FRIDAY, APRIL 6: Preparations for Passover have been in the works for weeks, but firstborn men and women hold their own commemoration this morning on the Fast of the Firstborn. When the Plague of the Firstborn hit Egypt, according to the Book of Exodus, God struck down each firstborn—except for those in Jewish families who had marked their doorways with lamb’s blood.
(For more on the fast, check out Chabad.org.)
Some sources suggest the ancient firstborn Israelites were the first to fast, and that they actually fasted before the Plague of the Firstborn—for extra protection. (Read more at MyJewishLearning.) In most Jewish communities, both firstborn males and firstborn females observe this tradition.
HOW THE LAST DAYS
BEFORE PASSOVER UNFOLD …
That is the historical overview, but traditions like the Fast of the Firstborn contribute to the richness of Jewish family life around the world to this day. At ReadTheSpirit, we recommend the work of author Debra Darvick, an award-winning writer who captures the daily inspiration of Jewish family life in her columns and books.
This week, in a column called Racing Toward the Moon, Debra writes about the mix of intense preparation and prayerful reflection that mark her days as a Jewish Mom preparing for Passover. Last year, when a late snowstorm hit just before Passover, Debra—who is a firstborn herself—wrote about the challenge of maintaining traditions even in the face of an Eleventh Plague at the Eleventh Hour. Even if you’re not Jewish, you’ll enjoy Debra’s columns!