In our desire to provide you with the teaching of Messiah Yeshua in a Jewish context, we provide in-depth teachings of the weekly Torah portions throughout the year. Below are various perspectives from various teachers and staff members from Netivyah Bible Instruction ministry.

Joseph Shulam: Behold the Lamb of God [2022]

This Shabbat is a very special Shabbat – it is the Shabbat of the Passover. We will be reading from Exodus 12:21-51 and from Numbers 28:16-25.

From the prophets (the Haftarah) from Joshua 3:5-7, 5:2-6:1. From the New Testament we will be reading from Luke 22:7-20. As you can see when you read these texts, all of them are connected with the keeping of the Passover.

When John the Baptist sees his first cousin coming down the slope toward the Jordan River, John said:

“Behold the Lamb of God!” – John 1:36 [NKJV]

And in the book of Revelation:

“And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” – Revelation 19:6-8 [NKJV]

The Lamb of God is designated for Yeshua our Messiah. But the origins of this idea that John the Baptist is proclaiming here is not something that was a new concept.

The Pharisees already understood that there is something strange in this lamb. This that every family of Israel that was in Egypt enslaved under the Pharaoh had to keep for a few days in their home. And then on the evening of their Exodus from Egypt slaughter this lamb and eat it standing up with their belts on and their shoes on, ready to move forward and get out of Egypt.

The Passover Lamb

Conceptually, the Passover Lamb makes sense. It is chosen, without blemish, killed (and eaten) on the Passover, and its blood is used to make the sign which will cause the house to be passed over.

Rashi, one of the most famous bible commentators in Judaism, understood the difficulty of this text from Exodus and commented:

“And they shall slaughter it etc. — But did they all slaughter it (one alone did this on behalf of the company formed to eat that particular lamb; (cf. B. Talmud Chullin 29b)? But we derive from this statement the legal principle that a man’s agent is as himself (this is derived from the fact that although one alone slaughtered the lamb on behalf of many, Scripture still states: they shall slaughter it in the singular and not in the plural ‘them.’” – Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael 12:6:2, Kiddushin 41b

In other words, the strange grammar of the Hebrew text of Exodus 12:4 is that it reads as if all of the congregation of Israel slaughtered that one single lamb.

Paul said to the Corinthian church (that was made up of Jews and Gentiles):

“Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7,8 [NKJV]

Some translations add the ellipsis “lamb”, yet the literal is simply “Passover”. Paul, being a Pharisee, very educated and well-versed in the Torah, understands that this Lamb that all of Israel slaughtered collectively is actually a foreshadow of the Messiah Yeshua.

Therefore, Paul states to the Corinthians that they should keep the Feast of Passover. They should not only clean their homes, but also their hearts, because the Messiah is their Passover.

Paul’s words in this text of 1st Corinthians is diametrically opposed to what the Christian church fathers were teaching. That disciples of Yeshua should not keep the Passover and should not celebrate the “appointed times of the Lord” (especially the Passover) because the Jews (according to the church fathers) killed Jesus on the evening of the Passover.

This motif of the Passover Lamb is also recognized by Isaiah the prophet in that chapter that some messianic Jews in the late 19th Century called “The Forbidden Chapter”. It is one of the chapters that is not read in the synagogues, because Christians used it to prove that Yeshua is the Messiah. This is what is called in the South of the United States, “to cut your nose to spite your face!”

The Suffering Servant (Isaiah 53:7)

Isaiah, referring to this singular particular “Lamb” that is “of God” states clearly:

“And he, because of his affliction, opens not his mouth: he was led as a sheep to the slaughter, and as a lamb before the shearer is dumb, so he opens not his mouth.” – Isaiah 53:7 [Brenton]

The same understanding of the Passover Lamb is also given to us by Phillip the evangelist in Acts chapter 8. When Phillip is sent by the Holy Spirit to catch a ride to reach the Ethiopian gentlemen’s cart on the way to Gaza.

