This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover. Exodus 12 v11

The wild olive Haggadah

This is text for a downloadable Haggadah  for Christians wishing to celebrate Passover as those who have been grafted into God's olive tree of Israel.

The original was produced as a folded A4 booklet in a DeskTop Publisher, but this text could be formatted and printed in any word processor or DTP programme.


Celebrating Passover, as non Jews.

Passover is a very Jewish feast, and Jews are likely to be sensitive about its celebration by Gentiles. But Paul explains in Romans 11 how we have been grafted in to Israel , God's people of faith, and so we may celebrate with reverence and wonder, that the God of Israel has redeemed us from slavery to sin and ransomed us for Himself.   As grafted in people we can bless God in the words of the "Shema."

Shema Yisrael, ADONAI Eloheinu, ADONAI echad. Baruch shem kavod, malachuto, leolam vaed.

Hear o Israel, THE LORD our God, THE LORD is one. Blessed be His glorious name, whose kingdom is for ever.


Passover is a family celebration. It is usually held at home, involving children and using "Visual (and other ) Aids"

We will celebrate it like a Jewish family.  Jewish families celebrate this feast "as if they had been there", so we should do the same.

You will notice the rich imagery of the items and actions in this celebration. The meaning of some are obscure to Jews, but for us clearly point to Messiah. Much of the following comes from a Messianic Haggadah, which draws out the significance of various items to Yeshua ( Jesus)

This Haggadah is abbreviated.  Only one Passover song is included.  Haggadot vary considerably and it is worth studying different versions.

This is a teaching event and no initiation or commitment rituals are involved

Watch and listen and taste and think.

"Taste and see that the LORD is good." Psalm 34 v8




Passover ( or Pessach in Hebrew ) is celebrated in Spring, in the Jewish month of Nisan. It is joined with the feasts of Unleavened Bread and Firstfruits

The feast remembers how GOD delivered our forefathers from slavery in Egypt and made them a nation special to himself.

Preparations in the Jewish Home in Bible times

Remember; Yeshua (Jesus) kept Passover, with his disciples.

On the 10th of Nisan a lamb was brought into the house and lived with the family so they could be sure it was without blemish.

On the14th of Nisan, at twilight, the lamb was slaughtered and prepared.

It was roasted whole over the fire (no bones were to be broken)

Preparations in the Jewish Home today

The Passover celebrated now is different from that celebrated by Jesus and his disciples.

The Temple was destroyed so the lambs can not be sacrificed.

On the Eve of Pessach, all items containing Chametz ( leaven / yeast ) are searched out and burned. Father and the children hunt the house with candles. (Mother will have placed bits around to be found).  Father will  sweep it onto a wooden tray using a feather, wrap it all up and burn it outside.

Chametz is a picture of sin, and also the vanity of life in Egypt. We should have dealt with the big sins in our lives, but this ritual reminds us that we need to take the light and search our lives for the crumbs of sin left over from our old life and old nature.


The Celebration

Pessach begins at sundown and is conducted from a book called the Haggadah ( which means "the Telling" )

The Seder ( literally The Order)

The feast is called the seder and the Seder plate is the centrepiece of the table.

It has six dishes around a bowl of salt water. Each dish holds an item of significance which we will come to later.


First Mother covers her head to light the festival candles. She then warms her hands over the flames, covers her eyes and recites the kidoosh (blessing) and prays for her family.

"Barukh atah adonai eloheynu melekh ha’olam asher kidshanu bidevaro uvishmo anakhnu nadlikim haneyrot shel yom tov."

"Blessed are you O Lord our God, ruler of the universe, who has set us apart by his word, and in whose name we light these festival lights."

The leader (Father) then leads us through the feast, with others taking part.

We drink four times during the meal and we remember GOD'S four promise to Moses (Moshe).

"I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians"

"I will free you from being slaves"

"I will redeem you with an outstretched arm"

"I will take you as my own people, and I will be your God.

The Cup of Sanctification

Father blesses the first cup, "'Barukh atah adonai eloheynu melekh ha’olam borey pri hagafen", "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, who creates the fruit of the vine." We all drink.

We wash our hands. This is symbolic; a reminder of the need to be clean before God., We will have washed before coming to the table.

