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Passover, or Pesach, is an annual festival, which falls on the 14th of Nissan, the first month of the Hebrew calendar. It commemorates the night that the firstborn sons of Israel were spared from death and the subsequent freedom from slavery and exodus from Egypt. It also commemorates the sacrifice of Yehoshua, our passover lamb. As he said, "This do in remembrance of me."
Passover also marks the beginning of the feast of unleavened bread, which lasts for the next week. During the feast of unleavened bread, only unleavened bread, or matzah, may be allowed in one's house. Therefore, before Passover begins, all leavened bread products must be searched out and removed. Hence the tradition of "Spring Cleaning."
Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1 Corinthians 5:7-8
Reader 3/Candle Lighter:
Traditionally, the eldest woman of the household begins the Pasover seder by lighting the two candles. She waves her hands over the flames 3 times, bringing the light to her face, in remembrance of Moses' desire to see God's glory. Then she covers her eyes, as Moses was hid from the face of God in the rock, and recites the blessing with those gathered.
All: Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us by Your commandments, and commanded us to be a light to the nations, and gave us Yehoshua our messiah, the Passover lamb.
.ברוך אתה אלהנו מלך העולם, אשר כדשנו במצותיו, וצונו להדליק נר של (שבת ושל) יום תוב
Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech haolam, asher kidd'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivvanu l'hadlik ner shel (shabbat v'shel) yom tov.
We thank you God, for Your rules that make us special and for asking us to light the (Sabbath and) festival candles.
Pour the first gla ss of wine or grape juice (don't drink yet!)
Over the course of the Seder we drink 4 cups of wine. This is traditionally done to commemorate the four promises G-d made to the people of Israel in Exodus 6:7-6; 1. “I will take you out…” 2. “I will save you…” 3. “I will redeem you…” 4. “I will take you as a nation…”.
It is the third cup of which it is recorded that our Messiah Yehoshua “took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves:
“For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come.” (Luke 22:17–18.)
We begin with the first cup, the Cup of Sanctification, representing God's promise to take the Israelites out of Eygpt.
Baruch atah Adonai, Elohenu Melech haolam, borei p'ri hagafen.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higianu laz’man hazeh.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, for giving us life, for sustaining us, and for enabling us to reach this season.
Drink the first glass of wine or grape juice!
Pass a bowl of water, a small cup and a towel around the table. Everyone pours three cupfuls over their fingers. There is no blessing over this washing.
Parsley, or Karpas
All: As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive. Genesis 50:20
We know God makes all things work together for good for those who love Him…. Romans 8:28
Host: The word karpas, meaning a fine linen, is an appropriate introduction to the events recounted in the Haggadah. It is symbolic of Joseph’s sale into slavery, the act which began the migration to Egypt.
Our patriarch Jacob gave his son Joseph a colorful striped garment inciting envy in his other sons. In angry reaction to their father's shameful favoritism, the brothers stripped the striped garment, threw Joseph into a pit, then sold him for a slave’s ransom to a passing Ishmaelite caravan. They dipped the garment into animal blood and brought it to their father for identification. Knowing Jacob would recognize the garment, they counted on his conclusion that his beloved son had been destroyed by a wild animal. (Gen. 37:31-36).
All: In the same way, Yeshua was beloved of the Father, hated by His brothers, stripped of His garment, and sold for the price of a slave, yet He repaid evil with good. Thus we see Joseph as a foreshadow of the Messiah of Israel.
Host: Today most simply regard the green karpas as a symbol of new life in spring. Fitting as well since all life is created and sustained by Elohim. Wonderfully, through Messiah’s atonement, we can have new life.
All: If anyone is in Messiah, he is a new creation…... (2 Cor 5:17).
Host: (Raise salt water) Life in Egypt for Israel became one of enslavement, pain, suffering, and tears, represented in this salty water. Let us take a piece of the bitter vegetable, dip it, and remember that sometimes life is immersed in tears.
ALL: So also our Messiah came to bear our griefs from sin. “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” (Isaiah 53:3, 4, Matthew 27-21-23).
Baruch atah Adonai Elohaynu Melech ha’olam borey por-ree ha’adamah.
Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the earth.
The green vegetable represents a new life. Israel was coming out of 400 years of bondage. The salt water symbolizes the bitter tears which were shed during the 400 years of slavery and bondage. The task masters demanded more and more. What started as a kind gesture to Joseph and his family became a horrible nightmare.