Here is the text:

“So, Philip ran to him, and heard him reading the prophet Isaiah, and said, ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ And he said, ‘How can I, unless someone guides me?’ And he asked Philip to come up and sit with him. The place in the Scripture which he read was this: ‘He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; And as a lamb before its shearer is silent, So He opened not His mouth. In His humiliation His justice was taken away, And who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.’ [Isaiah 53:7] So the eunuch answered Philip and said, ‘I ask you, of whom does the prophet say this, of himself or of some other man?’ Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning at this Scripture, preached Jesus to him.” – Acts 8:30-35 [NKJV]

In summary, the Christian anti-Semitic fathers from the 3rd and 4th Centuries after the Messiah worked very hard to delete and uproot any chance of the Gentile disciples having contact with the Jewish disciples of Yeshua, or with the Torah and the prophets.

The Passover will be celebrated by the majority of the Jewish people around the whole world. Most of our Christian brothers and sisters around the world used to condemn believers who kept the Shabbat or the other biblical holidays, but praise the Lord for the brothers and sisters in Israel that have started to keep the Passover and many of the other biblical holidays that are called “the appointed times of the Lord.”

They are not Jewish holidays, they are the Lord’s appointed times that synchronize us, the disciples of Yeshua, with the holy calendar of the Lord.

I am so happy to see that more messianic congregations in Israel and around the world are keeping the Passover, and doing the best they can do under their circumstances. When we in Netivyah started to keep the Passover, we were the only congregation in all of Israel to do so (there were only three congregations in the 1960’s and even well into the 1970’s that had some Jewish disciples of Yeshua).

As the apostle Paul said to the Corinthians:

“For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7,8 [NKJV]

Yehuda Bachana: Why We Remember the Passover [2022]

Passover is one of the most important holidays in the Torah. The Exodus from Egypt formed Israel as a nation, and build its collective awareness more than any other event in the scriptures.

We might even say the entire Bible is influenced by what happened during the Exodus. It is mentioned in the Torah, the prophets, the writings, and the New Testament, more than any other historical event.

The Samaritan Passover on Mt. Gerizim.
The Samaritan Passover on Mt. Gerizim.

As a believer, I can easily understand why the Exodus, or more accurately, the redemption from Egypt, is the prototype of the redemption of the world, which is to come through Yeshua the Messiah 1300 years later.

The Exodus happened 3300 years ago, and the question we should ask ourselves, is: How did we manage to keep this memory alive? And, for whose sake?

The answer is, that God created a theater, a full performance, accompanied by ten plagues, by blood and sacrifices, by Israel’s escape from the Egyptian army, by miracles and wonders (including the parting of the Red Sea), by providing the mana, and by the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire.

And all these happened for the sake of our children, for the sake of the future generations. God stated clearly, that He did all these in order to tell the story, for the sake of the future generations, as it is written:

“…that you may tell your children and grandchildren how I dealt harshly with the Egyptians and how I performed my signs among them, and that you may know that I am the Lord.” – Exodus 10:2

According to this text we have to teach our children. We have to tell them that we are here today because of a miracle.

There is a God in heaven. He is faithful, He fulfills His promises, He took us out of Egypt and redeemed us with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. With that very same hand and by the same arm, He gathered us from the four corners of the earth, and against all odds, brought us back to the Land of Israel.

He is the One who sustains us even to this day. That very God sent His Son, Yeshua, in order to save and redeem us, and to lead us to His promised land.

In the same way, as the children of Israel who came to their inheritance and to the land of the promise, we are certain that Yeshua will lead us to the Kingdom of Heaven and to the fullness of God’s promises.

The commandment to tell our children and to teach the next generation is an essential part of the concept of Exodus, and therefore also of the Passover commemoration. It appears in the Bible in different verses like:

“In days to come, when your son asks you, ‘What does this mean?’ say to him, ‘With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.’” – Exodus 13:14

We see in passages like these great emphasis on the education of children. In the New Testament, Yeshua commands us:

“Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these.” – Luke 18:16

This verse points out that our attitude towards our families and our children is a commandment. It is no longer a question of morality, or what is preferable for a parent. It is not a question of what is better.

Parents have obligations, and one of them is to teach your children the Word of God. To teach them about the Exodus from Egypt. To teach them the Torah, the prophets, and the New Testament.

The Word of God tells us to teach our children. But, what if I do not know how?

It is for this reason we have traditions like the Haggadah, which literally means “telling the story”. The Haggadah guides us through the Passover Seder, to make sure we remember the essential parts to share with our kids and our families.

It is for this reason that we celebrate the biblical feasts as an experience. When celebrating the Passover, we sit with our children and let them taste and feel the feast.

