Family Home Evening
The main purpose of a Passover Feast is to celebrate the fact that God spared the Children of Israel, in the days of Moses, from the last plague he sent down upon Egypt. Another purpose of the feast is to review and learn about the Passover and exodus of the Israelites, and to understand how the Lord protects His people today.
[ The Jewish feast includes many symbolic foods and rituals, some of which we will use and explain in this Family Home Evening. (Read about the plagues and Passover in the Bible, Exodus 7-12; and read the article “The Passover Supper” on pages 74-75 of this month’s Ensign—April 2014.) We will not try to go through the 15 steps of a ritual Jewish Seder here, but will talk about the symbolism of the foods eaten, the story of the plagues and exodus, and how the Passover relates to Latter-day Saints. ]
1) To Begin . . .
The first thing you can do as a family to prepare for your Passover Feast is to symbolically rid your house of all unleavened bread. (Exodus 12:15)
Activity: Place some kind of raised donut or cinnamon roll in 10 baggies, and hide them throughout the house. Have the children search for and find them. Once the house is clean of unleavened bread, you can hold your feast, or dinner. (You could save the treats for an after meal dessert.)
2) Next . . . Eat Your Feast
The foods you will need for your feast are:
1. Unleavened Bread: Fry bread, tortilla, or crackers of some kind—symbolizes the fact that they were in a hurry and did not have time for yeast bread to rise, and also that Christ is the bread of life.
2. Bitter Herbs: Horseradish, parsley, peppermint, chives, romaine lettuce, or some other kind of bitter tasting herb—symbolizes the bitterness of slavery and the bitterness of Christ suffering for our sins.
3. Fruit Paste: a mixture of chopped nuts, apples, cinnamon, and honey or grape juice—symbolizes the mortar used between bricks to build storehouses and pyramids for the Pharaoh.
4. Vegetable and Salt Water Dip: Cut up celery, carrots, broccoli and/or cauliflower and some kind of vegetable dip in place of salt water—symbolizes new life, and the shedding of the tears of the Children of Israel. (It used to be a sign of royalty to dip food in sauces, and of course slaves did not have dips.)
5. Boiled Egg: A regular hard-boiled egg—symbolizes the renewal of body and spirit, the arrival of spring, and mourning for the loss of the Jerusalem Temple.
6. Meat: Lamb, goat, or chicken—symbolizes the Passover lamb sacrificed on the eve of the Israelites’ exodus from Egypt. It also represents the sinless Christ who sacrificed for our sins, and the absolute dedication required of God’s covenant people.
3) Now . . . Hold a discussion on “The ten plagues of Egypt and the Exodus”
You might want to watch part of the movie “The Ten Commandments.”
The plagues are:
1. Water is turned to blood (Exodus 7:19, 20)
2. Frogs cover the land (Exodus 8:5,6)
3. Lice throughout all the land (Exodus 8:16, 17)
4. Flies plague the Egyptians, but not the Israelites (Exodus 8:21-24)
5. Death of Egyptian cattle, (and other animals), but not the Israelites (Exodus 9:3-6)
6. Boils and Blains upon the Egyptians (Exodus 9:8-11)
7. The land is smitten with hail, fire, and thunder (Exodus 10:22-25)
8. Locusts cover the land and eat the greenery (Exodus 10:12-15)
9. Darkness covers the land for three days (Exodus 10:21-23)
10. All the firstborn of Egypt die, both man and beast. Those Israelites are spared who put the blood of the lamb on their doorposts (Exodus 11:4-7)
“For I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the LORD.
And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye are: and when I see the blood, I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.” (Exodus 12:12, 13)
After the last plague, Pharaoh lets the children of Israel leave Egypt where they have been slaves for the past 430 years. The Lord institutes the Passover, and the feast of unleavened bread that they and their posterity might remember this Passover forever.
“And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generation; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever.” (Exodus 12:14)
After the Israelites left, Pharaoh changed his mind and chased after them with his soldiers on their horses and chariots. Moses led the Children of Israel to the Red Sea where the Lord opened the waters and allowed the people to pass through the waters on dry ground. (Exodus 14:16) A pillar of fire kept the Pharaoh and his host from passing through the Red Sea until all the Israelites were safe on the other side. Then, when the Pharaoh and his soldiers were well into the Red Sea on dry ground, the Lord instructed Moses to stretch out his hand over the sea and cover them with water.
“Thus the LORD saved Israel that day out of the hand of the Egyptians; and Israel saw the Egyptians dead upon the sea shore.
And Israel saw that great work which the LORD did upon the Egyptians: and the people feared the LORD, and believed the LORD, and his servant Moses.” (Exodus 14:30, 31)
As Latter-day Saints, we are also a covenant people. Each week when we attend Sacrament Meeting, we renew our covenants with the Lord when we partake of the sacrament, which has replaced the sacrificial burnt offering of the Israelites. The Lord delights in our repentance and thoughtful covenant renewal. In the November 1995 Ensign, on page 68, and again in the April 2014 issue on page 75, Jeffrey R. Holland says:
“Do we see [our weekly sacramental service] as our Passover, remembrance of our safety and deliverance and redemption?
“With so very much at stake, this ordinance commemorating our escape from the angel of darkness should be taken more seriously than it sometimes is.”
As Latter-day Saints, we know that the Lord protects His covenant people when we keep His commandments, just as He did the Children of Israel when they did as He commanded.
Note that those same Israelites who were obedient in putting blood on their doorposts, and following the Lord’s instructions in their deliverance from slavery, had trouble remembering the lesson of obedience. As a result, they spent the next forty years wandering in the wilderness, trying to learn obedience.
4) Ask These Questions:
How might you avoid wandering in a wilderness of disobedience?
In what ways has the angel of darkness passed over you in the past week, month, or year?
What other blessings and protections come from belonging to the Lord’s Church and partaking of its covenants?
(So many helpers through life’s journey—Prophet, Bishop, teachers, home teachers, visiting teachers, a Ward Family, the gift of the Holy Ghost, Temple blessings, understanding of the Godhead and of where we came from, our purpose on earth, and where we are going, The Book of Mormon and its insights, the Welfare program, etc. Our blessings are endless.)
5) Finally . . . Play a game, color the coloring book pages, watch some of “The Ten Commandments,” or eat those donuts/cinnamon rolls!