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A CONTEMPORARY

PASSOVER MEAL

An order and instructions for the passover evening meal


for Christian and Jewish groups.by Mike Gregory
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Copyright © Mike Gregory

First published 1997

All rights reserved.

This publication can be copied free for personal and non-profit uses. No part
of this publication may be used commercially, distributed or transmitted in any
form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording,
or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing
from the author.

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Index
Order of the Passover meal 5

The Passover meal 6

Preparing for the Passover 22

Practical suggestions 25

The theolog y of the Passover 27

The Christian and the Passover 29

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THE PASSOVER MEAL
ORDER FOR THE PASSOVER EVENING MEAL

1. KADA YSH Blessing over the wine to


sanctify the festival

2. OOR'HATZ Washing of hands

3. KARP AS Green herbs

4. YAHATZ Divide the middle matzo

5. MA GEED Recite the story

6. RAH'TZA Washing of hands

7&8.MOTZI MATZA The two blessings over the matza

9. MAROR The bitter herbs

10. KOREH The Hillel sandwich

11. SHULHAN OREH Eating of the meal

12 TZAFON Eat the Afikomen

13 BOREH Grace after the meal

14. HALLEL Psalms of praise

15. NIRTZA Prayer for acceptance

NB: Many say that the 15 stages of the Passover seder correspond to the 15
steps that led up to the Holy of Holies in the original temple in Jerusalem.
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1. KADA YSH Blessing over the wine to sanctify the
festival

(After pouring out the first cup of wine, it is raised and the
following blessing is recited together)

Blessed are you, 0 Eternal, our God! King of the universe, who has
chosen us from among all people and sanctified us with the
commandments.
With love you have given us, 0 Eternal, our God, solemn days for joy
and festival days for gladness, including this day for the feast of
Unleaven Cakes, the season to remember our freedom, a memorial
of the departure from Egypt. Blessed are you 0 Eternal!

(Drink the wine of sanctification leaning on your left side)

2. OOR'HATZ Washing of hands

(Wash your hands)

3. KARPAS Green herbs

(The master of the house takes some parsley, dips into vinegar, on
salt and water, and having distributed some to everyone at the table,
they say the following Grace before they eat it. Where there are
larger numbers, the herbs may be distributed among smaller groups.)

Blessed are you, 0 Lord our God! King of the Universe, creator of
the fruit of the earth.

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(Everyone eats the herbs, which are a symbol of springtime,
represent the hors d' oeuvres of the free man's meal but are dipped
into salt and water to represent the tears of the slaves.)

4. YAHATZ Divide the middle matza

(The master of the house breaks the middle cake on the centre plate.
He puts one half back between the other two cakes, and reserves the
other half for the Afikomen.)

{The Afikomen may be hidden during the meal to be searched for at


the time of the Tzafon by the children present. It is then ransomed
for a bar of chocolate or something similar by the child that finds
it.}

5. MA GEED Recite the story

(The master of the house then takes lamb bone and the egg from
the Seder dish. All touch the bone and say)

Look! This is the bread of our affliction which our ancestors ate in
the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who
are in want, come and celebrate the Passover. This year we celebrate
it here. Next year we hope to celebrate it in the land of Israel.
Yesterday we were slaves and today we are free.

(Fill the wine glass the second time and take the Seder dish from the
table. The youngest in the company then says the following.)

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Why is this night different from all other nights?
Any other night we may eat either Leavened or unleavened bread, but
on this night only unleavened bread. Any other night we can eat any
kind of herbs, but this night only bitter herbs. Any other night we
do not dip the herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice.
On all other nights we eat and drink either sitting or leaning, but on
this night we all lean.

(The Seder dish is placed back on the table again and the company
responds as follows.)

Because we were Pharaoh's slaves in Egypt, and the eternal,


our God, brought us out of there with a mighty hand and an
outstretched arm. If the most Holy and blessed had not brought our
ancestors from Egypt, we, and our children, and our children's
children would all still be slaves in Egypt. So even if we are all wise
and know the Law, it would still be our duty to recount the story of
the departure from Egypt. Indeed Rabbi Elazar, the son of Azariah,
said we should remember the day of our going all the days and
nights of our life, even in the times of the Messiah.

