Critical Memory Haggadah

By Ajay Chaudhary


Table of Contents










Matzah: Bread of Affliction, Bread of Hope and Possibility

Maggid - Beginning

The Orange Maggid Beginning

-- Four Questions

4 questions

-- Exodus Story

Theses on the Philosophy of History

Seder of Our Sages (Translation)

The Exodus

-- Ten Plagues

The 10 Plagues

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Dayenu with Hebrew and English

Levinas on the Other




The Wandering is Over Haggadah - Koreich

In Every Generation

Shulchan Oreich

The all night seder Illuminated Manuscript


The Cup of Redemption- The third cup

Adorno and Horkheimer on Judaism


Elijah’s Cup and Miriam’s Cup





Contributed by Ajay Chaudhary


The long history of our people is one of contrasts — freedom and slavery, joy and pain, power and helplessness. Passover reflects these contrasts. Tonight as we celebrate our freedom, we remember the slavery of our ancestors and realize that many people are not yet free.

Each generation changes — our ideas, our needs, our dreams, even our celebrations. So has Passover changed over many centuries into our present

holiday. Our nomadic ancestors gathered for a spring celebration when the sheep gave birth to their lambs. Theirs was a celebration of the continuity of life. Later, when our ancestors became farmers, they celebrated the arrival of spring in their own fashion. Eventually these ancient spring festivals merged with the story of the Exodus from Egypt and became a new celebration of life and freedom.

As each generation gathered around the table to retell the old stories, the symbols took on new meanings. New stories of slavery and liberation, oppression and triumph were added, taking their place next to the old. Tonight we add our own special chapter as we recall our people’s past and we dream of the future.

For Jews, our enslavement by the Egyptians is now remote, a symbol of communal remembrance. As we sit here in the comfort of our modern world, we think of the millions who still suffer the brutality of the existence that we escaped thousands of years ago.



Contributed by Spencer Ruskin
Source: Original

Leader: The word seder means "order", and the Passover ritual follows a very specific order. Throughout the meal, we drink four glasses of wine — a symbol of the four promises made to Moses about the liberation of the Jewish people. In the book of Exodus it is written that God told Moses: 

Leader: I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians. I will rid you out of their bondage. I will redeem you with a stretched out arm, and with great judgments. I will take you to me for a people, and ye shall know that I am the Lord, which bringeth you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Leader: To begin the seder, we share this first cup of wine. We drink this cup in remembrance of the first promise: I will bring you out.   

Raise your wine glass.

All:   Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam,  borei p'ri hagafen.

(Blessed art thou, the LORD our God, who createth the fruit of the vine)

Drink your wine.  



Contributed by Arielle Angel
Source: Original




Contributed by Lisa Marquardt
Source: Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

Revolutionary Karpas

Jews for Racial & Economic Justice

The karpas gives us the tension between the aliveness of Spring and the bitter tears we wept in the land of Egypt. We are refreshed by the greenness of the karpas, yet our tastebuds wince at the salt water to dip them in, as we recall our own experience of being strangers. Our tongues push our thoughts towards those who are made strangers in our present time, in this country.

We dip the karpas. The salt water is bitter tears running down the cheeks and seeping into the corners of the mouth; tears of all strangers everywhere. Taste them.


Matzah: Bread of Affliction, Bread of Hope and Possibility

Contributed by A Way In
Source: A Way In Jewish Mindfulness Program

A WAY IN Jewish Mindfulness Program

Haggadah Supplement


Bread of Affliction, Bread of Hope and Possibility

Ha lachma anya— This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.

As we go through the seder, the matzah will be transformed. It will cease to be the bread of affliction and it will become the bread of hope, courage, faith and possibility.

And it begins with a breaking.

YACHATZ: Breaking the Matzah


Each person is invited to hold a piece of matzah, to mindfully feel its weight, notice its color, its shape and texture.

Resting the matzah on our open palms, we remember that the Passover story teaches that oppression and suffering result from fear and the unwillingness to open one’s heart to the pain and the experiences of others.

It was fear that brought about the enslavement of the Israelites and it was the hardening of the heart that kept the Israelites, the Egyptians and the Pharaoh in bondage. From fear and a hardened heart came violence, anguish and grief.

One person lifts the plate of three matzot. We all take a moment of silence and then call out the beginning of the prayer:

Ha lachma anya – This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.