Joseph was sold into slavery by his brothers. When they came to get help in a famine, Joseph could not help but to weep bitterly from a broken heart. Through provision from G_d, through Joseph, Israel became a great nation. What makes this day difference from all the rest? It took a slain lamb's blood to protect G_d's people from death.
Today we celebrate that slain Lamb, Yeshua Messiah, who takes away the sin of the world. We celebrate the born-again experience, yet knowing we will enter into His sufferings because He was hated by the world.
Our God and God of our ancestors, help those who are fleeing persecution today, as our ancestors did thousands of years ago. Show loving kindness and compassion to those hemmed in by misery and captivity, to those who take to the open seas or traverse treacherous landscapes seeking freedom and liberty. Rescue and recover them -- deliver them from gorge to meadow, from darkness to light. Inspire us to act on behalf of those we do not know, on behalf of those we may never meet because we know the heart of the stranger. We, too, ate the bread of affliction whose taste still lingers. And so, dear God inspire us to pursue righteousness for those who seek the freedom we enjoy tonight. Do it speedily and in our days, and let us say: Amen.
Host: These three matzot are wrapped together for Passover. Rabbis call these three a unity, or echad. Some consider it a unity of the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We who know Messiah see in this symbol the unique tri-unity of our God: Father, Son, Holy Spirit. In the matzah, we see a picture of Messiah. See how it is striped.
All: “But He was wounded for our crimes, crushed because of our sin; the chastening which makes us whole fell upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).
Host: See how it is pierced.
All: My enemies surround me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on me. They have pierced my hands and feet. (Psalm 22:16)
But He was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. (Isaiah 53:5, I Corinthians 15:3, I Peter 2:24)
Host: (Removing and breaking the middle matzah).
Just as the middle piece is broken, Messiah was afflicted and broken. One half is now called the afikomen or the “coming One.” It is wrapped in a white cloth just as Messiah’s body was wrapped for burial. The afikomen will now be hidden in a special place. Yeshua’s body was placed in a tomb, hidden for a time. But just as the afikomen will return to complete our seder, so the sinless Messiah Who rose from the dead and ascended into heaven will return soon to complete His plan of redemption.
All: For these things took place in order that Scripture might be fulfilled: ….they will look on Him whom they have pierced and they shall mourn for Him…and weep bitterly over Him….” (Zechariah 12:10, John 19:34-37)
For our sake God made Him Who knew no sin to be a sin offering on our behalf in order that we may become the righteousness of God in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:21
No sin, no leaven, no yeast - yet He Rises perfectly!
Raise the tray with the matzot and say:
הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְּאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם. כָּל דִכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכֹל, כָּל דִצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח. הָשַׁתָּא הָכָא, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּאַרְעָא דְיִשְׂרָאֵל. הָשַׁתָּא עַבְדֵי, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין.
Ha lachma anya dee achalu avhatana b'ara d'meetzrayeem. Kol deechfeen yeitei v'yeichol, kol deetzreech yeitei v'yeefsach. Hashata hacha, l'shanah haba-ah b'ara d'yisra-el. Hashata avdei, l'shanah haba-ah b'nei choreen.
This is the bread of affliction, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need, come and share the Pesach meal. This year, we are here. Next year, in the land of Israel. This year, we are slaves. Next year, we will be free.
Pour the second glass of wine for everyone, but don’t drink yet.
The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.
Questions are central to the Seder experience. In fact, questions are central to the Jewish view of religion. Jewish law and thought have always allowed, even welcomed, questions. In the process of questioning, new knowledge and new understandings emerge. Questioning is also a sign of freedom. Slaves don’t ask questions. To ask a question is to demonstrate one’s freedom to explore, indeed, to question the symbols, rituals, and philosophies of the Seder experience.
(The Four questions begin)
According to the Torah, we cannot partake of the meal until we have retold the story of our redemption, to our children. To help start the story a child (traditionally the youngest) asks the "Four Questions" about this special evening:
Mah Nish-ta-nah Ha_lai-lah Ha-zeh Mik-ol Ha_lei-lot?
How is this night different from all other nights?
Consider this opening question as the central message, in regards to the purpose of our Passover Seder.
She-be-khol Ha-lei-lot A-nu Okh-lin Cha-metz U-metz-ah Ha-lai-lah Ha-zeh Ku-lo Matz-ah?
Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzah, but on this night we eat only matzah?
