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In Parashat Bo (Exodus 10:1-13:16), we come to the conclusion of the cataclysmic Ten Plagues, and the beginning of Redemption. The Exodus from Egypt has been remembered and celebrated by Jews all over the the world for 3500 years. Although believers in Yeshua celebrated the Passover for hundreds of years after Yeshua appeared, open observance was eventually stamped out by Rome.

Today, the Passover Seder is being rediscovered by Christians as the true origin of the ‘Last Supper. In the Passover Seder, a text called the Haggadah (‘Telling’) is read recounting the events of the Exodus. Oneversion describes the spiritual condition of the Israelites prior to the Redemption

Tonight we have gathered to celebrate the Passover, the deliverance of Israel from slavery in Egypt some 3,500 years ago. At that time, our forefathers were given the instruction that our successive generations should commemorate these events as though they, personally, had been delivered from bondage.

We were told to speak of it as if we were the ones taken out of Egypt.

In days to come, when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' say to him, 'With a mighty hand the LORD brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

(Exodus 13:14)

And so, we gather together each year to remember the events of the first Passover, as well as to retell this aspect of Messiah's work in delivering his people from death. In order to make sure that nothing gets left out, the sages of Israel created a standard outline for telling this story. During our Passover Seder (which means “order of service”), we will read from a Haggadah (which means “the telling”).

This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.
(Shemot/Exodus 12:11)


As we progress through the seder, we will encounter four instances where we fill a cup with wine, pronounce a blessing, and drink from it. These serve as a broad outline for the events of the evening. There are two cups prior to the actual eating of our dinner, and then there are two cups after we eat. Remember when Yeshua “took the cup after supper”? That was the third cup of the four, which gives us a great deal of context for what was going on in the thoughts of those who participated in his seder.

Each cup has a name associated with it, based on a phrase from Shemot/Exodus 6:6,7. Let's read that pair of verses together, then we can easily see how the four cups got their names:

Therefore say to the children of Israel: “I am the LORD; I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, I will rescue you from their bondage, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. I will take you as My people, and I will be your God.

“Then you shall know that I am the LORD your God who brings you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

  • The Cup of Sanctification

    “I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians”

  • The Cup of Judgment or Deliverance

    “I will deliver you from slavery to them”

  • The Cup of Redemption

    “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm”

  • The Cup of Praise or Restoration

    “I will take you to be my people, and I will be your God”

I believe the 4 cups also represent the 4 Passovers we read in scripture

  1. Personal (Ex 12)

  2. Communal (Lev 23)

  3. Redemption Get rid of the old leaven, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Passover lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed.
    (1 Corinthians 5 7)

  4. And the last one we hear about happening in the world to come “I will not drink this again until I drink it with you in the world to come” (Matthew 26)

An so, as we work through these proceedings, let us keep in mind that there will be several things that come in groups of four—four cups, four questions, four sons, etc. Yeshua did and said almost, or all, these same things, and we can see that in the minimized versions of his final seder that we find in the Gospel accounts.

Rabbi Gamaliel (The teacher of Paul) used to say: Whoever does not explain these three things on passover does not discharge his duty, and these are they:
  • the passover-offering.
  • Unleavened bread, and
  • bitter herbs.
The passover-offering is [sacrificed] because the omnipresent passed over the houses of our fathers in egypt, as it is said, then ye shall say: it is the sacrifice of the lord's passover, for that he passed over etc. (Shemot/Exodus 12:27).
The unleavened bread is [eaten] because our fathers were redeemed from Egypt, as it is said, and they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought forth out of egypt etc. (Shemot/Exosua 12:39).
The bitter herb is [eaten] because the egyptians embittered the lives of our fathers in Egypt, as it is said, and they made their lives bitter etc. (Shemot/Exodus 1:14).
(Babylonian Talmud Pesachim 116a,b)
In every generation a man is bound to regard himself as though he personally had gone forth from Egypt, because it is said, and you shalt tell your son in that day, saying: it is because of that which the Lord did for me when i came forth out of Egypt (Shemot/Exodus 13:8). therefore it is our duty to thank, praise, laud, glorify, exalt, honour, bless, extol, and adore him who wrought all these miracles for our fathers and ourselves; he brought us forth from bondage into freedom, from sorrow into joy, from mourning into festivity, from darkness into great light, and from servitude into redemption.
Therefore let us say before him, “Hallelujah!”
(Babylonian Talmud Pesachim 116a,b)

Did you know that Paul commands us to keep the feast?