Another example is Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles. God commanded us to sit in tabernacles for seven days, so that our children will “feel” it.

During the Passover, our children taste the maror (bitter herbs), the bitterness of our life in Egypt. They eat matzah (unleavened bread) for a week, so they will understand that the children of Israel had to leave Egypt in haste, and the dough had no time to rise.

From history we learn the answer to the important question: Why did God command to celebrate the Passover, the Feast of Tabernacles, or the Shabbat?

God commanded us to keep the holidays in a certain way, because it is the best way to preserve our collective memory through the generations.

The book of Exodus begins with forgetting. The new Pharaoh did not know Joseph, he did not remember who Joseph was. But we, the descendants of Jacob, until today – we still remember.

We remember because God commanded us to remember and to teach our children. So that they will remember as well.

If we want our society to be a moral one, we have to create a common ground, a common story – and be a part of this story. We need to understand who we are, where we came from, and what our purpose is in this world.

Our story begins with God’s outstretched arm, with hope and freedom. We tell our children about our responsibilities, our hope, and our redemption.

Happy Passover!

Joseph Shulam: Introduction to Passover [2018]

Welcome to the first of three teachings that Joseph Shulam has prepared for this Passover. In it, he addresses the placement of Passover within the Jewish calendar, how Passover represents God’s act of salvation, and the importance of celebrating Passover not only as a Jewish holiday, but as a biblical holiday.

Joseph Shulam: The Passover Seder [2018]

Welcome to the second of three teachings that Joseph Shulam has prepared for this Passover. In this teaching, Joseph Shulam gives a description of what happens during a Passover Seder. He also addresses the importance of children in the Passover Seder, the song of Moses, and how the Passover was expressed during the Lord’s Supper in the New Testament.

Joseph Shulam: Passover in the New Testament [2018]

Welcome to third and final teaching that Joseph Shulam has prepared for this Passover. In this teaching, Joseph Shulam about our mandate as believers to celebrate Passover. He talks about Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthians to purge the leaven of sin from the community, and he reminds us how Yeshua is the sacrificial lamb of Passover.

Yehuda Bachana: A Passover Greeting From Netivyah [2018]

Read the teaching below, or watch a video of the teaching by Yehuda Bachana.

This Shabbat is the Shabbat of Passover. This holiday has several names, which I will elaborate on:

“Passover” – this name is given to the holiday because, during the plague of the death of the firstborn, God “passed over” the homes of the children of Israel.

The second name is the “Festival of Matzot.” This name comes from the matzot which are ​​eaten during the holiday, and they remind us of the bread of affliction that our forefathers ate during the Exodus.

The third name is the “Holiday of Freedom,” and it is called as such because in this holiday, the people of Israel went out from slavery to freedom.

The fourth name is the “Holiday of Spring,” simply because it is a holiday that falls in the springtime.

A Time to Clean Our Homes and Our Hearts

Passover is a tradition that Jewish families have honored for thousands of years.

Passover is considered to be one of the main holidays of the Bible, because a large portion of the commandments found in the Bible are related to or are mentioned in Exodus. In Israel this holiday is especially profound. Weeks beforehand, the people of Israel begin preparing for the holiday by eating all of the leaven (bread, pasta, etc.) left in the home, and by not buying anymore.

After this, everyone cleans their home very thoroughly, scrubbing every corner, immersing all the kitchen utensils in boiling water, and wiping off every shelf and closet. We clean everything thoroughly, ensuring that not a crumb of leaven has been left behind.

Not a speck of leaven can be found in the house. As it is written in the commandment in Exodus 12:15:

“For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.” – Exodus 12:15 [NIV]

Passover cleaning is also mentioned in the New Testament:

“Get rid of the old yeast, so that you may be a new unleavened batch—as you really are. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the Festival, not with the old bread leavened with malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.” – 1 Corinthians 5:7,8 [NIV]

The concept of Passover cleaning, as it is mentioned in the New Testament, is to clean out our lives thoroughly and deeply at least once a year. Getting rid of the old yeast, the leaven, symbolizes cleaning the sin from within ourselves.

The Apostle Paul teaches us in Galatians 5 that just a little bit of yeast can leaven the whole batch, and by that same token, a small sin can ruin our lives. Just as we clean our homes on Passover, it is time to cleanse sin from our hearts and minds.

