This free, printable, unit study is a ministry of Heather Idoni,
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WHY IS THIS NIGHT DIFFERENT........?
INTRODUCTION"........For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast............" (1 Corinthians 5: 7b, 8a) As Gentile Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, we often forget that Christ is the Messiah. The Jewish understanding of our Faith has been lost. This is partially due to edicts handed down by the early church. For example, The Council of Nicea declared that beleivers would not be allowed to commemorate Passover but would observe the resurrection of Christ on a new holiday called Easter. This has caused believers today to miss the connection between Passover and the resurrection. Passover was the beginning of God's relationship with Israel as a nation and Easter (the resurrection) is the fulfillment of God's promises and the beginning of our relationship with God. When we can grasp the the fundamental relationship between Passover (Judaism) and Easter (Christianity) we can begin to understand the other Biblical Feasts. Furthermore, we can begin to understand more fully the character of God the Father, His plan of salvation through Christ the Son, and His gift of the Holy Spirit who bears witness to the truth of it all.
RESOURCES***There are numerous resources in Christian bookstores about Passover, Judaism, Messianic Jews, and other Jewish Feasts. I have found that the information in these books varies only to the degree in which it is presented. I have found one book that I consider to be an excellent overall "guide" to Jewish Feasts--including Jubilee. The book is: THE FORGOTTEN FEAST (Jubilee) by William M. Curtis. The book sells for $5.50ppd and is available from the author.
The rest of the resources for this unit can be found on the Internet. I am
including links for going to them directly and storing them for later use and
the addresses for printing the unit and referring to the websites later. There
are thousands of sites available. I have found the following to be most helpful.
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INTRODUCING THE UNIT
1) Briefly (and I mean very briefly) review the genealogy Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph and his brothers. How the Hebrew people got to Egypt.
2) Review the birth and call of Moses.
HISTORY1) Over the course of the unit, you will be covering the history recorded in Exodus 4:27-14:31 Break these sections down to coincide with the other unit activities.
2) Start a timeline of people/events. This could begin with Abraham and go through Moses.
3) Read Luke 22:1-23. Show how the Passover was still being kept during the time of Jesus.
4) Read in 1 Corinthians 5 that Paul mentions the Passover. Note how the Passover was still being kept.
5) Look at a current calendar. Find the Passover date. Notice how it is still being kept.
6) Place Jesus and Paul on the timeline. Put the date of the current Passover on the timeline.
7) Talk about God's faithfulness to all generations.
8) Discuss other "events" that happened in the past that are continued today. How many of them are being kept precisely as given? How many of changed and how.
9) Have older children write a composition about the value of tradition, ceremony, and/or celebration.
10) If time permits, spend a week on Ancient Egypt--the Pharoahs, their lifestyles, dieties, etc. This is a great expansion topic or a full-fledged unit at another time.
Here are 2 unit studies on the Internet dealing with Ancient Egypt:
GEOGRAPHY1) Locate Egypt on the map.
2) Locate the Red Sea.
3) Locate the desert region between Sinai and the Arabian Desert. This was the area where Moses lived when he was called by God. (Midian)
4) The people living there were semi-nomadic. Have student define the word "nomad."
5) Research the geography of Egypt. How would you describe it?
6) Take time to look at the Nile River. Research its importance to the lives of the people in Egypt.
7) Look at pyramids and other ruins of Egypt. Note they were made of brick. Who made those bricks and how were they made?
8) Activity: Make a small wooden frame about the size of a brick. Try making your own bricks out of mud and straw. (You could do this free-form) Set them out to dry in the sun. How long does it take? What else could you make a brick out of?
SOCIAL STUDIES1) Discuss genealogies of the Bible.
2) Have child do your genealogy.
3) What does God want us to learn by seeing an emphasis on genealogy.
4) What is God's design for the family?
5) Take time to discuss "authority." Who is an authority? Why.
6) Family structure is important to God. Headship is important to God. What is the order of authority in your home?
7) Is anyone more important than the other? Does everyone in the family have a job to do?
8) This is important because everyone has a "job" in the celebration of the Passover. The youngest child has one of the most important jobs--the asking of the questions. Why is this? Hint: (Matthew 18:3)
9) Discuss/study each of the plagues. Why did God choose these particular plagues?
10) Read the Passover in Exodus. Then discuss how the Passover is celebrated now . Don't worry about the unusual words below. You will study them throughout the unit to become familiar with them.
******The emphasis is on the first two days. Celebrations differ slightly depending on national and family customs. All Jewish families follow the pattern in the Haggadah. The Haggadah is a book or program for the Passover ceremony, which tells the history of the Passover through prayers, stories, and songs. The traditional Haggadah is at least 1,000 years old.
On the first day of Passover, the Seder occurs. This is a symbolic dinner where the story of the Passover is told. There are fourteen steps in the Seder.
