General Question

Yellowdog's avatar

How would I describe to my girlfriend what goes on at a Passover Seder?

Asked by Yellowdog (3531points) 1 week ago

I am a Jewish Christian; Judaism is my heritage, and is almost TOO familiar to me. My GF and I are Christians and I am having a hard time explaining my Jewish heritage.

I would like to take her to the Passover Seder I attend every year, but am having difficulty explaining it.

Essentially it is good to get immersed in a different spiritual culture and faith community; one with instruction, fellowship, activities and games. Many Jews do not accept Christians as part of their community although many themselves are not ‘religious’ (some Jews are Jews culturally but are not religious and a few are even atheists). My Jewish friends have no trouble accepting Christians in Jewish studies in the University and I believe my GF would understand a side of me better and get a sense of belonging in the Jewish circles I participate in.

So, how would I describe the Passover Seder meal and activities? I think she would like it. I have difficulty explaining that its not a worship service and that instruction is clear and participation is natural.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

5 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

I would answer like this:

It is a ritual to commemorate the exodus of the Jews from Egypt.

The Haggadah is a book that sets the order of what happens during the meal and celebration. The haggadah includes:

- a retelling of the exodus story
– a number of specific blessings at various times over various foods
– the list of ten plagues that Moses caused to happen to Egypt
– the Seder meal itself
– post-meal blessings and songs

The seder isn’t worship, although there are some prayers in there. Rather it’s a structured history lesson that includes some food.

JLeslie's avatar

I just tell people who are unfamiliar that we read from the Haggadah at the dinner table, basically the story of Passover, and eat foods that represent different things. It’s symbolic.

Each family does it a little different. My family we took turns reading a paragraph or a page around the table. Some families one or two people basically do all of the reading except for the 4 questions, which are read by the youngest at the table.

Everyone has the bitter herbs, egg, herosis (you can tell her about those) but the rest of the food can be a real crap shoot. My grandmother made delicious matzoh ball soup every Passover, and the entree ranged from brisket, or steak, or chicken captain, and all sorts of delicious food. We never had gefilte fish or any of that “typical” Ashkenazi food.

When I was a kid I was impatient with the reading and just wanted to EAT! Lol. Maybe share your experience as a child. People usually like those stories.

If she is unfamiliar with kosher rules and the Seder will be kosher style, let her know the basics. Don’t ask for butter if meat is served, or cream for her coffee, and that there will only be matzoh, no bread, etc. Try to help her not “embarrass” herself. Although, I’m sure no one will mind at all, they will be happy to help and explain to her if she has a question.

zenvelo's avatar

If you are both Christian, you can start by telling her that The Last Supper was a Seder. (And many churches hold a Seder as part of Holy Week preparation.)

And easy on the Manischevitz. Four glasses of wine will knock you on your butt!

elbanditoroso's avatar

@zenvelo – no self-respecting Jews use Manischevitz any more. It was so godawful sweet that it made people ill.

There are a zillion Kosher wines that taste a whole lot better than that, which are perfectly OK for Seder use. Almost anything from Golan, for example.

Keywester1's avatar

If the Christian girl friend simply fears being tricked into worshipping some alien god, she needs to learn more about her own faith and/or should consider that her partner is offering to share elements of the culture that informs his beliefs and behaviors. If these “rub the wrong way” – better for both to find out now….

The Jewish bible (Tanach) has the same content as the Christian OT, with the books in a different order after you get past the Torah (1st 5 books.) Today’s “Jewish Holidays” are identified in the OT as “Feasts (or “holy appointments”) of the Lord.”

Jesus/Yeshua celebrated these all these feasts throughout his life, plus Hanukah, which came later and celebrated the rededication of the Jewish Temple after pollution by pagans. Hanukah today is mainly an occasion for joyful dining with other Jews/family, and for hope that the temple can be rebuilt on the temple mount. In the NT, Hanukah is referenced as the feast of “Dedication (of the Temple.” Some Christian groups celebrate the holiday as an opportunity to re-dedicate themselves to their faith (their bodies are the temple…)

Jews and Christians worship the same Eternal Being. Jews who’ve read both Testaments argue over whether a) Jesus (a Judean Jew) was “the” messiah (only son of God, and yet God) or b) just another rabbi/teacher, or one of a series of human messiahs targeted to deliver a holy correction to a people gone astray…. The OT identifies the One God as Yehovah, or Yah for short, In the NT, book of Revelation, John identifies Jesus as Jehovah. Decide for yourself.

The Seder (program) was devised by Orthodox Jews, philosophical descendants of the first century Pharisees. Jesus taught that the Pharisees sometimes created traditions that effectively produced the opposite result than what was intended.

Jesus taught the originalist approach to scripture, and the Pharisees who came to believe he was right became some of the first and most ardent Christians. Jesus was closest in attitude to today’s Karaite Jews (scripture only; no required books of rote prayers or rabbinic interpretation.) Today’s atheist Jews are akin to the Saduccees of the first century.

Messianic Christians celebrate the OT holidays/Biblical feasts) but they generally incorporate familiar Orthodox/rabbinic traditions (kippas, prayer shawls, prayer books) into the mix to make believing Jews more comfortable in a Christian setting. You can find good Christian seders on the internet; they present the Exodus story as parallel to the Christian salvation story. You can do your own passover service for family and friends. What a concept.

“The Last Supper was a Seder” – is arguable. It certainly has elements of a passover – but the timing is tricky. Hard to both be and eat the passover lamb. Plenty of arguments over timeline and significance online. This is fun for those who like to argue, but there’s no definitive answer in the Bible. We won’t know until we get there if there’s a there there. Meanwhile, keep the faith!

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther