A Messianic Passover Seder
by David Sargent

Preparing for a Passover Seder

Table of Contents
What is needed?
Food Items:
     Other Items:
     A place setting of each participant
Detailed Food list Explanation
Festival Meal Foods
Where to Buy
     Jewish Book Stores & Mail Order:
     References Material
Passover Seder Recipes
     Clay or Charoses -- Must make
     Horseradish Sauce
     Matzo Balls
     Gefilte Fish
     Passover Gravy


The leader should read thru the Leader's Haggadah book in advance, before the eve of the Seder. He should prepare himself spiritually and his home for the Seder. This is to be a time of joy. The Seder may be celebrated by just the immediate family as in Jewish home or as a teaching ministry. Either way, it will glorify the Lord Jesus and draw everyone closer to Him. Don't worry about your Seder being "perfect." This is a celebration not a performance. The leader is the coordinator of the Seder not a performer.

While reading the Haggadah book in advance, select which optional text you want to include. Also select which Bible verses you want read and by whom. Feel free to add your own observations and comments. You may want to add comments and corrections in the margins.

The Seder is divided into three parts, I have noted the approximate time of each portion: the time before the meal (1 hour), the festival meal (1 hour) and the time after the meal (45 min.). So provide 2 to 3 hours for the Seder depending on the amount of optional text and Scripture read and the number of courses of the meal.

Jews for Jesus, holds an annual Seder banquet where you can learn and enjoy. You can write or call them if you are interested in their Seder.

What is needed?

See Table Set-up pictures for examples.

The following is a check list, the food items are described in more detail later.

Food Items:

  1. Fruit of the Vine:
    • Traditional Passover wine, red concord. Manisschewitz / Kedem or other "Kosher for Passover".
    • Grape Juice, red concord
  2. The Matzah: The unleavened bread, yes it looks like crackers.
  3. A Roasted Lamb Bone: see description
  4. Bitter Herbs: Horseradish
  5. A Green Vegetable: - Parsley (or lettuce)
  6. The Clay: of apples, and nuts, see description
  7. Eggs: Hard boiled or Roast.
  8. Salt Water:
  9. Pitcher of drinking water: (to wash down the horseradish)
  10. Pitcher of water, Large Bowl and Towel: for washing of hands

Other Items:

The Leader's Haggadah: and (Scriptures cards: and/or Bible)

A Ceremonial Seder plate: A plate (or palter) that is different than others on the table. Traditionally said to be blue in color, but I have seen many colors used. On it is the Roasted Lamb Bone, Bitter Herbs, Green Vegetable, the Clay: of apples and nuts and Hard boiled Egg. See detailed food list for descriptions.

The cup of Elijah, A Large Wine cup or goblet that is different than others on the table. Some set a place for him.

Leader has a pillow: to lean on.

Two white candles: for the honored woman to light with a blessing. If more than one table is used extra candles may be used for the honored woman at that table to light. Remember matches.

A reward: of the finder of the Afikoman. Small gifts for the other children is acceptable.

Flowers: in a vase are very traditional for the table (from the yard is acceptable).

For the washing of hands:

(In large groups only the leader may want to wash using a small bowl.)

Bread: white or wheat. It is customary to place a few pieces of bread in various places, The bread found is to be thrown into the fireplace. ((or wrapped and thrown away)) Place bread before the evening Seder starts. See search for leaven.

Matzoh Tosh

For the yachatz--breaking the middle matzah: three matzos are wrapped in white covering, (white napkins on top, bottom and between the three are perfectly acceptable). A special three compartment coverings can be bought at Jewish bookstores. The Afikoman is wrapped in a white napkin: also before being hid. A white napkin: is also used to cover the matzos on the plate beside by the leader, the special three compartment covering can be used also. The matzah of hope is removed from this plate.

Small Hats called yarmulke: ("yaw-ma-ku") are optional. Jewish men cover their head as a sign of reverence to God above. See 2 Samuel 15:30 and 1 Corinthians. 11:3-15. They may be homemade or bought at Jewish bookstores-Mail order, (see where to buy list in these prep sheets). If worn, the leader typically wears white and the other men may wear any color. Typical everyday yarmulkes are dark colored, black-grays. Festival yarmulkes can be white or blue with embroidered trim. See recipes' pages for making your own.