We return to silence and each raise up a piece of matzah.

We maintain silence while all, at the same time, break our matzot in half.

We listen to the sound of the bread of affliction cracking open.

As we hold the two pieces in our hands we set an intention to break open and soften our hearts:


May our eyes be open to each other’s pain.

May our ears be open to each other’s cries.

May we live with greater awareness.

May we practice greater forgiveness.

And may we go forward as free people—able to respond to ourselves and each other with compassion, wonderment, appreciation and love.

We place the matzah back on the plate and continue the prayer:

Let all who are hungry come and eat.

Let all who are in need join us in this Festival of Liberation.

May each of us, may all of us, find our homes.

May each of us, may all of us, be free.

II. Later in the seder, after we have told the story, we say the blessing over the matzah and prepare to eat it for the first time. We take a moment and acknowledge our capacity for healing and love:


Every time we make a decision not to harden our hearts to our own pain or to the pain of others, we step toward freedom.

Every time we are able to act with compassion rather than anger, we stop the flow of violence.

And each moment we find the strength and courage to see ourselves in each other, we open possibilities for healing and peace.

This is the bread that we bless and share.


May all who are hungry come and eat.

May all who are in need join together in this Festival of Freedom.

A WAY IN Jewish Mindfulness Program weaves together Jewish tradition and Mindfulness practice. A 501c(3) charitable organization, A Way In is guided by Rabbi Yael Levy, whose approach to mindfulness grows out of her deep personal commitment to spiritual practice and a passionate believe in its potential to change not only individuals but the world.

For more information on A Way In:; Follow us on Twitter: @awayinms

Maggid - Beginning

The Orange

Contributed by Cody Greenes
Source: Susannah Heschel

In the early 1980s, the Hillel Foundation invited me to speak on a panel at Oberlin College. While on campus, I came across a Haggada that had been written by some Oberlin students to express feminist concerns. One ritual they devised was placing a crust of bread on the Seder plate, as a sign of solidarity with Jewish lesbians ("there's as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the Seder plate").

At the next Passover, I placed an orange on our family's Seder plate. During the first part of the Seder, I asked everyone to take a segment of the orange, make the blessing over fruit, and eat it as a gesture of solidarity with Jewish lesbians and gay men, and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community (I mentioned widows in particular).

Bread on the Seder plate brings an end to Pesach - it renders everything chametz. And its symbolism suggests that being lesbian is being transgressive, violating Judaism. I felt that an orange was suggestive of something else: the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life. In addition, each orange segment had a few seeds that had to be spit out - a gesture of spitting out, repudiating the homophobia that poisons too many Jews.

When lecturing, I often mentioned my custom as one of many new feminist rituals that had been developed in the last twenty years. Somehow, though, the typical patriarchal maneuver occurred: My idea of an orange and my intention of affirming lesbians and gay men were transformed. Now the story circulates that a MAN stood up after a lecture I delivered and said to me, in anger, that a woman belongs on the bimah as much as an orange on the Seder plate. My idea, a woman's words, are attributed to a man, and the affirmation of lesbians and gay men is simply erased. Isn't that precisely what has happened over the centuries to women's ideas?

The opportunities and the need to create a less violent, less oppressive world are enormous. But cruelty and apathy are still with us — across the ocean, across the border, across the street. It is up to each of us, each day, in small but profound ways to move our world one step closer to its potential.

(Lift matzah)

This is the bread of affliction,

the bread which our ancestors ate in Egypt.

All who are hungry — come and eat.

All who are needy — come share our Passover

dream, a dream which only we can create.

Ha lach-ma an-yah di-a-cha-lu

av-ha-ta-na b’ar-ah d’mitz-ra-yim.

Kol dich-fin yay-tay v’yay-chul,

kol ditz-rich yay-tay v’yif-sach

Ha-sha-tah ha-cha la-sha-nah ha-ba-ah

b’ar-ah d’yis’ra-el, ha-sha-tah

av-day, la-sha-nah ha-ba-ah b’nay chor-rin.

-- Four Questions

4 questions

Contributed by nicole
Source: Unknown

 The Four Questions

The telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. It’s tradition that the youngest person in the family asks the questions. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. If everyone at yourseder is around the same age, perhaps the person with the least seder experience can ask them – or everyone can sing them all together.

 מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות?  

Mah nish-ta-nah ha-lai-lah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-lei-lot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?


:שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה  

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin cha-meitz u-ma-tzah? Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, ku-lo ma-tzah?

Why on all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah, and
tonight we only eat matzah?



שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר:

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin sh'ar y'ra -kot. Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh ma-ror?

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight why do we only eat bitter herbs?



. שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת 
 הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים:

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot ein anu mat-bi-lin a-fi-lu pa-am, e-hat. Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, sh'tei f'a-mim?

On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables at all. 
Why, tonight, do we do it twice?


שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין.
 :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין:

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin bein yosh-vin o'vein m-subin. Ha-lai-lah na-zeh ku-la-nu m-su-bin?

On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining. Why do we sit reclining tonight?


Answer 1: We were slaves in Egypt. Our ancestor in flight from Egypt did not have time to let the dough rise. With not a moment to spare they snatched up the dough they had prepared and fled. But the hot sun beat as they carried the dough along with them and baked it into the flat unleavened bread we call matzah.

Answer 2: The first time we dip our greens to taste the brine of enslavement. We also dip to remind ourselves of all life and growth, of earth and sea, which gives us sustenance and comes to life again in the springtime.

Answer 3: The second time we dip the maror into the charoset. The charoset reminds us of the mortar that our ancestors mixed as slaves in Egypt. But our charoset is made of fruit and nuts, to show us that our ancestors were able to withstand the bitterness of slavery because it was sweetened by the hope of freedom.

Answer 4: Slaves were not allowed to rest, not even while they ate. Since our ancestors were freed from slavery, we recline to remind ourselves that we, like our ancestors, can overcome bondage in our own time. We also recline to remind ourselves that rest and rejuvenation are vital to continuing our struggles. We should take pleasure in reclining, even as we share our difficult history.



"The soothsayers who found out from time what it had in store certainly did not experience time as homogeneous or empty. Anyone who keeps this in mind will perhaps get an idea of how past times were experienced in remembrance - namely in just the same way. We know that the Jews were prohibited from investigating the future. The Torah and the prayers instruct them in remembrance, however. This stripped the future of its magic, to which all those succumb who turn to soothsayers for enlightenment. This does not imply, however, that for the Jews the future turned into homogeneous, empty time. For every second of time was the strait gate through which the messiah might enter." - Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History", 1940. 

-- Exodus Story

Seder of Our Sages (Translation)

Contributed by Sara Smith
Source: Free Siddur Project, adapted

It once happened that Rabbis Eliezer, Joshua, Elazar ben Azaryah, Akiva and Tarfon were reclining at the seder table in Bnei Brak. They spent the whole night discussing the Exodus until their students came and said to them: “Rabbis, it is time for us to recite the morning Shema.”

Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah said: I am like a seventy-year old man and I have not succeeded in understanding why the Exodus from Egypt should be mentioned at night, until Ben Zoma explained it by quoting: “In order that you may remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life.” The Torah adds the world all to the phrase the days of your life to indicate that the nights are meant as well. The sages declare that “the days of your life” means the present world and “all” includes the messianic era.

-- Exodus Story

The Exodus

Contributed by Spencer Ruskin
Source: Original

Leader: The Twelve Tribes of Israel — Jacob's sons and their families — came into Egypt. And though in time Joseph and all of his generation died, the children of Israel were fruitful and increased abundantly, until the land was filled with them.

Reader: There came to power in Egypt a new king who had never heard of Joseph. He said unto his people, "Behold, the people of the children of Israel are more and mightier than we. Let us deal wisely with them lest it come to pass that they join also unto our enemies, and fight against us."

Reader: Accordingly they put taskmasters over the Israelites to wear them down by forced labor. And they made their lives bitter with hard bondage, in mortar, and in brick, and in all manner of service in the field. But the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. And the Egyptians were grieved because of the children of Israel.

Reader: And Pharaoh charged all his people, saying, "Every son that is born ye shall cast into the river, and every daughter ye shall save alive."

Reader: A woman of the house of Levi conceived and bore a son, and seeing what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. When she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him, coating it with bitumen and pitch, and she laid it amongst the reeds at the river's edge.

Reader: Downriver, the daughter of the Pharoah was bathing. Among the reeds she noticed the basket, and she sent her maid to fetch it. She opened it and saw the child, and the babe wept. She had compassion on him, saying, "This is one of the Hebrews' children."