Your boasting is not good. Don’t you know that a little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough? Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Messiah, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Feast, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
(First Corinthians 5:6-8)
Source :

We begin with a woman, representing the lady of the house, lighting the Shabbat candles. This introduces a special sanctified space in time.

Brucha/Blessing before the lighting of the candles:

Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha'olam,
Asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu l'hadlich ner shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
Who has santified us in your commandments, and commanded us to kindle the festival lights.

Baruch atah Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha'olam,
Sheshalach et bin'echa y'chidecha, Yeshua HaMashiach, lih'yot or ha'olam, v'eseh hapesach shelanu l'ema'an nich'yeh bizechuto. Amen

Blessed are You, O Lord our God, King of the Universe,
Who has sent Your Son, Your only Son, Y'shua the Messiah, to be the light of the world and our Passover Lamb, that through him we might live. Amen.

Traditionally, we acknowledge that the wife and mother has a lot to do with setting the level of spirituality in the home. By encouraging the study of Torah and the meticulous performance of mitzvot, and through her nurturing presence, the woman transforms her home into a place of holiness, peace and tranquility. It is thus fitting that she be the one to bring the extra measure of light and holiness by lighting the Shabbat candles.

Numbers 6:24-26
The LORD bless you
And keep you;
The LORD make his face shine on you
And be gracious to you;
The LORD turn his face toward you
And give you peace.

Sanctification of the Day

First Cup
Cup of Santification

Baruch atah Ehlohaynoo melech ha-olam
Bo-ray pree hagafen
Blessed are you LORD our God, king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine

The Blessing of Shecheyanu is recited at this point...

Baruch atah Adonai Elo-heinu, melech ha'olam,
Shehecheyanu, v'kiyemanu, vehigiyanu laz'man ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe,
Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.
(Drink the first cup of wine for the evening, and refill it when done)

First Ritual Hand-Washing

Pour water from a cup once on each hand over a sink or basin without reciting a blessing, in preparation to eat the karpas/parsley dipped in salt water


Dipping Parsley

We dip the karpas in the salt water.

Nobody is really sure why. Some say it is like the hyssop used to spread blood on the doorposts. Some have explained the dipping of the Karpas to symbolize Joseph's tunic being dipped into blood by his brothers. Karpas is therefore done at the beginning of the seder, just as Joseph's tunic being dipped into blood began the Israelites' descent to Egypt. Indeed, the Greek word 'karpos' is very similar to the Hebrew word 'karpas' meaning fine linen.

Baruch ata adonai ehlohaynoo melech ha'olam,
Boray pree ha'adamah.

Blessed are you, LORD our God, king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the Earth

(Eat the karpas)


Sanctification of the Day

First Cup
Cup of Santification

Baruch atah Ehlohaynoo melech ha-olam
Bo-ray pree hagafen
Blessed are you LORD our God, king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine

The Blessing of Shecheyanu is recited at this point...

Baruch atah Adonai Elo-heinu, melech ha'olam,
Shehecheyanu, v'kiyemanu, vehigiyanu laz'man ha-zeh.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe,
Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this season.
(Drink the first cup of wine for the evening, and refill it when done)

Breaking of the Middle Matzah

Three matzot (plural for matzah) have been placed in a decorative holder, called a “matzotasche”. The middle matzah on the plate is removed and broken in half. One half is put back with the stack; the other half is placed in a napkin (or special holder) and designated the Afikomen (the dessert) and put aside. It is traditional in some homes to hide the afikomen now for children to find before it is eaten after the meal, or for children to “steal” the Afikomen and “hold it ransom.