{The following paragraphs can be read out by all the company, or


by individuals around the table.}

Blessed be the Omnipresent. Blessed is he who has given the Law to


his people Israel. Blessed is he whose same law speaks clearly of four
types of children - the wise, the wicked, the simple and those who
cannot yet even ask questions.

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The wise son says "What do these Passover symbols, the Law and
customs mean?" Then you shall instruct him in all the details of the
Passover so there is no time to bring a dessert to the Passover table
after the paschal lamb.
The wicked son says "What do you mean by this Passover?"
By saying "you" he shows that he has no regard for the Passover and
has denied a central part of our faith. To him you reply "This is
done because of what the Eternal did for ME when I went forth
from Egypt. But for ME not for you, because if you had been there
you would not have been redeemed without accepting the Passover
regulations. "
The simple son says "What is this?" Then you shall just say "With a
strong hand the Eternal brought us out of slavery." and explain to
him at another time.
As for him who cannot yet even inquire you shall say to him "This
is done because of what the Eternal did for me when he brought me
out of Egypt.”
Blessed be he who kept his promise to Israel. Blessed be he the Most
Holy who planned the end of the captivity to fulfil the promise he
gave our father Abraham. As he said;
"Know with certainty that your descendants will live in a land which
is not their own. They shall be made to be slaves and treated cruelly
for 400 years, but I will punish the nation that makes them slaves
and they will leave with great wealth. "
It is this same promise which has been the support of our ancestors
and of us too. For in every generation on enemies have risen up
against us and tried to destroy the Jewish nation, But the Most Holy,
may he be blessed, has delivered us from them.

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Jacob went to Egypt compelled by the word of God to stay there a
while. And Joseph’s brothers asked Pharaoh not to settle, but for
pastures in Goshen for their flocks while the famine lasted
in Caanan.
Only 70 people went into Egypt, but now the Eternal, your God,
has made us as many as the stars in the heavens. And they there
became a nation, which we are informed was recognised as special
even in Egypt.
But the Egyptians treated us harshly, persecuted us and gave us hard
labour. As they ill treated us they said "Come, let us deal wisely with
them or they will become even more numerous and, if war breaks
out, will join our enemies, fight against us and leave the country.”
And the Egyptians oppressed us and set slave drivers over us and
forced us with hard labour to build Pharaoh's treasure cities of
Pithom and Raamses. And they forced even the Israelite children
into hard labour.
We cried out to the Eternal, the God of our ancestors, and he heard
us and saw our affliction, our slavery and our oppression.
And the Eternal heard our voice. As it is said "And God heard their
groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac
and Jacob.”
And the Eternal brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and an
outstretched arm, with great terror and with signs and wonders.
He brought us out of Egypt not by an angel, a heavenly being or a
messenger, by himself in his own glory. As it is said "I will pass
through the land of Egypt on this night and will kill every first-born
in the land, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I
will execute my judgement for I am the Lord."

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These are the ten plagues which God brought upon the Egyptians

(At the mention of each plague a drop of wine is spilt from the cup
to show that we cannot be entirely happy if our happiness is bought
at the cost of others)

(All say together)


BLOOD
FROGS
LICE
BEASTS
BOILS
BLIGHT
HAIL
LOCUSTS
DARKNESS
SLAYING OF THE FIRST-BORN

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(All chant together the following)
If God had brought us out of Egypt and had not judged the
Egyptian nation it would have been enough.
If God had judged the Egyptian nation and had not judged against
their Gods it would have been enough.
If God had judged against their Gods and had not killed their first-
born it would have been enough.
If God had killed their first-born and had not given us wealth
it would have been enough.
If God had given us wealth and had not divided the sea it would
have been enough.
If God had divided the sea and had not led us to dry land it would
have been enough.
If God had led us to dry land and had not drowned our oppressors
it would have been enough.
If God had drowned our oppressors and had not sustained us in the
wilderness it would have been enough.
If God had sustained us in the wilderness and had not fed us manna
it would have been enough.
If God had fed us manna and had not given us the Sabbath it would
have been enough.
If God had given us the Sabbath and had not led us to Mount Sinai
it would have been enough.
If God had led us to Mount Sinai and had not given us his law
it would have been enough.
If God had given us his law and had not led us into Israel it would
have been enough.
If God had led us into Israel and had not built the temple it would
have been enough.
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(The master of the house says ...)