Reader: As the child grew, he became as a son to the Pharoah's daughter. And she called him Moses, which means "to draw out", for she drew him out of the water.

Reader: One day when he was grown, Moses witnessed an Egpytian striking a Hebrew, one of his kinsmen. And seeing no one about, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand. The Pharaoh learned of this, and tried to have Moses put to death, but he fled.

Reader: While in exile, Moses married a Midianite woman, who bore him a son.  When wandering the desert, at the age of 80, he encountered God in the form of a burning bush. Giving him signs with which to prove his words, the LORD instructed him to return to Egypt and free the Hebrews.

Reader: Moses came before the Pharoah, and said unto him, "Let my people go, that they may hold a feast unto our God in the wilderness." The Pharoah refused and, incensed, gave his taskmasters new orders that very day. "Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, let them go and gather straw for themselves. But you will exact the same quantity of bricks from them as before."

Reader: The Israelites grew distraught, and they met with Moses, saying "You have brought us into bad odor with Pharaoh and his officials. You have put a sword into their hand to kill us."

Reader: Moses went once more before the Pharoah to ask of him, "Let my people go". Moses cast down his staff before Pharaoh and his servants and it became a serpent. But the Pharaoh called upon the wise men and the sorcerers: the magicians of Egypt, and with their enchantments, they did likewise with their staves. Unimpressed, the Pharaoh once more refused.

Reader: Moses went again before the Pharaoh. He lifted up his staff and smote the waters of the river in the sight of Pharaoh and his servants. All the waters that were in the river were turned to blood. The fish died, and the river stank, and the Egyptians could not drink of the water. But the magicians of Egypt did likewise with their enchantments, and the Pharaoh remained obstinate.

Reader: Moses brought forth a plague of frogs from the river, and they swarmed over the land of Egypt. But by their enchantments, the magicians of Egypt were able to do the same. The Pharaoh said "Entreat Yahweh to take the frogs from me and my people, and I will let the people go." But when the frogs had died, he hardened his heart and refused to free the Hebrews.

Reader: Moses struck the dust of the desert, and they became swarms of lice that plagued the Egyptians. The magicians attempted to produce lice in the same way, but failed. They beseeched the Pharoah to let the Hebrews go, but he would not listen.

Reader: Moses brought forth this time a plague of insects, beetles and biting flies. They swarmed over the whole of Egypt. Once again, as with the frogs, the Pharoah bade Moses to lift this plague, promising to let the Hebrews go once he had done so. And so the insects left the land of Egypt, but once again the Pharaoh refused.

Reader: Next, Moses threatened a pestilence on the livestock of Egypt, but the Pharaoh would not be swayed. And so a terrible murrain settled on the animals of Egypt and they died, but the livestock of the Israelites remained healthy. But still, the Pharaoh remained obstinate.

Reader: Moses cast a handful of soot into the air, where it became a great cloud that filled the land of Egypt. Where it landed, on man and beast, it brought forth boils and sores. The magicians of Egypt could not compete with Moses in this, for they too were afflicted with boils. But the Pharaoh would not relent.

Reader: Moses stretched his staff toward heaven, and there was hail, and fire mingled with the hail. And the hail smote throughout all the land of Egypt all that was in the field, both man and beast. Again, the Pharaoh promised to free the Hebrews if the plague was lifted. But once again, though Moses removed the plague, the heart of the Pharaoh was hardened, and he would not let the children of Israel go.

Reader: Moses stretched his staff over Egypt, and brought an east wind which blew all that day and night. By morning the wind had brought a swarm of locusts. They covered the face of the whole earth, so that the land was darkened. They ate every herb of the land, and all the fruit of the trees which the hail had left, until there remained not any green thing through all the land of Egypt. Once more, the Pharaoh made his false promise, and once more, after the locusts had left the land of Egypt, he would not let them go.

Reader: Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days. They saw not one another, nor rose any from his place for three days. But the Pharaoh would not let them go. 

Reader: But Moses went one last time before the Pharaoh, to tell him that all the firstborn in the land of Egypt shall die, and there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt. But the Pharaoh would not listen.

Reader: Moses went amongst his own people, and instructed them to sacrifice a lamb and take the blood, strike it on the two side posts and on the upper door post of the houses, wherein they shall eat it. For the blood shall be a token upon the houses where ye are: and when the LORD sees the blood, He shall pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you when He smites the land of Egypt.

