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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

The Festival of Passover - Our First Seder Meal

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When I first learned that our homeschool group was going to be sharing a Seder Meal, I must admit that I had no idea what that meant as I had never heard of it before. On Good Friday, we had a Christian missionary from the Jews for Jesus organization come from Israel and explain this traditional Jewish festival.  According to Christian Resource Institute:

"Passover is the oldest and most important religious festival in Judaism, commemorating God’s deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt and his creation of the Israelite people. Passover is actually composed of two festivals, The Feast of Unleavened Bread and Passover (which is sometimes used to refer to the single day and sometimes to the entire span of both festivals)."
"The festival of Passover, known as Pesach, begins at sunset on the 14th of Nisan (usually in March or April) and marks the beginning of a seven day celebration that includes the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The focal point of Passover is a communal meal, called the Seder (which means "order," because of the fixed order of service), which is a time of rejoicing and celebration at the deliverance for the Hebrews that God accomplished in the exodus."
"The Seder involves everyone present since they all have a Haggadah (Heb: "telling," the printed order of service, reading, and songs) and are called to share in reading and singing the story. While the father or grandfather is usually the leader of the service, others have roles as well. The mother of the home lights the festival candles that signal the beginning of Passover, the youngest child asks the four questions, the children help eliminate all Chametz, leaven, from the house, search for the hidden Afikomen (a symbolic piece of Matzah, unleavened bread) and open the door for Elijah. The parents or the grandparents tell the story of the exodus, and various others are designated to read or lead certain portions of the service."
Here are some photos taken from our day. If you'd like to learn more about this tradition, you can read about it here.

"Karpas: "green vegetable," garden greens, usually parsley, celery, lettuce, or other leafy green vegetable such as watercress used in the Seder meal. The greens are dipped in a small bowl of salt water, recalling the hyssop dipped for sprinkling on the door posts of Hebrew dwellings in preparation for the Exodus (Exodus 12:22)."

"Charoset: mixture of apples, cinnamon (and nuts) resembling mortar (or mud used to make adobe bricks) which the Israelites used when they were in Ancient Egypt. However, its sweetness symbolizes that the bitterness of slavery is tempered with the hope for a future."

"Maror: "bitter herb," traditionally a piece of horseradish root or romaine lettuce; a reminder of the bitterness of life in bondage, not only in Egypt, but everywhere."

"K’arah: a ceremonial Seder plate, sometimes very ornate, that contains places for the five symbolic elements of the Passover Seder: karpas (parsley), lamb bone, bitter herbs, egg, and charoset. On more elaborate plates, additional places are provided for other symbols, such as a place for a small bowl of salt water."

"Matzoh - unleavened bread. The unleavened bread symbolizes the haste with which the Israelites had to flee from Egypt. Since they did not have time for the bread to rise in order to have provisions for the journey, they had to bake it without yeast (Ex 12:11, Deut 16:3)."

Once the presentation was completed all the families in attendance shared a meal together.  Below are some photos of some of the wonderful ways the foods were presented and some of the decorations used.

Have you ever taken part in a Seder Meal?

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  1. Linda @ Linda's LunacyApril 8, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    We've had Seders in our home, but never participated in a group Seder. Looks like your homeschool group had a great time. We hope to participate in a group Seder some day.

  2. Our adult Sunday school class is putting on a seder meal next month. I'm in charge of food and was searching the internet for ideas. I came across the photo of food and clicked on it and it led to your blog. Interesting idea. We homeschooled our 2 children years ago. Glad I found this on a homeschool mom's blog. The photos are great and will read more later. Take care!

    1. I'm so glad you found me! We really enjoyed our Seder meal last year. It actually was a brand new learning experience for me as I had not known what it was until we had it with our homeschool group.

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