She-be-khol Ha-lei-lot A-nu Okh-lin She-ar Ye-ra-kkot Ha-lai-lah Ha-zeh Ma-ror?
Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?
She-be-khol Ha-lei-lot Ein A-nu Mat-bi-lin A-fi-lu Pa-am E-chat Ha-lai-lah Ha-zeh She-tei Fe-a-mim?
Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
She-be-khol Ha-lei-lot A-nu Okh-lin Bein Yosh-vin U-vein Mi-su-bin Ha-lai-lah Ha-zeh Ku-la-nu Me-su-bin?
Why is it that on all other nights we eat sitting, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?
The Four Answers
Matzah unleavened bread
1. On all other nights we eat leavened bread, but on Passover we eat only Matzah.
As the people of Israel fled from Egypt, they did not have time for their dough to rise. Instead, the hot desert sun baked it flat. But even more than that, the scriptures teach us that leaven symbolizes sin.
Don’t you know the saying, “It takes only a little khametz to leaven a whole batch of dough”? Get rid of the old khametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the Seder not with leftover khametz, the khametz of wickedness and evil, but with the Matzah of purity and truth.
(First Corinthians 5:6-8)
(Raising the matzot, the leader declares)
"This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are needy come and celebrate the Passover. At present we are here; next year may we celebrate it together in Israel."
2. Tonight, We Recline -
- In the Middle East, the style of dining was to recline on one's left side, around a U-shaped table, feet pointing outward. But the people of Israel could not do that since they were instructed:
- Today, we can all recline (relax) and eat the Passover in the leisure of free people. For ceremonial fulfillment of this precept, the leader is provided with a pillow.
And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the L-rd . . . And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, "We shall all be dead." So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.
(Shemot/Exodus 12:11-12, 33-34)
3. We Dip Twice
We have already dipped the parsley into the salt water, that symbolizes new life emerging from the tears of Egypt. Later, we will dip Matzah into the bitter herbs and kharoset, which speak of the sweetness of redemption in overcoming the bitterness of our lives.
4. The Maror, Bitter Herbs
We read in Shemot/Exodus 1:12-14,
The Egyptians came to dread the Israelites, and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields."
The maror reminds us of the bitterness of slavery, and the pain of life without a relationship with the living G-d, in the bitterness of slavery to sin and selfishness.
(Participant) As we tell the story, we think about it from all angles. Our tradition speaks of four different types of children who might react differently to the Passover seder. It is our job to make our story accessible to all the members of our community, so we think about how we might best reach each type of child.
(Participant) The wise child asks, What are the laws that God commanded us?
This child understands that God has given us commandments that define how we live our lives. To this child we teach him or her to find meaning in today's world.
(Participant) The wicked child asks, What does this all mean to you?
This child takes himself out of the community. To this child we say, “It is because of what God did for us in taking us out of Egypt.”
(Participant) The simple child asks, What is this?
This child does not understand the meaning of Passover. To this child we say, “With a strong hand God took us out of Egypt, where we were slaves.”
(Participant) What about the child who doesn't know how to ask a question?
To this child we tell the story of Passover, in the hopes that one day he or she will find their voice.
Each new generation of Israelites, since the days of Joseph and his brothers, had multiplied greatly in the Narrow Places so that the land was filled with them.
A new Pharoah came to power there. “Look,” Pharoah said to his courtiers, “there are too many Israelites among us. We must deal shrewdly with them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks out, will join our enemies to fight against us.” So Pharoah put slave masters over the Israelites to oppress them with forced labor.
Pharoah said to two Hebrew midwives, Shiphrah and Puah, “When you are helping the Hebrew women during childbirth on the delivery stool, if you see that the baby is a boy, kill him.” The midwives, however, feared God and did not do what Pharoah told them to do; they let the boys live. God was kind to the midwives and the Israelite people continued to become even more numerous.
A Levite woman, Jochebed, gave birth to a son. She hid him for three months until she could do so no longer. With her daughter Miriam's help, Jochebed placed the baby boy in a papyrus basket in the Nile River. When Pharaoh’s daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, she saw the basket among the reeds. She opened it, saw the baby was crying, and felt sorry for him. Pharoah's daughter named him Moses, saying, “I drew him out of the water.”
After Moses grew up, he went out to where his own people were and watched them at their hard labor. He saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew; seeing no one else around, he killed the Egyptian and hid the body in the sand. When Pharaoh heard of this, he tried to kill Moses. Moses fled from Pharaoh and went to live in Midian for a long time.
