PASSOVER SEDER 5777, APRIL 2017
THE CALL OF THE SHOFAR: Have someone sound a shofar to call guests to the table.
LEADER: This is a Passover Haggadah (ha-ga-DAW) which means “telling.” It is designed to be used at a Passover celebration called a seder (SAY-dur). The word “seder” means “order.” This Passover celebration, with its accompanying haggadah, is designed to fulfill the Scriptural commandment to retell the story of the exodus to the coming generations. The haggadah you are holding is not a traditional one. It was specifically designed to be an informal and interesting way to involve individuals (and specifically children) in the telling of the story. It is hoped that each participant will experience a bit of Egypt and a large portion of the gift of redemption on a personal level. All of the biblically commanded elements are present, yet some of the traditional ones (such as the four cups) are not. Reading parts are divided into Adult, Child, and Leader, which makes it possible to simply “read as you go around a table.” And certainly if there are no reading aged children present, their parts can be assumed by adults. It is hoped that the story will nonethelessl be meaningful to young and old alike. (One person will need to be assigned as the bell ringer, and a hand held bell provided for that purpose.)
And now – we begin with a prayer to the God of the Passover.
Baruch ata Adonai, Elohenu melech ha olam. Blessed are you, oh Lord our God, King of the Universe. Tonight, oh God of Israel, we are grateful that we can celebrate the Passover, when you freed Your people through ten great judgments and then split the sea, allowing them to cross over on dry land. We are grateful that you continue to do the same for us. Please, Yahweh, as we strive to follow Your commandments and honor this night, that You bless us with insight into the deliverance You have provided each of us. Bless each person who sits at this seder table with a fresh understanding of Your love for them and help us to honor You with each and every word we speak this evening. Amen.
Today is the fourteenth day of the first month of the year _______(i.e. 5777 in 2017) on God’s calendar. Today is Pesach (PAY-sock), or Passover. You are here tonight by special invitation of the King of Kings as recorded in his Holy Word. You were each invited by name. You each have a place card at the seder table, because He is preparing a special place for each of you at His table. This is a time that Yahweh has instructed us to commemorate the first Passover. We are to consider ourselves as though we were present on that night, with the Angel of Death passing through as we consumed the lamb.. We are to recount the story to each generation. (Exodus 12:26-27;13:8)
Today we have the great honor and privilege of obeying this commandment as we once again retell the story of long ago, and discover within it, our own personal journey as well.
As we participate in the retelling, may Yahweh allow us to experience a bit of this timeless story. Perhaps we will imagine that we smell the aroma of the Passover Lamb roasting on a spit, and feel the weariness, the anger, and the disappointment which was a part of that first Passover night. Perhaps even a bit of the fear will rise up in our throats as we imagine we can hear the approach of the Death Angel and the cries of the bereaved. And then, alas, as relief washes over us, may our hearts leap with joy as we experience the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as He fights for our redemption and splits the sea to lead us into our promised land.
Throughout the centuries, special traditions have developed to help in the telling of this special story. Even though tonight’s seder will not be a traditional one, we will be implementing some of these time-honored traditions. You will notice on the table a special seder plate holding several food items which will be used as we recount the story. A lamb shank bone, reminds us of the lamb eaten by the children of Israel on that first Passover. In Hebrew, this would be called zeroah (zeh-ROW-uh). Next we find parsley (karpas in Hebrew), which represents the hyssop with which the blood was painted on the doorposts, and also reminds us of the coming of spring. A sweet mixture of apples, dates, and grape juice (charoset – ha-ROW-set) will represent the mortar with which the Israelites labored. Horseradish root or bitter herb (Maror (mar-OR) will be used to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. You will also note on the seder table a plate of unleavened bread, called matzah (MAT-zuh – pleural matZOT). A special three sectioned matzah holder will play an important role in the recounting of the story tonight as well. A bowl of saltwater will be useful also.
And now, we begin this evening with…a question…
Child : Is it time for Passover, Dad?
Child : What is Passover? What does this seder mean?
