Miscellaneous questions about how
to properly celebrate Passover
Passover/Unleavened Bread/Hag HaMatzot celebrated on Nisan 15 marks the beginning of a seven day period during which the eating of leavened Bread is forbidden as leaven is a symbol of sin (I Cor. 5:6-8). Messiah Yeshua fulfilled this Feast when he was buried and became our righteousness (Rom. 6:4, II Cor. 5:21).
Exodus 23:14-16: "Three times a year, you are to observe a festival for me. Keep the festival of matzah: for seven days, as I ordered you, you are to eat matzah (unleavened bread) at the time determined in the month of Aviv; for it was in that month that you left Egypt. No one is to appear before me empty-handed. Next, the festival of harvest, the firstfruits of your efforts sowing in the field; and last, the festival of ingathering, at the end of the year, when you gather in from the fields the results of your efforts."
Passover/Pesach celebrates the deliverance of the slaves from Egypt. It is the story of redemption by the killing of the Passover Lamb. The Israelites obeyed God by applying the blood of the Passover lamb to the doorposts of their houses so that their firstborn would be spared the Tenth Curse against Pharoah who refused to let God's enslaved Chosen People leave Egypt. When the Angel of Death passed through the land and saw the blood, he "passed over" those houses and spared the first born (Exodus 12:1-13).
This was a picture of Yeshua, God's "Passover Lamb" who willingly allowed His own blood to be shed on our behalf and thus became our redemption. The Messiah fulfilled this holiday when he was crucified! He took our bitterness so that we might live the abundant life. We remember and identify with the bitterness of slavery by eating the bitter herbs and the matza (unleavened bread) on Passover. The innocent died for the guilty. Sacrifice not only means death - it also means LIFE (Isaiah 53.)
During the Passover holidays, we are to remove anything "leavened" from our homes: The Feast of Unleavened Bread/ Hag HaMatzot which falls in conjunction with Passover is meant as a reminder to us of the Israelites' redemption from bondage in Egypt and of our redemption from sin through Mashiyach Yeshua. God's Word tells us that during the Feast of Unleavened Bread we have to spend a week without "leaven" in our lives. YHWH gave us very specific instructions to remember this feast and to observe it perpetually:
Exodus 13:3 - "...Remember this day, on which you left Egypt, the abode of slavery; because YHWH, by the strength of his hand, has brought you out of this place. Do not eat hametz."
Exodus 13:10 - "Therefore you are to observe this regulation at its proper time, year after year."
Paul reiterated this:
1 Corinthians 5: 6. Your bragging is not praiseworthy. Don't you know, that a little leaven leavens the whole mass? 7. Purge out from you the old leaven, that you may be a new mass, as you are unleavened. For our Passover is the Mashiyach, who was slain for us. 8. Therefore let us celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, nor with the leaven of wickedness and bitterness, but with the leaven of purity and sanctity. (AENT)
The word for "leaven" in Hebrew is chometz/chametz. Rav Shaul (Rabbi Paul) is teaching the Corinthians by using Passover imagery - by commanding them to purge the chometz from the house of their hearts, so that they can be sanctified.
So, Paul is telling Believers to celebrate Passover - to have a Seder (Passover Meal) that celebrates the deliverance from slavery and being a free people…to set aside this day to thank, praise and worship God. The Roman Catholic Church declared that "to do so was far too Jewish," and they stopped the celebration of Passover in their "Church". That, however, created a great problem: What about the Resurrection, what would they do about the fact that all the early believers celebrated the Resurrection on the day of First Fruits? (Part of the Passover celebration)
For "how to do a Passover seder" instructions, you can Google and purchase Passover haggadahs (instructions), or check out our Pesach/Passover Haggadah (to find the downloadable haggadah, click the link, then scroll to the bottom of the page). Also, we recommend Barney Kasdan's book, "God's Appointed Times" which outlines the basics of keeping the feasts. Once you "get the hang" of celebrating each feast, it becomes easier with each passing year!
At the risk of contradicting some of the popular teachings "out there" that Yeshua rose on "Firstfruits", we urge you to examine Scripture as you read the following:
Yeshua died just hours before the Feast of Pesach representing the Pesach lamb, was buried just before the Feast of Unleavened Bread representing sinlessness, and represented Firstfruits as the first of the harvest to YHWH. (Yeshua did not "rise" on Firstfruits - Firstfruits don't "rise" - they are "presented".)
At the completion of the 50th day, the Holy Spirit was sent on the next holiday; Shavuot (Pentecost) - Acts 2:1-4. The first three holidays (Pesach, Unleavened Bread, and Firstfruits), happen in 3 consecutive days and we celebrate them all within an 8 day period (including Pesach, and the 7th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a High Holy Day).
We simply call the whole period "Passover" (Pesach). But the Roman Catholic Church had a large dilemma as they did not agree with following the "practice of the Jews" (of Pesach on the 14th of the month) and they solved it with a bunch of paganism brought in from Babylon, incorporating the springtime feast of Ishtar, and confused First Fruits with "Resurrection" and called it "Easter" and mandated it fall on Sunday.
