(Passover Seder plate)
On the Saturday before Easter we were privileged to share in a Passover Seder hosted by a Messianic Jewish congregation near here.
You might ask, “Why a Gentile Christian would want to take part in a Seder?”
Because there is so much to learn!
Consider that Jesus was a Jew and ‘the last supper’ was the Passover Seder.
There is so much that we Gentile Christians lose in not understanding the Seder. Especially the portion we call “The Lord’s Supper” or communion.
Our meal was hosted by Pastor Jonathan and his wife Sara. Jonathan is from a family that has 19 generations of rabbis. He is the first generation of Messianic Jewish pastors.
The matzah tash… a cloth container used at the Passover Seder which has three separate sections. A piece of matzah (unleavened bread) is placed in each section for the matzah tash.
The ‘four cups’ and the hand washing basin.
Just for a smile… this is the Seder plate for some children who attended the meal. This Seder plate holds (from top right in the 1 o’clock position):
A roasted hardboiled egg – symbolizes the ‘chaggigah’, a special festival offering. Many regard it as a symbol of mourning, particularly for the destruction of the second Temple in 70 CE. It also symbolizes eternal life, as its shape has no beginning and no end.
Karpas – in this case, parsley which is dipped in salt water. “The parsley reminds us of life, which is created and sustained by God alone. It also reminds us of the hyssop used to apply the blood of the lamb to the doorposts and the lintel of the Israelites’ homes. The salt water reminds us of tears.” (Jonathan Sacks)
Zeroah – the roasted lamb bone shank. It symbolizes the Passover lamb sacrifice which was roasted and eaten during the Passover meal. There have been no sacrifices since the second Temple was destroyed.
Charoset – a mixture of chopped apples, chopped nuts, cinnamon, honey and sweet red wine. Is to represent the mortar made by the Hebrew slaves as they built for the Pharaoh.
Maror – the bitter herbs (horseradish). “Eating the bitter herbs reminds us of the bitterness our ancestors experienced during their hard labor in Egypt. As we remember the bitterness of their slavery to Pharaoh, let us also remember the bitterness of our own slavery to sin.” (Jonathan Sacks)
The first photo here shows a traditional Seder plate.
Before the Seder started, there was some traditional dancing to the Lord.
The Seder was opened with a word of prayer from a 93 year old Jewish man who came to know Yeshua (Jesus) at the age of 85.
Each table has a “Father” and “Mother” who lead the table through the Seder.
Here “Mother” performs the B’richat Haner or lighting of the candles.
We moved through various parts of the haggadah (order of Seder) such as the washing of hands, partaking of the karpas, and so on. We also have gone through two of the four cups. The first cup is Kaddesh (the cup of sanctification) and the second cup is Makkot (the cup of judgment).
Then it is time to eat the Seder meal. When we are finished the table is cleared so we can continue the Seder.
Here we came to the Yachatz or the breaking of the middle matzah (the afikomen). I could do pages on the beauty of this act and how it is a representation of Jesus Christ. Perhaps that will be a future blog post.
One half of that broken matzah is passed around the table, to be eaten by the participants. This was the point in the Seder that Jesus said “This is my body…”
The other half of the afikomen is wrapped in a white linen and hidden away.
Later, the children go looking for the hidden matzah.
When they find it, they bring it back to the “Father” who redeems it (pays for it).
Is this sounding kind of familiar?
The third cup is drank… the Hag’ulah or the cup of redemption. Here is where Jesus introduced the New Covenant (Luke 22:20).
After more teachings, the final cup, the Hallel (the cup of praise) is taken.
We then sang songs of praise and there were spontaneous dances of joy. Thanks were given to God for His goodness.
And with that, the Seder was complete (Nirtzah) with the traditional Jewish statement of hope… Lashanah Haba’ah Birushalayim!!...
Next year in Jerusalem!!