Passover Seder

Shortened versions of some of the Hallel psalms

Psalm 114

Leader: When Israel went forth from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language.
Company: Judah became His sanctuary and Israel His dominion.
Leader: The sea looked and fled; Jordan turned back.
Company: The mountains skipped like rams, the hills like lambs.
Leader: What ails you, O sea, that you flee? O Jordan that you turn back?
Company: O mountains, that you skip like rams, O hills, like lambs?
Leader: Tremble, O earth, at the presence of the Lord, at the presence of the God of Jacob.
Company: Who turns the rock into a pool of water, the flint into a spring of water.

Psalm 115

Leader: Not to us, O Lord. Not to us, but to your name give glory.
Company: For the sake of your mercy and your faithfulness.
Leader: The lord has been mindful of us, He will bless us.
Company: He will bless those who fear the Lord, both small and great.
Leader: And we will bless the lord, from this time forth and for evermore.
Company: Hallelujah.

Psalm 117

Leader: Praise the lord, all nations! Extol Him, all peoples!
Company: For great is His mercy towards us; and the faithfulness of the Lord endures for ever. Hallelujah.
Psalm 118

Leader: O give thanks to the Lord for He is good.
Company: His mercy endures for ever.
Leader: Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free.
Company: With the Lord on my side I do not fear. What can man do to me?
Leader: The lord is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation.
Company: I thank you that you have answered me and have become my salvation.
Leader: The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief corner stone.
Company: This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.
Leader: This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
Company: Save us, we beseech you, O Lord. O Lord, we beseech you, prosper our way.
Leader: Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.
Company: We bless you from the house of the Lord.
Leader: You are my God and we will give thanks to you.
Company: You are my God; I will extol you.
Leader: O give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures for ever.
Company: All your works shall praise you, O Lord our God, for it is good to give you thanks and right to praise your name, from everlasting to everlasting you are God
All: Hallelujah! Amen.

(Order and meaning of the Service)

Lighting the candles

A woman begins the Passover by lighting the candles because the light of the world was put out by a woman (Eve), even so Messiah, the Light of the world, will come into the world through a woman.

Candles are lit

Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by your commandments and allowed us to kindle the festival lights.
Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us in life and brought us to this season.

As we read through the Passover Service (Haggadah) we see the cup of wine is drunk four times. These four cups represent the four “I wills” recorded in Exodus 6:6-7.

The cup of Sanctification
“I will bring you out from under the burden of the Egyptians”

The Cup of Judgment
“I will bring you out of their bondage”

The Cup of Redemption
“I will redeem you with an outstretched arm”

The Cup of Praise (Glory or Hope)
“I will take you to me for a people”

The First Cup (The Cup of Sanctification)

Fill the first cup

Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

All drink the first cup while reclining to the left

The Washing of the Hands

A member of the family pours water over the hands of each person in turn.

Each person washes their hands

The Dipping of the Parsley (Karpas)

As the wine is red and represents the blood of the Passover lamb, so does the parsley represent the hyssop which was used to place the blood of the Passover lamb upon the doorposts and the lintel. The salt water represents the tears shed in Egypt and the Red Sea, both of which are salty.

Blessed are You O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruits of the earth.

All dip a piece of parsley in the salt water and eat it.

At this point when Yeshua was sharing the Last Supper He said concerning Judas “the one who dipped his hand in the bowl with me will betray me” (Matt. 26:23)

The Breaking of the Middle Matzos

The leader takes the middle piece of the unleavened bread and breaks it in two, leaving one half between the whole ones and wrapping the other half (Afikomen) in a linen cloth. Afikomen means in Aramaic “I have come”. The Afikomen is hidden, to be searched for later by the children.
The Afikomen represents the body of Yeshua which, after He died was taken down from the cross and wrapped in clean linen and hidden in a tomb for a set time.
The unleavened bread is found in its special covering called “The Unity” even though it is in three sections. The Jews are not sure why this is so but we, as believers, see it as representing the unique unity of the Godhead – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
In Kosher unleavened bread we see the Messiah, Yeshua, beautifully represented. It is bread that is unleavened and in its baking it is striped and pierced.

Psalm 22:16 And they pierced My hands and My feet, they part My garments among them and cast lots for My raiment.
Isaiah 53:5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, upon Him was the chastisement of our peace and by His stripes we are healed.

