The 7th Night of Passover, which heralds the Eighth and Eternal Day
Messiah’s Banquet – Mishtei Ha’Mashiach
“On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly; no work shall be done on those days…” (Exodus 12:16).
The Israelites left Egypt on the first night of Passover and the miraculous parting of the Reed Sea and the overcoming of Pharaoh’s army happened on the seventh day. It was then that Moses made the first proclamation of the Kingship of God recorded in Scripture: “YHWH-Adonai yimloch le’olam va’ed! The LORD will reign for ever and ever” (Ex 15:18).
The seventh day of the Week of Unleavened Bread is called Acharon shel Pesach – The Last Day of Passover. Just as the Shabbat crowns the week, so this seventh day crowns Passover. It brings the appointed time to a beautiful completion and it is fitting that we can celebrate the conclusion of it with a special meal.
Interestingly, this custom began to be celebrated amongst the Ultra-Orthodox Jewish sect, the Hassidim, which was instituted by its leader the Baal Shem Tov in Eastern Europe in the seventeenth century. He recognized that the redemption that began at the Exodus from Egypt would only be brought to completion at the arrival of Messiah, who would usher in the complete and Final Redemption in all the earth. The Sages of Israel believed that this would occur during Nissan, in relation to Passover; hence the anticipation of Elijah’s arrival at the Seder meal.
The “Banquet of Messiah” can be found as a significant theme throughout Jewish literature and is based on prophetic writings, for example Isaiah 25:6-8,
On this mountain [Zion] the Lord of Hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things,
a feast of wine… And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth; for the Lord, YHWH, has spoken.
On Shabbat we experience a taste of the eternal eighth day, “that will be all Shabbat” – all peace and fullness of joy in our Father’s Presence. Likewise, on this seventh day of Passover we anticipate and celebrate the crowning of Messiah and his glorious reign over the Kingdom of God in all the earth when “…the wolf will dwell with the lamb…they shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of YHWH as the waters cover the seabed” (Isaiah 11:6-9).
Passover is the time of Shir ha’Shirim, the Song of Songs, the love story that culminates in a wedding feast.
Outline for Messiah’s Banquet
Below is a suggested order for a ‘Messiah’s Banquet’. It follows certain steps of the Seder, including Matzah (as this is the last day of eating unleavened bread) and four cups of wine. The body of the text can be read by the leader, or shared amongst the participants.
1. Light the Festival Lights.
Note: As on all Shabbats and Festivals, the woman of the home, or a representative, lights two candles with a blessing.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha-olam, asher kiddishanu b’mitzvotav ve’tzivanu lehadlik ohr shel Shabbat e’Yom Tov.
Blessed are you O LORD our G-d, King of the universe, who has commanded s to light the light os Shabbat and the Festivals.
2. Kadesh – The First Cup
We set ourselves and this meal apart to G-d.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha-Olam,
Borei P’ri ha-Gafen.
Blessed are You, O LORD our G-d, King of the Universe,
Who Creates the Fruit of the Vine. All: Amen. [Drink first cup].
3. Washing Hands before the Meal
We now wash our hands before eating the meal, as a symbol of dedicating ourselves as priests/servants in God’s Kingdom, with a blessing:
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha-Olam, she’kiddishanu b’mitzvotav ve’tzivanu al netilat yadaim.
Blessed are You O LORD our God, who has sanctified us by His commandments and has commanded us regarding the washing of hands.
Note: A bowl can be passed around with a hand towel. After washing hands it is recommended that all keep silent and consider their personal purpose in God’s Kingdom until the matzah is eaten.
4. Blessing for Matzah
Break matzah on plate and when all have a taken a piece say blessing before eating.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha-Olam, ha’Motzi lechem min ha’Aretz.
Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the Universe, Who brings forth bread from the earth.
5. Kiddushin – The Second Cup – The Cup of Betrothal
A betrothal or engagement, according to the Hebrew Scriptures, is regarded as the first part of the marriage ceremony. The relationship is proclaimed kadosh, holy unto G-d, and each partner is set apart only to their beloved. As we drink the second cup let us rededicate ourselves as kadosh – set apart in holy relationship unto G-d our Beloved. Le’Chaim!
[Drink second cup].
6. Serve the Meal
[The meal can be as simple or as elaborate as you choose.]
Let us now enjoy our meal in anticipation of the wedding feast we will one day enjoy with the Beloved of our souls!
