Seder Haggadah

(A Haggadah is the booklet given to each participant at a Seder meal. It is simply an order of service that includes all the elements covered during the meal. This is the one I use with my family. Much of it was adapted from the website http://www.godandscience.org/apologetics/haggadah.html#RmLxQ5sFfA92.)

SEDER HAGGADAH

Introduction: Why celebrate Passover?

*Because God chose to reveal himself to the Jews, and to bless all nations through them.

*Because God includes believers among his chosen people.

Eph. 5:1 “…he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ…”

Rom 11:17 “… you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root…”

*Because it is a picture of Jesus, Our Messiah, and his accomplishment.

Lighting of Candles – Performed by Mother.

Mother – Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sent Thy Son, Jesus our Messiah, to be the light of the world and our Passover Lamb, that through him we might live.

Father – The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

The First Cup – of sanctification and blessing

Father – Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who chose us from the peoples of the earth and sanctified us by Thy commandments. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who has given us life and brought us to this happy season.

Everyone drinks.

The Washing of Hands – picture of confession and forgiveness, as demonstrated when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet.

Parsley dipped in salt water– the green vegetable is symbolic of the new life God brought his people to, the salt water a reminder of the tears of slavery.

Father – Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.

Everyone dips parsley in salt water and takes a bite.

The Symbols of the Seder Plate
• Matzah, The unleavened bread, the bread of affliction. The Israelites fleeing Egypt had no time for it to rise.
• The Roasted Lamb Bone is a reminder of the first Passover Lamb.
• Bitter Herbs (horseradish) recall the bitterness of slavery, the suffering of Christ.
• Parsley represents the hyssop branches used to apply the blood to the doorpost.
• The Charoset of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine, represents the bricks and mortar the Israelites were forced to make under Pharaoh’s taskmasters.
• A Roasted Egg is a reminder of the holiday sacrifices offered at the temple during the feasts of Passover, Pentecost and Tabernacles.
• Salt Water symbolizes the blood of the first Passover lamb, also the tears shed by the Israelites slaves, and the parted waters of the Red Sea.

(Only the Lamb, Matzah, and Bitter Herbs are commanded by the Torah for Passover, but the other foods have been part of the Passover tradition for centuries. Since the temple was destroyed, Jews no longer sacrifice lambs or require one at the meal.)

Matzah

Three Matzahs are placed in a special white linen. The middle one is removed, broken, wrapped in white cloth and hidden. It will later be retrieved for a reward. Everyone takes a piece of Matzah.

Father – This is the bread of affliction which our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt. Though Jews believe it represents unity, believers understand it is a picture of God revealed in three persons: the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Son left heaven, was broken, buried, and brought back. He who finds Him receives a great reward, Eternal Life.

Everyone eats matzah.

The Four Questions

Child – Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we may eat either leavened or unleavened bread; but on this night why only unleavened bread?

Father – We eat matzah because when our ancestors were told by Pharaoh that they could leave Egypt, they had no time to bake bread with leaven, so they baked it without.

Child – On all other nights we eat herbs of any kind; but on this night why only bitter herbs?

Father – We eat bitter herbs to remind us of the bitterness our ancestors experienced when they were oppressed by the Egyptian slave drivers.

Child – On all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once; but on this night why do we dip them twice?

Father – We dip the parsley in salt water, as we have already explained, and the matzah into bitter herbs, as we shall soon explain.

Child – On all other nights we eat our meals sitting or reclining; but on this night why do we eat reclining?

Father – Only slaves eat standing, while free people recline. To show that Israel is now free, we recline while eating. Since we do not have couches for each person, the leader has a pillow to represent this.

Telling the Passover Story – Responsive Reading

Leader: The Bible teaches that during a great famine in the land of Canaan, the sons of Israel journeyed to Egypt to purchase food. There they were reunited with their brother Joseph and permitted to remain. At first, they numbered less than 80 souls. But in time, they became a mighty people.

All: And then there arose a new Pharaoh, one who did not know Joseph. He saw the might of Israel, and he feared that in time of war, the sons of Jacob might join themselves with Egypt’s enemies.

Leader: So he subdued the Israelites, and made them slaves. Task masters were placed over the Israelites, to compel them to make bricks and to build Pharaoh’s great storage cities of Ramses and Pithom.

All: But despite their hardship, they continued to thrive, just as God had promised. This caused Pharaoh even greater alarm, and he ordered every male child born to the Hebrews was to be cast into the Nile and drowned.