Notice how the Matzah is made without leaven. As it is prepared, the bread is striped and pierced. Now, we take it out, break it, and hide it away for a time. It will return at the end. This is important to us, and we will see why later on in the evening.

Maggid - Beginning

Telling of the Story

Passover was instituted by G-d particularly for the children, with many elements designed to pique their curiosity. There are at least 4 references to the questions asked by children about Passover and the Exodus from Egypt (Shemot/Exodus 12:26; 13:8,14; Devarim/Deuteronomy 6:20). These scriptures serve as the basis for the following questions, which provide our reason for for telling the story of deliverance. That's why the youngest child in the room who is able to say them, is invited to chant the following four questions.

Actually, these are not so much questions as observations with an opening question that makes the whole thing into one big question. We introduce the four questions by reading together...

There arose in Egypt a Pharaoh who knew not of the good deeds that Joseph had done for that country. Thus he enslaved the Jews and made their lives harsh through servitude and humiliation. This is the basis for the Passover holiday which we commemorate with these different rituals tonight.
-- Four Questions

The Four Questions (second cup of wine is poured)

      1. Why is this night different from all other nights?

        On all other nights we eat leaven and Matzah.
        Tonight, why do we eat only Matzah?

      2. On all other nights we eat any kind of herbs.
        Tonight, we only eat bitter herbs (no sweet corn).

      3. On all other nights we do not even dip even once.
        Tonight, we dip the greens twice.

      4. On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining (in any position we desire).
        Tonight, we all recline (a posture of rest).

-- Four Children

The Four Answers

      1. Matzah unleavened bread

        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)

      1. 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 Isarel.
      2. 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.

      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. 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.      

        1. 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)
-- Exodus Story

Once Upon a Time...

The story of Passover is a story of miracles, of redemption, and of the mighty power of G-d to overcome evil. The L-rd had promised the land of Israel to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. But their children were in Egypt, enslaved by a Pharaoh who had feared that these numerous foreigners would join with his enemies and turn against him! His solution was to control them by imposing harsh and bitter slavery upon them. Still, G-d blessed His people in strength and number.

Pharaoh grew more frightened and ordered every Israelite baby boy to be drowned in the Nile River. One Israelite couple hid their little boy for three months until finally, entrusting his future to G-d, they set him in a basket and placed him on the river. His sister, Miriam, watched as he floated away downstream. Finding the basket, Pharaoh's daughter took pity on the child and chose to raise him as her own son. She called him “Moshe”, meaning, "drawn out” from the water.

Moshe grew up and became aware of the anguished slavery of his people. One day, in a rage, he killed an Egyptian who was beating a Hebrew slave. Fleeing the palace and the eye of Pharaoh, Moshe found refuge in the land of Midian, far from the cries of his suffering brothers, finding employment as a shepherd.

Adonai saw the affliction of the children of Israel and heard their groaning. He remembered his promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and raised up a deliverer to lead them out of bondage. It was then that he appeared to Moshe in the midst of a thorn bush that burned with fire, yet was not consumed. Moshe drew close and listened as G-d commissioned him to go to Pharaoh.

Fearful and reluctant still, Moshe agreed to bring G-d's message to the king of Egypt, "Let My people go!"

Pharaoh resisted Moshe's message, as G-d had forewarned him. G-d sent plagues upon the very objects the Egyptians worshiped, yet Pharaoh would not relent until the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn.

-- Ten Plagues

We rejoice at the deliverance of the people of Israel, yet we are warned in scripture:

As each plague is named, remove a drop of wine from your cup, symbolically expressing a diminishing of the joy of our victory at the price of the Egyptians’ suffering. These are the ten plagues the Holy One, blessed be He, brought upon the Egyptians in Egypt, namely:

  1. Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, And do not let your heart be glad when he stumbles; lest Adonai sees it, and it displease Him, and He turn away His wrath from him.

    (Mishlei/Proverbs 24:17-18)

      1. Blood
        Aaron strikes the Nile, the waters turn to blood.

      2. Frogs
        Swarms of frogs overrun the land.

      3. Lice
        Lice infest all men and beasts.

        Still, Pharaoh remains stubborn.

