“Breaking of bread” in 1Cor 11:24 and breaking of Paschal Afikoman
in “The Passover Haggadah” and “The Tractate Pesahim”

Wojciech Kosek

This article was published here on 13 January 2019

and on the Academia.edu website on 19 January 2019;

DOI of the version of the paper on Academia.edu:
10.5281/zenodo.3296223

Table of contents:

  1. Introduction.
  2. Searching for the original relationship between the Passover rite and the Eucharistic rite.
    1. Introduction.
    2. Attempts to discover the beginning and the historical development of the Passover rite.
    3. Typology Passover – Eucharist as a cult feasts before exodus.
  3. The beginning of the Eucharistic rite.
    1. Introduction.
    2. Rite of the Eucharist according to Acts 2:42.
    3. Κοινωνία in Acts 2:42.
  4. Relationship between the Passover rite and the Passover / Exodus covenant.
    1. Introduction.
    2. Ex 1-18 as a six-part treaty of the Passover / Exodus covenant.
    3. Passover as a four-part covenant renewal ceremony and as the exit from Egypt being performed now.
  5. The Passover rite and the equivalents of its signs in the Eucharistic rite.
    1. Introduction.
    2. The first part of the Passover – Time before the paschal feast in Egypt – Presentation of both contractors.
    3. The second part of the Passover – Time of the Passover Feast in Egypt – Approval of the law of the covenant by the weaker contracting party.
    4. The third part of the Passover – Time of leaving Egypt and crossing the sea (Ex 13:17-14:31) – Irrevocable act of making the covenant.
    5. The fourth part of the Passover – Time after the passage of the Sea of Reeds – Fulfillment of the promises of the covenant; commemoration of the covenant.
    6. After-seder.
  6. Appendix about the function of the liturgical signs.
  7. Completion.
  8. Summary.

Introduction.

Jesus Christ celebrated the Last Supper as the Jewish Paschal liturgy [1] among the chosen Apostles on the night immediately preceding the day of His transition from this world to the eternity.

Jesus and the Apostles did not eat the Passover lamb at that time because it should first be offered in the Jerusalem temple, but it was allowed only a few hours later, when Jesus hung on the cross as the new Lamb (cf. Jn 19:30-42). These circumstances meant that Jesus’ paschal liturgy in terms of the external form of signs is the same as the Jewish Passover since the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70’s – from that time the Jews do not eat the lamb during the Passover, because there is no temple in which one could offer it [2].

Jesus, without changing the form of the signs of the Jewish Passover, significantly transformed its rite into the rite of the New Passover – the Eucharist. Of all the signs of this liturgy, Jesus did not radically change the very essence of any of them as much as one – Afikoman, i.e. the unleavened bread of the third part of the Paschal liturgy. It is the Afikoman who becomes – by virtue of the words of consecration – the liturgical sign of the third part of the New Passover: the Body of Christ who offers himself in the Sacrifice [3] of love for the Father and for us.

Since Afikoman (and similarly other liturgical signs) is present not only in the third part of rite, but also in the first part (where – as a result of breaking of the special middle unleavened bread – so obtained greater part is put aside as Afikoman), in each of them performing a different role, it is necessary to distinguish between two different functions the liturgical signs can perform: a) to be an explanation of liturgical action or b) to be powerful instrument that makes the past salvific event (which they represent) present. In this article, immediately before the “Conclusion”, this issue is explained in detail on the basis of the signs of the Passover rite and the Eucharistic rite.

Jesus instituted the broken and consumed paschal Afikoman as his Memorial Sacrifice (ἀνάμνησις – cf. 1Cor 11:23-24), for which full understanding it is necessary to know the mentality of the Greek and Jewish recipients of Paul’s First Letter to Corinthians [4]. It was in virtue of this Sacrifice-Remembering that Jesus as Resurrected Messiah returned to the Upper Room after his mortal battle against the devil in the darkness of the Abyss of Death: because the Father was remembering about Him during these struggles and gave Him a victorious return to the place where He had offered this Sacrifice – to the Upper Room. There Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles – upon those who had been there with Him at the Last Supper.

It is the understanding of the term “ἀνάμνησις” in the realities of Greek and Jewish culture that makes it possible to properly read the meaning of the sacramental sign which the paschal Afikoman became in the hands of Jesus. However, since this sign is a part of the larger liturgical whole – the Passover rite – it is to be expected that deeper understanding of it will become possible only after reading its meaning in the cultural and religious realities of the Jewish Passover, absent among the Greeks or Romans. This will also be one of the two basic dimensions of this article.

The second dimension is the rite of the Eucharist. It will be shown in the light of the record contained in Acts 2:42, whose author – Saint Luke – was a faithful companion of the missionary expeditions of Saint Paul the Apostle and a talented recipient of his immensely profound theological explanations (see 2Pet 3:15-16). Thanks to St. Luke it becomes understandable how St. Paul referred to the rite of the Passover in the First Letter to the Corinthians 11:24, where he showed the “breaking of bread” as an element of the Eucharist celebrated by Jesus Christ on the night before His salvific passion and death.

1. Searching for the original relationship between the Passover rite and the Eucharistic rite.

Introduction.

The words of the Lord Jesus, which St. Luke wrote in his Gospel at the beginning of the description of the institution of the Eucharist: “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer” (22:15) indicate that knowledge of the Jewish Passover from extra-biblical literature is necessary to know the depths of the Eucharist. The work of a biblical scholar is not limited to the exegesis of texts of Scripture in their original notation, but must allow him to enter the world of concepts and ways of expressing thoughts, which were characteristic for the people of the cultural circle in which the notation was written [5]. Therefore, biblical exegesis must be supported by the analysis of monuments belonging to many areas of culture and religion of the ancient world, including in particular the Chosen Nation. Getting to know them is constantly deepened thanks to archaeological, historical, cultural or literary discoveries.

1.1. Attempts to discover the beginning and the historical development of the Passover rite.

Accurate knowledge of the rite of the Passover of the time of Jesus is therefore indispensable for the interpretation of those texts of the New Testament in which the record of the establishment of the Eucharist, the “New Passover” as the New Covenant in his Blood, was recorded. It turns out, however, that no ancient monument (literary or any other), earlier than from the second century after Christ, in which the rite of the Passover would have been fully documented, has been known to science so far. The only such document is the “Paschal Haggadah”. Scientists claim that the text was written gradually over many centuries, and the first version was probably compiled between the second half of the second century and the end of the fourth century [6].

In this situation, efforts to understand the origins of the Passover were based only on hypotheses. Among the various attempts to discover the origins of the Passover, the widest acceptance was given to the hypothesis of the cultural-religious evolution of the forms of this holiday, i.e. the hypothesis of its coming from two separate holidays – the shepherd’s feast of offering a lamb and the agricultural feast of offering the first fruits of cereals [7].

At the same time, however, according to a not insignificant group of eminent scientists, this hypothesis does not have a truly reliable scientific basis: “Frequently expressed view that before the Israeli Passover some form of this holiday already existed as an annual spring nomadic holiday is based only on considerations of the history of culture and religious studies. There are no previous or contemporary extra-biblical sources to support this hypothesis.” [8] So what is the truth about this hypothesis?

A careful study of origins of this “evolutionary” hypothesis and history of its gradual acceptance by researchers shows, that it is methodologically erroneous. In order to prove this hypothesis, one fundamental argument was taken from the hypothesis itself, i.e. from the claim, which was to be proven! – this is the so-called error of the logical circle [9].

Namely, it has been proven that its creator assumed certain hypothetical development of the Passover rite, and then, on its basis, he classified fragments of the canonical text of the Bible in such a way: fragments corresponding in content to the primary phase of rite development (content of the primary phase was known from the assumed hypothesis) were classified as the oldest texts; fragments corresponding in content to the intermediate stage of rite development (the hypothesis assumed several intermediate phases and their the content) were classified as intermediate texts between the oldest and youngest; fragments corresponding in content to the final phase of rite development (the hypothesis assumed the content of the final phase) were classified as the youngest texts. After some time, when it seemed that nobody remember that it was the assumed hypothesis of the development of the Passover rite that resulted in the classification of fragments, the reverse action was carried out: on the basis of the (so obtained!) dating of fragments, the development of the Passover rite was “reconstructed”. This result, of course, has no scientific value: biblical scholar “proved” the same sequence of phases which he created and set up at the beginning as an argument hypothetically assumed in order to estimate dating of fragments.

So the important questions arrives: Is there any other way to discover the beginning of the Passover rite? The answer is: yes! This article will present the results of research of the Passover rite, which, as it turned out, was hidden in Exodus 1-18 under a spectacular literary garment of the description of the exit of the Israelites from Egyptian captivity!

The literary structure of the first eighteen chapters of the Book of Exodus is built on the basis of six pericopes, i.e. coherent literary units. Each of the pericopes has its own main theme, which, at the same time, is subordinated to realization of the theme of the superior structure, which is the literary structure of Exodus 1-18. The discovered numerical relationships [10], that characterize this six-element literary masterpiece, are a fact independent of the researchers’ views and do not result from the assumptions of the research method. Their existence proves that the last editor of Exodus 1-18 was a Hebrew [11]. In addition, analogous numerical relationships are associated with the length of the six arms of the holy lampstand (cf. Ex 25:31-36), Menorah [12], which by God’s order was made by Moses “according to the pattern given by the Lord” (Num 8:4) and placed in the Meeting Tent. It cannot be a work of accident, but the work of one author, God.

Literary and historical research has shown that Exodus 1-18 is a treaty of covenant [13] between God and Israel. On the basis of its structure a four-element Passover rite was built. It is important to know that this original rite in its main structure has been preserved from the time of Moses to this day, so it was the same when Jesus Christ celebrated the “New Passover”. This observation allows us to analyze the rite of the Eucharist on the basis of the original Passover rite, knowledge of which is necessary today for the interpretation of the New Testament records of the Last Supper. This also allows us to reject with scientific certainty this “evolutionary” hypothesis of the development of the Passover rite. The four-element Passover rite from the beginning, from the departure from Egypt, was built on the earlier six-element structure of treaties of ancient covenants from the 16th to the 12th century before Christ.

1.2. Typology Passover – Eucharist as a cult feasts before exodus.

The Israelites celebrate the Passover every year at night on the first spring full moon (15th day of the month Abib), celebrating in honor of God, who on that very day around the 15th century before Christ led his people out of the bondage of Pharaoh in Egypt. Israel’s departure from Egypt was preceded by a religious feast – the Passover.

We know from the Gospel that Jesus Christ established a new sacramental reality – the Eucharist – as the religious feast preceding His departure (cf. Lk 9:31: output described by the word ἔξοδος – exodus) from this world to the Father, as entry into salvific death on the cross, then passage through the abyss and exit from it on the day of the Resurrection, and then the Ascension.

The sequence “feast-passage”, the same as in the history of Israel, cannot be the work of accident, but is intended by Jesus. By his will, the meaning of this Feast is to be read (cf. Lk 22:15; Mt 26:17; Mk 14:12; Lk 22:9) by referring it to that religious feast – Passover. This is the spiritual sense [14] of the first exodus: it is the biblical type of exodus which Jesus Christ undertook to bring the New Israel-the Church out of the bondage of sin.

The existence of a biblical typology “Passover – Eucharist” allows us to seek an answer to the question: since both celebrations have the external form of the feast, does this typology also include rite structures of them?

It should be noted at the beginning that the first Passover of Israel in Egypt did not have any structure, it was a simple religious act in honor of God: eating a lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (cf. Ex 12:1-13:16). However, probably many centuries before the coming of the Messiah to the world, each subsequent Passover, celebrated on the anniversary of that first one, had already established the structure of the subsequent four parts, connected with the bowing out of the subsequent four ritual cups [15] of wine in accordance with the progress of the liturgical action. This structure is preserved by the “Passover Haggadah” [16], the basic Jewish book of paschal liturgy [17].

This article will summarize the results of the analysis of the Passover rite, which were published in the form of a doctoral thesis [18] in 2008. The rite of the Eucharist will be shown in the light of Luke’s notation in Acts 2:42, where, according to the biblical scholars, this rite as a four-element structure is hidden [19].

The origin of the four-element Eucharistic rite from the four-element Passover rite can be easily seen, but only after a correct recognition of the division of each rite into four main parts, where “part” means a group of liturgical acts and words that jointly accomplish one main goal.

2. The beginning of the Eucharistic rite.

Introduction.

It should be stressed at the outset that the period of the so-called “spontaneous, charismatic formation of the liturgy of the Mass” [20], determined by the liturgists, cannot be misunderstood as the time when a structure made up of four basic elements has gradually emerged as the rite of the Eucharistic celebration. No, this structure, this order of four consecutive groups of activities, each with a specific purpose, was from the beginning, from the Last Supper. This is because Jesus Christ took over the structure, its logic, its meaning from the Old Covenant: He took over as the four-element rite of the Passover. He took it over to form in his divine hands a rite which cannot be understood without understanding the Passover, but which surpasses the Passover, just as the New Covenant surpasses the Old Covenant (cf. Heb 8:13) [21].

From the beginning, the existence of this basic scheme has been the source of the unity of the Mass liturgy throughout the Church. This unity, however, was understood not as an identical set of the same liturgical acts and words in every place. So what was crucial for the liturgical unity of the Church of that time? Well, from the beginning, each of the four basic groups of acts was carried out in local communities according to how it was initiated by Jesus and transmitted by the first evangelizers [22], who with time adapted the details to the mentality and culture of the local community, but on condition that the adaptations were able to express in liturgical signs the same salvific content for the whole Church. Therefore, the formed liturgical families [23] differ in the number of texts and signs, but nowhere and never departed from the basic four-element order, already written in Acts 2:42. This order was a manifestation of a wider phenomenon: as God through Moses organized the entire liturgy of the Old Testament so that everyone, according to the hierarchical level, would do what belongs to him, so the Lord Jesus organized the liturgy of the New Covenant [24].

What is the basic four-element scheme of the Eucharist – this is the content of the next point of this article.

2.1. Rite of the Eucharist according to Acts 2:42.

A biblical testimony of the existence of the four-element rite of the Holy Mass in the Apostolic Church is the record from Acts 2:42:

Ἦσαν δὲ προσκαρτεροῦντεςThey devoted themselves
1 τῇ διδαχῇ τῶν ἀποστόλων to the apostles’ teaching
2 καὶ τῇ κοινωνίᾳ, and to fellowship,
3 τῇ κλάσει τοῦ ἄρτου to the breaking of bread
4 καὶ ταῖς προσευχαῖς. and to prayers.

How should this record be understood in the reality of the liturgy of the Holy Mass known to us today [25]?

According to E. Szymanek [26], “Four of these elements can be considered as essential components of the Eucharistic liturgy shown here in its original form: instruction of the faithful by the Apostles, gathering help for the needy and poor, Eucharistic feast and common prayer (psalms, hymns)”.

Following this observation, a certain addition should be made within the meaning of Part Two. According to St. Justin [27], apologists from the second century, the Eucharist had such a course (using “*” I divided the text): “*1 In the beginning the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, then the president in a discourse admonishes and urges the imitation of these good things * 2 Next all participants rise together and send up prayers * 3 Next bread is presented and wine and water. The president in the same manner sends up prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people sing out their assent, saying the ‘Amen.’ A distribution and participation of the elements for which thanks have been given is made to each person […]”.

The division of the Eucharist is therefore:

  1. Teaching of the Apostles – it’s reading from the Holy Bible and homily.
  2. Community – it’s Prayer of the Faithful.
  3. Breaking of bread – it’s Transubstantiation and Holy Communion.
  4. Prayers – it’s worship after Holy Communion.

There is no mention of part 4 (prayers) in the text of Saint Justin. This doesn’t mean, however, that this part of the Eucharist was not from the beginning. This is because “Didache, or the Teaching of the Twelve Apostles”, a letter from the turn of the first and second century, contains not only prayers before Transubstantiation (in the 9th chapter) but also prayers after Holy Communion: in the 10th chapter there is a hymn of thanksgiving (“Now after ye are filled”) [28], including [29]:

9.11 But let no one eat or drink of your Eucharist, except those baptized into the name of the Lord […] 10.1 Now after ye are filled, give thanks thus: We thank Thee, 10.2 holy Father, for Thy holy name […] 10.9 Hosanna to the son of David! Whoever is holy, let him come; whoever is not, let him repent. 10.10 Maranatha. Amen. 10.11 But permit the prophets to give thanks in such terms as they please”.

In the 10th chapter there is a hymn after communion and, finally, a remark about the prophets who should be allowed to pray as long as they wish.

Therefore, there were four groups of acts in the Eucharist. Each of these groups could be carried out in the local communities in a variety of ways, but not entirely arbitrary. Readings had to be taken from the Scriptures of the Old Testament and from the gradually emerging books of the New Testament, while the choice of readings or the amount of time assigned to this group of activities was determined by the bishop of the place. There were also acts that due to their exceptional importance (especially: the formula of consecration) were not subject to a greater influence of the time and place of the Holy Mass.

There is also a question about the second part of the Eucharist. Are there biblical testimonies to determine what was its essential content: the gathering of help for the needy, or universal prayer? The answer is the content of the next point.

2.2. Κοινωνία in Acts 2:42.

The second group of acts of the Eucharistic liturgy must be identified with “universal prayer” and not only with “contribution for needy and poor” [30]. It should be noted, however, that St. Luke described this part as κοινωνία – community, fraternity [31].

This word appears 21 times [32] in the Greek Bible, of which 2 times in the Septuagint and 19 times in the New Testament. Once it is used figuratively (2Cor 6:14). It is used 5 times to express concern for the material needs of others (Lev 5:21; Rom 15:26; 2Cor 8:4; 9:13; Heb 13:16).

In 14 places, κοινωνία stands for super-material dimension: friendship with the Word of Wisdom (Wis 8:18); sacramental union with Christ (through the consumption of “Bread” and “Wine”) in His blood and body (1Cor 10:16 ab); union with Him through participation in His sufferings (Phi 3:10); fellowship with Jesus now and forever (1Cor 1:9); fellowship with Jesus in the Church to achieve holiness, salvation (1Cor 1:9; cf. 1:8-10); fellowship with Paul as evangelizer (Phi 1:5); fellowship of faith (2Cor 13:13; Gal 2:9; Philem 2:1; 1Jn 1:3.6.7) which entails taking care for all the needs of the brothers (Philem 1:6). What does this word in Acts 2:42 mean?