(This was when Yeshua (Jesus) washed his disciples’ feet )

We eat some parsley (a spring vegetable speaking of life) dipped in salt water (reminding us of the tears shed by the children of Israel) (Our life is sometimes immersed in tears)


The four questions

These are asked by a young child

"On all other nights we eat bread or Matzah - on this night why do we eat only Matzah?"

"On all other nights we eat all kind of vegetables -on this night why do we eat only bitter herbs?"

"On all other nights we do not dip our vegetables even once - on this night why do we dip twice?"

"On all other nights we eat our meals sitting or reclining - on this night why do we eat reclining?"

Father explains


"This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt.

Let all who are hungry come and eat.

Let all who are in need share in the hope of Passover."

(The unleavened bread) - Remember our forefathers did not have time for bread to rise as they left in haste.

Three Matzot are wrapped for Passover . There are various explanations about the Patriarchs and priests, but to the believer in Jesus it suggests Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Notice that the Matzah has stripes and it is pierced. (Modern Matzah is rolled, before baking, with a spiked roller to stop it rising.  This creates the stripes ( Isaiah 53) and piercings ( Zechariah 12))

The leader removes the middle Matzah and breaks it in half.

(When Jesus broke this bread, he gave thanks, and added, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me." )

One half is wrapped in a white cloth ( Remember Jesus was wrapped for burial)

This half is called Afikomen (the coming one). He tells children to hide their eyes and hides the Afikomen. He says "The Afikomen will return to end our Passover Seder"

( One of the children may steal the Afikomen and hide it )

Father breaks the other half and distributes it. 'Barukh atah adonai eloheynu melekh ha’olam hamotzi lekhem min ha aretz" Blessed art thou o Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth "

All share some matzah.

Marror, The Bitter Herbs

( typically Horseradish )

We eat this as a reminder of how, sweet as our lives are today, the Egyptians made life bitter for us.

Scoop some on to matzah, eat it and allow its bitter taste to cause us to shed tears.

We dip twice Charoset is a reminder of clay used to make bricks

Put some Marror on matzah, but also put some sweet Charoset.

Eat this as a reminder that even bitter circumstances can be sweetened by the hope we have in GOD.


Tonight we recline

The first Passover was celebrated by people enslaved. We are free.

They were instructed to eat in haste, ready to leave. We may recline and enjoy at leisure.  The custom of reclining was borrowed from the Romans, as it was a mark of freemen to recline while eating.   It is customary to lean on  the left elbow while drinking the four cups.


The leader and other readers then tell the story of Passover.

Passover is a story the mighty power of God to overcome evil, redeem his people and make them a nation. It is a story of miracles.

Reader 1

You will remember the story of Yosef, who was sold by his brothers and went into Egypt as a slave; how the Lord was with him and prospered everything he did. You remember how he was able to save his father Yacov (called Israel) and all his family from a famine in the land God had promised. However, many years later, a new king arose who knew nothing of Yosef and he feared the Hebrews because they had become strong and numerous. "What if they join with our enemies and turn against us?"   Pharaoh decided to impose harsh and bitter slavery upon the Israelites. But still, God blessed His people in strength and number.


Reader 2

Pharaoh grew more afraid and ordered every baby boy among the Israelites to be drowned in the Nile River. One Israelite couple hid their little boy for three months. When he could no longer be hidden they made a waterproof basket for him and set him adrift on the river, entrusting him to God’s care. His sister, Miryam, watched as he floated downstream. Pharaoh's daughter found the child in his basket, took pity on him and chose to raise him as her own son.   She called him Moshe, meaning, "drawn from the water. "


Reader 3

Moshe grew and saw of the suffering of his people. One day he was overcome with rage and killed an Egyptian slavemaster who was beating a Hebrew. He buried the body but when he realised the story was known he fled from the palace and from Pharaoh. Moshe became a shepherd in the land of Midian, far from the cries of his suffering people.


Reader 4

The Lord, however, saw the suffering of the children of Israel. He determined to raise up a deliverer to lead them out of bondage. After Moshe had been a shepherd for forty years God appeared to him in a bush that burned but was not consumed. Moses drew close and listened as God commissioned him to go to Pharaoh. Moshe was Fearful and reluctant, but eventually agreed to bring God's message to the king of Egypt, "Let My people go!"