Father: It is the celebration of the Lord’s Passover, for He passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses. (Exo 12:26-27)
LEADER: Tonight we celebrate the most important day in the history of the chosen people of God, and in our own personal lives. The shofar has sounded calling us to this table. Let’s sound the shofars again as we mark the beginning of the seder, sanctifying, or setting this evening apart to God, by lighting the festival lights. (Sound shofars as candles are lit) Join me in a blessing.
ALL: Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has commanded us to remember this day, throughout our generations. Amen.
Adult: (Reader lists names of his or her family present)…Tonight we share in this seder as a family. I want to remind you of the sweetness of walking out of slavery. This story is for you.
Adult: Children, we as your parents want you to learn how God sent a Redeemer – someone to buy us back and rescue us out of the enemy’s hand…so this story is for you.
Adult: To our sons and daughters – we want you each to know how God has provided a way to free you from slavery to sin. This story is for each of you.
Adult: Though for some present tonight it is true that your parents may have never shared this commemoration with you, it is important that you know that God has heard your cry and He has sent a redeemer to rescue you. This story is for each of you.
Adult: Children, tonight we recount this story to you so that you can someday recount it to our grandchildren. This beautiful love story…is for all of you.
Adult: We want to tell you about the Lamb’s blood which covers the doorway.
Child: Is it a true story?
Adult: Yes, it is true.
Child: When did it happen?
Adult: It started a long, long time ago, and it has been happening ever since.
Child: Is it a happy story?
Adult: Some of it is happy. And some of it is sad. Some parts are even a little scary. But the ending is very good indeed.
LEADER: Honored guests of the Almighty King – tonight we relate the story of…
ALL: The PASSOVER!!
Child: Is it a once-upon-a-time story?
Adult: Well, it’s definitely not a fairytale. It really, really happened. As a matter of fact, songs have even been written about it. Let’s sing one of them now. It’s called “Let My People Go”
When Israel was in Egypt’s land, Let My people go! Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let My people go!
Refrain: Go down, Moses, Way down in Egypt’s land; Tell old Pharaoh To let My people go!
No more shall they in bondage toil, Let My people go! Let them come out with Egypt’s spoil, Let My people go! Refrain:
Oh, let us all from bondage flee, Let My people go! And let us all in Messiah be free, Let My people go! Refrain:
Child: Oh, so Passover is about Moses?
Adult: Yes it is. Passover is the story of how God saved His people from evil Pharaoh, just as the song says. But it is not only about Moses. Passover is about you too.
Child: Can I help tell the story?
Child: Can I hide the Afikoman? Can I?
Child: The affi-what??
Adult: Afikoman (Affie-KO-men). It means dessert, or some say it means “the coming one”. Someone will hide it later, and the child who finds it will get a reward. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. That’s for later. And, everyone will help tell the story.
Adult: Well, children, this story begins a long, long time ago….before there were ipods, or computers, or televisions. Even before cars, electricity, and running water. It was a time when the people of God were slaves in Egypt.
Child: Slaves!!! But that’s illegal!!
Adult: You’re right. Now it is illegal. But it wasn’t then. And as a matter of fact, we can still be slaves even today.
Adult: Yes, children. If God has not freed us from the evil rule of satan and sin, we are still in bondage. We are still slaves.
Child: Oh, you don’t mean really slaves.
Adult: Well, yes. Actually, if we aren’t working for God, we are slaves to satan.
Adult: But when we work for God, He pays us in the riches of joy and blessing.
Adult: And when we work for satan, he pays us in sorrow and darkness, blindness and tears.
Adult: Well, back to the story. Children, it was a long, long time ago and God’s people, the children of Israel were living peacefully and happily in Egypt. They were just minding their own business, happily raising sheep and cattle and their families.
Adult: BIG families! God had really blessed them and there were lots and lots of children.
Adult: But then the good pharaoh died and the new one was afraid of the people of God. Their families were getting so large and they were spreading out across the land. He began to wonder what would happen if the Children of Israel decided that they were stronger than the Egyptians and decided to turn the tables. What if they were to take over the government and make the Egyptians THEIR slaves?
