Passover, a night different from all other nights

Monday, April 02, 2007 |  by Sara Fischer
Tonight Israelis will celebrate the night that is different from all other nights when they sit down with friends and family for the Passover Seder meal and remember God’s deliverance of His people from the hand of Pharaoh and the Exodus from Egypt.

The Seder meal is the beginning of the “Feast of Unleavened Bread,” a seven-day celebration in Israel and eight days for Jews in the Diaspora.

Jews around the world will remember the 10 plagues that God sent upon the Egyptians, culminating in the death of the firstborn Egyptian children and livestock because of Pharaoh’s refusal to let God’s people go.

The Angel of Death visited Egypt on the night of the 10th plague but it passed over the homes of the Israelites who painted lamb’s blood on their doorposts. The ritual sacrifice of a lamb in the Temple was a reminder of this event, and today during the Seder, a roasted shank bone is the symbol.

The exodus story is retold during the Seder in the Haggadah, a book of stories, songs and prayers originating from the time of Ezra (450 BC). Yeshua (Jesus) likely celebrated the Passover meal with his disciples in a similar way as we do today.

The Seder plate consists of many elements, including a bone (z’roa) and three slices of unleavened bread (matzot). During the week of Passover, Jews will refrain from eating unleavened bread and leave no trace of leaven (hametz) in the home.

This is because the Israelites didn’t have enough time to let the dough rise before they set out from Egypt. Other items on the Seder plate are a boiled egg (beitza); bitter herbs (maror); sweet nut and fruit mixture (haroset), which symbolizes the mortar used by the Israelite slaves; and celery or parsley (karpas) that is dipped in salt water, which recalls the tears they shed.

Also during the Seder, half of the middle piece of the matzot (afikoman) is hidden. Children search the house and the one who finds it receives a gift from the head of the house.

Yeshua took the cup of Elijah and the afikoman and initiated the Lord’s Supper. The Passover celebration finishes with the Song of the Lamb, who through His sacrifice brought deliverance from bondage of sin.

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