In the New Testament teaching, κοινωνία means such a deep relationship with Christ in His death and resurrection that it is the source of union in true faith with brothers and sisters, both evangelizing [33] and simply being members of the Church in any part of the world. From this union a concern for unity in the spiritual dimension (unity of thought) and material one (participating in material needs of poorer brothers and sisters) arises. An expression of the same fellowship as a joint concern is the prayer of gratitude for those who make a material gift. Therefore, it is not the collection of money itself that defines their relationship as “fraternity – κοινωνία”, but this κοινωνία – brotherhood in a natural way demands to notice the needs of the poor and send them money [34].

Finally, it can be said that κοινωνία in Acts 2:42 is that part of the Eucharist in which union with the Lord and brothers is expressed by: a/. request to God for his help for them, b/. contribution to their cause. Today, this part of the Mass is referred to as “universal prayer” [35].

For the purpose of further analysis, a particular manifestation of κοινωνία is still to be seen: the community of the table, the community of the feast. When people perceive themselves as belonging to one κοινωνία, they sit at a common table. Each of them is described by the word κοινωνός – participant, companion. This word has the same root as the word κοινωνία. What does the Bible say about κοινωνός?

The Book of Sirach (6:10) warns against such a κοινωνός, who only simulates friendship, because he wants to eat with somebody for free: “Another is a friend, a boon companion (κοινωνός), who will not be with you when sorrow comes”.

According to Paul, the Israelites who eat sacrifices are co-participants (κοινωνοὶ – plural from κοινωνός) of the altar (cf. 1Cor 10:18), while the pagans who do the same on their altars are co-participants (κοινωνοὶ) of demon life (cf. 1Cor 10:20), because they somehow sit at one feast with them.

If St. Luke, the companion of St. Paul’s missionary expeditions, used the term “κοινωνία” in Acts 2:42 to denote the second part of the rite of the Eucharist, it is worth asking if not also for the sake of the community of the table. The answer is positive: the second part of the Passover rite is concentrated on eating in the most degree – more than other three parts. If, therefore, there is an analogy between the particular parts of the Passover rite and the Eucharistic rite, the community of the table in the Eucharist must be an element analogous to the community of the table in Passover. This issue will be discussed in more detail in section 4.2.

Before this happens, it is worth noting here that the 11th chapter of the First Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians is very important testimony for the existence of the following liturgical order in the Apostolic Church: within the Eucharist the part called the “Lord’s supper” (cf. 1Cor 11:20), i.e. the Transubstantiation and consumption of the Body and Blood of the Lord, was preceded by the consumption of the ordinary supper (the meals brought by the faithful) [36].

It should be emphasized that this ordinary supper was the second of the four elements of the Eucharistic rite – just as in Passover the second element of the rite is the supper. Not the whole Passover is dedicated to consumption and not the whole Eucharist is dedicated to consumption. Not “before the Passover” the supper was eaten and not “before the Eucharist” the supper was eaten. The supper was eaten as part of the Passover and the supper was eaten as part of the Eucharist. The supper was the second part of the Passover and the supper was the second part of the Eucharist.

In turn, in 1Cor 11:20, the term “Lord’s Supper” cannot be extended to the entire four-element Eucharist, but must refer exclusively to the third element of the Eucharist – to that element which originated from the third element of the Passover by the divine power of the Lord (hence the addition of the word “Lord’s” to the word “Supper”): the Lord significantly changed the third element of the Passover rite and thus changed its rite into the Eucharistic rite.

Why, in the contemporary form of the Eucharist, there is no ordinary supper in the second part of the rite, and why there is only universal prayer? Already in the apostolic times in local communities, abuses began to appear in the second part, as a result of which many were drunk, and the Eucharist was not continued – drunken believers could not pass to the third part (Lord’s Supper) and the fourth part (prayers of praise) – cf. 1Cor 11:20-22.

3. Relationship between the Passover rite and the Passover / Exodus covenant.

Introduction.

In this article, the Passover rite will be shown in detail. In order to avoid mistakes in building up an analogy between the Eucharist and the Passover, special attention should be paid to similar elements belonging to two, three or even four different groups, i.e. to part 1, 2, 3, 4 of the rite. This applies in particular to the sign of breaking bread (in parts 1, 2 and 3) [37] and the sign of filling the cup or drinking from it (the sign associated with the cup occurs as many as 9 times [38], and the cup is often not filled immediately before one can drink from it, and the filling of cup may belong to a part different than the part where one drinks from it!; a cup of Elijah is filled, but nobody drinks from it at all).

Afikoman – matzah of the third part of the Passover, the name of which, in all the comments to date, was not seen as a composition of two Hebrew words, but only distorted Greek words. As a result, the true meaning of the Afikoman was not known.

A very important task of this study is to show in the Passover rite the points constituting the beginning and the end of the third part, the part separated (in the process of lexical analyses) from the collection of many liturgical details. This part begins with the breaking of Afikoman by the leader and the distribution of its particles to all the participants for consumption, and ends with the opening of the door as a sign of departure from Egypt with this bread of road, the Afikoman, and then closing the door. This part is the summit of the liturgy: it is the act of making a covenant (what? – about it below!); it has its equivalent in the Eucharist, in its third part, especially in the act of consecration (that is, the act of making a New Covenant) together with Holy Communion.

Because of the task of building the correct analogies between the Passover and the Eucharist, it is necessary to remember the differences between the designations of similar names associated with the supper: “Paschal Supper” – name of the entire Passover; “Supper” or “Dinner” – name of the 10th point belonging to the 2nd main part of the Passover; in 1Cor 11:20 “Lord’s Supper” – name of the 3rd main part of the Eucharist [39].

3.1. Ex 1-18 as a six-part treaty of the Passover / Exodus covenant.

Knowing Ex 1-18 as a treaty, that is a true historical document certifying the covenant making, is essential for understanding Passover [40].

Ex 1-18 as a covenant treaty testifies to the fact that God had not only liberated Israel from captivity, but at the same time had made a covenant with her. This covenant is not a Sinai covenant. For there is another covenant, earlier than the well-known “Covenant of the Ten Commandments” – the “Covenant of Passover / Exodus”. God made it with Israel according to the way He had used about four hundred and fifty years earlier to make a covenant with Abram. What this way is? – It is the passage between the halves of splitted animals (cf. Gen 15:13.17-18).

In the covenant with Abram, God in the signs of fire and smoke passed between the halves of cut animals. Abram did not pass here because the covenant was one-sided: only God had undertaken commitments towards Abram.

In the covenant with Abraham’s descendants, God passed between the halves of the divided Sea of Reeds (cf. Ex 14:15-31) [41] in the signs of the pillar of fire and the pillar of the cloud, i.e. in the signs almost identical to those in the covenant with Abram. Since this covenant was two-sided, all Israel, as the second contractor, also passed through. Does the passage between the halves of the sea fulfill the requirement of the passage between the halves of an animal? Yes! – in the vision of the prophet Isaiah (Isa 51:9-10), it is the passage between the halves of a specific animal: Rahab [42]. This passage is therefore the fulfillment of the custom of making the ancient covenants.

The passage between the halves was not the only act in the ceremony of making covenant in the XVI-XII centuries before Christ. It was the central act, already irrevocable, the third part of the ceremony. The entire ceremony consisted of four parts. Therefore, the process of redemption was carried out by God mainly in four stages, which at the same time constituted subsequent four elements of the covenant ceremony, which in Ex 1-18 as a treaty are described by four subsequent pericopes: 6:2-11:10; 12:1-13:16; 13:17-14:31; 15:1-21.

The process of redemption was preceded by a long preparation (1:1-6:1) and was concluded by a long stage of completion (15:22-18:27). Pericope 1:1-6:1 is the prologue of the treaty, and pericope 15:22-18:27 is the epilogue. Strictly speaking, this irrevocable act of the covenant making was the entire passage [43] (13:17-14:31) of God and His people from the place of the Passover consumption (12:1-13:16) to the place of singing the hymn (15:1-21), i.e. the passage to the sea and between its halves as Rahab “cut into two”.

The four (2, 3, 4, 5) essential stages of exit from Egypt and the preparation (1) and the completion (6) are as follows:

  1. the time of oppression in Egypt and God’s revelation at the burning bush (1:1-6:1).
  2. the time of ten signs (“plagues”) in Egypt (6:2-11:10).
  3. the time of the feast of the lamb; then also God kills the first-born of Egypt (12:1-13:16).
  4. the time of passage to the sea and between its waters (13:17-14:31).
  5. the time of singing hymns in honor of God after the passage (15:1-21).
  6. the time of the march to God’s Mount Horeb, to Sinai (15:22-18:27).

