B. THE POST-EXILE PERIOD.—After the re turn of the Jews from the captivity, where they had been weaned from idolatry, the spiritual guides of Israel reorganised the whole religious and political life of the nation, and defined, modified, and ex panded every law and precept of the Mosaic code, so as to adapt them to the altered condition of the people. The celebration of the Passover, there fore, like that of all other institutions, became more regular and systematic during this period ; whilst the different colleges which were now established, and which were attended by numerous disciples [EDUCATION], have faithfully transmitted to us all the sundry laws, rites, manners and customs, con nected with this and all other festivals, which it was both impracticable and impossible to record in the limited space of the canonical books of the O. T. Hence it is that the manners and customs of this period, which were those of our Saviour and his apostles, and which are therefore of the utmost importance and interest to Christians, and to the understanding of the N. T., can be more easily ascertained, and more minutely described. Hence also the simple summary notice of the fact that the Israelites kept the Passover after their return from Babylon, contained in the canonical Scriptures (Ezra vi. 19-22), may be supplemented by the de tailed descriptions of the manner in which this fes tival was celebrated during the second Temple, given in the non-canonical documents. The various practices will be better understood and more easily followed if given in connection with the days of the festival on which they were respectively observed.
The Great Sabbath 61.-Dm nnty), ShabaM Ha Gaeta, is the Sabbath immediately preceding the Passover. It was regarded as and is called the great Sabbath in the calendar, because, according to tra dition, the tenth of the month on which the Lord commanded every head of a family to select the paschal sacrifice (Exod, xii. 3), happened to fall on the Sabbath : and though iti later legislation the animal was not required to be set aside four days beforehand, yet the Jewish canons determined that the Sabbath should be used to instruct the people in the duties of this great festival. Hence special prayers (nrvr) bearing on the redemption from Egypt, the love of God to Israel, and Israel's obli gations to keep the Passover, have been ordained for this Sabbath, in addition to the ordinary ritual. Mal. iii. I-1S ; iv. 1-6, was read as Alaphtir ('1nmn)=the lesson for the day [HAPHTARA], and discourses were delivered by the spiritual guides of the community explanatory of the laws and do mestic duties connected with the festival (Mr Oracle Chajim, sec. 430). Though the present synagogal ritual for this day is of a later date, yet there can be no doubt that this Sabbath was already distinguished as the great Sabbath (i-uri meydXn f7 .iikaparoi) craf3(3drou, John xix. 31) in the
time of the second Temple, and was used for pre paring the people for the ensuing festival.
13th of Nisan.— On the evening of the 13th, which, until that of the 14th, was called the pre paration for the Passover (ricm 7rapao-Ko.4) Tor, ?rdoXa, John xix. 14), every head of the family searched for and collected by the light of a candle all the leaven (lIfishna, Pesachnn, i. t). Before beginning the search he pronounced the following benediction :—` Blessed art thou, 0 Lord our God, King of the Universe, who hast sanctified us with thy commandments, and hast enjoined us to re move the leaven' (Talmud, Pesachim, 7 a ; Mai monides, lad .11a-Chezaka, Ifilehoth Clam= U. lllrza, iii. 6). After the search he said, What ever leaven remains in my possession which I cannot see, behold it is null, and accounted as the dust of the earth' (Maimonides, ibid.) What con stituted leaven will be understood when the ancient definition of unleavened bread is known. Accord ing to the Jewish canons, the command to eat un leavened bread (Exod. xiii. 6 ; xxiii. 15 ; xxxiv. 18 ; Lev. 6 ; Num. xxviii. 17 ; Deut. xvi. 3) is executed by making the cakes (111V0) which are to be eaten during the seven days of this festival of wheat, barley, spelt, oats, or rye (Mishna, Pesachinz, ii. 5). From these five kinds of grain onenn p1 which can be used for actual fermentation, the cakes are to be prepared before the dough begins to ferment ; anything else made from one of these five kinds of corn with water constitutes leaven, and must be removed from the house and destroyed. Other kinds of produce and prepara tions made therefrom do not constitute leaven, and may be eaten. Thus we are told, ' Nothing is prohibited on the Feast of Passover because of leaven except the five kinds of corn, viz., wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye. Leguminous plants, such as rice, millet, beans, lentils, and the like, in these there is no leaven ; and although the meal of rice or the like is kneaded with hot water and covered with cloths till it rises like leavened dough, yet it may be eaten, for this is not leaven but putrefaction. And even the five kinds of corn, if simply kneaded with the liquor of fruit, without water, are not accounted leaven. Though the dough thus made stands a whole day and rises yet it may be eaten, because the liquor of fruit does not engender fermentation but acidity. The fruit liquor, oil, wine, milk, honey, olive-oil, the juice of apples, of pomegranates, and the like, but no water, is to be in it, because•any admixture of water, how ever small, produces fermentation' (Maimonides, lad Ha-Chezaka Hilchoth Chanzez U.-Maza, v. I, 2).