A Summarization of Passover Traditions

The Spring festivals of Passover and Unleavened Bread are an extremely important time of observance and reflection in Jewish communities all over the world. It is a time of both communal and family fellowship, where one often observes the Passover meal with a congregation or synagogue, in addition to extended family. This is the time when the Jewish people commemorate zeman heruteinu or the “Season of our freedom.” Every morning Exodus 20:2 is to be remembered, which admonishes us, “I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.” Even though non-Jewish Believers, who were not raised in the Synagogue or necessarily exposed to Passover since their youth, can feel separated during this time of traditional observance, Rabbi J.H. Hertz indicates that the story of the Passover is something that all of humanity partakes of in one way or another. He observes,

“The primal word of Israel’s Divine Message is the proclamation of the One God as the God of Freedom. The recognition of God as the God of Freedom illumines the whole of human history for us. In the light of this truth, history becomes one continuous Divine revelation of the gradual growth of freedom and justice on earth.”

Certainly, when Believers in Messiah Yeshua sit down to partake of the Passover meal, we are not just remembering the Exodus of the Ancient Israelites and the plagues that God dispensed upon the Egyptians. We are sitting down to remember great events in the salvation history of the world. The primary event we remember is the slaying of the Passover lamb, God’s mercy toward His people in Egyptian bondage, and how He led them to freedom through the Red Sea. This is a heritage that all those who follow the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob partake of, as the Apostle Paul writes, “For I do not want you to be unaware, brethren, that our fathers were all under the cloud and all passed through the sea” (1 Corinthians 10:1).

But Passover takes on an all new depth and dimension for us when we understand that Yeshua and His Disciples partook of the seder meal prior to His arrest and crucifixion. And of course, the elements of the Passover typify His redemptive sacrifice for us on the cross. But how did Yeshua actually observe Passover? Biblically speaking, there are only two principal elements of the Passover meal: the lamb (Leviticus 23:5; Numbers 28:16) and matzah or unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6; Numbers 28:17). Of course, by the First Century C.E. some distinct traditions regarding Passover had advanced, which found their way onto the seder plate of Yeshua. Certainly since then, as the Second Temple was destroyed and as the Jewish people have been dispersed all over the world, new traditions have developed in the new places where many found themselves. As Messianic Believers, what place are these traditions to have in our Passover observance? How important is it for us to understand some of them, so that we might be enriched and encouraged?

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reproduced from the Messianic Spring Holiday Helper

The Spring holiday season is a very busy time for those in today’s Messianic movement, beginning with Purim, continuing to the week of Passover and Unleavened Bread, and then culminating with Shavuot or Pentecost. This broad season is one of the most demanding for Messianic Believers, not only as it concerns the many things to celebrate and reflect upon, but also as we strive to exhibit a positive testimony to both the Jewish and Christian communities: to Jewish people remembering the Passover and deliverance of Ancient Israel from Egypt, and to Christians memorializing the death and resurrection of Yeshua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).

The Messianic Spring Holiday Helper is a valuable compilation of resources designed to assist you, your family, and your Messianic fellowship for this season. We have included a wide selection of articles discussing the different salvation historical themes from the Spring season. The significance of Purim is addressed. The role that the Passover and the Exodus play, and how they relate to our redemption in the Messiah, is described. We go into great detail discussing the Last Supper, and the death and resurrection of the Messiah. We consider what it means to observe Shavuot as a time for both the giving of the Torah (Law) and the Holy Spirit. We offer a fair-minded and loving way to communicate to those who observe an Easter holiday often separated from anything in the Tanach or Old Testament. A selection of FAQs on the Spring holidays has been provided, as are some delicious recipes, and an educational Passover haggadah you can use for your home or congregation.

Let the Messianic Spring Holiday Helper be a resource of great blessing to you during this sacred season!

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