      4. Wild Beasts
        Hordes of wild animals invade the cities.

      5. Pestilence, Cattle Murrain
        A pestilence kills the domestic animals.

      6. Boils
        Painful boils afflict the Egyptians.

      7. Hail
        Fire and ice combined to descend from the skies as a devastating hail.

        Still, "the heart of Pharaoh was hardened and he would not let the children of Israel go; as G-d had said to Moses.”

        The people of Egypt had suffered too much. They begged Pharaoh to let the Jews go. When Moses came to warn Pharaoh of the eighth plague, they had the following dialog:

        Pharaoh said: “You say that you want to go serve your G-d? I'll let the men go, as long as the women and children stay behind.”

        “No,” said Moses. “We must all go, men women and children, cattle and herds.”

        Pharaoh once again refused.

        The next plagues descends upon Egypt.

      8. Locusts
        A swarm of locusts devoured all the crops and greenery;

      9. Darkness
        A thick, palpable darkness enveloped the land, we are told it was the kind of darkness that could not only be seen but also felt

        At this point, the Israelites were instructed to bring a "Passover offering" to G-d: a lamb or kid is to be slaughtered and its blood sprinkled on the doorposts and lintel of every Israelite home, so that G-d should pass over these homes when He came to kill the Egyptian firstborn. The roasted meat of the offering is to be eaten that night together with matzah (unleavened bread) and bitter herbs.

        Then G-d brought the tenth plague upon Egypt,

      10. Death of the Firstborn
        All the firstborn of Egypt were killed at the stroke of midnight of the 15th of the month ofNissan.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu


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. . .   

  1. Yeshua said, “I have come that you might have life, and have it in abundance.”

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Cup of Judgement

At this point, we say the blessing over the second cup of wine, which we see as symbolizing Hashem's judgment upon the Egyptian oppressors.

And we drink the second cup.

  1. Baruch atah Eh-lo-ha-noo melech ha-olam
    Bo-ray pree ha-gafen

    Blessed are you LORD our God, king of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine


Second Ritual Handwashing Rachtzah

Pour water from a cup once on each hand over a sink or basin, this time with a blessing, to prepare for the eating of the matzah.

Recite this blessing after washing hands:

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam
Asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al nitilat yadayim.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe,
Who has sanctified us in His commandments and commanded us to wash our hands.

Blessing before the Seder Meal

[Leader raises a slice of matzah and says:]

Why do we eat matzah on this night? It is because the King of Kings, the Holy One, revealed Himself to our fathers and redeemed them before their dough had time to ferment, as it is written:

They baked the dough which they had brought out of Egypt into unleavened cakes; for they were driven out of Egypt and could not delay, nor had they prepared any provision for their journey.

(Shemot/Exodus 12:39)

In the New Testament, a symbolic meaning for leaven is given. Leaven is a picture of the sin nature that permeates, perverts, and inflates our human nature.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheiynu melech ha'olam,
Hamotzi lechem ha'arets.

Blessed are you Lord our God king of the universe
Who brings forth bread from the earth.

A specific blessing for matzah only said on Seder night is now said:

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha'olam,
Asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe,
Who has sanctified us in His commandments and commanded us to eat matzah.

[The matzah is passed among the Seder participants and eaten. The serving can be supplemented by extra pieces of matzah.]


The Eating of Bitter Herbs

A blessing is said over maror (bitter herbs—usually red or white horseradish).

[One raises the maror and says:]

Why do we eat this bitter herb?

It is because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our fathers in Egypt, as it is written:

They made life bitter for them with hard labor, with clay and bricks, and with all kinds of labor in the field; the work tasks they performed were backbreaking.

The maror also speaks of the bitterness of sin and its consequences, and the pain of those without a relationship with G-d.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eh-lo-hay-noo meh-lekh ha-olam,
Asher kidshanu b'mitsvotav v'tsivanu al akhilat maror.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe,
Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to eat bitter herbs.

