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                                                                   Siyyum HaBekhorim
                                                                  Fast of the First Born
                                                                 Monday, April 22, 2024

The festival of Passover focuses our attention on the Exodus from Egypt. We are to relive the drama every year,imagining that we experienced the moment of redemption as did our ancestors when they were released from the bonds of slavery in Egypt. We eat matzah, “lechem oni,” (bread of affliction) to remind us of the pain of slavery. For eight days we focus on this demanding and dehumanizing period of time.

It is with this message in mind that all first-born Jewish children and adults are reminded of their obligation to fast on the day before Passover. When God delivered the final plague upon the Egyptians all first-born Israelite children were saved. To commemorate this moment of redemption, all Jewish firstborn children and adults are expected to express their appreciation to God by refraining from eating on Erev Pesach. Judaism places more value on the study of sacred texts than on any other activity. To alleviate the need for the fast of the first-born, those who are first-born are given the opportunity to attend a “seudat mitzvah,” a festive meal, where the conclusion of the study program is celebrated. The mitzvah supersedes the mitzvah of fasting by the first-born and thereby frees the first-born of his / her obligation to fast on Erev Pesach.

Sat, May 25 2024 17 Iyyar 5784