The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” ~ John 1:29
For the past few years, our family has enjoyed the tradition of celebrating Passover during Holy Week. The ancient Jewish feast is rooted in Scripture and provides beautiful insight into the Christian faith. Passover is a retelling of the story of Moses and the exodus of God’s chosen people from slavery. Like any good story the purpose of celebrating is to remember. Passover has been celebrated for centuries as a means to remember the deeds of the Lord and teach them to their children.
The word passover in Hebrew is Pesach (pay-sahch) and comes from Exodus 12:13 when God says he will pass over the houses that are marked in the sacrificial blood of the lamb and spare them the plagues. The eight day spring festival consists of three feasts – Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruits (Leviticus 23) and commemorates the freedom of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt.
Passover begins with a dinner celebration called a seder. During the seder special foods are eaten to remember the bitterness of slavery and the sweetness of freedom. The entire meal is symbolic and eaten as the story of Israel’s freedom is told. The narrative of the exodus is related and prayers of thanksgiving are offered to God for his loving and continual protection.
The entire script for the seder meal can be found in a special prayer book called the Haggadah. Our family uses these Passover resources which include messianic versions of the Haggadah:
Celebrating Biblical Feasts by Martha Zimmerman
Behold the Lamb by Stan R. Kellner
A Family Guide to Biblical Holidays by Robin Sampson & Linda Pierce
We involve the Littles in all the preparations for the passover seder. Last year, the older girls made decorative prompts for the Four Questions and Littlest helped set the extra place for Elijah. Note: at the end of the meal she was less enthusiastic about clearing Elijah’s untouched dishes and announced, “Elijah didn’t show up because he didn’t want to have to clear his plates.” I think her older brother helped her come up with that one.
After the passover ceremony, a feast is served. Like all holidays, food traditions vary by region and family. We’ve inherited several recipes from friends and family that are too delicious not to share.
Brisket a la Bercy Damon Lee Fowler shares Joan Levy’s famous recipe which first appeared in The Savannah Cookbook
Vegetable Kugel from my dear friend Jules
Chocolate Caramel Covered Matzah from David LebovitzPrint
Vegetable Kugel for Passover
My dear friend Jules shared this delicious Passover tradition. This rich, moist ‘vegetable’ dish satisfies any need for carrot cake!
- 2 cups grated apple
- 2 cups grated sweet potato
- 2 cups grated carrot
- 2 cups matzah cake meal (or flour)
- 1 1/2 cups canola oil
- 2 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1 tsp. ginger
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- Preheat oven to 325. Grease a 9 by 13 lasagna type pan.
- Mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.
- Pour mixture into the baking dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 45 minutes.
- Raise oven to 350, remove cover, and bake an additional 15 -30 minutes until browned on top.
- Serves 14-16.
- Note: A food processor makes the recipe effortless. Yes, baking soda, a pure product and not a leavening agent, can be used at Passover.
Passover begins today, but our family will celebrate the seder meal on Good Friday. For us, it’s a beautiful way to place ourselves into the passion story and remember.
As we walk to the cross through Holy Week, may the reminder of our Lord’s great sacrifice and our eternal freedom bring you great joy, thanksgiving, and peace.