by Ya'acov Wolfaardt
When we get together for Pesach, what do we do? - How do we celebrate it? The purpose of this article is not to influence believers but rather to encourage and guide them into the observance of Yahueh’s appointed times.
Even before we can observe Pesach, we first of all need to determine the first month of the Hebrew calender, called the month Aviv. Way. / Lev. 23:5. In the month of Aviv, which is springtime in Israel, we should be able to find signs of barley ears forming in the fields. For this purpose many believers go to Israel at this time of the year to see for themselves if they do find green ears on the fields. If they are not found, it is not yet springtime in Israel.
What is the purpose of finding these green ears? If we read further in Wayyiqra (Leviticus) 23, verse 10, we see that Yahueh expected Israel to take the first-fruits (a sheaf) of the harvest as a wave- offering before Him. If no barley is found in the field, it was not possible to bring this offering before Him. This wave-offering was only brought before Yahueh by the priests - not the common people. Because we don’t have a Levitical priesthood today, it is no longer possible to do this.
Once we have determined when the month Aviv is, we can proceed to determine the first of the month, which is the time when we see the visible New Moon on the horison of the sky - just after sunset. When you have seen the New Moon, you can start counting to the Day of Passover, which is on the 14th of Aviv.
For those of you who wish to proceed with the Pesach lamb meal as part of your Pesach preparation, you have to keep one more aspect in mind. On the 10th day of Aviv you must catch (or buy) yourself a year old male lamb or goat - without blemish. Shem. Ex. 12:3-5. This lamb must then be kept separate from the other animals until the 14th day (on which it is slaughtered). Please notice, that this Pesach-lamb is very much the same as all the other meat that you eat from day-to-day, with one difference, it is much more special, because Scripture tells us why we have to slaughter and eat it.
On the 14th Day of Aviv, we observe Pesach.“Between the evenings” we slaughter the lamb, take some of its blood and put it in a bowl. Why? Because we must put some of it on our door-posts and lintels! Shem. Ex. 12:7,13,14. You may reason that this was only for that first Pesach that Israel kept in the wilderness. Can it do any harm if you still keep it today? After all, Scripture says that we should observe the (whole) festival as an everlasting law! Who are we to decide that we can cut out some portions of Scripture. Putting the blood on the doorposts and lintel reminds us of 2 things -  That Yahueh spared or saved all the first-born of Israel, and  that through the atoning blood of Yahushua we have also been spared or saved!
If you have never slaughtered an animal before, you will for the first time very deeply appreciate what Yahushua went through for us - He was slaughtered like a lamb for our sins. He was innocent, and had to die for us.
A stumbling block to many is Shem. / Ex. 12:9, “Do not eat it raw, nor boiled at all with water, but roasted in fire, its head with its legs and its inward parts.” Does this mean that we should leave it with the head, legs and inward parts when we roast it? Do you for one moment think that Yahueh wants us to suffer while we eat the Pesach? Never! None of it shall be buried - everything must be roasted in fire. This does not mean that we should roast the lamb with all its inward parts. If we don’t cut the lamb open, the blood cannot come out. We are not allowed to eat the blood or the fat, remember! All this passage says is that the animal must be roasted in fire, the head must be roasted in fire, the legs must be roasted in fire, and all the inward parts must be roasted in fire. By implication everything that is not eaten, must be burnt before the next morning! Verse 10. Remember, no bone shall be broken when you prepare your lamb - just as none of Yahushua’s bones were broken.
What we do, for practical reasons is to make one fire, split it in two at some stage (or make 2 fires); burn the skin, inward parts, dung and head, and roast the lamb on a separate fire.
We also use a spit to roast the lamb - like any other braai (bar-b- que). It takes about 3 to 4 hours for a lamb to roast.
After the meat is roasted, the women would at that stage also be ready for the main Pesach meal - just as Yahushua’s Talmidim prepared for them. We cut some of the meat off the carcass and take it into the house where we will commemorate Pesach, just as Yahushua did. Remember, Pesach is a meal, with specific remembrances.
At the table we will take the fruit of the vine (to some this is wine, and to some grape juice - to us it is wine), break Matza and bitter herbs as part of our meal. Almost at the end of the meal we will once again break the Matza, thank Yahueh for saving our flesh from perishing, commemorating Yahushua’s body that was pierced for our sins, and the haste with which Israel had to leave Mitsrayim. We will also take the cup (of wine or grape juice), thank Yahueh for the blood of Yahushua that had to flow for our sins and share the most important time of our salvation. The bitter herbs that we eat with the meal commemorates the hard labour that Israel underwent in Mitsrayim, and our hard slavery to sin.
After the Pesach meal and remembrance, we take water to wash each other’s feet as Yahushua was our example. We wash each other’s feet to remind us that we should not be masters but servants. We should at all times be willing to serve each other and foremost, we should serve our Mashiach Yahushua who made all of this possible.