How to Share a Family Passover Meal

Passover Meal

It can be incredibly daunting to think about sharing foundations of the Christian faith with our children. Ideas such as immaculate conception, death and resurrection are way beyond our own understanding, let alone that of our kiddos. But the very essence of faith is taking the unseen and unbelievable and believing with hope. . .a hope that transcends human understanding and ultimately transforms our life from as young an age as the good Lord allows.

As parents, we have the incredible privilege and opportunity to allow that transformation to happen early on and to guide the hearts of our children as they navigate their journey of faith. When we look at our role as such, it allows us to embrace Christian holidays and liturgy with joy and anticipation. With a little planning and lots of prayer, we can help our children understand the heart and history of their faith.

I hope the Truth for Tiny Hearts Lent guide has allowed you to engage with your children in conversations of faith and experience a tiny bit of their spiritual transformation this past month. If it hasn’t gone as well as you would have liked or you still think your child is too young, remember, you are planting seeds that will grow into faith. You are guiding your children along a journey – however long and however seemingly pointless at this stage – that is foundational in their lives.

I grew up in the Charismatic evangelical church, and we didn’t practice many church traditions. When I was in high school I had a friend who was Episcopalian. He invited me to his home to share a Seder dinner with his family. I was incredibly moved – even at the age of 16 – by the history and tradition that was represented in the meal. Since, my parents have participated themselves in the tradition with their Jewish friends. We never knew the depth of meaning we were missing out on and have thoroughly enjoyed the times we’ve engaged in a Passover meal with friends and loved ones.

Passover Book

I’ve been praying about how to easily share the tradition of Passover as part of The Lent Experiment. In my research I came across the sweetest book that is the perfect resource for sharing this tradition with children. A Sweet Passover is an adorable children’s book about a little girl named Miriam and her family’s passover traditions. Besides sharing a cute story, the author inserts great information about Passover and its meaning as well as including a full explanation at the end in words a child can understand. From the book:

Passover {Pesach in Hebrew}, also called the Festival of Freedom, is the eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt in approximately 1225 B.C.E. The Israelites lived peacefully in Egypt for many years until a Pharaoh who despised them came into power and turned them into slaves. According to the book of Exodus, the Lord ordered Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt. . .When Pharaoh told the Israelites to leave, they were in such a hurry, they didn’t even wait for their bread dough to rise. . .Ever since then, Jews all over the world have celebrated Passover by eating Matzah {unleavened bread} during the eight days of the holiday and enjoying a special dinner called a Seder on the first and second nights of the festival.

The book goes on to explain different traditions that are part of the meal and gives a recipe for Matzah Brei. Incidentally, I grew up eating Matzah in our family. It was always used for communion in our church to represent unleavened bread and we loved it so we’d eat it all the time at home. I cannot wait to introduce this fun and meaningful food to my children. The recipe for Matzah Brei looks like a delicious and interesting twist on this traditional bread.

Passover begins next Monday, April 14th. If you can, grab this book and use it to introduce your children to Passover. Spend some time reading the exodus story in the Bible. Focus on Exodus 6 {where God promises deliverance} and Exodus 12 {where he instructs Moses and Aaron to observe the Passover and Festival of Unleavened Bread.

What to share with your children: In order to help your children understand the significance of this holiday in the midst of the Easter season, explain to them that just as God used Moses to help deliver his people from Egypt, he later sent his son, Jesus to deliver us from sin and from being separated from him. There is a lot of talk of sacrifice in this story. Whether you decide to go in depth in that concept or not, explain that Jesus is the ultimate sacrifice, allowing us complete access to God.

There are countless resources online to put together a Passover or Seder meal for your family. Below you will find a list of the traditional items used to create the Passover meal in Jewish custom. It is important to remember that the Passover Meal is very meaningful in symbolizing the exodus from Egypt. While you may not share the entire story of the Old Testament with your children at this time since we are focusing on Lent and moving towards Easter, you can simply share with your children that this meal is a way of honoring the people of Israel, their journey to freedom and ultimately the freedom we experience because Jesus came to be the ultimate sacrifice. I have taken the liberty to add traditional Christian views into this post that don’t necessarily express the beliefs of Judaism or their customs. But I believe there to be beauty in combining tradition and belief from different people of faith with a goal of communicating hope and redemption.