Look how much we are in his debt. He did all these things and built
the Holy Temple for us to make an atonement for all our Sins.
Rabbi Gamliel taught that whoever does not explain the meaning of
the three Passover symbols - the Paschal lamb, the Unleavened cake
and the Bitter herbs - has not done his duty.

(The master of the house points to the roasted bone and says ...)
The Paschal lamb symbolises how the Most Holy, may he be
blessed, passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt,
smiting the Egyptians but sparing us.

(The master of the house holds up the unleavened cakes as a symbol


of our freedom and says)

Why do we eat these unleavened cakes? Because our ancestors did


not have time to leaven the dough when the Holy Supreme King of
Kings appeared to them and redeemed them.
As the Bible says, "They baked unleavened cakes from the dough as
they came out of Egypt, because they did not have time to wait for
the dough to rise or to prepare provisions for themselves.”

(The master of the house holds up the green top of the bitter herb
as a symbol of our oppression and says ...)

Why do we eat these bitter herbs? Because the Egyptians made the
lives of our ancestors bitter. As the Bible says,

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"They made their lives bitter with hard labour making bricks and
mortar and in the fields.”

(All say together ...)

It is the duty of every person in every generation to imagine that


they had taken part in the exodus from Egypt themselves. As it says
in the Bible,
On that day you shall tell your son "This Passover is done because
of what the Eternal God did for me when I came out of Egypt." for
as he redeemed our ancestors from Egypt he redeemed us as well.

(Raise the cup of wine and say together ...)

We therefore give thanks and praise, adore, glorify, honour, bless,


exalt and revere Him who did all of these miracles for both our
ancestors and ourselves. He brought us out of bondage into
freedom; out of sorrow into joy, out of grief into celebration, out
of darkness into a shining light, out of bondage into redemption so
let us sing a new song to Him - Hallelujah

Praise you the Lord! Praise you servants of the Lord. Praise the
name of the Lord.

Blessed be the name of the Lord, from henceforth and for evermore.
Blessed are you 0 Eternal, King of the Universe, who has redeemed
us out of Egypt and have given us this celebration of unleavened
cakes and bitter herbs. 0 Eternal, our God and the God of our
Fathers help us to keep this solemn festival all of our years. Help us
that we may faithfully rejoice in your promised re-instatement of
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Jerusalem. Help us to delight in your service, and then we will give
you thanks with a new song of our redemption and deliverance.
Blessed are you 0 Eternal, who redeemed Israel.
Blessed are you 0 Lord our God, King of the Universe, creator of
the fruit of the vine.

(Drink the second cup of wine leaning to your left side.)

6. RAH'TZA Washing of hands

(All wash their hands and say the following.)

Blessed are you, 0 Lord of the universe, who has sanctified us with
your commandments and commanded us to wash our hands.

7. M OTZI MA TZA The first blessing over the matza

(The master of the house takes the two whole cakes and the broken
one together in his hand and breaks the upper cake. He distributes
the upper cake, which is not eaten yet. He then distributes the
broken cake saying the following blessing. Do not eat either cake
yet!)

Blessed are you, 0 Lord our God! King of the Universe who brings
forth bread from the earth.
Blessed are you, 0 Lord our God! King of the universe who has
sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to eat
unleavened cakes.

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8. M OTZI MA TZA The second blessing over the matza
(Each person puts both pieces of the unleavened cake together and
says the same Grace.)
Blessed are you, 0 Lord our God! King of the Universe who brings
forth bread from the earth.
Blessed are you, 0 Lord our God! King of the universe who has
sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to eat
unleavened cakes.

(The two pieces of cake are eaten together.)

9. MAROR The bitter herbs


(The master of the house takes some of the bitter herbs, dips it into
the charoseth and says ..)
Blessed are you, 0 Lord our God, King of the universe who has
sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to eat
bitter herbs.