The Maggid: retelling of the story of the Exodus

Reader: Exodus 12:1-14

The Exodus story tells how God redeemed His people from Egypt by His mighty power. Literally it is the Passover story of redemption by the shedding of the blood of the lamb.

Leader lifts up the Matzos container (“The Unity”)

This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let those who are hungry enter and eat of it, and all who are in distress come and celebrate the Passover Feast.

The second cup of wine is poured
Do not drink yet

The Four Questions

The youngest member of the family rises to ask four questions.

Why is this night different from all other nights?

We were slaves to the Pharaoh in Egypt and the Lord redeemed us with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. And if the Lord, blessed be He, had not brought our forefathers out of Egypt, then we, our children and our children’s children would still be slaves. Even though we might all be wise, learned, full of experience and understanding, knowing God’s Word well, it is still our responsibility to tell the story of the going out from Egypt and to praise Him.

We as believers can rejoice as we keep the Passover in remembrance of our own slavery to sin and our subsequent deliverance by Yeshua our Messiah.

On all other nights we eat either leavened or unleavened bread. Why on this night do we eat only unleavened bread?

I am glad you ask these questions. This night is different from all other nights because on this night when Pharaoh let our forefathers go from Egypt, they were forced to flee in great haste. They had no time to bake their bread and could not wait for the dough to rise. The sun which beat down on the dough as they carried it along, baked it into unleavened bread.
Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

The leader breaks two small pieces of unleavened bread for everyone (one from the top matzos and one from the middle broken matzos)

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by your commandments and commanded us to eat unleavened bread.

All eat together a piece of unleavened bread.

On all other nights we eat vegetables and herbs of all kinds. Why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs?

Why do we eat bitter herbs tonight? Because our forefathers were slaves in Egypt and their lives were made very sorrowful and bitter by their captivity.

Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by your commandments and commanded us to eat the bitter herbs.

All dip a piece of unleavened bread in the horseradish and eat it.

On all other nights we never think of dipping herbs in water or in anything else. Why on this night do we dip the parsley in salt water and the bitter herbs in Haroset?

Why do we dip the herbs twice? We dip the parsley in salt water because it reminds us of the tears we shed in Egypt. We dip the bitter herbs in sweet Haroset to remind us that our forefathers were able to withstand bitter slavery, because it was sweetened by the hope of freedom.. The Haroset is made to resemble the mud mortar representing the clay bricks, which were made by our people in Egypt.

Leader breaks two pieces of unleavened bread for everyone from the bottom matzos
All dip a piece of unleavened bread in the horseradish and the Haroset.

On all other nights we eat either sitting upright or reclining. Why on this night do we recline?

Why do we recline at the table? Because reclining was a sign of a free man long ago and since our forefathers were free on this night, we recline at the table.
And so we who are believers in the Messiah can rejoice that we keep the Passover in the days of our Messiah Yeshua. We can rejoice that in His death we have found life. In Messiah’s coming is the Passover completed.

The Ten Plagues

Exodus 12:12 “Against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. I am the Lord”

These are the ten plaques which the Most Holy, blessed be He, brought on the Egyptians in Egypt.

As each of the ten plagues is read, 3 drops of wine are spilled by everyone from their cup and the name of the plague is said 3 times as they do so. This is followed each time by the declaration by all (in loud voices) ….
“I am saved by the blood of the Lamb”
This is a tradition observed by Sephardic Jews.

1. Blood    The river Nile turned to blood as the first judgment fell. The Egyptians worshiped the river God.

2. Frogs    The Egyptians worshiped Hekt, a goddess with a frog’s head. The whole land was covered with frogs.

3. Lice    The dust of the ground turned to lice on man and beast as judgment fell on Seb, the earth god.

4. Swarms    Scarab, the sacred dung beetle of Egypt, was the symbol of the soul, resurrection and immortality. Judgment came upon this god, known to the Egyptians as Khepera, god of the dawn.

5. Pestilence    All the cattle of Egypt were struck with disease but the cattle of the Israelites remained healthy. Apis, the sacred bull and Hathor, a goddess with a cow’s head, were worshiped. The goddess Isis is always pictured wearing a pair of cow horns. After the children of Israel came out of Egypt they made an idol, the golden calf. God had taken Israel out of Egypt but He still had to take Egypt out of Israel.