During that long period, Pharoah died but the slavery continued. The Israelites groaned in their slavery and cried out to God. God heard their groaning and remembered the covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.
One day, Moses was shepherding flocks in the wilderness near Mt Horeb, when an angel of God appeared in fiery flames within a bush. Moses saw the bush was on fire but that it did not burn up. God called to Moses from within the bush and said, “I have seen the misery of my people in the Narrow Places. I have come down to rescue them and to bring them up into a land flowing with milk and honey. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people, the Israelites, out of there.”
Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of the Narrow Places?”
And God said, “I will be with you.”
Then Moses said to God, “So I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your ancestors has sent me to you,’ and they ask, ‘What's his name?’ What shall I tell them?”
And God said, “ I am who I am. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: I am has sent me to you.’”
Then Moses said to God, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me?”
And God said, “Throw your staff on the ground.” It became a snake. God encouraged Moses to reach out and take hold of the snake's tail. It turned back into a staff in his hand.
And God said, “Put your hand inside your cloak.” So Moses put his hand into his cloak, and when he took it out, the skin was leprous. Moses put his hand back into his cloak, and when he took it out again, it was restored.
And God said, “If they do not believe you or pay attention to the first sign, they may believe the second. And if they do not believe these two signs, pour some Nile river-water on the dry ground - it will become blood.”
Then Moses said to God, “But I have never been eloquent - I am slow of speech and tongue.”
And God said, “Who gave human beings their mouths? I will help you speak and will teach you what to say.”
Then Moses said, “Please send someone else.”
And God said, “What about your brother, Aaron? I know he can speak well. You shall speak to him, he will speak to the people for you, and I will help you both speak."
Moses returned to the Narrow Places. He, his brother Aaron, and his sister Miriam brought together all the elders of the Israelites. Aaron told them everything God had said to Moses, performing the signs before the people. When the Israelites understood that God had seen and heard their misery, they bowed down and worshiped God.
Moses and Aaron went to the new Pharoah and said, "The God of Israel says: 'Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness." Pharoah replied, "Who is this God that I should obey and let Israel go? I don't know him and I won't let them go. It seems these people are lazy, so I will no longer have the slave masters supply them straw for bricks." The Israelites, in turn, found fault in Moses and Aaron for this extra burden.
Then Moses said to God, "Why have you brought more trouble on this people? Is this why you sent me? You have not rescued your people at all."
And God said, "Now you will see what I will do to Pharoah: because of my mighty hand, he will let them go and he will even drive them out of the country."
Moses and Aaron returned to Pharoah as God advised. Aaron threw down his staff in front of Pharoah and his courtiers. The staff became a snake. Unimpressed, Pharoah's court magicians threw down their staffs which also became snakes. Aaron's snake ate their snakes, but Pharoah was not moved to let the Israelites go.
And God said to Moses, "Go down with Aaron to meet Pharoah by the Nile tomorrow morning. Tell Pharoah that the God of the Hebrews has sent me to say to you: 'Let my people go so that they will worship me in the wilderness.' Then strike the waters of the Nile with the staff so that Pharoah knows who God is. But Pharoah's heart will be hardened, so I have a few other ideas in store for him. . . . "
As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering, for we are all human beings made in the image of God.
This year, the term plague hits close to home as we attempt to celebrate amidst an active, festering pandemic.
In all other years, we recite each plague as we dip a finger into our wine glasses and pour out a drop. This year, let us pour our drops of wine for those who have been risking their lives at this very moment so that we can be here. We were indeed freed from an evil "Pharaoh" in Washington, but at much sacrifice and cost.
For the doctors, nurses, volunteers and healthcare workers.
For the epidemiologists, biochemists, lab technicians and pharmacists.
For the deliver drivers, grocery store workers, restaurants, service workers and all those carrying out essential jobs.
For those who spoke up, even when they weren’t heard.
For those whose voices were silenced.
For those chastised or attacked for who they are.
For the people who lost their jobs.
For the people who lost their shelter.
For the people who lost their loved ones.
For the people who lost their lives.
Blood | dam | דָּם
Frogs | tzfardeiya | צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ
Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים
Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב
Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר
Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין
Hail | barad | בָּרָד
Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה
Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ
Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת
The tenth plague is where the Jewish holiday of Passover derives its name, because while the Angel of Death visited Egypt it "passed over" Israelite homes, which had been marked with lambs’ blood on the doorposts. It was this last plague that finally made Pharaoh decide to free the children of Israel from slavery.