[Dip a piece of matzah in the horseradish, and eat]


Maror and Charoset Sandwich

[Raise the charoset and say:]

The charoset represents the bricks and mortar made in slavery.

Maror, Charoset, and Matzah sandwich:

To remind us of the Temple, we do as Hillel did in Temple times. He combined Matzah and maror in a sandwich and ate them together, to fulfill what is written in the Torah:

They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs."

Question: Why would something sweet be used to represent mortar during slavery?
Answer: Without the oppression the people wouldn't have walked out of Egypt.

[Invite conversation about hitting rock bottom as the catalyst for moving upward.]

[At this point, dip a piece of matzah in both the bitter herbs (horseradish) and the sweet charoset, and eat.]

Shulchan Oreich

Spread Table

Now, we all enjoy a wonderful meal together! Set aside your haggadot, and prepare to feast on matzoh ball soup, brisket and/or chicken, and tzimmes.

[Make sure the children find the afikomen while everyone eats!]


Afikomen, Desert Matzah

[The leader calls for the afikomen, and redeems it with a gift, such as chocolate gelt.]

Like the four questions, we now ask another question of our own.

Why do we go through this little ritual of hiding and redemption?

Afikomen means, “I have come.”

Concerning the afikomen, it is written,

He took bread, and when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, 'This is my body which is broken for you. This do in remembrance of me.' Yeshua had said to them, `It was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of G-d is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.'
(Luke 22:19)

Yeshua pointed to this middle Matzah, which had been broken, hidden, brought back, rebroken, and distributed and said,

This is my body which is given for you.

As Matzah is unleavened, striped, and pierced, so was our Mashiach without sin, striped by the Roman whipping, and pierced by nails and by the soldier's spear. Yeshua declared,

I am the bread of life.

For the believer in Yeshua, this afikomen symbolizes His atoning sacrifice for our sins, to bring us peace with God.

We now say together the usual brucha over bread,

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam,
Hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Yeshua at this point, added the words,

This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.
(Luke 22:19)

Together, let us share the afikomen in remembrance of both the Pesach lamb and Yeshua, our Messiah.

[Eat the afikomen]


Grace After Meals

[The cup of wine is refilled, and Birkat Ha-mazon, “Grace after the Meal”, is recited]

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who sustains the entire world with goodness, grace, loving kindness, and compassion.
He gives bread to all, for His grace is everlasting. And in His great goodness we have never lacked anything and we will never be deprived of food for the sake of His great name. For He is God who provides for all and does good for all and prepares food for all His creatures that He created.
Blessed are You, Lord, who provides for all.
God and God of our ancestors, may You remember us on this day of Passover to bless us with kindness and mercy for a life of peace and happiness.
We pray that He who establishes peace in the heavens grant peace for us, for all Israel, and all of mankind, and let us say, Amen.

The Cup of Redemption

This cup symbolized God's promise of redemption from slavery. It was this cup, in the upper room, “the cup after supper,” that Yeshua raised and said,

This is the New Covenant in my blood, which is shed for you.

He died to bring us redemption, and into a new relationship with G-d, just as the Passover lamb was sacrificed to bring us redemption from the power of the Angel of Death.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam,
Borei pri hagafen.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the universe,
Who creates the fruit of the vine.

[Drink the third cup]


Welcoming Elijah

We now fill the fourth and final cup of wine.

At the same time, we fill an additional cup and set it aside for the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah). This practice came about because their was a difference of opinion among the sages, as to whether there should be four or five cups at the seder. The compromise was to drink four, and leave a fifth—tradition says that Eliyahu will return at the seder prior to the coming of Messiah, and he will tell us whether to drink of the fifth cup.

We traditionally send one of the children to open a door to allow Eliyahu to enter while we sing the song “Eliyahu Hanavi”:

Eliyahu Hanavi,
Eliyahu Hatishbi,
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi
Bimheirah yameinu, yavo eileinu
Im Mashiach ben David.
Elijah the Prophet,
Elijah the Tishbite,
Elijah the Giladite
May he come speedily to us in our days
With Messiah the son of David.