Let's take a look at God's Holy Days:
First, we must realize they are our "dates" with God; the times we are to cease from our daily routines of work and just REST in Him, concentrating on Him and His Word and just thanking Him. God's High holy days are Shabbats, and like the weekly Shabbats, they are meant for REST and ceasing our regular income-producing work...and yes, we can also have fun on those days, too, and spend time with our families, etc. YHWH doesn't expect us to do nothing but study His Word all day long; He knows we have to take a break to eat and rest and to take time out for various family obligations.
YHWH never meant for His Shabbats to be a burden. Man turned them into a burden....The trick about ANY holy day including Passover, is NOT to get wrapped around the axle! Just do it to the best of your ability!
Okay, let's get to the questions!
What exactly do I "get rid of" for Passover ...Isn't leaven an early stage of yeast? The answer can be found here: here.
Can I just keep my breads and cakes and the mixes in the garage during Passover:
No. Throw your bread and cakes and mixes away if you can't use them before the unleavened bread days. I used to put our breads and cake mixes in the garage, and one day it dawned on me that this was cheating. YHWH said to get the leaven OUT OF OUR LIVES because it represents sin. If we hang onto our bread and cake mixes, we're in essence saying, "I'm getting rid of it for the holidays, but I'm bringin' it back once they're over!"
This whole thing is YHWH simply trying to show us that by DOING something ("doing" serves as a reminder), we are reminded of Him and His Torah commands. If we truly love Him, we should not be "half-hearted" about it. Otherwise, we'll be no better than most of the world which is full of hypocrites.
Many traditional Jews sell their stuff to the Gentiles during Passover, but that is really bad in my opinion because Gentiles are supposed to be "leaven-free" during this time, too - whether they realize it, or not. By selling it to the Gentiles, we're basically causing THEM to sin...It doesn't matter whether or not they are Torah observant; the fact is, WE ARE, and we're ALL God's children who are supposed to be obeying Him. By selling or giving them our baked goods/mixes, we're showing that we don't care about our lost brothers and sisters.
By the way - during Passover we have TWO holidays; one at the beginning of Passover and one at the END. Please see our calendar of Feast Days toward the bottom of this page. No work is to be done on either of those days. In between, for 7 days we are not allowed to eat anything with leaven in it (meaning anything that causes bread or cakes to rise).
What does it mean to "cease from work?"
Well, if you're a lawyer, stay away from the office and don't take any cases on Shabbat on or on High Holy Days. If you're a chef, don't cook for the public that day; if you're a housewife, don't do any housework; if you're a psychiatrist or dentist or any medical person, do not see patients except on emergency bases. And do NOT use those days to catch up on house or yard work or repairing your broken lawn mower; those things can wait.
Do NOT commit commerce or cause others to work on a Shabbat - i.e., eating at restaurants will cause the cook, the waitress and the cashier to "work for you" while you are there. It doesn't matter whether or not they aren't Torah observant. YOU ARE, and by engaging in commerce or going out to eat, etc., at that moment you're causing others to break YHWH's Shabbats, whether THEY realize it, or not.
Some of the Shabbats require fasting, others don't. (YHWH tells us what to do on each Shabbat, and you'll "get the hang of it" once you start celebrating them.)
Just use common sense during ANY Shabbat. If your baby needs his diapers changed, CHANGE them! If you're hungry, eat! If you're sick enough to need medical attention, go to the hospital. But the main thing is to REST from your normal activities (especially income-producing work) and concentrate on why you are resting, because it's all about YHWH; it's our "date" with YHWH Himself!
At our house, before any regular Shabbat or High Holy Days, I try to cook my food beforehand so all I have to do is to throw the stuff in the microwave and heat it up. (Of course, the traditional rabbis would accuse me of "making a fire" on the Shabbat and have me stoned; but hey, I don't gather firewood or work up a sweat rubbing two sticks together - and how much "work" is it to push a button?)
May YHWH richly bless all those who are trying their best to become Torah-observant!
In case you were wondering how we know that God's "day" begins and ends at sunset, there are several scriptures that reveal this fact, including the following:
Genesis 1: 5 So there was evening and there was morning, one day.
Notice "evening" was mentioned first, then morning....This was repeated throughout Genesis 1.
Nehemiah 13: 19 So when the gates of Yerushalayim began to grow dark before Shabbat, I ordered that the doors be shut; and I ordered that they not be reopened until after Shabbat. I put some of my servants in charge of the gates, to see to it that no loads be brought in on Shabbat. 20 The merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Yerushalayim once or twice, 21 until I warned them, "Why are you spending the night by the wall? Do it again, and I'll use force against you!" From then on they stopped coming on Shabbat. 22 Then I ordered the L'vi'im to purify themselves and come and guard the gates, in order to keep the day of Shabbat holy. My God, remember this too for me, and have mercy on me in keeping with the greatness of your grace!