The Seder and Unleavened Bread

By Martin Sarvis
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Posted in Jewish HolidaysPesach on March 26, 2018
Passover Jewish Holiday

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed, Messiah (Christ), our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth”
(I Corinthians 5:7-8).

Jews throughout the world will be gathered around tables the first night of Passover in obedience to the command in Exodus 12:14, “So this day shall be to you a memorial; and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD throughout your generations. You shall keep it as a feast by an everlasting ordinance.” They will have cleaned leaven from their homes and will begin a week of eating only unleavened bread (Hebrew: matzot; Ex. 12:17-20).

The word Pesach (Passover) comes from the Hebrew verb lifso’ach which means “to skip.” When the scourge passed through Egypt, those with the blood of the lamb on their doorposts were ‘skipped’ the judgment which was coming upon the gods of Egypt, and those who worshiped them. The meal is celebrated at a seder table. Seder means “order.” In modern Hebrew the word for ‘o.k.’ is b’seder—literally, “in order.” So, at the seder table is presented an “ordered” account, both through reading and having a meal, of what God did on that first occasion.

During the course of the meal, most families are guided by a book called a Haggadah. This word means “the telling” and is taken from Exodus 13:8, “And you shall tell your son on that day, saying, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt’.” Although the most-used version of this book contains here and there remarks and theories by once-revered rabbis, it is primarily a straightforward account of God’s deliverance of His people Israel from bondage in Egypt, interspersed with wonderful psalms, and other Biblical passages—many of which reference God’s yeshu’ah (His “salvation”), and a coming “anointed one”—Messiah.

At the heart of this “telling” as it has come down to our day is an addition called Afikomen. The word comes from a Greek word, meaning literally “that which comes after” or even, “the one who came.” At the beginning of the seder, three pieces of matza are placed into a three-fold pocket of cloth or paper. But the piece going into the middle compartment is first broken. Part of this broken piece of unleavened bread is placed in the middle pocket; the other piece, the Afikomen, is wrapped up and hidden away. After the meal, the children will seek the Afikomen…and the one who finds it will be given a redemption-price reward. Then all the participants at the table eat a portion of the Afikomen for dessert. Modern-day matza (or matzo) is unleavened, pierced and striped from the heat in baking. According to the Mishna, the Afikomen is a substitute for the “Korban Pesach”—the Passover Sacrifice, which was the last thing eaten at seders during the First and Second Temple periods.

It all seems so clear! A piece of unleavened bread, bruised and pierced is broken off, wrapped and hidden away (yet is still present with the tri-partite “oneness” in the pocket). When it is found by those who have sought it as little children, it brings great joy. There is so much deep truth inserted by the Ruach haKodesh—“Holy Spirit” into the Hebrew traditions, yet there is still a veil over the hearts of most of our people, and they do not see.

[Note: Regarding the tradition of the Afikomen, some scholars believe there to be ample indication that Yeshua (Jesus) Himself may have instituted this practice, which then found its way into traditional observance because of the early Messianic Jews (see “The Meaning and Importance of the Jewish Holidays” by John Fischer, Sharing Bible, Messianic Vision, 1989, p.40.)]

Passover Week is also called in the Bible the “Feast of Unleavened Bread” (Hebrew: Chag HaMatzot). It lasts for seven days, beginning with the Seder on the evening of the 14th day of Aviv/Nisan (the First Month). The first and last days of the week are to be observed as Sabbaths (Leviticus 23:7-8). The days between these two “Sabbaths” are called chol ha’mo’ed…which means the “common” or “every-day normal” period of time between two set-apart (i.e. “holy”) days. During this week Israel is commanded to eat matzot—“un-leavened” bread—and no leavening agent is to be found in her dwellings for the seven days.


*For the Light of Life to shine into our dwellings and hearts…exposing any “leaven” which needs to be cleansed.

*For Light to shine over Seder tables in Israel and around the world, to reveal the Truth of the “Lamb, slain from the foundation of the world”—who was separated from the Father while remaining one with Him, born in Bethlehem (lit: “bread-house”), bruised and pierced, cut off from mankind and hidden in the earth—the Lamb of God who atones for and takes away the sin of humankind—Who may be found by all who become like little children and seek; and whose finding brings Life, and Nourishment and Joy!

*For God’s protection over Israel during this two-week period when children are out of school and many families are out and about Israel enjoying the holidays.