We take notice at this time that we have set aside an empty chair and table place setting. These are for the prophet Eliyahu. He is the forerunner of the Messiah. We derive this from the passage in Malachi,

Remember the Law of Moses, My servant, which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel, with the statutes and judgments. Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD. And he will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.
(Malachi 4:4-6)

We await the time when Eliyahu will return, answering all religious questions, and announcing the coming of the Messiah.


Praises and Blessings

You may recognize this section from the Gospels, where it says Yeshua and his followers sang a hymn, then went out to the Mount of Olives (Mattityahu/Matthew 26:30). At this point, it is customary to sing selections from the Tehillim/Psalms, continuing our praise of God for redeeming on ancestors from Egypt and his continuous protection.

Psalm 135 can be said responsively. Participants can take turns reciting the first part of the verse while the rest recite the conclusion of the verse. Alternatively, we can just sing the popular song based on the first verse of the psalm.

Hodu l'Adonai ki tov,
Ki le-olam chasdo

Hodu, hodu, hodu, hodu,
Hodu l'Adonai ki tov
Hodu, hodu, hodu, hodu,
Ki le-alom chasdo.

Tehillim/Psalms 135 (136 in Christian Bibles)

Give thanks to Adonai, for he is good for his grace continues forever.
Give thanks to the God of gods for his grace continues forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords for his grace continues forever.
To him who alone has done great wonders for his grace continues forever.
To him who skillfully made the heavens for his grace continues forever.
To him who spread out the earth on the water for his grace continues forever.
To him who made the great lights for his grace continues forever.
The sun to rule the day for his grace continues forever.
The moon and stars to rule the night for his grace continues forever.
To him who struck down Egypt's firstborn for his grace continues forever.
And brought Isra'el out from among them for his grace continues forever.
With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm for his grace continues forever.
To him who split apart the Sea of Suf for his grace continues forever.
And made Isra'el cross right through it for his grace continues forever.
But swept Pharaoh and his army into the Sea of Suf for his grace continues forever.
To him who led his people through the desert for his grace continues forever.
To him who struck down great kings for his grace continues forever.
Yes, he slaughtered powerful kings for his grace continues forever.
Sichon king of the Emori for his grace continues forever.
And `Og king of Bashan for his grace continues forever.
Then he gave their land as a heritage for his grace continues forever.
To be possessed by Isra'el his servant for his grace continues forever.
Who remembers us whenever we are brought low for his grace continues forever.
And rescues us from our enemies for his grace continues forever.
Who provides food for every living creature for his grace continues forever.
Give thanks to the God of heaven for his grace continues forever.

4th Cup
Cup of Hallel/Praise

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam,
Borei pri ha-gafen.

Blessed are You, Adonai our G-d, King of the universe,
Who creates the fruit of the vine.

Blessed, are You, Adonai our God, King of the universe, for the vine and its fruit, and for the produce of the field, for the beautiful and spacious land which You gave to our fathers as a heritage to eat of its fruit and to enjoy its goodness.

Have mercy, Adonai our God, on Israel your people, on Jerusalem thy city, on Zion the abode of thy glory, on your altar and your Temple. Rebuild Jerusalem, the holy city, speedily in our days. Bring us there and cheer us with its restoration; may we eat of its fruit and enjoy of its goodness; may we bless You for it in holiness and purity.

On the Sabbath add: Favor us and strengthen us on this Sabbath day. Grant us happiness on this Feast of Matzot; for You, O Adonai, are good and beneficent to all, and we thank You for the land and the fruit of the vine. Blessed are You, O Adonai for the land and the fruit of the vine.

[All drink fourth cup.]



We conclude the official part of the Seder with a final prayer asking God to bring the Messianic Era, when all of us will be gathered to Jerusalem as all humankind dwells in peace.

We have now finished the Passover Seder according to its precepts and customs. We close out with the hopeful prayer:

Whoever is in need, let him come and celebrate with us. This year we are here; next year may we be in the Land of Israel.

בִּירוּשָׁ לָֽיִםהַבָּאָהלְשָׁ נָה

L'shana haba'ah b'irushalyim!

