March/April – The Afikoman—A Sign of Messiah
Kehilat Ariel Messianic Synagogue Newsletter
Volume 29, Number 4 March/April 2013 Adar/Nisan 5773
**KA Passover Seder, March 26
**KA Israel Study and Humanitarian Trip, June 23-July 4
**UMJC International Conference in LA, July 25-28
The Afikoman—A Sign of Messiah
Excerpt from Rabbi Barney Kasdan’s latest book
Matthew Presents Yeshua, King Messiah (Messianic Jewish Publishers)
As the seder meal and reading of the Haggadah continued, Yeshua took a piece of matzah. Of course the entire meal would only include unleavened bread/matzah as this is one of the strict requirements of the holy day. Matthew’s wording here implies that Yeshua took a particular piece of matzah on the table. From ancient times to this very day, Jews have celebrated the seder with a specific focus at one point on a special matzah tash/pocket. This is a ceremonial container that may have a variety of artistic shapes or sizes, anything from a plate to a linen case. What is especially distinctive is that the matzah tash always has three separate compartments, each with one piece of the unleavened bread. Anyone familiar with the Passover seder details knows that this ceremonial plate is one of the key items placed at the table every year.
Even more amazing is the focus on the middle piece of matzah within that matzah tash. At the beginning of the seder the middle matzah is taken out of the container and broken in half. . From there, half goes back into the matzah tash. The other half becomes very important and is even given a particular name, the afikoman. This broken piece of matzah is then wrapped in a napkin or pouch and subsequently hidden by one of the seder participants from the sight of the others. In the festivities after the supper, during the part of the Haggadah called “Tzafun/Hidden”, those at the meal make a search for the hidden matzah. To this day the search for the afikoman is one of the highlights for Jewish grandchildren at the seder. It has become customary to reward the one who finds the afikoman (usually with something from Grandpa’s wallet). The spiritual symbolism can still speak to us today as the person who finds the hidden one is still rewarded. . Messianic Jews believe this is part of the “hidden” truth which upon closer observation is revealed in the traditional Seder.
At that point of the Seder, the afikoman is distributed to all present, each partaking of a bite-size portion of the same matzah. It must be this particular piece of matzah that Yeshua took up from the context of all these details. Likewise, Rabbi Shaul/Paul confirms that it was “after supper” that these actions took place which is exactly the right place for the afikoman (cf. I Corinthians 11:23-25). Our people of course continue to celebrate this most beautiful feast every year with all the symbolic elements and a wonderful dinner included. Besides being an important religious holiday for modern Jews, it serves as a great time to join with family and friends. However, maybe all of us should take a deeper look at the symbols of Passover.
Scholars are not absolutely sure of the etymology of the word “afikoman” although it is usually translated “dessert” or “it comes last.” According to contemporary Jewish scholar David Daube (formerly of University of Oxford and UC Berkeley) the word has messianic implications. It evidently comes from two Greek words “afi + komenos” which can mean “it returns” or, if personalized, “he comes” (cf. Daube, Collected Works, p.425). Significantly, a similar form of the verb is used in Matthew 3:11 where Yochanan calls his hearers to look for the “one coming/erkomenos” after him, Yeshua the Messiah. Either way it is an accurate description of the afikoman experience as it is broken early in the seder and makes another appearance at the end of the seder.
While rabbinic scholars admit they are not quite certain of its meaning or how it was incorporated into the Haggadah, one clue is within the word itself. Its Greek origins at least tell us that it was developed in the Jewish community during the Greek period of history which, coincidentally, would encompass the New Testament times. One possible explanation as to its origins is that it was an established tradition previous to the first century. One rabbinic interpretation is that the three matzot of the matzah tash represent a unity (3 in 1) of our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Another interpretation is that it represents a unity between three kinds of bread: the lechem oni (bread of affliction) and the double portion of manna. There is also an ancient interpretation that the middle matzah is to remind us of the Passover lamb since it is the last thing tasted that night (Tractate Pesachim 119b-120a).