6. Boils    The people were struck with disease. This time Neit the goddess of health was the target of God’s wrath.

7. Hail    Hail, with lightning and thunder devastated the barley and flax crops of Egypt just as they were ripening and shattered all the trees. Thus Shu, god of the atmosphere, met with judgment.

8. Locusts    Locusts covered the land and consumed every green thing, every blade of grass. Serapia was worshiped as the goddess who gave protection from the plagues of locusts.

9. Darkness    Thick darkness that could be felt fell on Egypt for three days, but in the land of Goshen there was light. Ra, the sun god of Egypt was judged.

10. Slaying of the firstborn    This plague dealt with Pharaoh himself. The Egyptians worshiped him as the god Horus in human form. His son held equal status with him on the throne. As this plague fell, the first born of every household in Egypt died, from the throne to the peasant and even the first born of the cattle.

The protection of the Hebrews was assured as judgment fell, as long as they kept inside the houses where the blood of the Passover lamb was applied. In the same way all who put their trust in the atoning blood of the perfect Passover Lamb are spared judgment and have passed from death to life (John 5:25). God sent judgment on His own first born Son that we might be spared His judgment.

Each Jew is called to keep the feast as though he came out of Egypt personally.
Salvation is experienced now.

We therefore are privileged to thank, praise, adore, glorify, extol, honor, bless, exalt and revere Him who wrought all miracles for our ancestors and us. For He brought us forth from bondage to freedom, from sorrow to joy, from mourning into holy days, from darkness to great light and from servitude to redemption. Therefore let us chant to Him a new song.

The Little Hallel

The family chants Psalms 113 and 114.


John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

Blessing of the Second Cup (The Cup of Judgment)

Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

All drink the second cup while leaning to the left.

The Seder meal is served.

After the meal.
The children search the house for the Afikomen which has been hidden during the meal. The Afikomen is redeemed by the leader with silver or a present.

The Afikomen is our substitute for the Passover Lamb which, before the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, was the final food of the Seder meal.

The leader unwraps the Afikomen and breaks a piece for every person.

This is the piece of bread that Yeshua took and broke and gave to the disciples saying “This is my body given for you, do this in remembrance of me.” (Luke 22:19, John 6:32-25, 48-51). Afikomen means “I have come”.

The Third Cup (The Cup of Redemption)

The third cup is filled and lifted up by the leader.

This cup is the Cup of Redemption and represents the third “I will” … “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.” It is the cup which, after supper, Yeshua took and said ..
“This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood, which was shed for you.” (Luke 22:20)

Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

All drink the third cup while leaning to the left.

The Fourth Cup (The Cup of Praise, Glory or Hope)

The fourth cup is filled along with Elijah’s cup.

You will have noticed that one place setting has not been touched throughout the meal. This is the traditional place for Elijah, forerunner of the Messiah. Yeshua clearly identified John the Baptist as Elijah (Matthew 11:13-14).

A child opens the door to see if the prophet Elijah has come.

To the believer this is a reminder that Messiah has already come and that we have a responsibility to tell the Jewish people this. It also represents our expectation of Yeshua’s second coming (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

The door is closed.

The roasted egg and the shank bone.

The egg was roasted as the lamb was roasted. It speaks of sacrifice, which means life and death. The shank bone speaks of the lambs that can no longer be sacrificed because of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem.
As believers in Yeshua the Messiah, we recognize that the sacrifice is no longer necessary because His death satisfied the need for further sacrifices. In His death there is life. In the shedding of His blood is the remission of sins.

Leader (raising his cup)
This cup represents the fourth “I will” … “I will take you to me as a people.” For the believer, this speaks of the time when the Lord will gather Israel again to Himself.
Romans 11:25-26 “ A hardening has come upon part of Israel until the full number of the Gentiles comes in and so all Israel will be saved.”

Blessed are you O Lord our God, King of the Universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

All drink the cup while leaning to the left.

The Second Hallel

The family chants Psalms 115-118 and sings hymns of praise.

Matthew 26:33 “And when they had sung a hymn they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

All sing a song of praise to the Lord.

All say:
Baruch haba be’shem Adonai. Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.

Next year in Jerusalem!

The Passover is now ended.

Other slides in this module: