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The Passover Seder Today

Haggadah: a special book used for the Seder service. It means narrate. It contains 15 words written as a rhyme:

Kiddush | Urchatz | Karpas | Yachatz

Maggid  | Rachatza | Motsi | Matzah

Maror | Korech | Shulchan Orech

Tzafoon | Barech | Hallel | Nirtzeh

Kiddush 3 blessings: Over wine, Over festival & Praise of God

1st of 4 cups of wine. The 1st cup is called the cup of sanctification.
[Some have a 5th cup, the cup of Elijah, which is poured but not drunk.]
Urchatz Washing of hands.
Karpas Dip green vegetables into salt water.
Symbols: Green vegetable - Passover in the spring. Salt - tears & pain.
Yachatz Dividing the middle matzah.
3 pieces of matzah on the Seder plate. The middle one is broken:
Afikomen: Larger half is wrapped in white linen & hidden until the end.
Bread of Affliction: Smaller half and other two pieces on the plate.
Maggid Narration of the Story of the Exodus:
Bread of Affliction / The Four Questions / We were slaves / The Four Children / Texts / 10 Plagues
Concludes with 2nd cup, the wine of wrath.
Some wine is poured out for each plague. The cup is not consumed.
Rachatza Washing the hands.
Motsi Blessing the Matzah.
The 2 whole & 1 half on the plate are raised and blessed, broken & distributed.
Matzah Unleavened bread eaten.
Maror Bitter herbs. Blessed and eaten.
Korech Matzah & bitter herbs eaten together.
Shulchan Orech The meal of roasted lamb is eaten.
Tzafoon Afikomen found, ransomed and eaten:
Children search for and find the afikomen and the finder gets a reward.
Everyone gets a small piece to eat.
Barech Grace after the meal.
3rd cup of wine is called the cup of redemption or the cup of blessing and is sipped.
After the cup, a child goes to the door looking for Elijah
to see if he is there to announce the coming of Messiah.
The 4th cup of wine is the cup of acceptance or praise.
Hallel Songs of praise: Psalms, Tehillim 115-118.
Nirtzeh All is finished.
"Next Year in Jerusalem!"

The Seder ritual, including the seder plate, has different elements to remind the participants
of their history, faith and hope for the future.

The roasted egg on the seder plate is to remind one of the roasted daily sacrifice
 that can no longer be offered because the temple no longer stands.

The shank bone of the lamb is a reminder of the night of Passover
 when the blood of the spotless lamb was used to mark their doorposts
 and redeem the Israelites from the angel of death.

In reviewing many web sites on the seder, it is clear that the ritual has evolved over time.
There seems to be consensus that the elements of
 the 4 cups and 3 matzah on the table go back a long way,
probably to before the time of Jesus.

While most Jewish sites, which have greater depth on the topic, explain the rabbinic code for the matzah and have the original meaning of the three matzah: High Priest, Priests and People of Israel (not Father, Son and Holy Ghost as many Christian sites state), it is interesting that none could explain the tradition of breaking the middle matzah, why the middle one, why wrap the broken half in linen and then "ransom" it back at the end.

Is it possible that Jesus started this tradition of breaking the middle matzah?

Jesus' Last Supper -
A Passover Seder

Jesus said: "I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God."
Luke 22:15-16 NIV

For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
1 Cor. 11:26


  Passover Seder Last Supper Bible KJV


3 blessings &
1st cup of wine, cup of Sanctification

And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 

Luke 22:17


Washing of hands

… Jesus … riseth from supper, ... and began to wash the disciples’ feet, ...

John 13:2-17


Eat green vegetables dipped in salt water

And as they were eating, …

Matt 26:26


Breaking of matzah:
The middle matzah of 3 is broken in 2.
Larger half wrapped in linen.
This Afikomen is hidden until the end.
Remaining is Bread of Affliction.

… Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body.

And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me.

Matt 26:26

Luke 22:19


Telling of the Exodus story (4 questions)
2nd cup of wine – the wine of Wrath,
Cup of Plagues




Washing of hands




Blessing the matzah:
The bread is raised, blessed,
broken & distributed. 




Eat unleavened bread.




Bitter herbs are blessed & eaten.




Matzah & bitter herbs eaten together.




The meal of roasted lamb is eaten.




Afikomen found,
ransomed and eaten.




3rd cup of wine,

Cup of Blessing / Redemption is sipped.

After the cup, child goes to door to  look for Elijah – coming of Messiah.

4th cup of wine,
Cup of Acceptance / Praise / Hallel.

In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ?

Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink …, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."

But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.

Luke 22:20 NIV
[ref: Jer 31:31]

1 Cor 10:16

Matt 26:27-28 NIV

[Mal 4:5]

Matt 26:29



And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.

Matt 26:30

John 17


All is finished.



It is interesting to note that the Holy Scriptures make no mention of raising the bread when blessing it, yet most ministers of the Christian faith do this during Communion. The Passover Seder specifically instructs one to raise the bread.
I believe this is another piece of evidence that the two rituals were once one.

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First Posted: 6/07/05
Last Update: 6/17/05