by Miykael Qorbanyahu aka The End Time Scribe
And it shall be, when your children say to you, ‘What does this service mean to you?’ then you shall say, ‘It is the Passover slaughtering of יהוה, who passed over the houses of the children of Yisra’ĕl in Mitsrayim when He smote the Mitsrites and delivered our households.’ ” And the people bowed their heads and did obeisance.
The liberation of an oppressed people is a most precarious process. This is largely due to the psychology associated with oppression which is typically diagnosed as some form of mental pathology so as suffered by those who are oppressed. Therefore, in order to achieve liberation the oppressed must first experience an emancipation of the mind from the manacles of the oppressors’ machinations of oppression. Once the mind has experienced liberation from the pathology of oppression, then it becomes possible for the oppressed to view the dawn of liberation within their field of vision on the horizon. When taking into account the national liberation of Israel from Mitzrayim, we are able to see a historical precedent of steps taken in order to secure deliverance from bondage and oppression.
That there is an order which our Father and our King has set to everything under the heavens is also inclusive of our liberation. This is most expressly witnessed during the Passover Feast and Seder. Called the Season of our Freedom (זמן חרותנו) and it implies not only spiritual liberation, but also political freedom and the responsibility to exercise Self-Determination as instructed by the Torah. For it is during this time that we engage in the Pesach Seder, or order of service, so as guided by the Haggadah (הַגָּדָה), which is the liturgical retelling of the events leading up to and took place with the Passover that we are able to see the process of liberation at work. Coupled with readings from the Torah, we are able to apprehend and experience again and again the four-fold process of redemption that is mentioned in Exodus, as it is written
Say, therefore, to the children of Yisra’ĕl, ‘I am יהוה, and I shall bring you out from under the burdens of the Mitsrites, and shall deliver you from their enslaving, and shall redeem you with an outstretched arm, and with great judgments, and shall take you as My people, and I shall be your Elohim. And you shall know that I am יהוה your Elohim who is bringing you out from under the burdens of the Mitsrites. And I shall bring you into the land which I swore to give to Aḇraham, to Yitsḥaq, and to Ya‛aqoḇ, to give it to you as an inheritance. I am יהוה.’
From this we read that the four-fold promise of redemption is identified as
brought out from under the burdens of the Mitsrites which is in relation to both a physical and mental release from the oppressive labor by which they were bound in Mitzrayim. This is symbolic of being set-apart for the process of liberation to begin;
delivered from enslavement which is a reference to the spiritual and physical bonds that had come to typify their complete submission and assimilation to the ways of Mitzrayim;
redemption which is an act of recovering that which is lost in addition to experiencing salvation from death, bondage and exile; and
brought in to the Promised Land which is evidently self-explanatory.
With these four promises of a great and mighty deliverance, the process to ancient Israel’s liberation from the bondage of the Mitsrites shares similar principles to our present condition with our contemporary exile of bondage and oppression in the Diaspora, and particularly in America. What is more is that it is the capturing of this event in the Haggadah, which preserves the ancestral memories of Yisraelites, that allows for Israelites at home and abroad to retell and relive the orders of our ancient ancestors liberation from oppression. It is with this in mind that I’d like to present the symbolism of the 15 stages of the Pesach Seder to show how they relate to our liberation and redemption from oppression today. Let us now examine the order of the Haggadah and the symbolism surrounding it as relates to our liberation.
Ohr HaOlam: The first order of the service is the lighting of the candle. This symbolizes the awareness of יהוה, the True Light, and our responsibility to reflect the Light that from within to the nations (Isaiah 42.6; Matthew 5.14-16).
Kadesh: A word that means sanctification or to set apart and provides us with the understanding that in order for us to initiate our liberation process, then we must sanctify ourselves in order to engage in the spiritual, mental and physical demands to bring about our liberation. The first cup of wine, that of sanctification, is drank at this point symbolizing the sanctification of the people for the process of liberation. (Leviticus 19.2; Hebrew 12.14).
Urchatz: The cleansing of the hands is symbolic of our innocence and purity before Elohim. Once we have acknowledged the Light of Life within, set ourselves apart, and cleansed ourselves from our unseemly, Gentile-like ways, then we are able to serve the Most High in Spirit and Truth (Psalm 18.20; John 13.3-10).
Karpas: This is the eating of a green vegetable while dipping it in salt water. Our life in the midst of oppression has been one that has been beset with tears and suffering. Though we have at times flourished, which the vegetation (karpas) represents, we are all too familiar with the woes of exile and bondage. Remembering those ancestors and matters that have preceded us in life is a way to draw strength and inspiration for the labor in which we must engage in order to bring forth our liberation (Deuteronomy 16.12; Hebrews 13.3).
