Anyone struggling with the Passover guest list?
This year, I was blessed by a little article about the “wicked son,” who wouldn’t have been redeemed in Egypt, but who had a place at the table in the exile because we have grace upon grace and the Holy One, Blessed Be He, knew ahead of time that such-and-such souls needed to be born in the exile in order to find their way to redemption. Isn’t that sweet? God doesn’t desire that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
So, then I was confronted with the guest list as we’re hosting Passover in a facility that can hold 100 people (though we may only have 20-30 or so). Who gets a place at the table here in the exile? What is it that the son of a stranger, or foreigner, cannot eat?
Here is how I see it, but please let me know how you and your congregation handle it:
Is it the matzah?
Clearly, no, since anyone traveling through the gates of one keeping Passover will encounter unleavened bread: there is nothing else to eat during the Passover and the days of Unleavened Bread.
Is it the bitter herbs?
No, I don’t get the sense that herbs are anywhere put off limits to foreigners.
Is it the wine?
No, that’s not even part of the biblical mandate to guard Passover.
Is it the lamb?
Not lamb in general, since that’s just dinner if it’s not the Passover Lamb.
Not Yeshua, Jesus, since he’s always available to anyone who repents and turns to him.
But the Passover Lamb? The Zervach-Pesach, the slaying of impunity, the actually lamb with all the regulations that pertain to it? Here we have a likely candidate. This lamb has lots of regulations about how and when it’s acquired, how to cook it, when to eat it, and how to dispose of it.
I get the sense it is the Passover Lamb we haven’t had since 70 A.D. that is the thing the stranger cannot eat. It also fits with the other things strangers can’t eat, always things connected with holy food and the temple, even though that’s anachronistic when considering the Night of Watching in Egypt.
So does this mean strangers can come to the Passover Seder, since there is no Passover Lamb but Yeshua?
I think yes, but I take a non-sacramental view of the bread and wine, though I do think it’s important to let everyone at the table decide for himself or herself what to drink, eat, or abstain for eating or drinking.
How is your family or congregation handling this?