If the afikoman was already established as a traditional element of the seder previous to the first century, then Yeshua was using a well known ceremony to illustrate some new truth about his work as Mashiach. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Yeshua took some matzah and created the ceremony for the first time at this seder. This might explain how it is that such a key part of the Jewish Passover meal is somewhat mysterious in origins. It could be that Yeshua and the disciples developed this part of the ceremony which was later celebrated at other first century seders while many participants would not fully know the messianic meaning of the afikoman. Whatever its origins, the afikoman ceremony no doubt illustrates the full ministry of the Messiah: his appearance (leaving the matzah tash/ Micah 5:2), his death (broken for our iniquities/ cf. Isaiah 53:5) and his resurrection (reappearance at the end of the seder/ cf. Isaiah 53:10).
For a full celebration of the symbols of Passover (including its messianic significance), you are invited to join us for our traditional Seder on March 26. Details in this newsletter.
March 9, Saturday, 10:30am. Bar Mitzvah of Nathan Pletcher. Join us for this wonderful service as Nathan is called to the Torah. Oneg luncheon to follow.
March 15, Friday, 7pm. “Promised Land” Israeli surf movie at North Coast Calvary Chapel, 1330 Poinsettia Lane in Carlsbad. See Israel through the eyes of Israeli pro surfers, 3-time world champion Tom Curren and even our own surfing Rabbi Barney! Invite your Jewish/Israeli friends to this free event!
March 26, Tuesday, 6:30 pm. KA Passover Seder – at the Town & Country Resort in Mission Valley. Make your reservation now for our annual celebration and be thinking of friends to invite to this unique service. We will read through the traditional Hagadah with lots of holiday music and folkdance. $52 for adults, $26 for kids under 12. Call our office for tickets. Come celebrate the feast of our redemption!
March 27, Wednesday, 8:00 pm. Bikkurim Service (Resurrection of Messiah on the third day of Passover) Join us for this time of praise as we celebrate this biblical holy day in the context of our faith in Messiah.
April 6, Saturday, 10:30 am. Yom Hashoah Service. Join us as we remember the lessons of the Holocaust.
June 23-July 4: KA Israel Study and Humanitarian Trip. Join us for our next mission to Israel led by Rabbi Kasdan. One week study tour followed by a 3-day Mitzvah Project of renovating a bomb shelter at an Israeli apartment complex. This is part of a larger trip with our denomination (Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations, UMJC) including many other believers from around the world. Get you deposit in for the unique trip! More info at umjc.org or talk to Rabbi Kasdan. This year in Jerusalem!
July 25-28: UMJC International Conference in LA. Join hundreds of messianic believers from all over the globe at this unique gathering! Worship services, Shabbat, teaching workshops and wonderful fellowship with this international crowd. Special concerts from a variety on messianic artists. At Warner Center Marriott in Woodland Hills (LA valley). Make your reservations and more details at umjc.org. Plan to be there!
Shabbat Morning Services: at 3219 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., in Clairemont, Saturday, 10:30am. Join us for this uplifting time of worship, fellowship and study. Our current sermon series is “Foundations of Messianic Judaism” which is an in-depth study of our beliefs based on the Tenakh and New Covenant.
Children Shabbat School: Our children join us for the first part of the service, then break for different classes. Classes for ages 4 through High School which include a Bible lesson plus background on Jewish studies and Hebrew.
Dance Ministry: Beginning Dance Workshop is held every Shabbat, 10:00-10:25am in the upstairs classroom area. All welcome to learn!
Tuesday Minyan and Messianic Jewish Institute of San Diego: Corporate prayer from 6:30-7:00 as we lift up Israel and the needs of our synagogue. Class from 7:00-8:30pm. “Israel, the Middle East and Future Events”. This 12-week course will take an updated look at the current Middle East situation and what the Scriptures predict. Find out how it all affects you! $60 per student. Call our office for further information.