7. Nissuin – The Third Cup – The Marriage Cup
Nissuin is the final part of the marriage ceremony that is conducted under the chuppah (canopy). The covenant is sealed with the exchange of wedding rings, and the bride and groom share a cup of wine to show that they are now one.
Covenant is a relationship of unconditional love. It was sealed, as it were, with the ketubah, the wedding document, of the Torah presented by G-d to His people Israel at Sinai. The Word of G-d is filled with life – to renew the commitment of G-d to His people and to seal it in the hearts of all who would hear and receive it.
We, His people, are joined and sealed with our Father in His love and grace.
And let us say, ‘Le’Chaim! To Life!’
8. Barech – Blessings After the Meal
[Different readers can be allocated to read a blessing.]
>Host: My friends, may the Name of God be blessed from now unto eternity. With your permission, let us bless the One of whose provison we have eaten.
Blessed is the One of whose food we have eaten and through whose goodness we live. And let us say, “Amen.”
> Blessed are You O LORD our God, King of the Universe, Who nourishes the whole world. In Your goodness, with favor, with loving-kindness, and with compassion You give sustenance to all flesh, for Your steadfast love is eternal. You are the God Who nourishes and sustains all beings and prepares food for all the creatures that You have made. Blessed are You, Who provides food for all. And let us say, “Amen.”
> We thank You, O LORD our God, because you brought us forth from bondage in Egypt, and have given us a godly heritage in Messiah. We thank You for Your Torah which teaches us, and for the life, favor and kindness You grant us; and for the food with which You feed and sustain us constantly, every day, in every season, and in every hour. And let us say, “Amen.”
> For all this, O LORD our God, we thank You and bless You. May Your Name be blessed continuously and forever by the mouth of all living things. And let us say, “Amen.”
> Have mercy, O LORD our God, upon Your people Israel, upon Jerusalem Your city, and on Zion the resting place of Your Glory. Remember all of Israel for survival, for well-being, for favor and kindness, for life and for peace on this final day of the Festival of Unleavened Bread. And let us say, “Amen.”
> May the Lord reign over us forever. May our Father send abundant blessings to this house and upon this table at which we have eaten. May He send Elijah the Prophet to proclaim to all the earth the good tidings of Messiah. May He Who makes peace in the highest heavens, make peace for us and for all Israel. And let us say, “Amen.”
9. Hallel – Psalms of Praise
Psalms 113 – 118.
Note: Sing songs in accord with these Psalms and/or recite selected verses.
10. The Fourth Cup – The Cup of Coronation
Let us drink the last cup in eager anticipation of the soon arrival of Messiah to be crowned as King and to reign from the restored, reunited and rebuilt City of the Great King – Jerusalem! Le’Chaim!
[Drink fourth cup].
We conclude with the seventh blessing of Sheva Brachot, the seven blessings pronounced over the bride and groom at a Jewish wedding:
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Melech ha’Olam, Asher bara sasson ve’simcha, chatan ve’kalah, gilah, rinah, ditzah ve’chedvah, ahavah ve’achavah, shalom ve’reiut.
Me’heirah Adonai Eloheinu, ye’shamah be’harei Yehudah, u’vechutzot Yerushalayim, kol sasson, ve’kol simcha, kol chatan ve’kol kallah, kol mitz’halot chatanim, me’chupatam, u’na’arim mi’mishtei neginatam. Baruch Atah Adonai, me’sameach chatan im ha’kalah.
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the Universe, who created joy and happiness, bride and groom, gladness, jubilation, cheer and delight, love, friendship, harmony and fellowship.
LORD our God, let there speedily be heard in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the sound of joy and the sound of happiness, the voice of a groom and the voice of a bride, the sound of exultation of grooms from under their wedding chuppahs,
and youth from their joyous banquets.
Blessed are You, O LORD, who gladdens the groom with the bride.
All [proclamation of faith from Maimonides’ 13 Principles of Faith]:
Ani ma’amin be’emunah shlemah le’viat haMashiach.
Ve’afalpi she’hitma’meah im kol zeh achakeh lo be’chol yom she’yavo!
I believe with perfect faith in the coming of Messiah,
even if he tarries I will wait every day for his coming!
Ha’Shanah ha’zoht b’Yerushalayim ha’binuyah!
This year in rebuilt Jerusalem!
~ Keren Hannah