or Pe·sah

[ Sephardic Hebrew pe-sahkh; Ashkenazic Hebrew pey-sahkh ]
/ Sephardic Hebrew ˈpɛ sɑx; Ashkenazic Hebrew ˈpeɪ sɑx /
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noun Judaism.
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Origin of Pesach

From the Hebrew word pesaḥ
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What is Pesach?

Pesach is another name for Passover—the Jewish festival that commemorates the Exodus, the departure of the Israelites from Egypt, where they had been enslaved. It is considered one of the most important Jewish holidays.

It can also be called Pesah and is sometimes referred to as the Feast of the Unleavened Bread.

Jews traditionally celebrate Passover with family and friends by holding a ceremonial meal called a Seder, which consists of special symbolic dishes, including unleavened bread called matzo.

When is Pesach?

Pesach can occur in March or April. In 2021, Pesach begins on March 27. In 2022, Pesach will begin on April 15.

Pesach always begins on the 14th day of Nisan, which in the Jewish calendar is the first month of the religious year and the seventh month of the civil year.

In some Jewish traditions, Pesach is observed for seven days, while in others it is observed for eight days.

More information and context on Pesach

The first records of the word Pesach in English comes from the 1600s. It comes from the Hebrew word pesaḥ. Its translation, Passover, is a noun form of the verb phrase pass over. The term is used in reference to the story of how the Angel of Death passed over the houses of the Israelites during a plague sent by God to kill the firstborn sons of the Egyptians.

In the account of this event in the book of Exodus, Moses is instructed by God to tell the Israelites to prepare a special meal, one that can be eaten quickly before they escape from Egypt. This meal included a roasted lamb as the main dish, along with bitter herbs and unleavened bread (bread that could be baked quickly, without needing time to rise). Moses instructed the Israelites to use the blood from the lamb to mark the doorways of their houses to keep them safe from the Angel of Death. The Israelites were told to repeat the meal each spring on the anniversary of their departure from Egypt. This annual observance came to be called Pesach or Passover, and the ritual meal came to be called the Seder.

Today, Pesach often involves a reading of the Haggadah, a book containing the order of service of the traditional Pesach meal and including a telling of the story of the Exodus.

It is a tradition for Jews to end the Seder by singing or saying “Next year in Jerusalem” (or the Hebrew phrase that it’s translated from), which is typically considered an expression of Jewish unity done in remembrance of the Jews’ time in exile.

Traditional greetings for Pesach include Chag Sameach (meaning “Happy Holiday”) and Chag Pesach Sameach (meaning “Happy Passover Holiday“).

What are some words that often get used in discussing Pesach?

How is Pesach discussed in real life?

Pesach is commonly called Passover.


Try using Pesach!

True or False?

All Jewish people celebrate Pesach for the same length of time.

How to use Pesach in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Pesach



/ (ˈpeɪsɑːk, Hebrew ˈpɛsax) /

other words for Passover (def. 1)

Word Origin for Pesach

from Hebrew pesah; see Passover
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012