“A Taste of Torah” Classes: Saturday 9:00-10:00am. This survey of the Torah class will take you through the Parsha in one year. Currently in Shmot/Exodus. A great way to learn the foundations of our faith! There is also a Spanish Torah Study at this same time. Contact Gabe Pacheco or Luciano Rivera for info.
Men’s Club: All men are invited to this Monday evening group (2nd and 4th at KA) for connecting, dialogue and encouragement on vital issues that we deal with today. Always some good discussion and study along with service projects for men to be involved with. Also a group meets every Wednesday 5am. Contact Frank Rosas or Rome Remigio for more information.
Sisterhood: This dynamic group of women meets monthly for study, friendship and service projects. Call the KA office for the latest info on the next luncheon and meeting. All women and daughters are welcome!
Messiah TV: Check out our TV outreach program as we share Mashiach and the Jewish background of the New Covenant faith in Yeshua. Seen cross-country! Check your local cable listings and spread the word.
Barney Kasdan, Rome Remigio, Frank Rosas Luis Garabay, Patty Kolb, Tovik Liberman, Bob Haas, Ron Wallace
Audio: Gabe Pacheco
Dance: Sue Rubin
International: Eddie & Yrena Niewald Music: Eric & Joanne Kragenbrink
Office: Jan Folb
Prayer: Patty Kolb
Singles: Bob and Jeannette Haas
Translation: Paty Garibay
Ushers: Tony Savavese
Youth/Education: Michael & Jeannie Stinton
Havurot/Small Groups (connect with the community!)
Del Cerro, Tony & Joan Savarese, 2nd & 4th Fri, 6:30 pm. Cover dish.
UTC/La Jolla, Tovik & Colleen Liberman, 2nd & 4th Weds. 7:00 pm.
Carlsbad, Eddie & Yrena Niewald, 2nd & 4th Thurs. 7:00 pm.
Bay Park, Mike and Sylvia Ferson, every Thurs. 10 am.
Oceanside, Frank and Marianne Rosas, every Fri, 6:30 pm. Shabbat dinner.
Yachad (Singles Fellowship), Bob & Jeannette Haas, Various events planned.
Espanol, Luciano & Lucia Rivera, every Weds, 6pm.
Tijuana, Yisrael and Aviva Vazquez, 1st, 2nd & 3rd Thurs plus last Friday 7pm.
Sisterhood, monthly meeting.
Carlsbad (women), every Tuesday, 10am.
Men’s Club, Rome Remigio every Wed, 5:00 am or 2nd and 4th Mondays at KA 7pm.
Contact the KA office for more details and contact information.
Upcoming Speaking Engagements for Rabbi Kasdan:
March 3, Sunday, 3-5pm. The Rock Church (Impact 195 Missions Group) in Serra Mesa: “Israel Seminar”.
March 4-17, Mondays, 7-9pm. Maranatha Bible College in Rancho Bernardo. “Gospel of Matthew”.
March 15, Friday, 7pm. North Coast Calvary Chapel of Carlsbad. “Promised Land” Israeli surf movie.
March 20, Wednesday, 6pm. Mt. Olive Lutheran Church in Poway. “Messiah in the Passover”.
March 24, Sunday, 10am. Horizon Park Chapel in San Diego. “Treasures from the Torah”.
March 24, Sunday, 6pm. Shoreline Church in San Clemente. “Messiah in the Passover”.
March 28, Thursday, 5:30pm. First Presbyterian Church in San Diego. “Seder plus KA Music/Dance Team”.
April 3, Wednesday, 6pm. Del Cerro Baptist Church. “Messiah in the Passover”.
April 8, Monday, 6pm. North Coast Church in Vista. “Seder plus KA Music/Dance Team”.
April 24, Wednesday, 10:30am. Mt. Miguel Covenant Village in Spring Valley. “Promised Land Surf Movie” chapel.
If you would like to send a special love gift donation for our work within the Jewish community, please send it to:
P.O. Box 178755
San Diego, CA 92177
Thank you! And may God return a special blessing to you as you bless our people! (Genesis 12:3)
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