Ex 1-18 meets the literary requirements imposed on ancient treaties in the XVI-XII century before Christ. The treaty consists of six successive parts:

1. historical prologue, showing the previous relations between both sides
2., 3., 4., 5. report on the four-element covenant ceremony
6. legal epilogue, regulating mutual relations of contractors in everyday life

In the middle of the treaty – between the prologue and the epilogue – there was a report on the ceremony of the covenant making. Covenants were made not by signing the document, but through a liturgical celebration: on a day previously set, the contractors celebrated the four-element covenant ceremony together. Each subsequent part of the ceremony was described in the subsequent part of the treaty (from 2 to 5).

The ceremony proceeded as follows (the numbering of its parts began with the number “2”, consistent with the numbering that the description of these parts had in the treaty):

2. Presentation of both contractors, with the eastern exaggeration to show the majesty of the stronger contractor, his superiority over other rulers, his ability to defend the weaker partner. The same purpose was also served by listing the gifts that the stronger promised to convey to the weaker at the end of the ceremony, after an irrevocable act of the covenant making.

3. Handing over the basic covenant law by a stronger contractor to a weaker one; the weaker one accepts the law by taking it.

4. Irrevocable act of the covenant making [44]: contractors pass between the halves of the cut animals laid on the ground soaked with their blood. The weaker contractor, passing by, announces conditional blessings and curses (if he is faithful to the covenant, he will be a participant of these blessings; if he is unfaithful, of these curses).

5. Commemoration of the covenant by planting a tree or raising a mound. Fulfillment of the promises made in the first part of the ceremony: the sovereign hands over the promised gifts, the vassal now regards the sovereign as its king.

3.2. Passover as a four-part covenant renewal ceremony and as the exit from Egypt being performed now.

God led Israel out of Egypt not through a single act crushing the Egyptians, but in four successive stages, in order to simultaneously celebrate with Israel a four-element covenant ceremony [45]. The annual celebration of the Passover takes the form of a liturgical ceremony of renewing this covenant.

The difference between the ceremony of making and renewing the covenant is:

  • the covenant making was realized as a one-off, historic four-step exit from Egypt,
  • the covenant renewal is carried out every year as a four-part Passover rite.

Passover is the renewal of a covenant that was irrevocably made between the waters of the sea being divided only once in the history. Passover makes Passover being present, i.e. it introduces the participants of the celebration to the historical time of the subsequent four stages of liberation, which are elements of the covenant making [46]. It introduces into:

1. in the part 1 and only in this part 1: the time of their stay with the Fathers in Egypt, the time preceding their paschal feast; the time when God, the mighty ruler, initiates the ceremony of the covenant making, giving promises to Israel (in Passover it is the time of a religious story – time of haggadah),

2. in part 2 and only in this part 2: the time of the Paschal feast with the Fathers in Egypt, the time of the Lord’s intervention towards the first-born of Egypt, the time filled with obedient acceptance and fulfillment of the law of Passover, the law of covenant (in Passover it is the time of eating the lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs),

3. in part 3 and only in this part 3: the time of departure with the Fathers from the place of eating the paschal feast, the time of God’s passage (in the signs of fire and cloud) and Israel between the divided waters of the sea, the passage being an irrevocable act of making a covenant (in Passover it is the time of eating the unleavened Afikoman),

4. in part 4 and only in part 4: the time of singing the hymns with the Fathers after the passage of the sea, the hymns raised by the Spirit of the Lord in the hearts and on the lips of the saved; the time of praising with Fathers the Lord as the King who has given His People all that He had promised in part 1: The Lord became God for Israel, Israel became the Lord’s People; the Lord has given Israel the Promised Land and freedom (in Passover it is the time of singing hymns).

It should be emphasized that God Himself is the Author of the Passover rite as the ceremony of renewing the covenant whose treatise is Exodus 1-18. For God wanted to speak the language of human culture, the language of the ceremonies of ancient covenants. God wanted to “speak” to the Chosen People at a time when stage by stage performed entering into human history according to his plan and carried out the work of bringing them out of captivity, in four main stages, preceded by a preparatory stage, culminating in a stage completed the whole of his plan. The Passover in the language of liturgical signs, this “speech” of God, is passed on to the next generation of believing Israelites. In the language of liturgical signs, the Passover transmits this “speech” of God to the next generations of faithful Israelites.

To understand the paschal liturgy, it is important to be aware of [47]:

  • The Passover is connected with chronology, with the sequence of historical events that make up one great work of the Lord to liberate Israel from Egyptian captivity, the work that simultaneously realized the sequence of four stages of the ancient ceremony to make a covenant,
  • However, the Passover is connected with chronology in a very specific way, namely:
  • The Passover is not a theatrical performance that shows the viewer the details of the course of events extracted from the narrative layer of the Book of Exodus and subsequent books of the Bible, the story of the journey to Canaan and the settlement in it and the life there until the time the temple was erected,
  • Passover is the renewal of the covenant of God and His People, Passover has the logic not of a scenic performance, but of the ancient ceremony of renewing the covenant.

A careful study of all the acts and words of the Passover rite reveals a certain difficulty in recognizing the truth that each subsequent part of the Passover represents the next stage of the Exodus from Egypt, described in the subsequent pericopes of 1-18.

First, it should be noted that the Passover has four parts, and Ex 1-18 six parts. This difficulty is solved in two ways:

  • Although the Passover is composed of four successive parts, each connected with another cup, but in the light of the “Haggadah” it also has the preceding part (before-seder: seeking and removing acid, lighting the candle) and the part that follows the closing of the official rite (after-seder: until dawn, singing and meditation on God’s love for Israel, the love shown in the miracle of Israel’s liberation from Egypt). Thanks to this, each part of the Passover represents subsequent part of the exit from Egypt, described in six subsequent pericopes of Exodus 1-18,
  • Leaving aside the importance of the unofficial parts, it can be seen that the first part of the Passover represents those events which are written in the first two pericopes of Exodus 1-18, i.e. in 1:1-6:1 and 6:2-11:10, because these pericopes together serve to represent the two contractors, including the graces which God granted Israel until the day of the beginning of the covenant ceremony in Egypt; likewise the fourth part of Passover represents the events recorded in the two last pericopes of Exodus 1-18, that is, in 15:1-21 and 15:22-18:27.

The first difficulty was solved. However, now it is necessary to note a very important problem, related to the 1st part of Passover as a covenant ceremony. The purpose of the first part is to present the contractors, including the graces of the stronger of them to the weaker one, given to him until the day of the covenant making. This goal is precisely achieved in the first consolidated part of the Book of Exodus (1:1-11:10): it describes only the events from before the Passover feast [48]. This goal, on the other hand, seems to be not precisely achieved in the first part of the Passover, because this part lists not only those interventions of God for Israel, which were described in 1:1-11:10, but also those which took place during and after the feast – there are listed all the Lord’s graces until the time the temple in Zion was erected by King Solomon!

Does this observation prove that the whole history of Israel up to the time of Solomon is already presented in the Passover rite in the first part? (The rite so understood would have the logic of a stage performance, in which, however, after the first part there would be a move back in history to the time of the Passover feast in Egypt that is made present by the second part of the Passover rite).

This difficulty should be solved as follows:

The listing of all the Lord’s favors until the time of the temple’s construction testifies to the fact that the author of the Paschal rite, recorded in “The Passover Haggadah”, lived in the temple times and knew the logic of Passover not as a ceremony to make a covenant, but to renew it [49]. Therefore, in the first part he presents God as a sovereign, whose all merits were to be specified up to the day of the renewal of the covenant. In this way, in the first part of the Passover, the time before the day of feasting in Egypt is made present, though the liturgical way (i.e. liturgical sign) of making it present is as follows: to tell about all the favors of the Lord until the day of renewal of the covenant in the times of King Solomon’s temple.

It is only by distinguishing the sign from what it represents [50] that we can see that the subsequent four groups of historical events that make up the whole work of Israel’s liberation from Egypt are made present successively in the paschal rite, because they are the sequential four elements of the ceremony of renewing the covenant.

4. The Passover rite and the equivalents of its signs in the Eucharistic rite.

Introduction.

The Passover rite has four main parts, in which 14 successive points are arranged: 5 points in the first and the second part, and 2 points in the third and fourth parts [51].

The fourteen points of the rite are to remind us of the date of departure from Egypt: On the 14th day of the month Abib (the month of ear-forming, or of growing green) the Israelites were to prepare the Passover (cf. Ex 12:6) to begin the feast in honor of the Lord after the sunset, i.e. when the 15th day began, according to the Jewish calculation.

The four main parts of the rite also have a deep meaning: they are built according to the same principle according to which in the Ancient East, in the four-part celebration, covenants were made in the XVI-XII centuries before Christ, i.e. in the period when the historic year of departure from Egypt falls.

Just as the four-stage exit from Egypt (cf. Ex 6:1-15:21) is included in the clamp “preparation – conclusion” [52] (1:1-6:1 and 15:22-18:27), so the Passover has the clamp which consists of two elements: “before-seder” [53] (removal of acid from the house, lighting a candle) and “after-seder” [54] (until the morning prayers, singing in honor of God, meditating on God’s miracle of bringing Israel out of Egypt).

Four parts of Pesach will now be discussed in detail. Each subsequent part takes the Passover participants to the next stage of departure from Egypt, and at the same time to the next part of the ancient covenant ceremony – the covenant that God made with Israel when He realized his plan to lead the People out of Egypt in four successive stages.

