exodus
1. The miraculous departure of the Israelites from Egyptian bondage in 1312 BCE. 2. The second of the Five Books of Moses. This book describes the aforementioned Exodus, the giving of the Torah, and the erection of the Tabernacle.
Pesach
Passover. A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
G-d
It is forbidden to erase or deface the name of G-d. It is therefore customary to insert a dash in middle of G-d's name, allowing us to erase or discard the paper it is written on if necessary.