The Passover Meal Menu

{source}

Matzoh: three unleavened matzohs are placed within the folds of a napkin as a reminder of the haste with which the Israelites fled Egypt, leaving no time for dough to rise. Two are consumed during the meal, and one is hidden to be later found as a prize.

What to share with your children: When God’s people left Egypt, they had to go quickly so they could escape. Matzoh is called “unleavened” bread because it is not made with traditional dough that takes time to rise. It is made quickly, representing how quickly the people left Egypt.

Maror: bitter herbs, usually horseradish or romaine lettuce, used to symbolize the bitterness of slavery.

What to share with your children: God’s people spent many, many years as slaves in Egypt before being led free. Just like God used Moses to help deliver the Jewish people from slavery, he sent Jesus to die on the cross, to forgive us our sins and to be in relationship with us to help us make right choices.

Charoses: a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon, as a reminder of the mortar used by the Jews as they worked as slaves to construct buildings.

What to share with your children: While they were slaves, the Jewish people did a lot of building. This food represents the mortar or paste they used to put bricks together as they built in Egypt.

Beitzah: a roasted egg, as a symbol of life and the perpetuation of existence.

What to share with your children: The egg represents life and the hope that the people would continue to live and thrive after God delivered them. Because of Jesus, we also share this hope today.

Karpas: a vegetable, preferably parsley or celery, representing hope and redemption; served with a bowl of salted water to represent the tears shed.

What to share with your children: This vegetable represents hope because vegetables are good for our body and offer healing and health. We serve it in salt water to represent the tears that the people cried along their journey.

Zeroah: traditionally a piece of roasted lamb, symbolizing the paschal sacrificial offering. {You can use any type of meat on a bone for this symbol if needed.}

What to share with your children: This lamb represents the offering made as a remembrance of Passover. In the Old Testament, God required animal sacrifices as repentance for sins and remembrance of important occasions. When he died on the cross, Jesus became the ultimate and last sacrifice so eating this meat can represent the last sacrificial offering.

Wine: four glasses of wine are consumed during the service to represent the four-fold promise of redemption, with a special glass left for Elijah the prophet.

{You can use juice if you’d like your child to participate in this symbol.}

What to share with your children: This wine {juice} represents 4 promises that were given to Moses to offer God’s people the hope of redemption in Exodus 6:6-7. God told Moses “I will bring you out. . .I will rescue you. . .I will redeem you. . .I will take you as my own.”

What a beautiful picture of God’s saving grace. . .grace that brings us out, rescues us, redeems us and take us as his own. I don’t know about you, but I want my children to understand these truths as early as possible. Planting these seeds in their heart and doing it in a way that celebrates history and God’s people will be a joy!

Have you introduced your child to Passover? What Passover traditions do you follow in your home?

Jessica Sig

Note: I am not Jewish nor did I grow up observing Passover. This post is not meant to be an official instruction on how to observe this important holiday. It’s simply meant to encourage other denominations and those who haven’t yet introduced Passover to do so. If you grew up observing Passover or are Jewish, we would LOVE your input. Please share your traditions and thoughts in the comments!

{Photo Credit}

About Jessica Wolstenholm

Jessica Wolstenholm is co-founder of Grace for Moms. She is passionate about writing words of grace for moms and moms-to-be. Co-author of The Pregnancy Companion and The Baby Companion books, she also co-leads a community about TTC, infertility, pregnancy and new motherhood on Facebook. Connect with Jessica on Google +

Comments

  1. Thank you for this fantastic post! My dad’s family is Jewish, but he became a Christian when he was young so we didn’t really grow up observing any of the Jewish traditions or customs. Now that I’m a mom, I’d like to begin exposing my kids to some of this history. Thanks for giving me some great ideas on how to do this while also incorporating our Christian faith.

    • Alicia, that is awesome! I’m so glad this post was helpful to you. How precious to share your dad’s old and new heritage with your kids. Love it!!

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