All of Israel packed up their belongings and left Egypt. Again Pharaoh changed his mind and went after the Israelites. G-d sent a barricade of smoke and fire that blocked the Egyptians from gaining on Moses and his people. Then Moses parted the Red Sea and allowed the Israelites to pass through to the other side. The blockade retreated when the Jews were safely through the sea. Pharaoh and his men went after the crossing people and were drowned by the closing of the water. The Israelites were then freed from being enslaved in Egypt.
At this point, we pause and reflect on the events we have just witnessed. One plague after another, all on behalf of the Hebrew people—US! Hashem performed so many marvelous miracles just to rescue us from slavery and make us his own. This makes us consider...
Had He brought us out of Egypt, and not done to them the plagues...
It would have been enough! Dayeinu
Had He brought against them judgments, and not worked against their gods...
It would have been enough! Dayeinu
Had He worked against their gods, and not put to death their firstborn...
It would have been enough! Dayeinu
Had he put to death their firstborn, and not given us their riches...
It would have been enough! Dayeinu
We need G-d's works of salvation, but none of us can claim we have earned them by our merits. Yet HaShem gives us far more than we deserve. He brought us out of Egypt, punished the Egyptians; smote their gods, slew their firstborn; gave us their wealth, and split the Sea for us. He led us through the sea as on dry land, and sunk our foes in it; He sustained us in the desert for forty years, and fed us with the manna; He gave us the Sabbath, and brought us to Mount Sinai; He gave us the Torah, and brought us to Israel; He built the Temple for us, to atone for all our sins.
As followers of the Messiah, we add a further dayeinu, knowing that if G-d had only provided atonement through the death of the Messiah, it would have been more than we deserved. But He did even more.
He gives us, abundantly, His Spirit of love, joy, and peace. . .
Yeshua said, “I have come that you might have life, and have it in abundance.”
Ilu hotzi, hotzianu
Hotzianu miMitzrayim (2x)
Dai, dai, enu (3x)
Ilu natan natan lanu
Natan lanu et haShabbat (2x)
Ilu natan natan lanu
Natan lanu et haTorah (2x)
Ilu natan natan lanu
Natan lanu et Yeshua (2x) Dayenu.
We praise G-d, Ruler of Everything, who redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs. May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.
We praise G-d, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.
Drink the second glass of wine!
As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again wash our hands to prepare ourselves, this time with the blessing.
After you have poured the water over your hands, recite this short blessing.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.
We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to wash our hands.
Take the three matzot - the broken piece between the two whole ones – and hold them in your hand and recite the following blessing:
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.
Before eating the matzah, put the bottom matzah back in its place and continue, reciting the following blessing while holding only the top and middle piece of matzah.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al achilat matzah.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has taught us the way of holiness through commandments, commanding us to eat matzah.
Of this matza our Messiah Yehoshua may have referred to when he said, "Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me." 1 Corinthians 11:24
As we take, this, the bread of affliction, we remember how you, Yehoshua our Messiah, were afflicted.
He drew near and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter; and as an ewe before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth. Isaiah 53:7
Break the top and middle matzot into pieces and distribute them everyone at the table to eat while, if possible, reclining to the left.
We eat the Maror, or bitter herbs, to remind ourselves that the Egyptians embittered the lives of our people. As we read: “And they made their lives bitter with hard labor at mortar and brick and in all sorts of drudgery in the field; and they ruthlessly imposed all the tasks upon them.”
ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְיַָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.
Blessed are you, Adonai our God, ruler of the universe, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat bitter herbs.
The Passover Lamb
All: “The blood will serve you as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over you.” – Exodus 12:13
Behold, the Lamb of Adonai! Yochanan 1:29
Host: Rabbi Gamaliel, Head of the Sanhedrin near the end of the Second Temple Period and teacher of Rabbi Sha’ul (Paul, the Apostle), taught the telling of the Passover story was not complete unless the leader and guests discussed three symbols of Passover during the seder: the unleavened bread, the bitter herbs, and the Passover Lamb.
We have eaten the matzah reminding us of the haste with which the believing multitude fled Egypt. We have tasted the bitter herbs to remind us of the bitter slavery experienced there.
( Lifting the shank-bone of the lamb).
