What is your favorite Haggadah in Judaism?

Breaking bread in the Jewish tradition

Christian Seder celebrations on Maundy Thursday - sensible or disrespectful?

From Thomas Kroll

It is said that on Maundy Thursday, Jesus had his last dinner before the crucifixion. (Stock.XCHNG / Robert Aichinger)

On the Thursday before Easter, it is said, Jesus ate with twelve of his disciples. How did the Jew Jesus celebrate this meal? Similar to how Jews celebrate the Seder meal today? Can Christians celebrate this celebration as well?

"The Seder meal is that ritual meal on the evening before the Passover feast. It was ordered after the exodus from Egypt: You should remember this every year, you should explain this day to your son, you should eat unleavened food for seven days every year and so on on and on. "

The Hebrew word "seder" simply means "order". To commemorate the exodus of the people of Israel from Egypt, Jews celebrate a meal with a precisely established order at the beginning of the seven-day festival of Passover. Rabbi Walter Rothschild from the liberal community "Or Chadasch" in Vienna explains:

"There are some ritual things that are not that palatable, that are bitter and sour. There is a little book - that is, 'The Haggadah', 'The Tale' - and that is read, sung by the people around sit at the table. And it's an opportunity to invite people over and be invited. "

"Praise be to you, Eternal, our God, Lord of the world, who created the fruit of the vine."

Christians are not unfamiliar with these words from the domestic celebration of the Jewish Seder meal. For example, the priest prays over the chalice in a Catholic mass:

"Blessed are you, Lord our God, creator of the world, you give us the wine, the fruit of the vine and human labor."

This accompanying prayer for the offering of the wine is deliberately formulated based on Jewish blessings.

"The roots of Christianity lie in Judaism, without question, and it is very important to make clear this rooting in Judaism again and again."

Elisabeth Hackstein. She holds a doctorate in biology and is a member of the Protestant women's convention of the Stift zum Heiligengrabe monastery. A short time ago she did her second doctoral thesis on "Christian Seder celebrations". Because in some Christian congregations they come together for the Seder meal before or after the sacrament service on Maundy Thursday. Behind this, in addition to the conscious turn to Judaism, there is usually the desire to remember the origin of the Lord's Supper as a shared meal and to try out a different, more sensual form of worship by eating in the church.

Elisabeth Hackstein: "But this Seder meal did not arise until the third century. The way it is celebrated today, not until the ninth century. And in this respect it is an anachronism when Christians believe that they are satisfied with the Seder meal of the last supper can approach. "

Rainer Kampling: "We simply do not know whether, and if so, how Passover was celebrated outside the temple in Jerusalem in the year 30 or 33. It is necessary to take a Haggadah that was completed in this present form in the Middle Ages then quite curious. "

That's what Rainer Kampling says. The Catholic theologian is Professor of Biblical Theology and the New Testament at the Free University of Berlin. As for the last supper of Jesus before his arrest, the four Gospels offer different interpretations and dates.

"The New Testament reports, at least Matthew, Mark, and Luke, suggest that it took place near Passover. Then of course we have the problem: If it were a Seder meal, Jesus would have been crucified on Passover, and that is inconceivable. That would have caused a popular uprising and that would certainly have found expression in literature.

According to the Gospel of John, Jesus is crucified a day earlier, parallel to the slaughter of the lambs in the temple - as the true Passover lamb. According to this chronological order, the meal with the disciples cannot have been a Seder meal either.

Elisabeth Hackstein: "I believe that we should stick to the Johannine tradition that Jesus celebrated a farewell meal with his disciples on the evening before the Passover meal."

Elisabeth Hackstein rejects Christian Seder celebrations - also for the following reason:

"When Christians celebrate, first attach the Seder meal and the Lord's Supper and combine them with sentences 'Jesus reinterpreted the Passover meal and created something unheard of, something new', then we describe the Seder meal of the Jews as a forerunner of the Lord's Supper See that this is the celebration of Judaism, which is alive today. In fact, we are making Judaism a forerunner of Christianity. We are making Christianity the superior religion. "

Especially after the failure of Christians in the Shoah, the encounter with Judaism demands mindfulness and respect. It is important to make it clear that Judaism is taken seriously as an independent religion and as an independent path to salvation with its liturgical traditions. But what does a liberal rabbi think of Christian seder celebrations? Walter Rothschild:

"It's theater. Whether it's wrong, that would be a reproach. I'm not sure that I should make these reproaches. We can enjoy a part of it, but the inner co-content, you just won't understand if they do not share this story, do not hear this fate, do not share these hopes. "

Rainer Kampling: "Of course I am happy when I am invited to join the party on Passover. But that’s something different, whether I go to a Seder evening with friends or whether I’m still in a Catholic church, so thankfully not so often , or celebrate Seder in a Protestant church. "

Elisabeth Hackstein: "I believe that there is really only one really legitimate way for us Christians to celebrate a Seder celebration: to be invited by Jews."