Thursday, April 14, 2011

How to Host a Passover Meal

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Today's post comes to us from my friend Wendy of Lessons Line upon Line.

Here's Wendy!

Growing up, we enjoyed when Easter and Passover fell on the same weekend. My Mom would make a passover meal, and we would be taught about Moses, Jesus Christ, and Elijah. All of their stories point to the atonement of Jesus Christ and his resurrection. I will share a brief history. I know there are others who can give more details and explanation to the Passover. I love to learn how all things connect together. My hope is to share the symbols and a meal and references to how simple or complicated the meal can be.
But first:  Here is a brief history lesson. 
(Note: I am simplifying the account.)

The Ten Commandments 1956 Film
 Moses came to Egypt as a prophet and told Pharaoh that the Israelites were giving their two-week notice and were moving on to a land of milk and honey. God had commanded Moses to do this. Pharaoh really didn't like the idea of losing his labor force and decided to fight against God. God always wins when He wants something to happen.

After bad water, bug bites, nasty food, and dead animals, Pharaoh was still a little reluctant to let the Israelites go. So God said that the Israelites needed to sacrifice a first born lamb and put the blood of the lamb on their door posts. This sign signaled to the Destroying Angel to leave all in the house living. All of the first born children died in the homes of anyone who chose not to sacrifice as instructed, being taken by the Destroying Angel. Pharaoh finally conceded and let the people go. He had second-thoughts though and chased them down again. But that is another story for another day.

The Israelite families held a special meal that same evening. God told them to have the meal every year to remember the sacrifice and the exodus from the bondage of Pharaoh.

 During "The Last Supper", Jesus and his apostles were celebrating the Passover feast which commemorated the Israelites being spared from temporal bondage, which caused an actual death of the first born.

This was both an awakening of their faith in God and a foreshadowing of the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.

Jesus came to save us from our spiritual bondage and from death - both physical and spiritual. His death was the sacrifice of the Lamb not a figurative lamb, but the true Lamb of God. The first born. Christ freed us from all things as long as we are willing to be obedient and believe in Him.

Elijah has a place set for him at the table in most Jewish homes during Passover. At one point during the meal, the door is opened to invited Elijah to come and be apart of the meal. The belief is that Elijah will return with the Messiah. The hope is that the Messiah will come before the next Passover.

According to the testimony of Joseph Smith, Elijah has returned.  He came to the Kirtland Temple equipped with the "keys to bring to pass the restoration of all things." (Source) Surely it is no coincidence that Elijah came during Passover. The prophesy has been fulfilled. And in accordance with that prophecy, the Messiah appeared also in the Kirtland Temple that day with Elijah. (Source)

Here are some of the symbols of the feast of Passover.
  • Vegetable - Parsley, celery, or a potato and salt water are eaten together. The parsley is a reminder of the lowly station of the Isrealites. The salt water are the tears that have been shed because of the slavery in Egypt.
  • Matzah - Matzah is a flat bread. Because of the flight of the Israelites, the bread did not have time to rise. It is also considered a poor man's bread.
  • Bitter Herb - Horseradish or romaine lettuce is to remind of the bitterness of slavery.
  • Mortar - This is usually an apple, cinnamon, nut, and wine (grape juice) salad to symbolize the mortar used for the building projects in Egypt. When the bitter herb and mortar are eaten together, it is surprisingly tasty.
  • Pechal Offering - The sacrifice of the lamb's blood was used to mark the door.The rest of the lamb was eaten.
  • Drink - During the meal of passover, there are 4 blessings over a glass of wine. Each has symbolism in the feast.
A whole meal can be made from the above items if a simple meal is desired. Such as:
  • Vegetable - a tabouli with parsley added or just the parsley with salt.
  • Matzah - flat bread or a pita bread
  • Bitter Herb - a green romaine salad
  • Mortar - A Waldorf salad
  • Pechal Offering - Roasted Lamb
  • Drink - Grape Juice with soda
All symbols are used in the meal. A Seder is the meal of Passover. Passover is known as the feast of the Firstborn or Pesach. The above menu is not a traditional Seder though. Each of the items are represented on the Sedar Plate. Also on the Seder plate, a hard-boiled egg is included representing the destruction of the temple at Jerusalem so there cannot be a Pecach sacrifice. A Seder is the whole evening with the blessings and the telling of the Exodus. This site gives a beautiful explanation of the evening. A festive meal is included in addition to the above items.

If you are looking for a more traditional Passover meal, there are many wonderful menusHere is a script if you are interested in having a more traditional Seder.

For more ways to create a fun and Christ-centered Easter for your family, check out my BEST EASTER IDEAS PAGE and my Easter Book List.

{I am also participating in an Easter/Family History Challenge.
Check out the #MyForeverFamily page for ways you too can participate!}


  1. I really like the idea of a Passover meal. If I had my kids at home, I think I'd make it a tradition.


  2. Loved your brief history and the meal to go with it. Awesome!! We may try this and pass the ideas on to our children.
    Loved this post! LeAnn

  3. What a great brief history to explain how all three MAJOR events work together and teach of Christ. I'd love to make this a tradition in my family, too!

  4. I love Sarahs post what a nice easter ideas.

  5. Visited nonsense and whimsy

  6. Interesting, I've never had a passover meal but heard about it many times.

  7. That was so fantastic! Thanks to you Jocelyn for having wending over and thanks Wendy for such a great, simple explanation! I've been invited to Seders before and have never been able to attend! I have a Jewish friend that I no longer live close to, so thats out of the question. But if I could make my own symbolic replica, that would be cool to share with my little family. Thanks again for sharing!

  8. ACK! Thats supposed to say "Thanks for having Wendy over" whoops!

  9. Even better, invite a local Rabbi to conduct a Passover meal for your class in someone's house -- or go to your local Jewish congregation's Passover (be sure to ask permission first before just showing up, and check about cost because sometimes they may charge if it's held in a fancy hotel or restaurant). This will be an eye-opening experience into a new culture. We did this and loved it. And it's a great way to build bridges with those of other faiths. It's especially fun if the seminary students get to mix and mingle with the Jews. It's a great chance to ask questions about their culture and practices.