Leader: In anguish, we cried to the God of our Fathers. And God heard our cry. God remembered His covenant. And God raised up a deliverer, a redeemer, the man Moses. And He sent Moses to Pharaoh’s court to declare the commandment of the Lord…

All: Let my people go.

Leader: But Pharaoh would not listen. And so plagues were poured out on the Egyptians, upon their crops, and upon their flocks.

All: But Pharaoh’s heart was hardened. He would not yield to the will of God.

Leader: Then the tenth plague fell upon the land of Egypt: ” Every firstborn son in Egypt will die, from the firstborn son of Pharaoh, who sits on the throne, to the firstborn son of the slave girl, who is at her hand mill, and all the firstborn of the cattle as well. (Ex.11:5)” But to protect the children of Israel, God commanded the head of each Jewish household to sacrifice a spotless lamb, without breaking any of its bones, and to apply it’s blood to the doorway of our homes, first to the top of the doorway, then to the sides.

All: “The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt (Ex. 12:13).”

Leader: By the blood of lambs was Israel spared.

All: By the blood of lambs was Jacob redeemed. By the blood of lambs was death made to pass over.

Leader: Passover; the night death passed over the houses of Israel because of the blood of the Passover lamb. What a mighty act of redemption. And what a beautiful picture of redemption yet to come. For just as no bones of the first Passover lambs were broken, so none of the Messiah’s bones were broken.

All: And just as the blood of the first Passover lambs was applied by faith to the doorposts, so the blood of Messiah must be applied by faith to our hearts.

Leader: Tonight, we worship God not only because the angel of death passed over our ancestors homes, but because all of us whether Jewish or Gentile, may be redeemed from an even greater bondage through our faith in Jesus, the Messiah of Israel. Through Him, we may pass over from death to life.

The Second Cup – of Plagues

Children name all the plagues. Mother keeps track by dipping a pinkie finger in the wine and placing a drop on her plate for each…blood, frogs, lice, swarms of insects, cattle disease, boil, hail, locusts, darkness, slaying of the first born.

Father – Blessed art Thou, O Lord Our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Everyone drinks.

Bitter Herbs

Everyone takes a piece of Matzah.

Father – Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us by Thy commandments, and commanded us to eat matzah. Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us by Thy commandments, and commanded us to eat bitter herbs.

Everyone dips the Matzah in horseradish and charoset and eats.

Say grace and enjoy the meal

Finding the broken Matzah

The children search for the hidden bread. The one who finds it receives a prize.

The appearance of the bread reminds us of Messiah. It must have stripes, be pierced and without leaven (sin). Jesus was afflicted, striped, pierced and without sin. The afikoman is eaten to remind us of Jesus’ broken body.

I Cor. 25:24 “…and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, ‘This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.’”

Pass the bread. Everyone eats.

The Third Cup – Redemption

With this cup we remember Israel’s deliverance from 430 years of slavery, and their redemption from the plague of death by the blood of the first Passover Lamb. As believers, we also recognize the final fulfillment of this picture: Christ’s shed blood.

I Cor. 11: 25-26 “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.”

Father – Blessed art Thou, O Lord, Our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine. Let us remember that Jesus’ blood was poured out for the forgiveness of sins, and be thankful.

Everyone drinks.

Fourth Cup – Thanksgiving (The Cup of Elijah)

Elijah is the bearer of good tidings of joy and peace. His name is especially associated with the coming of the Messiah, whom he is expected to announce.

Malachi 4:4-6 “I will send you the prophet Elijah before that great and dreadful day of the LORD comes. He will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers.”

The children run to the doors to see if Elijah has come back.

Collective Reading of Psalm 100, a Psalm of Praise

1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.

2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness endures through all generations.

Father – Blessed art Thou, O Lord Our God, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the Vine.

Everyone drinks.

Traditional Conclusion

Father – Have compassion, O Lord our God, upon us, upon Israel your people, upon Jerusalem your city, on Zion the dwelling place of your glory, and upon your altar and your temple. Rebuild Jerusalem, your holy city, speedily in our days. Be gracious to us and give us strength.

Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe. We thank Thee for sustaining us all to this day. Blessed be the Lord.

Everyone shouts, “Next Year in Jerusalem!”

(In addition, because we celebrate Passover the Saturday before Easter, we like to conclude with John’s account of the crucifixion to make the connection between Passover and Christ’s resurrection (see my First Fruits blog) and to prepare for the Easter service at our church the next morning.)

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