Adult: So he decided that before they could do that…he would turn them into slaves.
Adult: And the Egyptians were very cruel. They made the people work so hard! Even small children would have had to work long, hard hours carrying heavy bricks.
Adult: And if the child didn’t move fast enough…they would likely be beaten!
Adult: So you can see that the people were tired and sad. Sooo sad.
Adult: But then, finally, the Children of Israel did a very smart thing!
Adult: Yes, they did. Finally…they cried out to God!
Adult: They cried out to God!
Adult: They cried out to God!
Adult: They cried out to God!
EVERYONE: THEY CRIED OUT TO GOD!
LEADER: Let us remember their sorrow by eating a piece of the bitter parsley dipped in the saltwater representing their tears. (Everyone takes a small piece of parsley,dips it in the saltwater,and eats it)
Child: That really did taste like tears. What happened next?
Adult: Then God did something absolutely wonderful! He sent a redeemer!!
Adult: A redeemer!
Adult: A redeemer!
Adult: A redeemer!
Child: What’s a redeemer?
Adult: A redeemer is someone who pays a price to get you out of trouble. To buy you out of the enemy’s hands.
Child: Who did He send?
Adult: Do you remember the song we just sang children? Who did God send?
Adult: That’s right…Moses.
Child: Did Pharaoh let the people go?
Adult: Not at first. At first, it did NOT go well!
Child: Why not? Couldn’t God make Pharaoh let the people go?
Adult: Oh, yes, of course He could have done that. But, He wasn’t just proving to the Egyptians that He is the one and only God…He needed to clean the leaven out of His own house as well.
Child: Leaven? Like the breadcrumbs we searched for with the feather and the candle and the wooden spoon?
Adult: Yes. But these were BIG breadcrumbs. And it was very, very important to find them all.
Adult: You see, God’s people had lived in Egypt all of their lives. Even their grandma and papa and their grandma and papa’s grandma and papa had grown up there.
Adult: And the Egyptians were very superstitious! They had a god for EVERYTHING!. They had a god of the river, a god of the dust, a god of the sun, even a god of the bugs. Of course they weren’t real gods at all. But if you have grown up all your life being told a lie…well, sometimes you begin to believe the lie!
Adult: And God knew that even some of His own people believed in these false gods!
Child: So it was good that God didn’t save them right away?
Adult: Yes, it was. The people still had to find the hidden breadcrumbs in their hearts. God wanted to prove to them, as well as to the Egyptians, that He was the only one true God and there were no other gods.
Child: Breadcrumbs in their hearts! That sounds funny!
Adult: Yes, son. But it wasn’t funny. They had to find the wrong things they believed and did, and remove them.
Child: So what happened? Did they get rid of the false gods?
Adult: Well, not right away. The people were crying because their lives as slaves were so hard. Then God sent Moses, the redeemer, to free them. But before it gets better…it gets worse. Much worse!
Adult: Yes, worse! Moses and his brother Aaron tell God’s people that God has sent them to set the people free. Then they go to Pharaoh and tell him that he must release the people…just like in the song…to go into the wilderness and serve God.
Adult: But Pharaoh says “No way.” And now he’s mad…fighting mad!!
Adult: He makes things even harder on the people. He says they are lazy and disobedient and then he makes them work even harder, and he has them beaten!!
Child: Beaten!! Can he do that!?!
Adult: Yes, he can. Whenever we are slaves to an evil ruler, he can do whatever he wants to us!!
Child: What happened next?
Adult: Well, it will be difficult to believe what happened next…but it’s true.
Adult: Hold onto your seats, kids. The things that happened next are so horrible that it may be hard to believe.
Adult: God told Moses and Aaron to go tell Pharaoh to let His people go or suffer the consequences.
Child: What consequences?
Adult: There were ten terrible consequences! There are always consequences when you fight against God.
