specific Bible stories to read to my almost-three-year-old this week. Thursday night's story was that of The Lord's Supper, which takes place during a Passover Seder. Because I wanted my daughter to have a better understanding of this story, after reading to her, my mother helped me set the table with matzoh, a lamb bone, haroset, romaine lettuce, parsley, an egg, a bowl of salt water, and grape juice.
Matzoh is unleavened bread, a reminder that the Israelites had to be ready to move when God told them to, and did not have time to wait for bread to rise. Romaine lettuce (maror) is a bitter vegetable symbolizing the bitter suffering of the Israelites in slavery. Haroset (a mixture of apples, nuts, cinnamon, honey, and wine or grape juice) represents the mortar the Israelites used to build Pharaoh's cities. The lamb bone symbolizes the tenth plague in Exodus, when the Israelites marked their doors with lamb's blood as a signal that death should "pass-over" their houses; we did not have a lamb shank bone, so we used a bone from a lamb chop (vegetarians use a roasted beet). A hard boiled egg was the food of mourners, and symbolizes mourning the loss of the two temples. Parsley is dipped in the salt water to represent the tears shed by the Israelites while they were enslaved. Wine (or grape juice) symbolizes freedom.
For Christians, Passover Seder is when Jesus told his disciples to eat unleavened bread and drink wine "in remembrance of me" - the reason Christians take communion. During dinner, my daughter ate asparagus and matzoh. At one point, I looked over, and saw that she'd made a huge mess with her matzoh. I raised my eyebrows and opened my mouth, but before I could say anything, she said, "I broke the bread like Jesus broke the bread."