What Is Passover an Explanation for Kids.

By Renee Cohn Jones, PsyD Helping Parents Parent, LLC April 3, 2023

Over 3000 years ago, a mean and powerful king ruled Egypt.  

He was worried that the Jewish people would one day fight against him, so he decided to make them his slaves. Every day, he forced them to work in the extreme heat, hammering, digging, and carrying heavy bricks.  He gave them little food and water, his soldiers whipped and beat them, and the Jewish people were not paid for their hard work.

The Jewish people, also known as Israelites, did not like being slaves.  They cried to G-d for help.  G-d chose a man named Moses to help lead the Jewish people.

Moses went to Pharaoh and said “G-d is not happy with how you are treating the Jewish people.  He wants you to let them go and be free.”  But Pharaoh stomped his foot and said “No! I will not let them go!”

Moses tried to warn him.  He told Pharaoh that if he did not listen to G-d, many terrible things could happen.  But Pharaoh didn’t care.

First, all of the water turned to blood.  Pharaoh couldn’t stand it.  No one could bathe or wash their clothes.  So he said “Fine!  Let them Go! Just make this stop!”

The Israelites packed their things and started to leave.  But Pharaoh changed his mind.  

Then came the frogs.  There were frogs here, frogs there, frogs were jumping everywhere!  You couldn’t walk anywhere without stepping on a frog.  So Pharaoh said “Go!  Get out!  Make it stop!”

Each time a new plague began, Pharaoh would tell Moses that the Jewish people could go as long as the horrible plague stopped.  As soon as G-d had taken away the plague, Pharaoh would shout “No!  I’ve changed my mind!  The Jews must stay!”

G-d sent more plagues, like wild beasts, fiery hail, and even locusts that ate all of the food and crops.  Finally, the 10th plague arrived.  Pharaoh was tired of all of this and ordered the Jews to leave.

Fearful that Pharaoh might change his mind again, the Jews packed their things in such a hurry that they had no time to prepare their food or let their dough rise.  They only had enough time to make flat cracker-like bread called Matzah.

The Jewish people had not gone too far when Pharaoh commanded his army to chase after them.  The Jews had just reached a large sea and the army was getting closer.  The sea was too big to swim across and they were scared of the army and did not know what to do!  They prayed to G-d, and a miracle occurred. The sea opened up and a dry, sandy path was in front of them.

The Jewish people ran across.  Just as they reached the other side, the water came rushing in and closed the path.  The army could not reach them and the Jews were free.

Today, during Passover, we eat special foods, sing songs, and participate in a Seder.  A seder is a special meal designed to help us remember the miraculous Journey from slavery to freedom.  Children are the most important people at the seder.  In fact, the youngest child gets to ask the “Four Questions” and for the rest of the evening, grownups and older children retell the story of the first Passover to answer those questions.

We also pay more attention to those who may not have as much food as we do or may be living in slave-like conditions.  We try to help them and make our world a better place for everyone.