The honored women who light the two white candles with the blessing may traditionally cover her head: with a cloth: during the blessing

A place setting of each participant

  1. Responsive Seder program.
  2. Napkin
  3. Flat ware
  4. Wine cup
  5. Water cup
  6. A small plate or extra napkin: for the finger dip into the cup to remove a drop for the Plagues.
  7. Dinner plate: not placed until the meal.

Detailed Food List Explanation

The MATZAH: The Unleavened bread. Passover matzah is available in many supermarkets before and during Passover. Passover matzah is the same as regular matzah, but Rabbis are paid to give special blessing over it. Get 2, or up to 3 Matzos per participants. I have found there are about 12 to 14 Matzos per box. Manisschewitz tastes the best, we have found.

The Roasted Lamb Bone: is only on the Ceremonial Seder plate. Traditionally it is a lamb shake bone, symbolizing that God saved them with an out stretched arm. I bought a lamb cut with a bone, cooked it up and removed the meat. Then with a lighter flame roasted it. We store it in the freezer for next year. Some Jewish homes use the cooked neck of the chicken that will be eaten that night.

Bitter Herbs: are traditionally made of Horseradish and grated by hand by the man of the house till he sheds a tear. This makes up for the ones shed by the wife during the year. It's perfectly OK to use store bought Horseradish sauce. You need about 1/4 cup per 4 to 6 participants. If you grate your own cut a wedge shape piece of the root to place on the Ceremonial Seder plate, if not place Horseradish sauce in small glass dish on Seder plate. See recipe pages for making your own.

A Green Vegetable:, Traditionally Parsley pieces, but can also be pieces of lettuce. Cut up to small bit size pieces, have enough for everyone. One piece goes on the Ceremonial Seder plate.

The Clay: of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine, (charoses). Make your own. Use 1/2 to one red apple per participant, chop (or coarsely grate) in to small pieces. Add about one tablespoon of chopped nuts per apple (I use pecans). Spice with a dash of cinnamon and a splash of Passover wine. Mix well. If prepared some time in advance of Seder, a little bit of lemon juice may be added to help keep it fresh. Place a little on the Ceremonial Seder plate, (a small glass dish on the plate may be used to keep from running). A piece of cinnamon stick may be placed in the apple mix on the Seder plate to symbolize the straw they had to collect to make the bricks. See recipes.

Hard boiled eggs: one small to medium egg for each participant pre-shelled. The prefect one is for the Roasted Egg that goes on the Ceremonial Seder plate. This one may be flame roasted (browned) if desired. I cut a flat spot on the bottom so it will not roll off the plate (as it did one year).

Salt Water: water with table salt added. Some add a little vinegar. Enough bowls should be on the table so none will have to be passed around for the dipping of the green vegetable and egg. If your Ceremonial Seder plate is very large some place a small bowl of salt water on it, but this is not necessary.

Fruit of the Vine:

Traditional Passover wine, red concord grape. Manisschewitz is the most traditional with Kedem in second. Manisschewitz is found in many supermarkets before and during Passover. I do, as done in Jesus' time, water my wine down a little. Red concord Passover wine is strong to my taste. I add 1/4 to 1/3 water to wine to taste. Passover Wine is the same as regular kosher wine, but Rabbis are paid to give special blessing over it.

Grape Juice, red concord Welsh's have the markets on it, but you can use any brand. Make bottles different for juice and wine.

Festival Meal Foods

Gefilte Fish:, is very traditional, but not necessary. It is made of white fish and matzah. Traditionally eaten with horseradish during the meal. Buy a Jar or make you own if you are energy, see recipes.

Matzah Ball soup: is very traditional, usually in clear chicken broth. Available in a box mix or ready to serve in a bottle or by using Matzah meal for making it from scratch, see recipe's list. Making your own is best. If you are short on time you can buy jars of soup at most stores. See recipes.

The Meal meat today is usually poultry, not flame roasted. No roasted Lamb nor flame any roast foods for (orthodox) Jews. Any meat may be eaten excluding pork and shellfish.

Relish plate, is not traditional, thus purely optional, but some festival meals have one, depending one the size of the meal. Items are eaten with the meal.

Salt and Pepper Shakers, (optional).

A Manisschewitz food display can be found in many supermarkets, these display the many typical Passover foods.