(He then eats it and distributes some to everyone present. They all
say the above blessing together and eat their bitter herbs.)

10. KOREH The Hillel sandwich


(The master of the house breaks the bottom cake takes a piece with
some bitter herbs and charoseth and eats it, after which he says ...)

Rabbi Hillel did this during the time when the Holy Temple still
stood in Jerusalem. He took the unleavened cake and bitter herb and
ate them together in order to fulfil what is said in the bible "with
unleavened cakes and bitter herbs shall they eat the Paschal lamb.”
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11. SHULHAN OREH Eating of the meal
(This is a supper with several courses. Many families start with a
hard boiled egg served with a little salt water. It is no longer the
Jewish custom to have roast meat, particularly roast lamb. This is
because they have been unable to make the Paschal offering since the
Temple was destroyed in the first century a.d. Some Christian groups
have re-introduced lamb as part of the meal to signify that Jesus was
the Paschal lamb of God.)

12 TZAFON Eat the Afikomen


(After the supper the master of the house distributes the Afikomen.
If the Afikomen has been hidden the children search for it and the
finder "ransoms" it for a bar of chocolate or something similar. It is
customary for the Afikomen to be the last thing eaten that night.)

13 BOREH Grace after the meal

(The master of the house fills the cup for the third time and the
following grace is said.)
Leader Let us say Grace.

All Blessed be the name of the Eternal, from now


and for evermore.

Leader We will bless our God of whose gifts we have eaten.

All Blessed be our God, of whose gifts we have


eaten, are satisfied and through whose
goodness we live.

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All Blessed be our God, of whose gifts we have eaten, are
satisfied and through whose goodness we live.
Blessed be he. Blessed be his name.
We praise you 0 Eternal, our God! King of the
universe! You who sustain everything in your goodness,
and give us grace, mercy and compassion; who gives
food to every creature and whose mercy endures
forever.
We thank you 0 Lord our God! for giving our
ancestors that desirable land and or bringing us out of
Egypt and out of slavery for the sake of the covenant
you made with us. We thank you for the life, kindness
and mercy which you have given us, and for the food
by which you nourish us and sustain us continually,
daily and at all hours.

Leader Our God, and God of our Fathers, may you please
grant that our memorial, and the memorial of our
Fathers, the memorial of the Messiah, the son of
David your servant, and the memorial of Jerusalem
the holy city, and the memorial of all of your people,
has been made in your presence, and give your grace,
(Raise the third cup of wine.)

All Blessed are you 0 Eternal our God, King of the


universe, creator of the fruit of the vine.

(Drink the third cup of wine.)

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THE CUP OF ELIJAH
(An extra cup is filled with wine and the door opened to encourage
the arrival of Elijah, the herald of the Messianic age which will end
all oppression. While the door is open all say ...)

Lord bring your judgement on this world soon, but remember all
those who call out to you by name and in your anger and wrath,
Passover them once more.

14. HALLEL Psalms of praise

(Fill the fourth cup of wine and read or sing the following Psalms.)
Psalm 117
0 praise the Lord, all you nations, Praise Him all you peoples,
For His mercy to us is magnificent and His truth is everlasting.
Hallelujah.

Psalm 118
Give thanks to God for He is good,
His love and Kindness last forever. Let Israel now proclaim aloud,
His love and kindness last forever. Let Aaron's priestly house
announce, His love and kindness last forever. Let all who fear the
Lord speak out, His love and kindness last forever.

(Raise the fourth cup of wine and say together ...)

The coming year bring us to Jerusalem.


Blessed are you 0 Lord our God, King of the Universe, creator of
the fruit of the vine.

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(Drink the fourth cup of wine leaning on your left side and then say
together ...)

Blessed are you 0 Eternal our God, King of the universe.


We thank you for the wine and the harvest of the fields in the land
you have given as an inheritance from our Fathers.

0 Eternal our God have compassion on us, on your people Israel, on


your city of Jerusalem, and on Zion, the place of your glory.
Restore the holy city of Jerusalem in our day, and make us rejoice in
it. Make us rejoice on this day when we celebrate this feast of
Unleavened Cakes for you, 0 Lord, are good and generous to all.
We thank you for the land and the fruit of the vine.
Blessed are you 0 Eternal for the land and the fruit of the vine.