At the end of the discussion of each part of the Passover, its equivalent in the rite of the Eucharist will be shown.

4.1. The first part of the Passover – Time before the paschal feast in Egypt – Presentation of both contractors.

Introduction.

The first part in the four-part structure of Passover, the equivalent of Ex 1:1-11:10 in the structure of Ex 1-18, serves to present God and Israel as contractors of the covenant, with an emphasis on the greatness, grandeur and generosity of the stronger of them, to show the previous merits of the stronger towards the weaker (cf. Ex 1:1-6:1) and the promises that the stronger one makes to the weaker, initiating the covenant ceremony, and especially announcing the covenant making, the giving of freedom and the land, declaring His commitment to defend the weaker contractor against his enemies (cf. Ex 6:7-8). In Ex 6:2-11:10 the required emphasis on the presentation of a stronger contractor is realized in an unusual way through the miraculous 10 signs (cf. particularly eloquent statement in Ex 10:1-2), while the genealogy of Moses and Aaron placed in the middle of the description (cf. Ex 6:13-27), completely incomprehensible from the point of view of the dynamics of action, is there to meet the requirement of presenting a weaker counterparty.

In the first part of the Passover the presentation of God is also carried out (especially through the haggadah in the 5th point) and of Israel (especially in the 3rd point, impossible to interpret without referring to the teachings of the rabbis). The first part of the Passover consists of five points.

4.1.1. Kaddesh (קַדֵּשׁ): recitation of Kiddush.

Kiddush is a blessing. First, after all the participants of the Passover have gathered in a prepared room with a table set, the first cup of wine is poured, but it is not the time to be drunk now. The leader raises it up and pronounces two blessings: one over the wine and the other over the feast. After the blessing, while sitting down, everyone drinks the first cup of wine, leaning on the left side as a sign of freedom. The “Haggadah” emphasizes that the Passover is celebrated by free people – those who, thanks to the covenant with God, have become free.

4.1.2. Urechatz (וּרְהַץ): washing of hands.

Leader of the supper washes his hands. This can be done – in different traditions – by other participants of the ceremony.

4.1.3. Karpas (כַּרְפַּס): eating of the parsley (having dipped it in the salt water).

Karpas is a green vegetable that should be eaten after immersing in salt water or vinegar. Karpas is eaten for the presentation of a weaker contractor [55].

4.1.4. Yachatz (יַחַץ): breaking the middle matzah to have Afikoman.

The leader takes the middle of the three specially prepared matzoth and breaks it into two unequal parts. The larger one he wraps in a special napkin, hiding it under the pillow on which he supports. Hidden unleavened bread will serve in the third part of Passover as Afikoman. Some people have a habit of putting the Afikoman on their shoulder for a moment (according to Ex 12:34 saying that the Fathers, leaving Egypt in a hurry, carried the unleavened cake on their shoulders) and reciting: “Biwhilu Jacaku mi Micrajim” (we left Egypt in a hurry) [56].

It should be emphasized that this custom as a liturgical sign does not mean that the Passover participants already now, in the first part of the Passover, participate in the departure from Egypt! [57]

4.1.5. Maggid (מַגִּיד): telling the story about Exodus from Egypt.

Initially, the President shows the tray of unleavened breads that remained after separation of Afikoman, and speaks of them as ‘the bread of affliction that our fathers ate in the land of Egypt’ [58]. The time spent in captivity in Egypt is highlighted here again. A second cup of wine is now being poured, but it will take a long time to drink it: until the end of the haggadah [59]. First the children ask traditional questions, then the prayer follows, and then the chairman begins the haggadah, that is, the story of Israel: the story begins with Terah, father of Abram, and ends with fifteen of the many graces that God has given Israel, leading her from Egypt to the Promised Land [60].

In the text of the Paschal Haggadah, point 1.5. formally includes a few more acts which are explanations and prayers, i.e. elements characteristic for the first part, but which must also be seen as elements of the second part, which is focused on doing what is explained below, i.e. one by one:

  • an explanation of the meaning of the three main dishes which eating during the Passover is ordered by God: lamb, unleavened bread [61], bitter herbs.
  • indication that in the light of Ex 13:8 and Deut 6:23 each participant of the Passover is to perceive himself as a participant of the exit from Egypt; from this comes a prayer, including the recitation of the first part of Hallel, i.e. Ps 113 and (in some Jewish traditions [62]) Ps 114.
  • saying a short blessing and drinking the second cup of wine while seated, reclining on the left side as a sign of freedom.

4.1.6. Comments on the first part of the Passover and of the Eucharist.

Speaking in the language of the notions of St. Luke in Acts 2:42, the first part of the Passover as a teaching of the messengers (the Apostles) is the realization of the first part of the covenant ceremony: it presents (through the haggadah) God and the People as contractors, and the scope of the events mentioned in the history of their mutual relations is not limited to the day of the covenant, but crossed (“actualized”) up to the day of the Passover celebration [63].

The first part of the Eucharist is also the “teaching of the Apostles”, in which God (through the lector, cantor, minister of the Gospel and homily) presents Himself and the People as contractors of the New Covenant, at the same time applying “updating” to the readings of the texts of the Holy Bible. This is the first part of the liturgy of the word.

4.2. The second part of the Passover – Time of the Passover Feast in Egypt – Approval of the law of the covenant by the weaker contracting party.

Introduction.

In the second part of the Passover one eats unleavened breads and bitter herbs, as food-symbols, commanded by God to the Israelites in Egypt, and then eats ordinary dishes, remembering that there wouldn’t be any acid in them. In these customs the analogy of the second part of this rite to the pericope of the law (Exodus 12:1-13:16) [64] is strongly visible. Below are emphasized those elements that testify to the purpose of the second part: the fulfillment of the law of the covenant – the law given to Israel by God in Egypt.

4.2.1. Rachtzah (רַחַץ): second washing of hands.

This is the second washing of hands (cf. 1.2). Washing hands is a custom practiced by Jews prior to eating. During the Passover, this action is accompanied by a blessing: “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us by your commandments (בְּמִצְוֹתָיו) and commanded us (וְצִוָּנוּ) to wash our hands”. The Book of Exodus does not contain such a command. Hence it should be concluded that in this blessing the author of the “Paschal Haggadah”, inspired by God, emphasized the goal of the whole second part: the acceptance of the covenant law.

4.2.2. Motzi and Matzah (מוֹצִיא מַצָה): two blessings over matzoth.

The leader recites the blessing, holding in his hands all three unleavened breads (without a piece set aside as an Afikoman), expresses his gratitude to God for “the bread He brings out of the earth”.

Then the president puts aside the lower unleavened bread and says a blessing above the others, in which he thanks God for ordering them to eat unleavened bread (cf. Exodus 12:15-20): “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us by your commandments (בְּמִצְוֹתָיו) and commanded us (וְצִוָּנוּ) to eat matzah”. Now he breaks off piece by piece from the unleavened breads (upper and half of the middle one) for everyone, and everyone eats, leaning on the left side as a sign of freedom.

It should be noted that this element is visually similar to the breaking and separating of the Afikoman in the third part of the Passover and to the breaking and separating of the Holy Host in the third part of the Eucharist. However, this similarity does not mean that it is a gesture of the same meaning! No! In this second part of the Passover, all acts serve to carry out the second part of the covenant renewal ceremony, and therefore serve to accept the law of the covenant, the law which, among other things, prescribes the consumption of bread without acid.

4.2.3. Maror (מָרוֹר): eating of the bitter herb (having dipped it in the salt water).

The leader immerses a small amount of bitter herbs (i.e. Maror) in charoset [65], recites a blessing in which he expresses gratitude to God for the command to eat bitter herbs (cf. Ex 12:8): “Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the universe, who sanctified us by your commandments (בְּמִצְוֹתָיו) and commanded us (וְצִוָּנוּ) to eat the Maror”. Now everyone eats bitter herbs [66].

Comparing the consumption of herb in 1.3 and 2.3, it is clear that each point of rite fulfils the purpose of its own part: in 1.3 presentation of the contractor, in 2.3 acceptance of the law. The external similarity of the liturgical sign can be misleading for interpreters. Awareness of this danger makes it possible to read precisely the purpose of each part and the belonging of the sign to the particular part.

4.2.4. Korekh (כּוֹרֵךְ): Eating the sandwich made with matzah, bitter herb and charoset.

According to Hillel’s custom of temple times, a special “sandwich” is prepared: bitter herbs are placed on the rest (lower) of the unleavened herbs. In Hillel’s time there was still lamb meat on such a sandwich. This custom was a meticulous way of fulfilling God’s command to eat lamb-Pasha with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (cf. Ex 12:8).

Before consumption, this time it is not a blessing, but a confession of obedience to the Holy Tradition, which is analogous to a blessing [67] in terms of meaning. One eats a “sandwich”, leaning on the left side as a sign of freedom.

4.2.5. Shulchan Orekh (שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ): eating of the festive meal.

In the previous three points of this second part of Passover, there has been the fulfillment of God’s commandments given to the Fathers for the feast in Egypt at night 15. Abib. Now the participants of the Passover will eat without obeying any special laws except not to consume anything with acid (see Ex 12:15.19).