Yachatz: This is where the breaking of the matzah and hiding the Afrikomen takes place. For certain, brokenness is something with which we are all too familiar. However, brokenness is intended to serve as the disciplining and rectifying factor in our lives for the transformation of our behavior. It is customary to state that the three matzot represent Abraham, Yitzchaq and Yahqob, and that the middle matzah represents the Akedah binding of Yitzchaq. It is less customary, however, and not without precept or principle, to recognize the middle matzah as the body of Mashiyach Yahoshua, who was broken and chastised for our spiritual atonement and redemption. Ultimately, this simanim, or sign, represents the hidden nature of our being and the tumultuous process of its being rediscovered and our awakening to the reality that Mashiyach lives in us (Psalm 51.17; 2 Timothy 2.1-15).
Maggid: The story of Pesach is told every year in order to retain the ancestral memories within our historical continuity. This serves as both a reminder of where we have come from, as well as a guide pointing us to where we are to be. This narrative is essential to our liberation because it recalls the acts of faithfulness that our ancestors exhibited and the miracles that the Most High wrought in the face of a most powerful and brutal regime which allowed our ancestors to remain humble, hopeful and eventually overcome their oppressors (Deuteronomy 6.20-25; 1 Corinthians 11.23-30).
Rachtzah: This second hand washing is related to the preparation to undergo the national work of rebuilding the living temple. It is associated with the Declaration of Intent which we state every year at the Pesah Seder in order to express the ultimate goal of Yahudot, which is the merging of our consciousness with the Shekinah. The declaration states, I am ready and prepared to fulfill the precept regarding the first of the four cups for the sake unifying the Holy One, blessed be He, with His divine presence, through the Hidden and Concealed One in the name of all Yisrael. This declaration sets us up to join in the commitment of bringing forth the Messianic nation and body of Israel (Exodus 40.30-34; James 4.7-10).
Motze: Before eating the meal, a blessing is given unto the Most High for what He has provided for us from His bounties. In this case, it is for the provision of sustenance throughout our prolonged and bitter oppression. Despite the conditions and suffering that we have endured, the mercies and favor of the Most High have been extended to us despite our faithlessness, as we give thanks for the promises of the covenant and the continued oversight that has been extended to us from on high. What is more, we learn that it is not by bread alone that we are sustained by the Most High, but by the Torah, which is the Mind of the Spirit. This represents the seeking of the will of the Most High prior to every endeavor that we set out to undertake (Deuteronomy 8.1-3; Matthew 6.11).
Matzah: Unleavened Bread is representative of a sinless, blameless, perfect, mature life. It is through obedience to the Torah that we are to achieve this most desirable goal. As relates to our liberation, the role of the matzah is symbolic of our decision to abstain from the fleshly lusts of the world. This is representative of our teshuvah, or repentance (Exodus 23.18; John 6.26-33; 1 John 2.15-17)
Morror: Bitter herbs are symbolic of the hardships our ancestors faced while enslaved. It is only through the memory and experience of the enslavement that we will be able to appreciate the sweetness of liberation (Exodus 1.14; Romans 8.21).
Korech: The bitter herb and matzah sandwich symbolizes the hard work required to attain liberation. It teaches us that we must be mindful of the past in the present in order to secure our future. We must also transmit the information of the past to the present generation in order to prepare the youth for the future. This is the essence of endurance and overcoming which is what allows us to bear the fruit of liberation. The second cup of wine, that of judgment, is also drank at this point (Psalm 30.5; Matthew 24.13).
Shulchan Oruch: After all of the preparations have been undertaken and made, the highlight of the Seder is the setting of the table and reclining to eat the meal. This represents the reward of the work (Psalm 23.5; Ecclesiastes 2.24; Luke 22.28-30; Revelation 3.20-22).
Tzafun: Meaning hidden, buried, locked away or out of reach, this stage of the Seder is where the Afikomen, hidden at the stage of yachatz, is found and eaten. It is the discovery of this middle portion of the matzah which represents the reappearance of the Messianic reality of Israel brought forth from the hidden, inner man. For as was mentioned earlier, it is the ultimate goal of Israel to become the incarnate Torah, which is the purest and most powerful expression of liberation (Psalm 51.6; Colossians 1.26-27).
Barech: Associated with the third cup of wine, which deals with the process of redemption, is both a prayer of thanksgiving and prayer of anticipation. It is a giving of thanks for the purpose of the redemption from bondage, and an anticipatory prayer for the crowning of Mashiyach as King of the Earth. It is then when the name of יהוה be one and the Kingdom one (Psalm 41.10-13; Luke 1.67-75).
Hallel: With this part of the service, we come to the fourth cup of restoration. It is here that praises are sung to our Father and King for the mighty deliverance that He has worked for our ancestors and for our future restoration that we will experience in the land of Promise. For the magnificent and splendid power that is the Most High, praises are fitting for what has been and will be done for our liberation (Exodus 15.11; Revelation 19.1-19).
Nirtzah: With the formal services of the Pesach Seder reaching its height with the hallel prasie of יהוה, and the process of liberation accomplished in the spirits, minds and bodies of the Israelite people, we now look to the ingathering of the exiles at the great Feast of Tabernacles as we all, with one unified and powerful voice, cry out in expectancy, le shanah ha ba’ah bi Yerushalayim/next year in Jerusalem!