Just a note on kosher food:

Remembering Jesus said it is what comes out of a man's mouth not what he puts in it that defiles him, do not worry about every little detail of what is cooked for Passover. Passover for the believer in Y'shua is God's object lesson about His love, Grace and His redemption power. Have fun and joy.

Where to Buy

Passover matzah and wine are available in many supermarkets before and during Passover. We found Hughes supermarkets to have the largest selection of kosher items.

With the purchase of specially marked Maxwell House coffee cans you can get a free Maxwell House Haggadah. This is a very traditional Haggadah the order and many parts are similar to this Haggadah. Jewish Haggadahs are always in Hebrew and English. They usually start in the rear of the book.

As already stated, no special items are absolutely necessary to hold a Seder. But, if desired some special items may by bought. We have purchased additional items each year, like one would collect Christmas decorations, but again it is not necessary.

If you want to purchase some of the special items I mentioned, Fairfax and Beverly Blvd. in LA is the place. Or mail order from Jews for Jesus.

One and a half blocks north of Beverly on Fairfax are four Jewish bookstores, between the kosher meat markets, restaurants and grocery stores. If you never make it to the holy land you may want to visit Fairfax Blvd. If you don't see what you want and the price you want, ask for it and haggle, its' the Jewish way.

At the places to follow you can buy:

Special three compartment covering for the matzah, called a Matzah Tosh ($15 to $45),

Ceremonial Seder plate-many different kinds ($12 to $100)

Cup with Elijah's name on it in Hebrew ($3 to $15).

Many types of Jewish Haggadah 6 to 1 hour versions ($1 to $9)

Women's prayer head covering ($10 to $25)

Yarmulke-head coverings for men ($3 to $25)

Again none of these items are absolutely necessary.

Jewish Bookstores & Mail Order:

Atara's Books and Gifts
450 N. Fairfax Ave
LA, CA 90036
phone: (323) 655-3050
Solomon's Book Store
447 N. Fairfax Ave
LA, CA 90036
phone: (323) 653-9045
Both of the above sell by mail order also.


Mail order or online: Write or call for free catalog:
Hamakor Judaica's
Source for Everything Jewish
PO BOX 59453
Chicago IL 60659
Jesus for Jesus's
Purple Pomegranate Productions
80 Page street
San Francisco CA 94102-5914
Phone: (415) 864-3900
For Credit Card orders or to get catalog

Purple Pomegranate Productions as both traditional Jewish items and Messianic Haggadah-books.

References Material

My references materials can be found in the following:

  1. The New Annotated Passover Haggadah: by Rabbi Nathan Goldberg, 1987, Ktav publishing house Inc. NY, NY 10002 (very orthodox, a long version)
  2. Passover Haggadah: by Rabbi Morris Silverman, 1975, The Prayer Book Press, Media Judaica, Inc., Bridgeport, CT. (many good explanations)
  3. Maxwell House Coffee Passover Haggadah: 1984, General Food Corp. (traditional orthodox) the only source is specially marked coffee cans.
  4. Haggadah for the American Family: by Rabbi Martin Berkowitz, 1975, Martin Berkowitz, Merio, PA. (simple short version in Modern English)
    The above are Jewish Haggadahs found at the Jewish bookstores and Mail Order listed above.
  5. Passover Haggadah: A Messianic Celebration: by Eric Peter Lipson, 1986, Jews for Jesus, 60 Haight Street, San Francisco, CA 94102-5895, Phone 415-864-3900 See: Purple Pomegranate above to order. (Very long, and is more information than can be used in one evening. One of the reasons I compiled/wrote my own Haggadah. This book can be used to hold a Messianic Seder but must be edited down before hand.) A very good book, many of my notes come from this book. Ask for it at your Christian book store or write/call Jews for Jesus' Purple Pomegranate Productions. They also have speakers that will come to your church, and workers that visit/call/write Jews seeking the Lord.
  6. Christ in the Passover: by Ceil and Moishe Rosen, 1978, Moody Press. A very good book, many of my notes come from this book . Very good historical background. Ask for it at your Christian book store or see Purple Pomegranate above to order.
  7. Celebrate Passover Haggadah, by John Lipis, Jews for Jesus
    See: Purple Pomegranate above to order. It is a good Messianic Passover Haggadah. Simple, yet a complete version with some recipes and songs.
  8. The Messianic Passover Haggadah: by Barry & Steffi Rubin, The Lederer Foundation, 6204 Park Heights Avenue, Baltimore MD 21215, 1989. A very good Messianic Haggadah. If you don't use mine here and do not want to spend the time editing your own copy, this simple yet complete version is good.