4.2.6. Comments on the second part of the Passover and of the Eucharist.

It should be noted that the second part of the Passover rite is analogous to:

  • the feast of the Passover lamb, consumed by the Israelites on the night of the 15th Abib, immediately before leaving Egyptian captivity,
  • the act of “bestowing the law” as the second element in the scheme of the ceremony of the covenant making,
  • Ex 12:1-13:16 as the pericope of law, contained in Ex 1-18 as a treatise documenting the fact of the covenant making.

Speaking in the language of St. Luke’s notions from Acts 2:42, this second part of the Passover as “fellowship” (κοινωνία), i.e. the fellowship of the table, is the realization of the second element of the ceremony of the covenant making: when the participants of the Passover, by eating dishes ordered by God, form a special community, they accept the law of the covenant.

The second part of the Eucharist is also “fellowship” – originally it was a community of the table (cf. 1Cor 11:20f), taken from the Passover, and later, by the Apostles’ decision transformed (as a consequence of emerging abuses in eating and drinking) into a community of prayer and collection of donations for the poor. In the Eucharist, therefore, there is only a different form of the same “fellowship” as the second element of the covenant ceremony, i.e. the acceptance of the law of the covenant. Since in the New Covenant the fundamental law is to love God and neighbour, the deep logic of signs of the second part of the Eucharist is identical with that of the second part of the Passover: in the second part of both rites believers accept the law from God – in the Eucharist the command to love brothers (expressed by praying for brothers and supporting them in need), in the Passover the command to eat (at the night on the 15th of the month Abib) a lamb with unleavened bread…

At the same time, it should be noted that, contrary to the first association, the consumption of the Passover lamb is not an act that makes present an irrevocable act of the covenant making (that is, the partakers’ act of passing between halves of animals [68]), as in the Eucharist is the act of consuming the body and the blood of Jesus as the Lamb taking away the sin of the world (cf. Jn 1:29.36; Acts 8:32; 1Pet 1:19) and as our Passover (cf. 1Cor 5:7). It is precisely the appropriateness of the subsequent parts of Passover (the four-element rite of the covenant renewal) with the subsequent parts of the Eucharist (as a four-element rite built on the Passover rite) that makes us realize how illusory this first association is.

In forerunning what will be discussed in the next point of the article, it should be emphasized: the rabbinical explanation that makes the Afikoman a liturgical representation of the Passover lamb and its last bite is the foreshadowing of the Lamb that we eat during the third part of the Eucharist. It is thanks to God’s truly miraculous arrangement, since this rabbinical explanation is inconsistent with the etymology of both the Afikoman and the name of the point “Tzafun”, as part of which the Afikoman is eaten in the third part of the Passover.

4.3. The third part of the Passover – Time of leaving Egypt and crossing the sea (Ex 13:17-14:31) – Irrevocable act of making the covenant.

Introduction.

This part consists of two points: Tzafun and Barekh. This is a fundamental part of the Passover as a ceremonial of the renewal of the covenant.

Both its correct separation from a number of detailed liturgical acts, as well as the understanding of its essential content – this is the result of many lexical analyses of the “Haggadah” text, often correcting its inadequate explanations [69].

4.3.1. Tzafun (צָפוּן): eating of the Afikoman.

The Afikoman, i.e. a piece of a unleavened bread, hidden in the first part of the Passover (צָפוּן in Hebrew), is now being found. This is usually done by children, who receive a prize for finding the Afikoman. Then the leader breaks the Afikoman and distributes piece by piece to each of the participants of the Passover. Everyone, leaning on the left side as a sign of freedom, eats the Afikoman. In the remarks in the “Haggadah”, this is indicated here: Afikoman should be eaten before midnight and nothing else can be eaten after it [70].

Contrary to comments [71], the Afikoman does not symbolize the lamb-Pasha, and the name “Afikoman” cannot be interpreted as a distorted Greek expression for “dessert”! This is the Hebrew word אֲפִיקוֹמָןM [72], which is a combination of two Hebrew words אֲפִיקוֹ + מָן, which means: “its bottom is manna” or “its bottom, manna” or “bottom of the sea” [73], pointing to the unleavened (non-acid like manna) bread that the Israelites ate as they were passing through the bare bottom of the Sea of Reeds:

Carrying on their shoulders an unleavened dough in vessels, the Israelites were as if covering the exposed bottom of the sea with manna. Therefore, consuming Afikoman during the Passover means for them that now, while consuming, they participate in the passage on the bare bottom of the Sea of Reeds. At the same time, this passage by the sea is an act of the covenant making. Consuming the Afikoman is therefore a special act – participation in the irrevocable act of the covenant making.

Why doesn’t one eat anything after the consumption of Afikoman? It is due to the fact that the march out of captivity happened so suddenly, that the Israelites did not have any food supplies other than unleavened dough (cf. Ex 12:34), so on their way they baked unleavened cakes (Ex 12:39). Only this food was eaten on the way from the place of the lamb consumption to the place of passage through the Sea of Reeds and further to the place where God started giving manna (cf. Ex 16), which replaced unleavened bread. After the Afikoman consuming nothing is eaten: not because it is a dessert, but because the rite in this way evokes the reality of the march out from captivity.

It is worth adding that the Hebrew sentence in the treatise Pesahim X.8 in Mishnah, containing the word אֲפִיקוֹמָן, and quoted in the “Paschal Haggadah” in the answer for the wise son, is incorrectly translated in various ways. For example, in Jastrow’s dictionary [74]: “After the Paschal meal one must not wind up by saying, ‘Now to the after-meal entertainment’”. The correct literal translation reads as follows: “At the time of Passover there aren’t any ‘those who open wombs’ after the consumption of paschal Afikoman”, which means: during Passover, after eating unleavened Afikoman, there is no custom of offering the first-born animals to God (first-borns are ‘those who open wombs’), although in the pericope of the law in the Book of Exodus, which is a model for the Passover rite, after the order to consume only unleavened bread as a sign of departure from Egypt (13:3-11) there is a description of the laws prescribing offerings of the first-born victims (13:12-16) [75]!

The word צָפוּן – the name of this rite point – hides a connection with the place of crossing the Sea of Reeds: according to Num 33:7 בַּעַל צְפוֹן. The words צָפוּן (hidden) and צְפוֹן (north) differ only by vowel signs, added only six centuries after Christ. Originally it was the same word צפון in both texts.

It should also be remembered that the word יַחַץ as a form of the word חצה is in the 1st part of Passover the name of the 4th point, in which the leader broke the middle matzah and separated most of it as Afikoman. Thus, Afikoman, through the act of its making, refers to the passage through the Sea of Reeds on its bottom, between its “broken” waters [76].

Finally, it should be emphasized that although Afikoman is associated – as a consumable product – with the second part, which is entirely filled with acts of eating, the unleavened Afikoman does not belong to that part! The Book of Exodus puts a line between the time of consumption before leaving Egypt and the time of consumption after this breakthrough moment. The Book of Exodus emphasizes that unleavened bread as a food of “the time after the moment of departure” is a food-sign of Passover of the same rank as the lamb-Pasha as a food-sign of “the time before the moment of departure”! [77]

It should be noted that although the third cup will be filled in the next point (3.2.), it does not mean that only then will the third part of the rite begin [78].

4.3.2. Barekh (בָּרֵךְ): thanksgiving for the food; prayers for Elijah and Messiah.

Unfortunately, the comments to this point indicate the relationship of thanksgiving prayers only to the consumed Paschal supper in the second part of the rite. The content of the prayers proves, however, that Israel here thanks God for the food of the second part (the food of the supper in Egypt) and the third part (the food of the departure after supper). If God did not make the cakes carried out on the shoulders of the Israelites enough for the first stage of the journey, the fleeing would be starved, without even reaching the Sea of Reeds, let alone the other side.

Unfortunately, the comments to this point indicate the relationship of thanksgiving prayers only to the Passover supper consumed during the second part of the rite. The content of the prayers proves, however, that Israel here thanks God for the food of the second part (the food of the supper in Egypt) and of the third part (the food of the departure after supper). If God had not made that the dough carried out on the shoulders of the Israelites was sufficient for the first stage of the journey, the fleeing people would have died of hunger, not even reaching the Sea of Reeds, and even less to its other side.

Thanksgiving for the food of the way is connected with another dimension of this point: the prayer that God would come down to them this very night, come with His salvation to lead all Israel under the Prophet Elijah and/or Messiah towards messianic times, towards eternal life.

The course of this point:

First, the third cup of wine is filled. According to some versions of the “Haggadah” [79], Psalm 126 is now to be recited [80].

The next act is the third washing of hands [81].

It is followed by the recitation of ‘Birkat hammazon’ (בִּרְכַּת הַמָּזוֹן – ‘blessing of the food’ [82]), a prayer that is much longer and thematically extended in comparison to its version not intended for the Passover but only for the end of a meal [83]: here the Passover participants first thank God for food and salvation, and then they ask for these goods, and especially for their salvation in this day of the Paschal celebration; then they ask for peace, and for rebuilding of Jerusalem; and then they ask the Lord to shatter the yoke from their necks and bring them with their raised heads to their land; and they ask God to send them the Prophet Elijah with the news of salvation, and to bless the host in whose house they ate Passover; and then they ask for the grace in the eyes of God and people; and they ask for them to remain until the Messiah comes and the life of the world to come.

