Henceforth, the Feast of the Unleavened Bread was to be kept as a sacred memorial, for the blood of the unblemished lamb spared the Israelites. The first Passover meal was no ordinary drama but a crucial turning point for the Jews. The Exodus prepared the nation for two events: the covenant on Mt. Sinai and the anticipation of the heavenly banquet in the kingdom of God.
To Be a Jew ...
The story of the Exodus, which happened once and for all in history, has been handed down through sacred tradition in essentially three stages: first, the dramatic event itself experienced by those intrepid Jews enslaved in Egypt. The oral tradition came next, through which one generation after the other listened to and reflected on the significance of their deliverance. The final stage came in the formulation in writing of the Torah itself (the first five books of the Hebrew Scriptures) from about 600-400 BC.
In subsequent Passover banquets, Jews have listened attentively to the Haggadah (the story of the Exodus) with blessing and thankfulness as it again takes hold in every Jewish soul. To be a Jew is to commit oneself to this sacred history and to experience personally those same events in ritual. Today the stages of past celebrations are reversed beginning with the sacred texts of the words and events as interpreted, reformulated, and lived by the Jews. The Seder Meal proper does not begin until the Haggadah has been retold. They reflect on the sacred narrative. Accordingly, “Each of us must see the deliverance from bondage that happened to them (Ex 12, 13). “In every generation each Jew looks upon himself as though he personally was among those who went forth from Egypt. Not our fathers alone did the Holy One redeem from suffering, but also us and our families” (Deut. 5:2-3). Finally, they experience the event achieved in and through the Seder ritual prayer. The mystery of the Passover event happens personally to every Jewish man, woman, and child. God lives among them, and like their forebears, each of them is delivered from slavery to freedom. Though the Psalms of blessing, "Berakah tur Adonai" (Blessed are thou, O Lord), have been prayed daily, at the Passover banquet, they hold a special significance for the Jews. Because of this event, to be a Jew is to celebrate the annual Passover with exuberant joy.
The Human-Divine Relationship
God’s gift of Self to the Chosen People is the absolute recognition and true communion of God and man (Deut 6:5; 12ff; 10:12ff; 11ff) God has initiated, established and guided this relationship. This Covenant embraced the whole life of the Jewish nation and the individual, every aspect of prayer, observation, and work. Every thought, activity, deed was an act of fidelity and love. Their act of worship was most simple in its origin, yet pure and vital–a political, liturgical and personal bond.