One of the items on the Jewish Seder Plate, used during the celebration of Passover, is a בֵּיצָה (beytzah), an “egg.” Of course, many people associate eggs with Easter. But what what is an egg (so deeply connected with modern popular celebrations of Easter) doing on the Jewish Passover plate? We all have heard that eggs are associated with springtime, fertility, new life, etc. But what does any of this have to do with Passover (aside from the fact that it occurs in Spring)? The answer lies in the other name used for the egg in the Passover celebration, the חֲגִיגָה (chagigah).

Translating from Hebrew, חֲגִיגָה (chagigah) literally means “festivity” or “celebration”. Besides this general description, חֲגִיגָה is a special term used to describe the special festival offering. In the Bible, the Passover offering was called פֶּסַח (pesach). Early rabbis created used the term חֲגִיגָה (chagigah) for a special “festival offering.” This term originates from the Hebrew word חַג (chag) which means,  “a festival” or “celebration.” Even today, when wishing someone a “happy holiday” in Hebrew, people say, חַג שָׂמֵחַ (chag sameach).

In the Passover celebration, the egg has nothing to do with springtime, new life, or fertility. It is a visual representation of another festival offering, distinct from the Passover sacrifice represented by זְרוֹעַ (zeroah), the lamb shank bone also found on the Passover plate. To use another bone would have been confusing, so instead the rabbis used a בֵּיצָה (beytzah), an egg roasted with fire as the symbol of this special festival offering.

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40 COMMENTS

  1. Thank you for this timely Jewish perspective. Though others may consider the egg to represent other things for other purposes, pagan or not, would you agree that it does not change the Passover plate to a pagan holiday ritual?
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  2. What I like to know is if the Passover Seder today is the same as when Yeshua observed it. Because I am told the Passover Seder is a later Jewish tradition developed after the time of the Messiah's sojourn on earth. If not, can anyone determine with certainty how Yeshua observed Passover?
    • Jesus clearly observed Passover Seder, but it was SURELY not in the same exact form as we have it today.

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    • Some features of the modern Seder are identical, others are newer. The closest record we have that describes 1st century Passover are the gospels and of course Mishna - 2nd-century rabbinic text
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  3. So absolutely tragic that in Australia the Passover seems to have lost its meaning. All you see are chocolate "eggs" and bunny ears. I have asked a number of people who wished me a "happy Easter" what this holiday is all about. Without an exception the answer was that it is a time for family gathering. Let us pray for my country that it will rediscover the true meaning of Passover and celebrate it accordingly. Shalom and many thanks for this insightful article. God bless you and the work you do in HIS NAME.
  4. "Jesus clearly observed Passover Seder". He must done this during his life. I believe the questioner queries whether the "last supper" was an observation of the Passover Seder.
    • Correct, and I am saying that yes, BUT that most certainly the Passover Seder of today is different in content from Passover Seder in time of Jesus. To what degree? We don't know.

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    • That is a complicated question that requires detailed consideration with a long list of "for" and "against" variables. My personal opinion Yeshua did the seder, but not all Jews were on the same page calendar-wise in those days, so herein lies the confusion.
  5. I was not aware of a sacrificial system (repented) so the origin of my language (Lamb) became God provides, Gen 22:8. This does not fully explain my salvation. Who is the God that Sees? I had never heard of Jesus. In Matt 6:6 it says that the Father will give me (John 10:29?)? Is this a description of the outstretched arm of the LORD (pesach lamb). I get that Jesus is the sacrificial lamb (something I read in NT), however, my hope/faith was based on what the Father's sees and wills.
  6. I've finished the Devotional Torah course. I am really enjoying the courses on this website. Thanks to the teachers! I just have a comment concerning social media. Oftentimes, we are bombarded by atheists on social media who hate God and try to psychologically assault people who do. This is a horrible thing. We need to be vigilant about these things and circumvent them as best we can. Then we can continue our Bible and Torah studies and devote full attention. Thank you.
    • The scoffers and mockers have always been with us, eg. Noah, Moses, and fast forward to Jesus. The examples are more numerous than can be mentioned. They will be there in the end as well. They will only distract us if we allow them them to. Jesus said pray for our enemies. In Love,
  7. Thanks Prof Pinchas for your teaching.
    Y think MarKo is right, the gospel of Luke 22:17 is a very important text for these subject. Jesus and his disciples drink the wine, the first cup, passover seder certainly; BUT, I would like to ask you:
    it is a kidush?
    why the wine, Exodus 12 dont say nothing about wine and the most important question, what is your symbolism.
    Can you help me?. I´m going to teach the next sunday about passover and the last supper to the Church.
    Many Thanks
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