Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Is there a difference between the Passover Seder and celebrating Passover?


Is there a difference between the Passover Seder and celebrating Passover in your home? I was always of the opinion they are one and the same thing. Are they?  Thanks so much for guiding us in these small things as well.


You are correct; they are one an the same. The "seder" is just a formal observance of the feast with a traditional liturgy and traditional meal. But the feast can be remembered and celebrated at home without the traditions. In fact, I believe most seders in Biblical time were in homes with friends and family rather than at community gatherings.

There is nothing in scripture mandating HOW Passover is remembered. We learn only that "When your children ask you, 'What do you mean by this ceremony?' say, 'It is the sacrifice of Adonai's Pesach [Passover], because [Adonai] passed over the houses of the people of Isra'el in Egypt, when he killed the Egyptians but spared our houses.' " (Exo 12:26-27, see also Exodus 13:3-8; Deuteronomy 16:1-8).

The time-honored seder is a wonderful, meaningful tradition, of course, and I am not diminishing it, rather, I'm just saying that it's up to us how we remember the beginning of the exodus and the pass-over.

NOTE:  Some read these verses and conclude that the celebration requires the slaughter of a lamb. But they don't realize that for the remembrance of Passover, when there was a Temple, there was only ONE lamb which was slaughtered as the "official" lamb to represent all of Israel.

All other animals were simply prepared as food as part of the annual remembrance. There is no requirement on us today to duplicate the conditions of the original pass-over (an event that happened only ONCE in all of history). Plus, we who believe, recognize that we have also a "one-time" sacrificial lamb whose blood spared us. Instead, we are to simply pause our lives and take the time to remember and feast as YHWH commanded.)


  1. We no longer do a seder as we found out the seders were not done until the time of the temple being destroyed 70 ad, we do exactly what the scriptures tell us to do. Have a meal with the elements mentioned and tell the story of the exodus and future 2nd exodus.

    “ The Sages absorbed the form of the symposium from the Hellenistic world, but drastically changed its content . The Greeks and Romans discussed love, beauty, food and drink at the symposium, while the Sages at the Seder discussed the Exodus from Egypt, the miracles of God and the greatness of the Redemption. The symposium was meant for the elite, while the Sages turned the Seder into an educational experience for the entire Jewish people.”


    You do what you feel convicted to do, just thought you should be aware.

  2. Rabbi Golinkin also wrote "We are bombarded today by a host of outside influences from the Western world. May God give us the wisdom to selectively adopt some of their forms and to fill them with Jewish content as the Sages did at the Seder."

    We think the time-honored traditions of the Seder are a quite wonderful thing, and recognize that even when Yeshua walked the earth, long before the Temple was destroyed, He recognized and participated in the Seder ("eat the Pesach", see for example Matthew 26:17 from the Aramaic) and we are not about to negate it by worrying about the source of the traditions. Rabbi Golinkin, in the part you quoted, was not bashing the seder, rather, he was praising Judaism for keeping it about "the Exodus from Egypt, the miracles of God and the greatness of the Redemption" despite absorbing the form of the celebration from the Hellenistic world.

    Since you were not present at the exodus, I would posit that you, too, absorb the "form" of your seder from your surroundings and experience.



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