Moshe left the wilderness to go back to Egypt, to Pharaoh's palace where he had been raised. He took the message, which the Lord had given him. But God Himself warned Moshe of the resistance that he would encounter.


"But I know that the king of Egypt will not let you go unless a mighty hand compels him. So I will stretch out my hand and strike the Egyptians with all the wonders that I will perform among them. After that, he will let you go." (Exodus 3:19, 20)


God sent plagues, each worse than the previous one, yet with each plague Pharaoh hardened his heart. The Egyptians were afflicted with discomfort and disease, bane and blight. Still, Pharaoh would not relent. With the tenth and most awful plague, God pierced through the hardness of Pharaoh's hard heart.


"On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn — both men and animals and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt; I am the Lord." (Exodus 12:12)


The Cup of Rejoicing  

When we get to the ten plagues, we fill our cups a second time.   But we do not drink this cup yet.

As each plague is recounted we dip a finger in and allow a drop to fall on our plate, reducing the fullness of our cup of joy.

"Blood, Frogs, Lice, Wild Beasts, Cattle Disease, Boils, Hail, Locusts, Darkness, Death of the First-born."


The shankbone of a lamb  

This roasted bone is here to remind us how the LORD commanded our forefathers to prepare to leave Egypt.  It represents the lamb whose blood marked the houses of the children of Israel, signifying their obedience to God’s command.   (Exodus 12)

Reader 1

 The LORD said to Moshe and A'aron in Egypt, "Tell the whole community of Israel that on the tenth day of this month each man is to take a lamb for his family, one for each household. The animals you choose must be year-old males without defect, . Take care of them until the fourteenth day of the month, when all the people of the community of Israel must slaughter them at twilight. Then they are to take some of the blood and put it on the sides and tops of the doorframes of the houses where they eat the lambs.        (Exodus 12)

Reader 2

That same night they are to eat the meat roasted over the fire, along with bitter herbs, and bread made without yeast.  This is how you are to eat it: with your cloak tucked into your belt, your sandals on your feet and your staff in your hand. Eat it in haste; it is the LORD's Passover.  "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the LORD. The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.       


Since the Temple in Jerusalem no longer stands, lamb is not eaten at Passover. We have the bone to remind us.


The roasted egg is regarded as a symbol of mourning (for the destruction of second temple) The smoke marks remind us of the burnt offerings made in the Temple. The egg is also considered to denote eternal life since the shape has no beginning or end.



( means :   It would have been enough! )

(This is read responsively  -   or better still Dayenu should be sung to a jolly little tune, which I may get around to adding here.)

How many acts of kindness God has performed for us!

Had God brought us out of Egypt without carrying out judgments against the Egyptians-


Had God carried out judgments against the Egyptians without vanquishing their Gods-


Had God vanquished their gods without dividing the sea for us-


Had God divided the sea for us without leading us across on dry land -


Had God led us across on dry land without taking care of us for forty years in the desert-


Had God taken care of us for forty years in the desert without feeding us manna-


Had God fed us manna without giving us Shabbat-


Had God given us Shabbat without bringing us to Mount Sinai -


Had God brought us to Mount Sinai without giving us the Torah -


Had God given us the Torah without leading us to the land of Israel -


Had God led us to the land of Israel without building the Temple for us -


How manifold and miraculous are the great deeds that our God has performed for us, from taking us out of Egypt to building the Temple.


We now drink the second cup, the cup of rejoicing.

"Barukh atah adonai eloheynu melekh ha’olam borey pri hagafen"

The Passover supper is now eaten

The leader offers thanks for the meal.

After the meal, if the Afikomen has been "stolen" by one of the children, it must be ransomed by the head of the table.

We finish the meal by sharing the Afikomen.


The Cup of Redemption

( the third cup; the cup after supper)

This cup is drunk warm to remind us of the blood of the Passover lamb.

This is the cup that Yeshua (Jesus) gave to his disciples, saying "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you."


Eliyahu HaNavi

(The Prophet Elijah ) An extra cup was put out on the table for Elijah.

One of the children opens the door to welcome him to our Seder. (This tradition was observed even during times of persecution, when opening the door was a real test of faith.) Remember Elijah did not die and God promised he would come to announce the coming of Messiach (The anointed one)

We believe that John the Baptist fulfilled this, announcing Yeshua as "the Lamb of God".