Next year, may we all dwell in peace...



Source :

The last and final plague, the death of the firstborn, brought Pharaoh to submission, forcing him to let the Israelites go. What is the significance of the firstborn? Exodus says,

“Sanctify to me all of the firstborn, whatever opens the womb among the children of Israel, both of man and of animal. It is mine.”
Exodus 13:2 explains the importance of the בְּכוֹר (bechor), or firstborn,

“Our firstborns achieved special status when, although our nation was spiritually fallen in Egypt and quite similar to our Egyptian neighbors, G‑d spared us during the Plague of the Firstborn. . . The Chinuch adds that this reminds us that everything in the world belongs to G‑d. When we consecrate our very first and very best, we are reminded that everything really belongs to our Creator, and that we must “purchase” it from Him before using it. The Maharal (Rabbi Judah Loew of Prague, 1525-1609) explains that since G‑d is the first being, it is fitting that firstborns are consecrated to Him.”, Pidyon HaBen, What & Why [2]

R’ Ari Kahn comments on the differences between Cain and Abel,

“…being a firstborn of G-d is about how we lead our lives, it is the manifestation of the image of G-d within, not a question of sequence of birth.”
R’ Ari Kahn, M’oray HaAish, Bo: The Firstborn, [3]

Exodus Rabbah links the position of the Firstborn to Israel, and the King Messiah,

”SANCTIFY UNTO ME ALL THE FIRSTBORN (Ex. 13:1). R. Nathan said: ‘The Holy One, blessed be He, told Moses: ‘Just as I have made Jacob a firstborn, for it says: ‘Israel is My son, My firstborn (Ex 4:22) so will I make the King Messiah a firstborn, as it says: ‘I also will appoint him firstborn’ (Ps. 89:28).”
Exodus Rabbah 14:7, Soncino Press Edition

Pesikta de-Rab Kahana comments,

“R. Berechiah taught in the name of R. Abba bar Kahana: Through the merit of obeying the precept ‘Take ye on the first day, etc., I [says God], shall reveal Myself to you as “the First,” and in your behalf influction punishment upon “the first,” and build you “the first” and bring you “the first”. I shall reveal Myself to you as “the First” for it is written of Me, ‘I the Lord am the first, I the last – I am He’ (Isa. 41.4), and will inflict punishment in your behalf upon “the first” – upon the wicked Esau, of whom it is written, ‘The first came forth ruddy (Gen. 25:25), and build you “the first” – the Temple, of which it is written ‘Throne of glory on high from the first, counterpart of the place of the Sanctuary’ (Jer. 17:12); and bring you “the first” – the Messiah, of whom it is written, ‘The first unto Zion will I give, [who will say] “Behold, behold them [returning to Zion], and to Jerusalem a messenger of good tidings.’ (Isa. 41:27)”
Pesikta de-Rab Kahana, Piska 27.10, translated by William G. Braude, Jewish Publication Society, pg. 566

The Midrash and Zohar explain (based on Proverbs 8:22-30) that one of the names of the Torah is ‘Reisheet, the “First.” Paul identifies the Torah, the Instrument of Creation, to the Messiah,

“The Father (has) made us fit to be partakers of the inheritance of the holy ones in light, who delivered us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the Kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have our redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, who is the image of the invisible G-d, the Firstborn of all creation. For through him all things were created, in the heavens and on the earth, things visible and things invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers, all things have been created through him, and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things are held together. He is the head of the body, the assembly, who is the Beginning, the Firstborn from the dead, that in all things he might have the preeminence. For all the fullness was pleased to dwell in him, and through him to reconcile all things to himself, by him, whether things on the earth, or things in the heavens, having made shalom through the blood of his cross.”
Colossians 1:10-20


I would like to give special thanks to David Negley for editing this, and making it what it is today.  Who without him, his teachings, and his oversight this would not have been possible.

I would also like to thank my family, my wife Beth, and children Julia, Lillia, Emma, and Noah for putting up with my hardheadedness and stubbornness, and showing me great patients as we all learn to walk in the ways of G-d.