My First Passover Seder – Pesach Haggadah
For those that know me well, you know I am not a religious person. I have however been blessed with an amazing faith in the power that created our universe and the good that inherently exists in that power and in each of us. Throughout my life I have tried to gain knowledge and understanding of as many religious ideologies as possible. Reading about each of the major religions for educational purposes and to gain a better understanding of where I stand personally. Having been raised by a father who was raised Catholic and a mother who was raised Methodist, church was not a requirement in our home, but understanding and accepting Christianity was very encouraged. As a child I felt the need to rebel and therefore took the stance of Atheist at one point, Agnostic at another. I always felt that those weren’t right for me though. I also wasn’t comfortable with a typical church setting or the idea of another person telling me how God wanted me to worship or how I should handle myself. Whether you believe in Christianity or not, one has to admit that the teachings of Jesus Christ as set forth by him, not his followers, are pretty undeniable. Be good to others, show love, kindness, caring and understanding, do good deeds, and keep positive……if you do this, your life will be better and happier than the opposite. Makes sense to me……
So, to get to my point here, on Monday, April 18, 2011 my wife and I had the privilege to attend a Passover Seder or Pesach Haggadah with a small Messianic Jewish congregation in the Belleview area. The Beth Judah, Ephraim & Companions Messianic Jewish Pesach Haggadah welcomed us like family. I had never attended a Jewish service, Messianic Jewish service, or a Passover Seder before, so when my wife told me that her cousin Linda Esquivel had invited us to join them I was intrigued. For me it would be a learning experience and a way to better understand their faith and the tradition of Passover.
We had an amazing dinner, where everyone brought a home cooked dish to share, and the food was amazing. I have already outlined and posted the recipe for the dish I created on my recipe page, combining a traditional Spanish spinach dish with the Charoset that is a staple in the Passover Seder. I call it Espinacas de Betty. For me, coming up with something acceptable to be served not only to a Jewish congregation, but for Passover, which has even stricter guidelines for what can be eaten, was a challenge, but one that I, as a Common Chef, was definitely up for. My dish was a hit, as were ALL of the others, and everyone enjoyed a great meal together with tremendous fellowship. And that is what we’re all about here at The Common Chef.
Going through the Seder and getting to understand this tradition and the meanings behind each step and action was an awesome experience. As the Rabbi went through his readings and explained each part of the Seder, there were a few times he became choked up, I feel with both joy for the great miracles he sees his Lord to have performed, as well as with empathy for understanding the terrible hardships the Israelites and the Jewish people have endured over the centuries. It was very moving and I began to better understand their faith. The kindness and open hearts that this congregation showed my wife and I was just fantastic. I can’t say that I have ever felt so welcomed in any church I have attended in my life.
To end this post, I would like to thank all of the members of Beth Judah, Ephraim and Companions for welcoming us to join them in this, a very holy experience. I would also like to thank Mrs. Linda and Mr. Oscar Esquivel for opening that door to my wife and I. You are all truly blessed people, with a strong faith and huge hearts.
Thank you for bringing me, a simple Common Chef, in to your temple, to worship and better understand.
Until next time…..enjoy good food, good fun and even better fellowship!Sam