The hidden meaning behind Passover’s seemingly strange name

by Leah Rosenberg

Why is this famous holiday called Passover? Of all the Jewish holidays, it seems difficult to understand the name’s significance. It doesn’t seem like that name represents the main points of the holiday. Or does it?

Firstborns in the Bible

The Bible talks about firstborns, but not always relating to actual firstborns. Jacob and Joseph were both referred to as firstborns, despite the fact that they were NOT born first. It seems that the role a firstborn plays in the Bible is not about age but rather about who will best convey and carry on the messages and values to the next generation. That could be the firstborn, but it could also be a different child. “In the Bible, becoming the firstborn is a CHOICE.” What an important choice that a child can potentially choose!

Egyptian Firstborns

If that is the case, then it makes sense why God wanted to remove all the firstborn Egyptians that night that He “passed over” the Jewish houses. God did not want the evil and corrupt culture of Egypt to be passed on to ANY future generations.

That Night of “Passover”

That night, God asked the Jewish people to take lamb’s blood and paint it on their doorposts. It would be a sign that God should “pass over” those homes. Lambs were thought of as gods in Egypt. The Jews went against that pagan culture when they slaughtered lambs and used the blood. They were separating themselves from a culture that went against God. “What they were doing that night was to choose not to be a part of Egypt’s firstborn, but to identify themselves as God’s firstborn. On that night, the Jewish people took upon themselves the responsibility of transmitting the values of their Father in heaven down to all of God’s children here on Earth.”

And so maybe of all the Jewish holidays, the name of Passover makes A LOT of sense!


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