This roasted lamb shank-bone, or zeroa, is a symbol of “the arm of the Lord” (Isaiah 53:1). God said He would deliver Israel by “His mighty arm.” It also reminds us of all the slain lambs whose blood stained the lintels of doors those who trusted God for deliverance on that first Passover. Just as ADONAI spared the houses of our ancestors from death, Messiah, the Lamb of God, will soon destroy the power of death over us.
Reader 1: “… on the tenth day of the month Nisan, each man is to take a lamb for his family, one per household – your animals must be without defect….
“You are to keep it until the fourteenth day of the month, and the entire assembly of the community of Israel will it slaughter it at dusk.
“They are to take some of the blood and smear it on the two sides and top of the door-frame at the entrance of the house in which they eat it.” (Exodus 12:3, 5-7)
Reader 2: “Here is how you are to eat it: with your belt fastened, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your hand; and you are to eat it hurriedly. It is Adonai’s Passover.
“The blood will serve as a sign marking the houses where you are; when I see the blood, I will pass over you – when I strike the land of Egypt, the death blow will not strike you.” (Exodus 12:8, 11, 13)
Reader 3: During the first century, the Paschal lamb was chosen by the High Priest (Kohen HaGadol) outside Jerusalem on the 10th of Nisan. The High Priest would lead the lamb into the city while crowds of worshippers lined the streets waving palm branches and singing the Hallel (Psalm 118).
It was on this day Yeshua entered Jerusalem probably right behind the High Priest's processional. (Zechariah 9:9, Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 9)
The Kohen HaGadol would then take the lamb into the temple courtyard, where it would be tied in public view to be inspected for any imperfection.
- For this reason, Yeshua came and sat in the temple courtyard – to be inspected by the scribes and teachers of the Torah - in order to find fault - yet they could find none. Matthew (chapters 21,22,23), Mark (chapters 11, 12), and Luke (chapter 20)
His final inspection was by Pilate who saw He was innocent and tried to convince the crowd to demand His release. Washing his hands to signify he had no responsibility in the matter, he released the guilty murderer, Bar-abbas and condemned the innocent Yeshua. Removed son of Father.
Host: Redemption through the Passover Lamb was national as well as personal. Even now salvation must be a personal event. In Exodus 12:3 the commandment is to take a lamb. Before we come to know God, He is just one god among many. Next, God instructs to take the lamb. (Exodus 12:4). It is at this point, we recognize He is the One true God. In the next part of the verse, God specifies, to take your lamb. Each soul must appropriate the lamb for himself. We look to Galatians 2:20 to apply this truth: “the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by faith in the Son of God Who loved me and gave Himself for me. ”
In the Messianic Writings (New Testament), Yeshua is referred to as the Lamb of God more than 30 times. Faith and trust in the sacrifice of God’s Lamb cause a person or a nation to belong to God. Moses designates the multitude who left Egypt as the “hosts of the Lord,” not the hosts of Israel. (Exodus 12). Redeemed by the Passover Lamb’s blood, they all truly belong to God.
All: But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Messiah even when we were dead in transgressions. It is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:4,5).
Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ
When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the most significant ritual was eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more, we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the matzah and bitter herbs.
Charoset is the only element of the Seder plate that is not mentioned in the Torah; it is from the Talmud, where the link between charoset and mortar is established. We will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.
Our meal begins with the eating of a hard-boiled egg dipped in the salt water. The salt water symbolizes the tears of the Jewish people during their enslavement. The hard-boiled egg symbolizes Spring and the renewal of life. The egg also reminds us of the Jewish midwives who refused to carry out the Pharaoh's order to kill the male babies and thus ensured the survival of the Jewish people.
We are now ready to answer the very important "fifth question" of the Seder: "When do we eat?!"
This concludes the first part of the Seder, we will eat dinner and continue after the meal is completed. There is a custom to eat the beitzah (egg) dipped in salt water at the start of the Passover meal. Before we eat dinner we will recite the Passover blessing:
Ba-rukh At-tah Ado-nai, Elo-hei-nu Me-lekh Ha'olam, asher Kide-sha-nu Be-mitz-votav Vetzi-va-nu Al Ach-ilat Pe-sach.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to eat the Pesach.
It's time to let the children search for the Afikomen that was hidden earlier in the Seder. When its found we will all partake of the Afikomen, the middle matzah that represents the body of our Messiah. Now as they were eating, Yeshua took matzah, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take, eat; this is my body.”– Matt. 26:26.