(After the fourth and last cup of wine nothing else may be eaten or
drunk that night except water, tea or coffee.)

15. NIRTZA Prayer for acceptance

(Say together ...)

The commemoration of the Passover is now complete as set out in


all the traditions and customs. May this evening be an accepted as
fulfilling our duty to remember the Passover. May the Most High
bless the people of Israel and bring all the redeemed to Zion with a
joyful song.

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(For the final part of the Seder it is traditional to sing children's songs to
entertain the children. The following traditional song can be sung to the tune of
"There was an old woman who swallowed a fly.”)
One kid, One kid, One kid, One kid, And in came an Ox which drank the
which my father bought for two Suzim, water, that put out the fire, that burnt
One kid, One kid. the stick which beat the dog, that bit the
cat which devoured the kid, which my
And in came a cat and devoured the kid, father bought for two Suzim, One kid,
which my father bought for two Suzim, One kid.
One kid, One kid.
And the butcher came and butchered the
And in came a dog and bit the cat which Ox which drank the water, that put out
devoured the kid, the fire, that burnt the stick which beat
which my father bought for two Suzim, the dog, that bit the cat which devoured
One kid, One kid. the kid, which my father bought for two
Suzim, One kid, One kid.
And in came a stick and beat the dog,
that bit the cat which devoured the kid, And the Angel of Death then came for
which my father bought for two Suzim, the butcher that butchered the Ox which
One kid, One kid. drank the water, that put out the fire,
that burnt the stick which beat the dog,
And in came a fire and burnt the stick that bit the cat which devoured the kid,
which beat the dog, that bit the cat which my father bought for two Suzim,
which devoured the kid, which my father One kid, One kid.
bought for two Suzim, One kid, One
kid. And the Holy One, blessed may he be,
came and killed the Angel of Death that
And in came some water and put out came for the butcher that butchered the
the fire, that burnt the stick which beat Ox which drank the water, that put out
the dog, that bit the cat which devoured the fire, that burnt the stick which beat
the kid, the dog, that bit the cat which devoured
which my father bought for two Suzim, the kid, which my father bought for two
One kid, One kid. Suzim, One kid, One kid.

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Preparing for the Passover
THE SEARCH FOR LEAVEN.
On the evening before the Passover the master of the house searches
for any leaven kept in the house. He gathers any leaven found in his
path and keeps it for burning the next day.
(Before he begins the search he says ...)

Blessed are you 0 Lord our God, King of the universe, who has
sanctified us with your commandments and commanded us to
remove all leaven.

(The search is made and any leaven gathered. Strict silence is kept
during the time of the search. He then says ...)

Any leaven that is in my possession that I have not seen or removed


shall be null and counted as dust of the earth.

(At about 10 0' clock on the morning of the Passover the leaven
gathered the previous evening is burnt and the person who gathered
it says ...)

Any leaven that is in my possession that I have removed and any


which I have not seen and removed shall be null and counted as dust
of the earth.

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PREPARATION OF THE TABLE
The table must be prepared after the burning of the leaven and
before nightfall. The Passover meal itself should not start until after
nightfall.

On the table should be placed the following:-


At least two candles to bring light and joy to the meal. Two of the
candles represent two key words from the Commandment about the
Sabbath - Remember and Keep. Remember and keep are at the heart
of the Passover celebration.

Finger bowls and napkins for hand washing.

A bowl of vinegar and a bowl of salt water to dip the green herb
into.

Red wine (or grape juice if a non-alcoholic substitute is required).


Either one cup is passed around the table, or each person is given
their own individual glass. Either the one cup or the individual
glasses will be filled four times. A further separate cup is required as
"Elijah’s" cup.

A plate with three Matza (unleavened cakes) each individually


covered by a cloth. These should be placed in the centre of the table.
More matza may be required for distribution depending on the
number of people present.