Jewish cook books can be found at any standard (or Jewish) book store, Crown, Walden and etc.

Don't forget your local Library has many good books on the above mentioned subjects.


A comment on removing all leaven. Since the following is said and we are not under the Ceremonial law, (but under grace) we do not have to remove all leaven from our houses.


Also see the Appendixes and notes at the end of the Haggadah.

Passover Seder Recipes

Clay or Charoses -- Must make

The Clay of apples, nuts, cinnamon, and wine, (Charoses).

  1. Core and chop up (or coarsely grate) into small pieces apples.
  2. Add about one tablespoon of chopped nuts per apple (I use pecans).
  3. Spice with a dash of cinnamon and a splash of Passover wine. Mix well. If prepared some time in advance of Seder a little bit of lemon juice may be added to help keep it fresh.

A little is placed on the Ceremonial Seder plate, a small glass dish on the plate may be used to keep it from running. A piece of cinnamon stick may be placed in the apple mix on the Seder plate to symbolize the straw they had to collect to make the bricks.

Horseradish Sauce

Horseradish for the Bitter Herbs. Traditionally grated by hand by the man of the house till he sheds a tear. This makes up for the ones shed by the wife during the year. You need about 1/4 cup per 4 participants. Horseradish roots can be bought at many supermarkets (always at Hughes) or produce stores. Buy a medium to large root, 1 lb. serves 24. Peel off outer brown skin. Cut a 2" wedge shape piece off the root to place on the Ceremonial Seder plate before grating. Finely grate the root by hand or with a food processor (you can shed a tear just as easy using food processor). The root is usually dry so mix in a little water and vinegar to make a thick sauce. Some recipes call for the addition of some sugar. You can do this to take a little of the kick out of the horseradish, some roots will make you choke.

Matzo Balls

Add water, margarine, salt and pepper to the beaten eggs. Mix well. Add matzo meal and stir thoroughly. Refrigerate at least one hour. Form into balls and drop into soup; (or into 1 1/2 quarts boiling water with 1 tablespoon salt for balls only w/o broth). Cook 20 minutes. Makes 16-20 balls

Note: The balls will absorb some of your soup broth as they expand. Therefore, allow for this when calculating how much soup you will need for your guests.

Gefilte Fish

  1. Fish should be filleted and ground. This yields about 4 to 5 pounds ground fish. Reserve heads and bones. Place heads, bones (see note below), several sliced carrots, whole onion, salt, and a lot of pepper (see note below) in large pot or water; bring to boil.
  2. Saute grated onion in margarine.
  3. In bowl, using hand chopper, mix all remaining ingredients with fish. Adjust fish seasoning, adding freshly ground pepper to reduce fishy taste.
  4. Form medium sized balls; place in boiling water. Simmer, uncovered 3 hours. Yield 20 large or 40 small pieces (you may want to half recipe).

Note: I was not up to doing the heads, bones stuff so I purchased 4 to 5 pounds filleted fish and added fish cubes (similar to chicken bouillon) to the water. Regarding the pepper, I used what I thought was "lots" and found it was too much. I think the next time I make this I will use peppercorns in the water. Also, my pot was not big enough to hold all the balls and so I used two pots with a whole onion, carrots, salt and pepper in each pot. (Tastes great, but buying a Jar is a lot easier).

Passover Gravy

Additional restrictions apply to what is considered Kosher during the Passover season. All flours and corn starch are prohibited, and so to be Kosher you can use potato starch. Use it in your favorite recipe, using less potato starch than you would flour, or use the recipe below:

After cooking meat, drain juice and fat into bowl. Skim fat off juice. Heat 1/4 cup fat in pan and discard remaining fat. Add potato starch and stir until bubbly. Add meat juice (if you do not have 2 cups of juice add enough water to your juice to equal 2 cups--you may need to add a bouillon cube also). Cook, stirring constantly until bubbly and desired consistency. If desired, thin with water or thicken with additional starch. Serves approximately 8 and tastes great.



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