Pausing for Passover by Michelle Lippincott

In our April 2012 issue, Michelle Lippinscott talks about spending Easter really reflecting on Jesus using the Jewish celebration Passover as a tool. Here, she outlines the aspects and traditions of Passover, so you might intregrate them into your own little seder.




Some of the elements that are present with a traditional Passover meal include the following:


  • A Seder Plate: This special plate holds a lamb shank bone, unleavened bread, and bitter herbs. Some families add fresh greens, a boiled egg, and Haroset, a mixture of apples, nuts, and grape juice, which represents the mortar used to build Egyptian buildings.
  • Four Cups: Each of four cups of juice or wine represents one of the expressions of redemption mentioned in Exodus 6:6-7. They are the cups of Sanctification, Judgment, Redemption and the Kingdom.
  • Washing of the Hands: Jesus washed His disciples’ feet the night He ate the Last Supper. Washing is an act of humility and illustrates one’s desire to live a pure life before God.
  • Three Pieces of Matzah: Leaven represents sin in the Bible. Jesus is the “Bread of Life” and is without sin. The three pieces symbolize the Trinity — God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The middle piece (representing Jesus) is broken and wrapped in cloth. It is hidden/buried and later the children look for this and return it for a reward. This is the Afikoman game.
  • The Four Questions: Children play an important part of traditional Passover celebrations. Typically the youngest child asks four questions that lead to the retelling of the Passover story (Ex. 12:3-49).*
  • The Passover Story: This can be read from the Bible or an illustrated picture book for young children.
  • Psalms/Songs: Passover is a celebration. Traditionally a Seder includes reciting, reading or singing some or all of Psalms 113–118 followed by Psalm 136. This concludes the Seder.

Your family may choose to use some or all of the elements from a traditional Passover. Don’t get so caught up in “doing it right” that you lose the meaning of this feast. You might start with a simple celebration and add traditional elements as your family becomes more familiar with Passover. Although there are many traditions, Scripture is largely silent on the details. Ask God how you can best honor him and invite Jesus to be a part of your family’s celebration.

*The Four Questions

  1. Why do we eat unleavened bread on this night when all other nights we eat either leavened bread or matzah?
  2. Why do we eat only bitter herbs on this night when all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables?
  3. Why do we dip our vegetables twice on this night when we do not dip our vegetables even once all other nights?
  4. Why do we eat our meals reclining on this night when on all other nights we eat our meals sitting or reclining?

Have you ever celebrated a seder or considered it? In college, I attended an interfaith seder. It was very beautiful and so interesting to participate in.  – Jessie

Photo used with permission of Flickr Creative Commons. Click on photo for source.

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