In the Hebrew year 2018 (1742 BCE), God made a covenant with Abraham, granting him and his descendents the Land of Israel, as recorded in Genesis chapter 15. Abraham lived at a time of widespread idolatry and corruption, and took upon himself the mission of spreading ethical monotheism to the world. In response, God set aside the Land of Israel as a laboratory where Abraham's descendants could create a model society, "a light unto the nations." Unlike other nations who claim land because their army was able to conquer it from someone else, Israel's claim to the land is based on Divine authority. Appropriately, it was also on this date that the angels informed Abraham that a son (Isaac) would be born as his successor (Genesis 18:10).
On Nisan 15 in the Hebrew year 2448 (1312 BCE), the plague of the firstborn struck Egypt, and Pharaoh finally acceded to Moses' request to "Let my people go." That night, the Jews held the first Passover Seder, eating matzah, bitter herbs, and the Passover lamb. The next morning, 3 million Jews left in the Exodus from Egypt, in what is known as the "birth" of the Jewish nation. This event is commemorated each year on Passover, when families gather to eat matzah, recite the Haggadah, and thank God for sustaining our people till this day.