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The Seder Dish, which is basically a tray holding bowls or plates
with the following items on:-

Karpas - Green Herb. This is usually Parsley or Chervil, but can be


any spring time vegetable. The green herb symbolises springtime and
the hors d' oeuvres of the free man's meal.
Maror - Bitter Herb. Ideally this is recently grated horseradish, and a
part of the green top is also kept on the Seder Dish for presenting
to the assembled company. A good horseradish sauce is a suitable
alternative. This herb represents the bitterness of slavery in Egypt,
and all should be encourage to take a good taste, so that they can
become one with the Israelite slaves. Some families substitute lettuce
for the bitter herb in the Hillel sandwich.
Charoseth -Sweet herbs. A paste made from equal parts of grated
apple and finely chopped nuts with a little cinnamon and wine. The
charoseth represents the mortar the Israelite slaves were required to
make in Egypt, and symbolises the mixture of the bitterness of
slavery and the sweetness of freedom as celebrated in the Passover.
A roast egg. This should be boiled, shelled and either roast in the
oven or grilled until slightly charred. The egg is not eaten, but
represents the continual sacrifice made at the temple, rather the
special Passover sacrifice being celebrated here.
Shankbone. This symbolises the paschal lamb which was sacrificed
by each family up to and including the time of the Temple in
Jerusalem. Since sacrifices stopped, the paschal lamb has not been
eaten in traditional Jewish Passovers. The shankbone therefore
represents the original Passover sacrifice, and to underline this some
families will even us other types of bone, e.g. chicken bones.

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Practical suggestions
Traditionally the Passover lasted for four days, and the Passover meal
was celebrated for two nights, with slight differences each night. As
it is celebrated in many homes today, and particularly when the feast
is being observed by Christian gentiles, only one night is observed.
The order presented here is designed for a one night celebration, and
contains none of those minor parts that change from one night to
the next.
The Passover meal is family occasion as much aimed at the children
as the adults. It should be born in mind that the main part of the
celebration is the recounting of the redemption story to the next
generation. This is done through the reliving of the original Passover
meal as instructed to the Hebrew nation in Egypt. Children are
therefore an integral, and almost essential part of the traditional
celebration. The whole atmosphere should be one of a family
celebration, with the children taking as active a part as possible. The
meal finishes with a hunt for the Afikomen, with the resulting
chocolate bar or sweets, and children's songs. Do not exclude the
children from this celebration if you wish to celebrate in the way
that was intended.
The preparations are made in daylight, and the meal is held after
dusk. The meal should take about two hours. After the last cup is
drunk it is traditional for no more food to be eaten until the
morning, and only tea coffee and water should be drunk.
A key part of the meal is the sharing of the wine and the tasting

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of the flavours. The bitter herbs should be bitter, the wine should be
red. If a non alcoholic beverage is required use grape juice, but make
sure there is enough to have a good taste, and that people savour the
bitterness and sweetness of the individual elements. If the bitter
herbs bring tears to your eyes then you can truly remember the tears
of the slaves in Egypt.
Traditionally the wine is kept in a single cup which is passed from
person to person. If the group do not wish to do this, an individual
glass should be given to each person. It is better to have a small
amount of flavoursome wine than much black currant squash, but
you must ensure there is sufficient for four tastings, preferably
refilling the glass as instructed during the Seder.
Where large numbers are joining together it is impractical for the
master of the house, or leader, to serve all the participants. It is
suggested that in such cases that group leaders are chosen to
distribute to a number of participants.
Do not take this order as a concrete statement of what must be said
during the feast. Allow time to explain and discuss the symbols and
the meaning of what you are doing. Remember that this is a Jewish
feast, and practising Jew or Christian Gentile, you are celebrating the
redemption of the Hebrew people from Egypt. I would suggest that
Christians resist the temptation to change the order to incorporate
Jesus' sacrifice, as this changes the whole emphasis of the
celebration. For Christians wishing to acknowledge Jesus' place and
Lordship in their lives, it should be sufficient to include a blessing at
the end of the evening. This would give thanks for the redemption
of all God's people through the death of Jesus.