Adult: Every time Pharaoh said no, and refused to let the people go, there was another terrible consequence.
Adult: And Pharaoh said no TEN times!
Adult: So..Pharaoh and his people suffered ten judgements.
Child: But didn’t the people of Israel suffer too?
Adult: Yes, it is not clear, but it possible that they did suffer some of the judgments. Because God was searching for leaven in His house (His people) with the candlelight of His Word.
Child: I don’t understand. I thought God was judging Pharaoh and the Egyptians.
Adult: He was. But the children of Israel had lived in Egypt all their lives. The gods of Egypt had become leaven (or sin) in their hearts. And it was time to sweep the house clean. God wanted to take the candle of His truth and shine it upon the false gods of Egypt so they could then be swept up and burned in the fire.
Child: How did He do that??
Adult: Well, that’s what we are about to tell you. And as we are telling you about the ten judgments, we will use one of our own traditions. Listen carefully. Each time we come to another judgment, someone will ring this bell and pronounce the judgment. Then, we will each dip one finger in our grape juice and place one drop of juice on our plate. So be sure to listen for the bell.
Adult: Because any time God has to judge sin, whether our own sin or someone else’s sin…it is a sad thing. The drops of grape juice on our plates represent our joy being diminished when God has to judge sin.
Adult: So now it’s time to begin this portion of the story. God told Moses to go to Pharaoh and tell him to let his people go.
Adult: Moses and Aaron went in to see Pharaoh and they performed a great sign to prove to him that the message was from God.
Child: What was the sign?
Adult: Aaron threw down his rod, and it became a serpent and slithered across the floor. It even scared Moses!
Adult: But then the Egyptian magicians threw down their rods, which also turned into snakes and Aaron’s snake ate all of theirs. Oy veh! What a mess!!
Child: Was that the judgement?
Adult: No. That was not the judgement. That was a sign. But the judgement is coming!
Adult: Yes it is! God told Moses to take his rod and strike the waters of the Nile River, which the Egyptians worshiped as a god. And when he did, the Nile turned to BLOOD!
(Assign an adult to ring a hand held bell before each judgement is pronounced)
Adult: (BELL) BLOOD!
Blood in the River Nile
And in your kitchen sink
Water, water everywhere
And not a drop to drink
If it wasn’t bad enough
That your throat was parched and dry
The stench of all this nasty blood
Reached clear up to the sky!
And though it makes no sense at all
When clean water they pulled from the mud
The magicians waved their evil wands
And turned it into blood!!
The bloody water killed the fish
They washed up on the shore
Why did the Nile god not respond…???
Because he was mere lore
Adult: All the fish died and the water began to stink. It was horrible!! And it wasn’t only the water in the Nile! Water everywhere..even in pots and pans…became…BLOOD!
Adult: And then the people, desperate for water, would dig holes around the Nile to get clean water. But as soon as they would pull the clean water out of the ground, the Egyptian magicians turned the clean water into blood! Just to prove they could!
Child: Well, that’s just plain crazy! They didn’t need more bloody water!! Instead of turning clean water to blood…why didn’t they just make the bloody waters clean???
Adult: Yes, indeed! It seems that, just like satan, the magicians were more interested in power than life. And still, Pharaoh would not let the people go!
Child: What happened next?
Adult: Next, Moses told Pharaoh if he did not let the people go, frogs would come up from the river and invade their homes, their kitchens, their bedrooms, everywhere they went!
Child: And did it happen?
Adult: Yes it did! And to make matters even worse…Pharaoh’s magicians made MORE frogs!
Adult: (BELL) Frogs…Oy Veh!
Frogs in your food
And frogs in your bed
Croaking, croaking night and day
And hopping on your head
Child: Were there more judgements?
Adult: Yes there were. Every time Pharaoh refused to let the people go, there was another judgement.
Adult: Next came…
Adult: (BELL) LICE!
Lice in your hair
And crawling in your clothes
Itching, scratching everywhere
And even up your nose
Adult: All the dust of Egypt became swarms of these tiny biting insects.
