Another popular tradition today, observed in some parishes, is the eating of the Sedar meal (Hebrew, “order” of the four cups of blessing.) This is the sacred meal eaten by the Jews during the Passover and the meal from which ritual elements of the Mass were taken. The ritual is conducted by the father of the group. It features telling the original story of the Passover and the eating of these symbolic foods:
- Matzoh (or unleavened bread)
- Morar (bitter herbs representing the bitterness of slavery in Egypt)
- Haroset (representing the brick mortar used by the enslaved Hebrews in building the Pharaoh’s cities)
- Parsley and Boiled eggs (symbolic of springtime and new life)
- dipped into Salt Water (symbolic of the tears of the Israelite’s)
At the heart of the ritual is the blessing of unleavened bread and cups of wine and a repeat eating and drinking of these symbolic foods. Used in a Christian context, the eating of the Seder often includes references to the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper. Today many liturgists question this Christian celebration of the Sedar meal. It is a very precious Jewish tradition and a Christian use of it might seem disrespectful. Christians, however, might benefit from participating in a real Seder meal with Jewish friends. Some parishes have begun a tradition of a brief memorial ritual and a parish supper preceding the liturgy of the Lord’s Supper.