(English Index)

(Original Index)




Each spring, Jews are commanded to remember the exodus from Egypt some 3,300 years ago and so “'Tell your son', I do this because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt'” (Exodus 13:8; Deuteronomy 6:20-23).

God's miracles during the exodus of the Israelites have been recounted since then and are written in the Aggadah (recitation), read during the festive meal on the first evening called the Seder. It is the first of the three pilgrimage feasts and is celebrated seven days during the Hebrew month of Nisan (Exodus 12:18).

Seder, literally, 'order', refers here to the ordered ceremony and meal that usher in the week of Pesach. The Seder plate is comprised of bitter herbs (maror), egg (beytza), shank bone (zroah), a mix of apples, wine, nuts and honey (haroset), horseradish (hazeret), and parsley in salt water (karpas).

In the middle of Seder plate is the matzah, unleavened bread – a reminder of haste with which the children of Israel left Egypt (Exodus 12:39). Three pieces of matzah are placed in separate pockets of one piece of linen. The middle piece is broken and one half is wrapped in a separate piece of linen and hidden. The linen wrapping (tachrichim) is also used to cover a body in its grave and is symbolized by Jesus, who was crucified after the Passover Seder (the Last Supper), wrapped in a linen cloth and laid in a tomb (John 19:40; Mark 15:43).

During the meal, the broken matzah, the afikomen, is hidden. Children search for the afikomen until they find it. It is symbolic of Jesus being hidden from the Jewish people, but eventually they will find Him.

Four blessing (Kiddush) cups of wine are poured, called the cups of redemption. They symbolize the four aspects of redemption in Exodus 6:5-8: to bring you out, free you, redeem you and take you (as His people). A fifth cup, the Elijah Cup, is poured, but left untouched as we wait for the forerunner of the Messiah.

The Feast of Redemption (Hag ha-Ge'ula) and the Feast of Freedom (Hag ha-Herut), i.e. Pesach, are a portrait of salvation through Jesus, who gave Himself as a living sacrifice. Many features of today's Seder were already present in Jesus' day, as Matthew 26:17-25 and Luke 22:14-20 reveal.