1. Singing blessings over the first cup of wine.
2. Washing hands
3. Dipping a vegetable in salt water. (Symbolic of the Red Sea and reminiscent of the tears shed by the ancestors during their enslavement in Egypt.)
4. Breaking the middle Matzah (unleavened bread) and hiding the Afikoman. (The 3 Matsot represent Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob--note that it is the middle Matzah, the son, that gets broken. Isaac, the sacrifice, had his life spared when God provided a lamb to substitute).
5. Telling the Passover story, including asking the four questions, describing the four children, and drinking the second cup of wine.
6. Washing the hands before the meal.
7. Saying the blessings for Matzah.
8. Tasting the bitter herbs and dipping them in Haroset. (This is soooo bitter that it brings tears to the eyes of the participants and reminds them of the bitterness and sorrow of their Hebrew ancestors when they were slaves in Egypt.)
9. Eating a Matzah and bitter herb sandwich.
10. Enjoying the Festival meal.
11. Finding and eating the Afikoman.
12. Singing the blessings after the meal, drinking the third cup of wine, and opening the door for the prophet Elijah.
13. Singing Psalms of praise and drinking the fourth cup of wine.
14. Completing the Seder with traditional songs.
Everything on the Seder table is symbolic. There is a large plate in the center that holds foods that are symbolic of the Passover story.
There are two kinds of Maror (bitter herbs - horseradish and romaine lettuce),
Charoseth (an apple and nut mixture)--symbolic of the clay used by the Hebrew people in making bricks.
Zeroah (a roasted bone representing the lamb God required to be eaten at the first Passover.)
Baitzah (a roasted egg symbolic of the second sacrifice of the Passover Day),
Karpas (fresh greens - usually parsley, celery, or lettuce). In addition to these foods on the plate, there are three matzot (plural for matzah) that are covered, a bowl of salt water, wine cups for everyone, as well as a big and beautiful wine cup for Elijah the Prophet.
The youngest child in the home asks "The Four Questions" that tell the Passover story.
1. Why is this night different from all other nights? (Because on other nights we eat matzah and bread, but on this night we eat only matzah.)
2. Why on all other nights do we eat many herbs and on this night only bitter herbs? (To recall the bitter lives of our ancestors, who were slaves in Egypt.)
3. Why on all other nights do we dip our food only once, and twice on this night? (It is our custom to dip on other nights. We dip a second time to remember that our ancestors dipped a leafy branch to smear lamb's blood on their doorposts.)
4. Why on all other nights do we sit up to eat, but recline on this night? (Because free people reclined in ancient times, and our ancestors became free on this night.)
The four children described are:
1. The wise child asks - "What are all the laws God has given you about Passover?"
2. The wicked child asks - "Why do you bother with this Seder?"
3. The innocent child asks - "What is this talking about?"
4. The child who does not know how to ask a question does not say anything. Instead the leader starts the discussion by saying "We celebrate Passover because of what God did for us when we left Egypt."
The Seder is the highlight and focus of the Passover. It is a ceremonial feast during which the Passover story is retold, and family and friends again learn about the meaning of freedom.
SCIENCE1) One of the first requirement God gave in celebrating the Passover was to remove all leaven from the house. What is "leaven." What does it do?
2) Bake bread. Watch what happens when bread has leaven in it.
3) Take a piece of the bread and let it set out for a long time. What happens to it?
4) What is mold? Take time to do a little mini study on molds. (This could be an expansion topic later on.)
5) God uses leaven as a symbol of sin. Why do you suppose He does that?
6) Now, thinking about leaven, why do you think the Feast of Unleavened Bread is celebrated immediately following the Passover Observance.
7) Make or eat some unleavened bread. Leave it out as you did the yeast bread. What happens?
LANGUAGE ARTS1) Learn the following vocabulary words:
Afikoman (a-fee-KO-man): The broken piece of the middle matzah, which is wrapped up, hidden, and later searched for by the children. A piece of the Afikoman is eaten at the end of the Seder meal.
Baitzah (bay-TZAH): The roasted egg on the Seder plate, which represents the festival offering in the ancient Temple. It is also a symbol of springtime.
Haggadah(ha-ga-DAH): The book that serves as a guide to conducting the Seder. It explains the symbols on the Seder table and tells the story of the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. The story is embellished with commentary, song, and praises.
Charoseth (kha-RO-set): A mixture, most often of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon, that reminds Seder participants of the bricks and mortar the Jews used to build the Pharaoh's cities.
Matzah (MA-tzah): The flat, unleavened bread the Jews ate while they were slaves in Egypt and on the night they fled from slavery.
Pharaoh (FAIR-o): The title of the ancient Egyptian king.
Seder (SAY-der): The special dinner held on the first two nights of Passover. The word means "order" and specifically refers to the order of the ceremony on those two nights.