The Hallel is sung   -  

This, means "Praise" and is Psalms 113 to 118.

Where most English translations of Mark 14 v 26 say, "When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives"  Jesus and his disciples actually sang the Hallel.   This suggests that Jesus' special Seder did not include the fourth cup, but that Yeshua adjourned to Gethsemane where he wrestled in prayer about  the cup of suffering he was about to drink.


The Cup of Praise

This is the fourth cup.

We read Psalm 136 responsively.

The Leader reads the first half of each verse -

"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good."

And all respond,

"His love endures for ever."


Let us lift our cups and bless the Name of the Lord.

"Baruch atah adonai eloheynu melech ha’olam borey pri hagafen."

Blessed art thou O Lord our God, ruler of the universe who creates the fruit of the vine.


The traditional ending

"Lashanah haba'ah bi Yerushalayim" "'Next Year in Jerusalem"

We also pray "next year may all men be free", remembering that many are not free as we now are.

(The Jews have suffered much and sympathise with other peoples who suffer.)

Why "Next year in Jerusalem"?

After 70 AD (CE) it was impossible for the Jews to celebrate in Jerusalem and that was their great desire. But in 1967 Israel recaptured Jerusalem and since then the Jews have been able to celebrate Passover there.

Jesus said "Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled. (Luke 21 v24

Paul said, "..... Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved." (Romans 11 v25-26)

Zechariah said, "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and supplication. They will look on me, the one they pierced, and they will mourn for him as one mourns for an only child." (Zechariah 12 v10)

Then they will understand the full significance of Passover!

And we need to understand the prophetic significance of the events unfolding around Israel.

Passover Songs

The Passover celebration includes various traditional songs, They are often children’s counting or repetition songs, but they tell of truths to be remembered.

Chad Gadya - One Kid

One kid, one kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

Then came a cat and ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

Then came a dog and bit the cat that ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

Then came a stick and beat the dog that bit the cat that ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

Then fire came and burnt the stick that beat the dog that bit the cat that ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

Then water came and quenched the fire that burnt the stick that beat the dog that bit the cat that ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

Then came an ox and drank the water that quenched the fire that burnt the stick that beat the dog that bit the cat that ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

Then came a butcher and slew the ox that drank the water that quenched the fire that burnt the stick that beat the dog that bit the cat that ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

Then came the Angel of Death and slew the butcher that slew the ox that drank the water that quenched the fire that burnt the stick that beat the dog that bit the cat that ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim; one kid, one kid.

Then came the Holy One, ever to be blessed, and slew the Angel of Death that slew the butcher that slew the ox that drank the water that quenched the fire that burnt the stick that beat the dog that bit the cat that ate the kid my father bought for two zuzim: one kid, one kid.

This song appeared in the fifteenth century. It is an allegory of Israel. God bought Israel for two tablets (the Ten Commandments)

Then Israel suffered under various foreign powers (the butcher is the Crusaders) Notice that it ends with the Holy One!

Yeshua’s (Jesus’) celebration of Passover


Yeshua (Jesus) used the Passover lamb as a picture of himself and the sacrifice he was about to make for us.  

He took the breaking of bread and the cup of wine from this, his last Passover supper, and he gave them to his followers as pictures to remember him in what we call "Communion" or "The Lord’s Supper" 

After finishing the Passover meal and singing the Hallel, Jesus went to the Garden of Gethsemane to pray. This suggests that he did not drink the fourth cup; the Cup of Praise. But in the Garden he prayed concerning the cup of suffering he was about to drink. There He was betrayed into the hands of the authorities and was crucified on the following day.


Unleavened bread

For eight days, starting at Pessach, no leavened bread or cake is eaten.

As the "Afikomen" was wrapped up to return at the end of the meal, Yeshua’s body was wrapped in grave clothes and buried, to return later.



Firstfruits is celebrated on the First Day of the week (Sunday) following Pessach.

It was on this day that Yeshua rose from the Dead - " The first fruits of them that sleep." ( 1 Corinthians ch 15 )

He is the reason that we can hope to rise to everlasting life.

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Updated 03/04/18

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