Adult: Mercifully, the Egyptian magicians were not able to duplicate this judgement. They even admitted it was “the finger of God”, but Pharaoh would not budge. He would NOT let the people go. And so…
Adult: (BELL) FLIES!
Flies buzz-buzzing everywhere
In my food
And in my hair
Flying through my window
Crawling on my floor
Keeping me awake at night
A million on my door
They’re driving me insane
I open my mouth to shout
Alas that was a grave mistake
I’ll forEVER be spitting flies out!
Adult: Yes, nasty flies cover everything, which of course means that maggots were part of the judgment too. And next…
Adult: (BELL) LIVESTOCK!
Egypt’s cattle bit the dust
It was a scary thing
While Israel’s cattle grazed in peace
Preserved by their Mighty King
Adult: All of the Egyptian livestock die!!! And more death equals more stink! And still they did not get the message. Sin causes death…and death STINKS!!
Adult: But not even one of Israel’s livestock got even so much as a sniffle! But it wasn’t over, because then…
Adult: (BELL) BOILS!
Boils on their hands
And sores on their feet
Boils on their stomachs
And even on their seats
They could not stand
They could not sit
They were in an awful way
And all because this Pharaoh man
Refused God to obey
Adult: Next, Moses and Aaron, at God’s command, throw ashes up into the air. When the ashes come down, horrible sores break out on all the Egyptians and even on their beasts. The Egyptian magicians cannot even try to copy this judgement because they are so sick with the boils…they cannot even stand.
Adult: (BELL) HAIL!
Fire and ice
Fell from the sky
Destroying all it touched
While in Goshen, where God’s children lived
Were they suffering? No, not so much
Adult: Hail mixed with fire fell upon Egypt. What an unlikely combination! The two most harmful extremes…fire and ice. All people and animals out in the fields were killed. All herbs and trees were utterly destroyed.
Adult: But in the land of Goshen…there was NO hail!
Adult: (BELL) LOCUSTS!!
Locusts in the treetops
Stripping off the leaves
Chirping chirping in your ears
Crunching beneath your feet
Stacked up to the windows
Blocking off the door
Please make them stop that awful noise
I can’t stand it anymore!
Adult: Locusts covered the ground and killed everything not already destroyed by the hail.
Child: Aren’t locusts noisy Dad?
Adult: Yes they are. Locusts, locusts everywhere. The noise must have been deafening!
Adult: Not to mention crawling all over your food and in your bed and up your walls!
Adult: And just knowing, that outside…no plant or tree will be left alive!
Adult: It does remind me of sin in our lives. If we will not turn to God, sin will harass us and eventually destroy all life.
Adult: (BELL) DARKNESS!
How can the darkness be so black
I can’t even see my hand
I’ve lost my sense of direction
I’m afraid to even stand
I hear the sound of scary things
Is it night or is it day
If only Pharaoh would give up at last
And send God’s children away
I hear that all is black as pitch
Throughout all of Egypt’s land
Except in the place in which Israel lives
Where their God has stayed His hand
Child: Darkness! Total darkness???
Adult: Yes, total darkness! No starlight. No moonlight. No candlelight. NO light!
Adult: But again, miraculously, the people of God did not experience the total darkness.
Adult: Perhaps that is because if you are like the Egyptians, and do not know the one true God, you are indeed in total darkness. And where there is no light…there is no life. But if the one true God is your God, then you will be filled with light AND life.
LEADER: The last judgement is so terrible that I wish we did not have to announce it. So, before we do, I want to ask you to do something. If you are a firstborn, please stand up and remain standing.
Now, if you are the child or grandchild of a firstborn, please stand up and remain standing until I ask you to take your seats.