Yeshua told us that He was the Bread of Life, the nourishment of our life and sustenance:
anokhi lechem chayim ha’yoreid min ha’shamayim
“I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh”- John 6:51
This broken piece of matzah recalls the broken heart of Yeshua as he suffered and died as our sin offering upon the altar of the cross. It remembers how our great King was mocked and unjustly flogged; it evokes his agonizing cries as he hung dying on the cross: “Father forgive them...” “I thirst...” “My God, my God – why have You forsaken me?” “It is finished.” Yeshua our Wounded Healer, who bled out His life so we might live; who took upon himself the plague of death so that we would be passed over. “For our sake God made Yeshua to be sin who knew no sin, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” Yeshua gave up His body to be wounded, broken, and killed so that you could have healing, wholeness and life with God forevermore.
Let us thank the LORD our God for the sacrifice of Yeshua’s body that was broken for us:
Barukh attah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam ha’motzi lechem emet min ha’shamayim.
Blessed art Thou, LORD our God, King of the universe, who brings forth the True Bread from Heaven.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַזָּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בְּטוּבוֹ בְּחֵן בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים הוּא נוֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָנוּ וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל כִּי הוּא אֵל זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס לַכֹּל וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וּמֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל בְּרִיּוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hazan et ha-olam kulo b’tuvo, b’chein b’chesed uv-rachamim, hu noten lechem l’chol basar, ki l’olam chasdo, uv-tuvo hagadol, tamid lo chasar lanu v’al yechsar lanu mazon l’olam va’ed. Ba-avur sh’mo hagadol, ki hu Eil zan um’farneis lakol, u-meitiv lakol u-meichin mazon l’chol-b’riyotav asher bara. Baruch atah Adonai, hazan et hakol.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who nourishes the whole world. Your kindness endures forever. May we never be in want of sustenance. God sustains us all, doing good to all, and providing food for all creation. Praised are you, Adonai, who sustains all.
We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.
In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of G-d to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven. Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah by pouring an extra cup for him.
As believers in Yeshua, Elijah's cup means something special for us. We will now take turns reading Matthew 17: 1-13.
Reader 1: After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. 2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. 3 Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus.
Reader 2: 4 Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!”
Reader 3: 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. 7 But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” 8 When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.
Reader 4: 9 As they were coming down the mountain, Jesus instructed them, “Don’t tell anyone what you have seen, until the Son of Man has been raised from the dead.”10 The disciples asked him, “Why then do the teachers of the law say that Elijah must come first?”
Reader 5: 11 Jesus replied, “To be sure, Elijah comes and will restore all things.12 But I tell you, Elijah has already come, and they did not recognize him, but have done to him everything they wished. In the same way the Son of Man is going to suffer at their hands.” 13 Then the disciples understood that he was talking to them about John the Baptist.
While many Jews spend this part of the Seder looking forward to a future Messiah, we celebrate a Messiah who has already come and will one day return. Let us bless the cup of Elijah.
Barukh atah Adonai, Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, borei pri ha'gafen
We have now come to the end of our Seder. Traditionally, the Seder is completed with the phrase, "Next year in Jerusalem!" For hundreds of years, this expressed the hope of Jews in the diaspora of returning to the city of Jerusalem. Although unable to return to their homeland, they looked forward to the day when they could once again celebrate Passover in the Holy City.
Today, visiting the physical city of Jerusalem during Passover is not very difficult for a Jewish person to do. However, Seders both inside and outside of Israel still end with "Next year in Jerusalem!" This statement has taken on a slightly different, less literal meaning. It speaks of a symbolic Jerusalem that represents a future of love, peace, and freedom for all people. Many Jews believe that this time will come with the arrival of the Messiah and the end to all evil on earth. The final statement of the Seder has therefore come to be considered a prayer for the Messiah to come within the next year.
As followers of Yeshua, we believe that the Messiah has come and we believe that the Messiah will come again. When we say the final phrase of the Seder together, let us reflect on the salvation and hope provided by Yeshua and how we can spread God's love, peace, and freedom to all people in the coming year. Let us also consider this a prayer for all who do not yet know the Messiah, that they will come to believe in Yeshua and rejoice in God's salvation.
לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם
L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim
NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!
Now that the Seder is officially, over, we wanted to have a time of open discussion. Feel free to ask any questions you still have about Passover, talk about parts of the Seder that stood out to you, or even just tell stories about Passover from your own life. It's completely up to you!