Zeroah (ze-ro-AH): The roasted shank bone on the Seder plate, which is a symbol of the lamb the Jews roasted and ate on the night they left Egypt.
2) Check out a grade-level appropriate book from the library about Passover. Don't forget to look in the children's section for Passover picture books.
3) God talks about "signs" in the Bible. "This shall be a sign....." "This is given for a sign........" What is a sign?
4) Much of what God does is symbolic of His Eternal Plan for mankind. What is symbol?
5) Have students write a composition telling why the Passover is given as a sign and the symbols of the Passover.
6) Why is Jesus called our Passover Lamb?
7) Look at the Hebrew Alphabet. Learn to write your name in Hebrew.
8) Find out what "Yiddish" is. A lot of Jewish people still use "Yiddish" in their everyday speech. Learn some Yiddish words.
9) If possible, interview a Jewish person about how they celebrate the Passover in their home.
10) Learn the following vocabulary words.
11) Read the Easter Story from one of the gospels.
12) Have children try to draw parallels from Passover and Easter. (Don't push them. This will come in time. It doesn't have to sink in now)
13) Have children write a BOOK OF CEREMONY (Haggadah) about the way your family celebrates Easter. Does it begin on Ash Wednesday?, Holy Week?, Good Friday? Include going to church, wearing special clothes, decorating eggs--if you do that, eating certain foods. Include recipes.
MATH1) Look at the Hebrew Calendar. How is it different from our calendar?
2) How did our calendar get the names of the months.
3) What is an omer?
********* According to the Torah (Lev. 23:15), the Jewish people are obligated to count the days from the second night of Passover to the day before Shavu'ot, seven full weeks. This period is known as the Counting of the Omer. An omer is a unit of measure. On the second day of Passover, in the days of the Temple, an omer of barley was cut down and brought to the Temple as an offering.
Every night, from the second night of Passover to the night before Shavu'ot, a blessing is recited and the count of the omer is stated in both weeks and days. So on the 16th day, you would say "Today is sixteen days, which is two weeks and two days of the Omer."
The counting is intended to remind them of the link between Passover, which commemorates the Exodus, and Shavu'ot, which commemorates the giving of the Torah. It is believed that redemption from slavery was not complete until the Torah was received.
Note: This period is traditionally a time of partial mourning, during which weddings, parties, and dinners with dancing are not conducted. Haircuts during this time are also forbidden. The 33rd day of the Omer (the eighteenth of Iyar) is a minor holiday. The holiday is known as Lag b'Omer. The mourning practices of the omer period are lifted on that date. The word "Lag" is not really a word; it is the number 33 in Hebrew, as if you were to call the Fourth of July "Iv July" (IV being 4 in Roman numerals).
4) If desired, count the days of the omer and then do another unit study about Shavaut. All of the feasts are great expansion topics or individual unit studies.
5) Try to figure out how much time elapsed between Moses' first appearance before Pharoah and the crossing of the Red Sea.
OTHER ACTIVITIES1) Celebrate the Passover in your home or see if you can attend a Passover celebration elsewhere. It is good to check with a Messianic congregation for information--or a Jewish Community Center.
2) Listen to Hebrew music--especially Passover songs.
3) Set a Seder Plate and use it as a centerpiece at Easter.
*******In order going clockwise--starting at "12:00" the plate is set with Karpas, Maror, Charoseth, Beitzah, Maror (directly opposite the other Maror), Zeroah.
4) Make Easter Cookies using this recipe:
1c. whole pecans
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
Preheat oven 300 F
Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break them into small pieces. Explain that after Jesus was arrested He was beaten by the Roman soldiers. Read John 19: 1-3 (Compare this to breaking the Matzoh)
Let each child smell the vinegar. Put 1 tsp. vinegar into mixing bowl.
Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross he was given vinegar to
Add egg whites to vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave His life to give us life. (Compare to the Beitzah) Read John 10: 10-11.
Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27 (Compare to the Salt Water of Passover)
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 c. sugar. Explain that
the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. He
Beat mixer on high speed for 12 to 15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed.
Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those
Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet.
Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid.
Put the cookie sheet in the oven, close the door and turn the oven OFF.
Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door.. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Read Matt 27: 65-66.
GO TO BED! Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16: 20 and 22.
On Easter morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie. Notice the
cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first Easter
Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Read Matt 28:
IN CONCLUSIONGod did not intend for Believers to ignore the Jewish Feasts. They have been recorded "as a sign" for all eternity. We should, at least, learn about them. Our Faith and understanding of God will multiply 100-fold. We cannot forget that the Jewish people are the chosen people of God. How can we hope to introduce them to the Messiah--the fulfillment of all the feasts God gave Israel--if we do not understand them ourselves? May you have a holy and blessed Resurrection Celebration enhanced by a clearer understanding of the Passover and the "lamb that was slain."
For questions, comments, and suggestions, Please e-mail Heather at email@example.com.