Sunday, April 20, 2014

Passover Service in Second Life (March 2010)

By Bixyl Shuftan

The following article was originally published on Wednesday March 31 2010.

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On Palm Sunday, March 28 at 6 PM SL time, the Eternal Creations sim hosted a Passover service in Second Life. It was held by You Are Loved Ministries.

The sim was packed with many dozens, almost all in the building, 80 counted by SL Newspaper, and another visitor saying there were 86 at one point. To help reduce the effects of lag somewhat, the building was over 2000 m in the air. Those entering were asked to take a seat, and upon doing so were given a “seder plate” and asked to “wear” it. When rezzed, a meal of several dishes, a couple bowls of water, and a goblet of wine appeared on the table in front of the person seated.

Judah and Rivakah Sorbet headed the service, with the help of some such as Eve Clarity. One of the guests named by Judah was from Sri Lanka. Judah then began talking about the story of Passover in Exodus. The Old Testament explains ten plagues were sent by God against Egypt before Pharaoh would finally release the Israelite slaves. Before the tenth plague, the death of the firstborn, Moses ordered all Israelite households to take an unblemished lamb, and on the night of the plague slaughter it, avoiding breaking any of its bones in the process, and put it’s blood on the doorframe. This way, the plague “passed over” the Israelite homes.

Why celebrate Passover as Christians? Judah explained there were several reasons, notably the connection of the slaughtered lamb to Christ’s crucifixion, hence Christ is refereed to as “the Lamb of God.” So some Christians hold Passover services, this one in Second Life including the “seder” ritual feast normally associated with Jewish tradition.

Judah went over the order in which a Passover seder meal is eaten, then showed a film to those attending, depicting the Israelites under brutal slavery, then Moses bringing about the ten plagues, the scene of the plague of frogs particularly amusing with Pharaoh waking up finding himself covered in them. The film ended with the Israelites freedom.

Judah also pointed out there was a notecard giver in the corner for the history of the Easter Bunny ( and Easter eggs (

It was then time to begin the seder. Step by step, Judah and Rivakah explained to the attendees where to click on the seder plate, and what that part of the meal symbolized in detail. For instance, to the side of the plate was a package of three pieces of flat matzah bread. Following the washing hands and the appetizer, the dipping of vegetables in salt water, people were asked to click on the matzah bread. Doing so, the middle piece appeared on top. Clicking on it again, the piece was broken in half. The larger half was called the “afikoman,” and clicking on the package again, it would appear to be wrapped up in cloth and put aside for later.

Later in the meal, one would click on the matzo bread and the “maror,” horseradish for this particular seder, and on top of the matzo package a sandwich made up of the two would appear, which would take a few clicks of the mouse for it to be virtually eaten.

Some people had better luck in getting the virtual seder plate to work than others. With so many present, lag inevitably froze many at some point. Still, there were a number of complementary remarks from the audience. One spoke out he was planning to use this to help explain Christianity to others. Others saw it as more of looking at the history behind practices.

Once the seder was complete, everyone was asked to get up and walk back to the entrance. With many dozens in the room, most lagged a bit, but eventually everyone gathered there. People were offered a free gift by clicking on a gift bag, then asked to head into the next room. Inside was a depiction of Ancient Egypt, with sand and the pyramids. Everyone was asked to walk up to the edge of the Red Sea. Once everyone was there, it parted (the water gray with lag), and everyone then crossed.

At the end, Judah Sorbet invited those who turned away from church to come back, “maybe this is the first time you’ve ever heard this message.” He began a prayer, and invited all to join in. Following that, a helper named Sonic Ring played some guitar music, singing Christian songs.

An interesting look at a religious ritual, as only Second Life can show it.

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This was the most impressive display of religious education I had seen in Second Life, and in the four years since the original printing of this article I haven't seen anything like it since. That they had managed to keep so many on without crashing was a further example of the creators' skill. I tried to get in contact with Judah and Rivakah Sorbet the following year, but was unable to. It's unfortunate for Second Life's practicing Christian residents, as well as those simply interested in knowing more and not necessarily practicing, that this event wasn't repeated.

Bixyl Shuftan

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