The content of this prayer is not only thanksgiving for food, but first of all it is the entrusting the whole existence of the People into the hands of God, who now (by the power of the liturgy!) crushes their yoke and brings them out of Egyptian captivity, and, providing food, leads them among the terrible hostile powers to the shore of freedom, one day to lead them to the world to come [84].

Then the blessing over the wine is recited and everyone drinks the third cup of wine, leaning on the left side as a sign of freedom.

According to some traditions, the cup for Elijah is now being filled, and Elijah can immediately come (to lead them into the future world) when the door is opened. Now the door has been opened and the request has been made that the Lord will now pour out his wrath (חָרוֹן) on the nations. This is a liturgical sign of the passage of the Passover participants through the 3rd stage of the Exodus from Egypt: after the supper of the Passover lamb (which was made present by the 2nd part of the rite) the Israelites had to open the door, closed so far according to the command of God (cf. Ex 12:22), to begin their departure from Egypt under the guidance of God in hope that He will protect them from the enemies. And so it happened: “In your great majesty you overthrew your adversaries; you loosed your wrath (חָרוֹן) to consume them like stubble” (Ex 15:7) – the free Israelites announced in their song immediately after the passage to the other side of the sea.

After this the door should be closed to close the third part of the rite and to simultaneously end the presence of paschal community in the historical time of exit out of Egypt and crossing the sea.

4.3.3. Comments on the third part of the Passover and of the Eucharist.

Speaking in the language of the notions of St. Luke in Acts 2:42, the third part of Passover as the breaking of bread is the realization of the third part of the covenant ceremony: of the irrevocable act of making a covenant.

It is worth emphasizing that everyone consumes from one bread (Afikoman) and one cup:

  • broken and distributed to all by the leader, one Afikoman is eaten as a sign of their passage (which is happening right now!)) with an unleavened dough, the passage under the command of God walking in the signs of the pillar of fire and cloud between the cut waters of the Sea of Reeds, or Red Sea in the translation of Septuagint,
  • here also everyone drinks from the common, third cup, unlike in the other parts of the Passover (where everyone drinks from their own cup).

Consumption from the third cup is separated from consumption of the Afikoman with long prayers [85], and both these acts, emphasizing the unity of the liturgical community, together form the framework for the whole third part of the rite as the presence of the time of passage of all Israel through the sea (not only the passage of the Fathers, but with them and of all participants of the Passover from all generations up to the end of worldliness, regardless of the place and year in which each of them takes part in the Passover celebration). The prayers recited between these two framework acts of consumption are modeled on the blessings customarily pronounced by the weaker contractor during the transition between the two parts of animals cut into halves.

The third part of the Eucharist is also the “breaking of bread”: the priest breaks and distributes to all the Body and distributes the Blood of Christ. Everyone eats from one Body and drinks from one Cup (cf. 1Cor 10:16-17). At this moment the passage with Jesus Christ, the Incarnate God, between the darkness of the Abyss-Death, is made. This passage through the “red sea” of the Blood of Jesus with the “Unleavened Bread – His Body” is an already irrevocable act of making the New Covenant – the realization of the third part of the ceremony of the covenant making. The act of procession with gifts at the beginning of the third part and the act of communion procession at the end of the third part are signs of the passage taking place. The procession is accompanied by singing – the equivalence of the prayers of the third part of the Passover.

4.4. The fourth part of the Passover – Time after the passage of the Sea of Reeds – Fulfillment of the promises of the covenant; commemoration of the covenant.

Introduction.

This part consists of two points, the first of which has a particularly solemn character of thanksgiving, while the second is the finale of the official Passover rite.

4.4.1. Hallel (הַלֵּל): recitation of the second part of Hallel.

Ps 114-118 (or 115-118) is sung, then Ps 136 with the additional prayer preceding it, then a very long prayer, “Let the soul of every living being bless your name, O Lord, our God…”.

According to some Jewish traditions, it is now time to finish the whole rite with words: “Next year in Jerusalem! Others still here continue to praise God, listing the miracles performed by God on various paschal nights [86], and only then end this point (but not yet the whole) with the above words.

4.4.2. Nirtzah (נִרְצָה): final singing.

Now you have to say: ‘Next year in Jerusalem! Then the blessing on the wine is recited and the fourth cup of wine is drunk. Then the blessing of God’s goodness is pronounced. Finally, the leader announces: “So we have fulfilled the order of the feast according to the customs and regulations. We reminded the order so that we could do it happily”. There is a great concern for preservation of the order (seder, rite, order) according to which the Passover is to take place.

In many ‘Haggadas’, the above formula is followed by: a/. religious and didactic listing “Who knows one?, who knows two?… who knows thirteen?”, b./ a story “One kid Goat”– a symbolic representation of God’s care for Israel.

4.4.3. Comments on the fourth part of the Passover and the Eucharist.

Speaking in the language of the notions of St. Luke in Acts 2:42, the fourth part of the Passover as “these prayers” is the realization of the fourth element of the covenant ceremony: when the participants of the Passover praise God through the singing of psalms, hymns and songs, they participate in the joy of the Fathers, endowed by God as a stronger contractor of the covenant, the Fathers singing the hymn (Exodus 15:1-21) on the shore of freedom – after crossing the Sea of Reeds. The covenant is commemorated by the record in the hearts of all Passover participants.

The fourth part of the Eucharist is also “these prayers” – adoring God, Jesus Christ received in Holy Communion, accepting from God the gifts of the New Covenant, of which the most precious is the bestowal of the Holy Spirit.

4.5. After-seder.

The rite of the Passover ends with the thirteenth point (the singing of psalms as the equivalent of the hymn singing after the passage of the Sea of Reeds – cf. Ex 15:1-21) and the fourteenth point closing the whole. However, closing the seder does not mean that the liturgy participants already have to go apart. Why?

After singing the hymns (cf. 15:1-21), Israel went to Horeb persistently (cf. 15:22-18:27), and during this way one by one received wonderful gifts from God: laws (cf. 15:23-27), manna and quail (cf. 16:1-36), water from the rock (cf. 17:1-7), salvation from the hostile Amalekites (cf. 17:8-16), implementation in thanking God for salvation (cf. 18: 1-12), constitution of the structure of judges (cf. 18:13-27). Therefore, before God began a new phase of relationship with Israel through the covenant at Sinai (cf. 19:1ff), He excellently completed the original covenant with Israel, made between the cut sea waters and formally ended with the singing of hymns after the passage of the Sea of Reeds. This is reflected in Passover.

Here the rabbis [87] point out that the end of the rite according to “Haggadah” does not force the participants of the Passover to go out. On the contrary: it is worth reciting the “Song of Songs”, continue to meditate on all the wonderful circumstances of leaving Egypt, so remaining on the worship of God until dawn. By remaining until dawn in the paschal singing and teaching until dawn, contemporary Jews show their faith in their real, actual participation in the departure with the Fathers from Egypt – they do not sleep, because the Fathers were only at dawn [88] fully endowed with freedom by God (cf. Ex 14:24 ff)! This practice, performed by pious Jews, is “post-seder”.

The equivalent of the “post-seder” in the Eucharist of the original Church were prayers, prophecies, teachings, healings – which took place after the official celebration (cf. 1Cor 12-14) [89]. Just as Israel, after crossing the Sea of Reeds, not only sang the hymn at the end of the covenant rite, but walked perseveringly, being enriched by God with new gifts, so the prayers of the 4th part of the Eucharist end its official rite, but they do not end the time of grace, rich in divine gifts being given by the Holy Spirit.

The testimony of “post-seder” is not only Paul’s record from 1Cor 12-14, but also Luke’s record from Acts 20:6-12: St. Paul, coming to Troas, gathered the Church for “breaking bread” (i.e. Holy Mass), during which he extended until midnight the first part, i.e. preaching (see 20:7: λόγος), and then when “had broken bread and eaten, he conversed with them a long while, until daybreak, and so departed” (20:11). This “conversation with them” took place after eating and, as can be only deduced from this hasty report of Luke, after the end of the prayers of the 4th part of the rite. This “conversation” is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit, present in the “time of grace” [90] after Mass, as the Apostle explained in 1Cor 12-14: first of all is to take care to “build the Church” and not to show off with extraordinary exaltations.

The presence of teachers and prophets as servants of the charismatic gifts of the Spirit during and after the Eucharist is also confirmed in Acts 13:1-3: after the celebration of the Eucharist, the Church fasted and prayed before the Lord and received from the Holy Spirit the command to Paul and Barnabas to send them to their first missionary journey. The custom of prayer, fasting and giving offerings before the Lord in expectation of an oracle is known from the Old Covenant (cf. Judg 20:26-28).

With the passing of years and centuries, the prayer after the Mass has disappeared, which has greatly damaged the devotion of the faithful, their openness to the gifts of God, which He wants to give in this “time of grace”. Both the first centuries of Christianity as well as the testimony of many saints and calls of many popes of the 20th century confirm the salutary consequences of persevering prayer after receiving Holy Communion and after the Holy Mass [91].

