The first time I hosted a Passover Seder, I was engaged to be married. We invited several friends and ended up with a dinner for twenty-four.
It was a wonderful evening. Several ladies came early to help cook. It was a great time of fellowship and didn’t feel at all like work. At dinner, everyone enjoyed themselves and we learned a lot about the roots of our faith. I knew I wanted to host a Seder every year. I knew it was supposed to be a part of my life.
But circumstances changed and I faced the next Passover without a man to lead the Seder. I knew in my heart that I was called to do this. But without a man to lead it, what could I do? So I took it to the Lord in prayer.
As always, God was faithful to answer.
First, He helped me to see that the Seder is a family service. It is a service that helps us to experience God’s awesome redemption. As a family, we gather to celebrate that redemption.
But without a man in the house, does this mean women cannot celebrate? No, because in Messiah there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, neither male nor female. However, does this mean a woman usurps a man’s authority? Absolutely not! God set up the hierarchy of the family with the man as the head.
While this is great information, it still didn’t solve my dilemma. So next the Lord took me to several passages in His Word. It was pretty clear that He does sometimes use women to lead. But it still didn’t sit right with me. I still did not believe I was supposed to lead the Seder.
Then God showed me some things in Judaism. Here, each man functions as the priest of his own household. And the celebrations of the feasts are supposed to be family centered. While this includes the entire family of God, it really should start in the home.
I believe we are coming into a time when we may not have the freedom to gather under a pastor or send our kids off to Sunday school. That means each one of us will have to lead our family and friends to the Messiah. And once saved, we’ll need to help them grow in their faith.
That’s when I realized what God wanted to accomplish! It was so much better than anything I could imagine!
You see, God created me to be a teacher and an organizer. So being without a man in the house enabled me to facilitate the Seder as a teaching experience. And that is exactly what the Seder is about – teaching and experiencing redemption.
God wanted each man who attends to learn to lead by actually doing it. My role is merely to facilitate the evening.
Every year four men are asked to read a portion of the Haggadah. As the evening progresses they discover how simple it is to lead family and friends in worship. Through leading, they bring us all into a deeper understanding of what God’s redemption looks like.
And this year, all four men not only read the Haggadah in English, but also ventured out to pray the prayers in Hebrew. It was a glorious experience!
So each year, as I prepare the meal and organize the event, I pray for the men who will lead our Seder. And every year God faithfully uses these men to lead us as we celebrate our redemption.
So what happens when there is no man to lead a Seder in my home? God trains up four men to lead!
In Judaism, is a widow or single woman considered the head of her household?
A single woman would not likely have left her father’s house. And a widow without children could return to her father’s house. However, if she had children, she would be responsible for her household, but not in a good position.