Adult: (BELL) DEATH OF THE FIRSTBORN
Oh, this judgement
Is so very sad
I can hardly bear to recall
Whether young or old
Or rich or poor
The firstborns died
One and all
Their loved ones cried in anguish
Until they had emptied all of their tears
They shrieked and pleaded with their gods
But alas, stone gods have no ears
Adult: (RING BELL TEN TIMES)
LEADER: Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for you. Each person standing is either a firstborn, or the child or grandchild of a firstborn. Some may be all three. Look around the table. If any of these had not been behind the blood, they would have perished. If their firstborn parent or grandparent had not been behind the blood, they would never have been born at all.
You may be seated.
Child: Behind the blood?
Adult: Yes, behind the blood of the Lamb.
Adult: God gave special instructions to His people to bring a lamb in on the 10th day of the month.
Adult: Wait. Wasn’t Yeshua brought into Jerusalem on the 10th of the month?
Adult: Yes, he was!
Adult: The children of Israel were to inspect the lamb until the 14th, to make certain it was perfect.
Adult: And Yeshua was inspected by the pharisees, saducees, Caiaphas and Pontius Pilate for four days, wasn’t He?
Adult: Yes! This is also true! He was indeed. That doesn’t seem like it could be a coincidence, does it?.
Adult: And then the lamb was to be killed on the evening of the 14th. Again…Yeshua, following the pattern of Passover, was killed on Passover, the evening of the 14th.
Child: Wow! That’s amazing! What else were God’s people supposed to do?
Adult: Oh, there was so much more. And all of it so important!
Adult: First and foremost, they had to paint the blood of the perfect lamb on their doorposts.
Adult: Then they were to roast the lamb and each person in the house had to eat their fill.
Adult: It was to be eaten with unleavened bread.
Child: And don’t forget the bitter herbs. Or better yet, can we forget the bitter herbs?
Adult: Oh, I’m afraid not. But that was a good try. The bitter herbs are an important reminder of how bitter it is to be in slavery…to Pharaoh…or to sin.
Child: But what does it all mean?
Adult: Perhaps, it means that to pass from death to life…in order to avoid the death angel…you must put yourself behind the blood of the Lamb of God, Yeshua.
Adult: You must consume Him. In other words, He must be transferred from OUTSIDE of you, to INSIDE of you. It is not enough to acknowledge Him. He must become part of who you are.
Adult: Once you have placed the blood of the Lamb on the doorposts of your heart and the Lamb is inside of you, it is time to make changes. You must rise up and leave your slavery to sin and head towards the Promised Land.
Adult: The unleavened bread reminds us that Yeshua is sinless, and the bitter herbs remind us of the bitterness of sin we are leaving behind.
Adult: And when we have placed ourselves behind the blood, and have consumed the Lamb, we are ready to walk out of our “Egypt”…Just like the Israelites, we have passed over from darkness into light!! And, just as on that first Passover, we are ready to walk out into the dawn..free at last.
Adult: Echoing in the ears of the Children of Israel on that first Passover, were the terrible cries and moans of the Egyptians as they buried their firstborn. It must have made their hearts sick as they saw what would have happened to them, had they not been behind the blood.
Child: That must have been so sad! To walk out while every Egyptian household was burying its dead!
Adult: Yes, it is a very sad thing when people refuse to obey God. They could have placed themselves behind the blood of the Lamb Who could have saved their lives.
LEADER: In just a few minutes, we will break to eat our Passover meal, just as the children of Israel did on that first Passover. But first, we will participate in some traditions that are being observed in houses around the world on this night. Amazingly, even in Jewish homes where there is no belief in Yeshua as Messiah, they nonetheless play out traditions during this seder that point to Him. These traditions have developed over the years as God’s people strove to find ways to pass on to their children and their children’s children, the miracle of being saved out of Egypt, and of never wanting to forget the bitterness they left behind.
In the first tradition, we will make a Hillel (hill-EL) sandwich by taking two small pieces of matzah and spreading horseradish (bitter herbs) in between. Be sure to have some water ready. This sandwich is to remind us of the bitterness of slavery to sin and our desire to never return there again.
(Everyone eats Hillel sandwich)
Next we will make another Hillel sandwich. But this time, in addition to the horseradish we will add the sweet charoset, to remind us of the sweetness of God’s help in overcoming the bitterness of sin.