Passover is a good time to look through our homes and to see what is not healthy for our family life. What we’re looking for may not necessarily be a sin, but it can be something that can harm the unity of the family.

It can be something as simple as having a TV on or using cell phones at the table during a family meal. Personally, I think it is a good idea to have a family meeting and to decide together what healthy changes you want to bring in light of the holiday.

I do not think it is right for these changes to be one-sided, but rather that they come as a mutual decision regarding which bad habits will be cleaned out of the home and out of the family.

The Focus is on the Children

Passover is one of the main feasts in Scripture, because of its notion of redemption, salvation, and the creation of God’s people. Passover is the connecting of a large group of people together with God.

“…You will be My people, and I will be your God.” A group of slaves went into the Red Sea, and they came out as a free, newborn nation.

It is such that in most of the holidays, including the Sabbath, we remember the Exodus from Egypt. On Passover, in fact, in all the Israeli and biblical holidays, the children are the main point. They sit at the important places around the table, they ask questions and sing the songs.

In fact, the essence of the Passover Seder is to convey to the children the experience of the Passover story through taste, touch, seeing, and hearing.

For instance, when the children taste the bitter herbs, they are tasting the memory of the bitter slavery. Another example is with the charoset, which is eaten as a reminder of the clay from which the children of Israel made bricks in Egypt. We feed the children matzot for a week, in order to show them that together as a people we fled from Egypt quickly so that there was no time to even prepare bread.

The Foundation of the Lord’s Supper

Passover is the foundation of the Lord’s Supper. The tradition of the Passover Seder, which has been practiced for centuries, includes four cups of wine.

These cups symbolize the four processes of salvation and redemption that the Israelites have undergone. Likewise, the afikoman, which is the most important matzah of Passover, has a profound meaning as well.

The four cups of wine describe the four stages of redemption from Egypt and are based upon the verses:

“…I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I will take you as my own people…” – Exodus 6:6b,7a [NIV]

From being a nation of slaves, without any natural chance of attaining freedom, we became a nation that bears the banner of faith throughout the ages.

The whole matzah, the afikoman, which is presented at the beginning of the Seder, symbolizes the entire nation of Israel. While the part that is broken off and hidden embodies the Messiah.

The finding of the afikoman by the children at the end of the Seder exemplifies the arrival of the Messiah and the resurrection of the people. This is all in fact a custom to show hope for a better future on one hand and messianic connotation on the other.

When Yeshua, on the last night of His life, introduced the afikoman, saying that this afikoman is Him, the flesh of His flesh, He was saying that He is the awaited Messiah.

Yeshua actually likens the bread (or the matzah) to His body which was broken for us on the cross. When we take part in a feast, we are obliged to remember the reason for it – we take part in the Lord’s Supper to remember the forgiveness of sins and the sacrifice Yeshua made for us.

What is the main purpose of taking part in the Lord’s Supper? Like most ceremonies, holidays, and events, it is intended to commemorate the past and instruct towards the future. So that each time we break bread in the Lord’s Supper, we are united with the memory of Yeshua and the sacrifice He made for us, and we can examine how we can change our lives for the better.

The Lord’s Supper is for us to remember and to do:

“And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, ‘This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.’” – Luke 22:19 [NIV]

Each time we take part in the Lord’s Supper, we remember what Yeshua did for us, and we correct our ways. The purpose of the sacrifice is not only to atone for sins, but also to bring remorse and the correction of our paths.

We need to think of the reason why we are taking part in eating the piece of bread, taking part in the sacrifice  and how we are going to change our paths as a result of it. This is essentially an act of repentance.

After the blessing and eating of the afikoman, the cup after the meal in the Passover Seder is the third cup, and it symbolizes redemption. Yeshua takes this cup and blesses it, saying:

“…This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” – Luke 22:20b [NIV]

As Messianic Jews, we wait for the next step, the fourth cup, where we say to Yeshua, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” We await the moment where we crown Yeshua, and Yeshua becomes the King of Israel, and in effect the King of the world and we shall be his subjects.

In Conclusion

I would like to bless you with the greatest blessings for this Passover, an abundance of rest and satisfaction within your families. May this spring bring with it an air of renewal, refreshment, and great joy. To a happy and meaningful Passover, In the name of Yeshua the Messiah.

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