5. Appendix about the function of the liturgical signs.

Understanding the rite of the Passover and the Eucharist is incomplete if it is not seen that God, the main author of the liturgy, gives one of two functions to each liturgical sign:

  1. Reminding and explaining the salvific event,
  2. Making the salvific event present, that is, making us participants in that event.

It is worth giving examples that are particularly important in the Passover and the Eucharist.

An important example of these two different functions in Passover is the difference between the signs in the first and third parts of the rite:

  1. Reminding (in the first part of the Passover): the leader breaks the middle matzah and preserves the obtained greater part of it as an Afikoman; the leader talks about the crossing through the Red Sea – these signs resemble and explain the crossing through the Red Sea, but do not yet make the Passover participants present at the place and time of the crossing.
  2. Making present (in the third part of the Passover): the leader breaks the Afikoman into pieces and distributes and then all of them eat the Afikoman – this sign makes them present together with their Fathers in the passage with God through the divided waters of sea. This sign therefore makes them participants of the act of making the Passover / Exodus covenant – in the passage through the Abyss of the Red Sea. The explanation of Hillel in the “Paschal Haggadah” speaks about this [92]: “In every generation a man must so regard himself as if he had been liberated from Egypt. (…) The Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed not only our fathers from Egypt, but He redeemed also us with them”.

An important example of these two different functions in the Eucharist is the difference between the signs in the first and third parts of the rite:

  1. Reminding (in the 1st part of the Holy Mass): reading from the Scriptures about the death of Jesus reminds us of this event, explains it.
  2. Making present (in the 3rd part of the Holy Mass): consecration and Holy Communion – makes us truly present at the Death of Jesus, at the time and place of His Death. This sign, then, makes us participants in the act of making a covenant of the New Passover / New Exodus – an act made in the passage of the whole New People with Jesus through the Abyss-Death.

This distinction makes it possible to correctly read the Passover rite and the Eucharist rite, both composed of many liturgical signs. Moreover, the analogous and typological relationship between the two rites is biblical proof for the veracity of the Catholic Church’s unvarying faith in the real, although sensually imperceptible, physical, bodily transfer of the participants of the Eucharistic liturgy into the place and time of Jesus’ Death on the Cross at Golgotha [93].

Completion.

The Holy Mass has the same four-part structure as the Passover. Both structures are structures of the covenant renewal, in which the irrevocable act of making the covenant is the same liturgical sign as far as its form is concerned: consumption by all participants of the liturgy of the same unleavened bread (Afikoman and Body of Christ), drinking of the same cup (wine and Blood of Christ). The form of the signs of the outer parts is also identical: the word of the teaching of the first part; the prayers of praise of the fourth part. Only the second part as “fellowship”, that is, as a place and time intended for the liturgical community to receive the covenant law from God, in these two rites is realized in a different form: in Passover – through the sign of eating a lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs (obedience in eating the lamb-Pasha is the law of the Old Covenant); in the Eucharist – through the sign of prayer of love for brothers (love is the law of the New Covenant).

Just as the four-stage exit from Egypt is included in the “preparation – conclusion” clamp, analogically the clamp for the Passover consist of two elements: “before-seder” – “after-seder”. The same is for the Eucharist. The “before-seder” is the time of personal preparation of the participants of the liturgy to enter into its solemnity. The “after-seder” is the time when liturgical community remains in prayer and opens hearts to God as stronger contractor of the covenant, who gives His Divine gifts every of them.

By virtue of the biblical analogy and typology linking the ritual of the Passover and the ritual of the Eucharist, this article completes what has been discovered in earlier studies about the relationship between the original ritual of the Passover of the First Covenant and the structure of the first eighteen chapters of the Exodus Book as a treaty of the covenant. Just as the New Covenant allows us to fully understand the depth of the Old Covenant, so the rite of the “New Passover” of the New Covenant allows us to understand more fully the rite of the Passover of the Old Covenant.

Among the four main parts of both rites, the third part is of particular importance, in which the most important is one sign, identical in form in both rites, performed by the leader of the holy liturgy: the sign of breaking of unleavened bread and of distributing pieces of this bread to all participants to be eaten. Just as the broken and consumed unleavened Afikoman introduces the participants of the Passover to the place and time of the Passover / Exodus covenant (in the passage of God and all Israel between the cut waters of the Sea of Reeds to the shore of the new life), analogously the sign of the broken Bread-Body of Jesus introduces the participants of the Eucharist to the place and time of the covenant of the New Passover / New Exodus (in the passing of Incarnate God, Jesus, and the whole New Israel between the darkness of the abyss-death to the shore of the new life in Resurrection).

In the New and Eternal Covenant, announced by the Prophet Jeremiah (31:31f), everything receives a new quality, a new brilliance. After all, the New Covenant was made not between the material waters of the Sea of Reeds, but in the “Red Sea” of the human Blood of the Incarnate God, Jesus the Messiah, still awaited by Israel every year in the Passover.

 

The following presentation helps us to see once again the analogies and typology between the Passover rite and the Eucharist rite, as it was presented in the article:

4  PARTS OF THE PASSOVER    AND    4  PARTS OF THE HOLY MASS

4 PARTS OF THE PASSOVER:

  1. Paschal Haggadah, Psalm 113-114 (Hallel, part 1), homily.
  2. A feast of the lamb and then a secular banquet.
  3. Breaking of Afikoman and eating it. Thanksgiving for food.
  4. Song in honor of God as King of Israel – Hallel (part 2.).

4  PARTS OF THE HOLY MASS

  1. Reading, psalm and homily.
  2. Prayer of the faithful (the banquet was removed because of drunkenness of the Corinthians).
  3. Consecration (“breaking of bread”) and consumption of Holy Communion.
  4. Song of praise after Holy Communion.

Acts 2:42: They devoted themselves:

(1) to the apostles’ teaching, (2) and to fellowship,

(3) to the breaking of bread, (4) and to prayers.

4 PARTS OF PASSOVER   AND   4 PARTS OF EXODUS:

4 PARTS OF PASSOVER:

  1. Paschal Haggadah, Psalm 113-114 (Hallel, part 1), homily.
  2. A feast of the lamb and then a secular banquet.
  3. Breaking of Afikoman and eating it. Thanksgiving for food.
  4. Song in honor of God as King of Israel – Hallel (part 2.).

4 PARTS OF EXODUS:

  1. God reveals Himself to Moses. Plagues.
  2. Passover feast with a lamb with bitter herbs and unleavened bread.
  3. Israel’s transition to the abyss of sea water and through the abyss.
  4. Song in honor of God as King of Israel.

Summary.

The present paper shows “the breaking of bread” (cf. 1Cor 11:24) as the central liturgical sign of the Eucharist, typologically foretold by the analogous sign of the First Covenant: the breaking of the Paschal Afikoman in the yearly Passover. The paper shows that both signs cause the participants of the liturgy to become participants of the act of making the covenant which was performed by the passage of the Abyss: the Abyss-Death in the Eucharist, the Abyss of waters of the Red Sea in the Passover.

To understand both signs in their liturgical context was necessary to compare the whole rite of the Passover and the whole rite of the Eucharist. The paper shows consequently that their four-element structures one built on the same four-element ancient (XVI-XII century before Christ) structure of the ceremony of the covenant renovation. The author applied here the result of the analyses of the Passover rite, published as the doctoral thesis in 2008: this rite is hidden in Ex 1-18 as his literary structure. The rite of the Eucharist, in turn, he showed in light of St. Paul’s teaching (especially the First Letter to the Corinthians) and of Acts 2:42, where – according to Biblicists – this rite is hidden.

One shown in detail the analogy between respective parts of the rite of the Passover and of the Eucharist, and also the identity of liturgical form of the first, third and fourth their parts, respectively: 1. teaching, 3. partaking of the one unleavened bread (i.e. Afikoman / the Body of Christ) and of the one cup (i.e. wine / Blood of Christ), 4. worship prayers.

Because the second part (fellowship), when the liturgical community receives the covenant law from God, is accomplished in different form in these two rites, the way of transformation of the form of the second part of Passover (the lamb consumption) into the form of the second part of the Eucharist (prayers of love for brothers) is shown also.

As the clamp “preparation – fulfillment” embraces four-stage exit from Egypt, so the clamp “before-seder” – “after-seder” does it for Passover and also for the Eucharist. Namely, at the beginning there is a time when the liturgy participants prepare themselves to enter into the solemnity of the liturgy; there is a time of prayer at the end when the liturgical community receives spiritual gifts of God.

Keywords.

Jesus, Eucharist, the Holy Mass, Holy Communion, Acts 2:42, Moses, Passover, Pesahim, Mishnah, Haggadah for Pesach, fellowship, breaking of Afikoman, Tzafun, Hidden Piece, Birkat hammazon, Judaism, treaty, alliance, covenant, stipulation, law, celebration, rite, liturgy, Bible, Book of Exodus, four cups, prayer, Fathers, Church, Didache, exegesis, literary structure, class of literature, exodus, culture, history, kairos.