(Eat Hillel/charoset sandwich)
Adult: We now come to the tradition of the three matzot. Three pieces of matzah have been placed in this special holder. Some see the symbolism of the three matzah as representing the patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Others see in it the three sections of the Old Testament…the Torah (books of Moses), the Prophets, and the Writings. As believers in Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus the Messiah), we can perhaps see here three of the many aspects of God; the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
Regardless of which symbolism you see, a remarkable tradition is kept, as the middle matzah is removed from the holder and held for all to see. Do you see the stripes, the bruising, and the piercings? What a picture of our Messiah! He was sinless,(without leaven), He was beaten (receiving our “stripes”and our “bruises”), and He was pierced.
We will now take the middle matzah, which you will recall represents the Son, and break it into 2 unequal pieces and then return the smaller piece to the holder. This remaining piece is called the Afikoman (affie-KO-men), which we discussed earlier. It is the dessert, or the One who will come”. This Afikoman is now wrapped in the white linen napkin.
Adult: Do you see the beautiful picture, children? The unleavened middle matzah, the Son, the “One who will come”, Who is striped, bruised, and pierced, is now broken and wrapped in a clean white linen cloth! Later, this Afikoman will be hidden, (as our Messiah was hidden in the tomb, and is concealed at present). Following the meal, the children will search diligently for it. Whoever finds it, will receive a reward, as all who search for and find the Messiah are rewarded.
Adult: Interestingly, often in a Jewish home (even a home that does not believe in Yeshua), the Afikoman will be hidden behind a pillow referred to as “the stone.” Then the “stone” is moved and the afikoman recovered and returned to its rightful place at the table.
Adult: Tonight, after the children have recovered our afikoman, it will be broken into pieces and distributed around the table to become part of our dessert… the best part of the meal. When we think of this Afikoman as symbolizing our Messiah Yeshua, the resulting story is astounding!
Adult: In just a few minutes, the children and fathers will be released to go outside for a few minutes while the ladies prepare for the meal. This would also be a good time for a restroom break. When you hear the shofar blast, it will be your signal to return to the table. When we sit down to eat, we will also want to reflect on our need to leave our own Egypt and follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. We will follow the lawmaker, Moses, who, by the way, was the one who FREED us… It was Pharaoh, the law-BREAKER,.who wished to enslave us!
Adult: When you have finished eating, if you have enjoyed the evening, you will not fold your napkin, but will crumple it and leave it on the table. This ancient Hebrew custom signifies that you have enjoyed yourself and wish to return. Should you fold your napkin, it would indicate that you have not enjoyed yourself and will not return. This symbolism is apparent in the resurrection story where we see that the linen cloth in the tomb was found folded neatly, for Yeshua, will NOT return there again.
LEADER Afterwards, we will sing some Passover songs and recover the afikoman before we complete the last few minutes of the seder. Fathers and children, you may now be excused until you hear the blast of the shofar.
(Mothers prepare for meal and hide afikoman)
SHOFAR BLAST – sound shofar to signal guests to come to the dinner table.
DINNER IS SERVED
SONGS – after the meal is finished, it is a good time to sing a few Passover songs.
SEARCH FOR AFIKOMAN- Release the children to search for the Afikomen.
LEADER: A careful reading of the gospel accounts of the “last supper” or “Lord’s supper” reveals that it was a Passover seder. The Afikoman has now been recovered. The finder can now present the Afikomen to the leader, who will pay the redemption price.
CHILD RETURNS AFIKOMEN TO THE LEADER
LEADER: Insert child’s name, you have searched for and found the Afikoman – the One Who Will Come. Great is your reward. (Leader present reward).
Adult: As we read from the gospel accounts, the leader will break the Afikomen. As the plate is passed to each of you, take a piece, but do not eat it. After the Scripture reading, we will partake of the bread and the fruit of the vine.