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The theolog y of the Passover
Traditionally in the Northern Kingdom, Israel as it was in
Solomon's time, Samaria as it was by Jesus' time, much emphasis was
placed upon the Exodus in their religious worship and remembrance.
In the Southern Kingdom, Judah as it was in Solomon's time, now
referred to as Israel, the establishment of Jerusalem and the Davidic
line of Kings to some extent overshadowed the Northern emphasis
of the Exodus and thus the Passover.
Even so, in times of revival of faith and renewal of worship in the
South, the Exodus was brought to the fore. Often, one of the
indications given as a sign of the Godliness 0 f the King was how he
observed the Passover. As the ten tribes in the Northern Kingdom
were deported and ceased to exist as an entity, and as the remaining
southern tribes were also dispersed by repeated exile and
persecution, the Passover again became the focus of the promise to
God's chosen people.
For the Jewish people now, the Passover symbolises one of the
central themes of their religious and nationalistic identity. The
redemption of the Hebrew people and the settlement of Jerusalem
as their holy capital was the culmination of God's promise to
Abraham. The whole of the old testament can be seen in the light of
God's choice of the tribe of Israel, his entering into covenant with
them, and the outworking of that covenant. This continues to the
present day, because the redemption celebrated is not just of the
past, but redemption for today and indeed is to be looked forward
to in the future.
The past redemption is JHWH’s bringing out the tribe of Israel
from their slavery in Egypt. The Passover meal is an act of
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remembrance of this, which represents more than just the bringing
of the Exodus to mind. The Hebrew word for remember means to
re-live, and is an active verb rather than a passive thought process.
This is the atmosphere of present participation in which the meal is
held. The master of the house, or leader, will not just call us to
remember the past but will say "This is done because of what the
Eternal did for ME when I went forth from Egypt.”
This expression of the present relevance of the covenant follows
through into the future as the prayers call for the re¬establishment
of Jerusalem and bringing of God's chosen people back to Zion
with singing.
For the modern Jew the Passover is a celebration of God's power in
the past and hope for the future. The covenant made by the Eternal
is eternal. While the covenant stands the Jewish nation are the
Chosen People and whatever befalls them, God will listen to their
voice if they cry out to him.

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The Christian and the Passover
The Passover is partly the celebration of a distinct and unrepeated
event in the history of the Jewish nation. It can, however, be seen as
a foreshadowing of the final redemption of God's people through
the death of Jesus, the Messiah.
As Jesus willingly became the ultimate Passover sacrifice, God chose
to pass over the sins of his people. He releases the newly created
Christians from their slavery to this world and their bondage to sin.
They enter into the promised kingdom, where they inherit with him
every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms.
Jesus did not come to replace the old covenant given to Moses, or to
detract from His Father's work in the past. He came to fulfil the old
covenant, and add a second covenant, written in his own blood. The
Christian way is firmly grounded in both covenants, so the Christian
is just as entitled to celebrate God's mighty work in saving his
people from their slavery in Egypt as any orthodox Jew. The
Christian is also just as able to remember today how God is saving
them and look forward to the establishment of the new Jerusalem
when the Messiah will return.
Because of this I have refrained from "Christianising" the focus of
the meal. Some have changed the emphasis from the Exodus to the
work of Jesus, effectively destroying the Passover's unique identity.
Jesus himself would have celebrated the Passover in its traditional
form, only changing it to include the New Covenant at the last
supper. There is merit in the Christian pointing to the ultimate
fulfilment of the Passover in the death of Jesus, but there is also
merit in keeping the form to

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one that Jesus would recognise. I would suggest that you celebrate
the meal in its traditional form, but let Jesus have the last word in
your closing prayer. Remember how God has prepared for you
through hundreds of generations, and as you celebrate with them, let
Jesus be the fulfilment of the Passover in your life today.

Personal Notes

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A Contemporary Passover Meal

A Plain Man's Guide' to the Passover.


If you have ever considered celebrating a family or
group Passover, but didn't know how, this booklet
will tell you.

Its easily followed instructions cover everything from


the setting of table to the traditional words and
actions. It will allow you to celebrate your first
Passover with the confidence that comes from years
of practice.

The order itself is based on traditional orders and


has been used by hundreds of people in Christian
church groups, including Messianic Jewish groups.

Discover the roots of your faith and


celebrate the Passover as Yeshua and his
disciples would have done.