Adult: Then came the day of unleavened bread when the passover must be killed. And he sent Peter and John saying Go and prepare us the passover that we may eat. And when the hour was come, He sat down and the twelve apostles with him. And He said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer. For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread and gave thanks and break it, and gave unto them saying, This is my body which is given for you; this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after the supper, saying, This is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. (Luke 22:7,14-20)
For as often as ye eat this bread and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he come. (I Cor. 11:26)
Each person partakes of the unleavened bread and grape juice
Adult: After the children of Israel had eaten, they were ready to leave. But they did not leave empty handed. They took with them jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and raiment, incidentally the same gifts given as a bridal gift to Rebekah. As they marched out behind Moses, the lawgiver, who was setting them free from slavery, they could hear the sad cries of death ringing in their ears. Behind them….death and darkness. Before them… as they marched into the “rising sun” ( Rising Son)…the Promised Land…a land flowing with milk and honey!!
Child: May I ask one more question? Is this night really for me? Didn’t God tell the children of Israel to keep this Passover? What if you are not a Hebrew?
LEADER: Oh, that is such a good question, and I have such good news for you. I used to think this was a festival just for the Jews, the physical descendants of Israel. But then I noticed some very special things in Scripture. For instance, Exodus 12 relates that it was a mixed multitude who were redeemed out of Egypt that first Passover, not just the children of Israel. And, did you know that God most often describes Himself as the God of Israel, or the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob? You know, even every one of the gates going into the New Jerusalem are named after the 12 tribes of Israel. And every covenant, even the new covenant was made with Israel. But here’s the good news. Scripture also tells us that whenever we make the decision to align ourselves with the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, we then become as a natural-born citizen with all the rights, privileges, and responsibilities. The Bible says “One law for the homeborn and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you.” And after all, if Yeshua is a Hebrew and we are in His family…well, you see what I mean.
Child: So I am part of Israel?
Adult: Yes, If you have chosen their God – you are now part of Israel. You are His chosen people. You have been adopted, or grafted in.
Child: Okay. Now I understand. Passover is for me.
Adult: Well, tonight the story of our redemption has been told. We have looked into the eyes of the evil ruler who desires us to be his slaves. We have gazed with amazement upon the Redeemer, sent by God to release us from our cruel bondage. We have seen the terrible judgements against Egypt’s gods;
Adult: Blood – Hapi spirit of the Nile
Frogs – fertility goddess Isis and Hapi the spirit of the Nile
Lice – god of the earth – Seth
Flies – Ekron/Uatchit the god who manifested himself as a fly
Livestock – the god Apis
Boils – Sekhmet and Serapis -goddess and god with healing powers
Hail – agricultural god – Seth and Nut, protector of crops
Locusts – agricultural god – Isis and Seth
Darkness – Re the sun god and Atum, god of the setting sun.
Firstborn – Osiris, giver of life, and Pharaoh, also considered a god
Adult: Yes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob had proven the many gods of Egypt to be no gods at all.
Adult: Tonight we have seen the whole story. We have recalled the bitterness of being enslaved to an evil ruler. We have heard our ancestors cry to God for salvation. We have watched as God’s redeemer did mighty wonders to release them from their slavery. And finally, we have seen the salvation brought by the precious blood of the Lamb.
LEADER: As we leave this seder table, we leave with joyous and grateful hearts as we proclaim with our brothers and sisters around the world our sincere wish.
Let us again bless the One Who brought us to this time and this place.
Yahweh, King of the Universe, we have tasted of the bitterness of slavery and enjoyed the sweetness of freedom this night. We are humbled by your gift to us and grateful for your unending love. As we leave this seder table and return to our homes, remind us to always be on the search for the hidden leaven that creeps into our lives. Help us be diligent to remove it with the aid of the Ruach HaKodesh, the light of Your Word, and the eternal gift of Your Cross. And may we always recall that sin cannot be touched without the aid of You, our Father.
ALL: Baruch Ata, Adonai, Elohenu, melech ha olam. Blessed are you Our God, King of the Universe. Amayn.
ALL: NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!!