Reader: And it came to pass that at midnight the Lord smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians, for there was not a house among them where there was not one dead. And the Pharaoh called for Moses and said, "Rise up and get you forth from among my people, both ye and the children of Israel, and go."

Reader: And he made ready his chariot, and all the chariots of Egypt, and captains over every one of them, he pursued after the children of Israel. As the Egyptians caught up to them, the Israelites grew afraid.

Reader: But Moses bade them be calm, and stretched out his hand over the sea, and the waters were divided. The children of Israel went into the midst of the sea upon the dry ground. The waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left.

Reader: The Egyptians pursued, and went in after them to the midst of the sea, even all Pharaoh's horses, his chariots, and his horsemen. And Moses stretched forth his hand over the sea, and the waters returned, and covered the chariots, and the horsemen, and all the host of Pharaoh that came into the sea after them; there remained not so much as one of them.

The second cup of wine is filled.

Leader: We now spill a drop of wine in remembrance of each plague, for though they opressed and subjugated us, the suffering of the Egyptians lessens our joy.

Spill a drop of wine on your plate for each plague.

All: Blood. Frogs. Lice. Flies. Murrain. Boils. Hail. Locusts. Darkness. Slaying of the firstborn.

As each plague is said, some people dip their pinky in the wine (or grape juice.) We do this because we are happy for our freedom, but sad for the Egyptian's pain.







All of the Egyptian’s water turned to blood

The Egyptians forced the Jews to carry their water



Frogs jumped all over Egypt, croaking loudly

The Egyptians screamed at the Jews non-stop



Every bit of dust turned to lice that would bother the Egyptians

The Egyptians made the Jews clean their dirty, dusy places


Wild Beasts

Wild animals arrived and killed many of the Egyptians

The Egyptians amused themselves by making the Jews catch wild animals


Animal Sicknesses

All the animals that were left in the fields died

The Egyptians forced the Jews to care for their cattle



The Egyptians got painful boils all over their bodies

The Egyptians beat the Jews until they got boils and blisters



Hail made of both fire and ice damaged the Egyptians’ crops

The Jews had to plant the Egyptians crops



Big starving grasshoppers ate all the plants

The Jews also had to guard the fields, and prevent damage



Egypt turned so dark that you could feel the darkness, and the Egyptians froze in place

The Egyptians threw the Jews into dark dungeons and pits



Death of the First Born

The first borns of all the Egyptians- humans and animals- died

G-d loves the Jews like his first born, and the Egyptians hurt and killed the Jews


If He had brought us out from Egypt אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם

and had not carried out judgments against them וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָּהֶם שְׁפָטִים

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had carried out judgments against them אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בָּהֶם שְׁפָטִים

and not against their idols וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵּאלֹהֵיהֶם

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had destroyed their idols אִלּוּ עָשָׂה בֵּאלֹהֵיהֶם

and had not smitten their first-born וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had smitten their first-born אִלּוּ הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם

and had not given us their wealth וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had given us their wealth אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם

and had not split the sea for us וְלא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had split the sea for us אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם

and had not taken us through it on dry land וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had taken us through the sea on dry land אִלּוּ הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה

and had not drowned our oppressors in it וְלֹא שִׁקַע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had drowned our oppressors in it אִלּוּ שִׁקַע צָרֵינוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ

and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרַכֵּנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years אִלּוּ סִפֵּק צָרַכֵּנוּ בַּמִּדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה

and had not fed us the manna וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had fed us the manna אִלּוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן

and had not given us the Shabbat וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had given us the Shabbat אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת

and had not brought us before Mount Sinai וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had brought us before Mount Sinai אִלּוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי

and had not given us the Torah וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had given us the Torah אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה

and had not brought us into the land of Israel וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

If He had brought us into the land of Israel אִלּוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל

and not built for us the Holy Temple וְלֹא בָּנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ

— Dayenu, it would have been enough דַּיֵּנוּ

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Levinas on the Other

Contributed by Ajay Chaudhary
Source: Levinas, Totality and Infinity

“To approach the Other in conversation is to welcome his expression, in which at each instant he overflows the idea a thought would carry away from it. It is therefore to receive from the Other beyond the capacity of the I, which means exactly: to have the idea of infinity. But this also means: to be taught. The relation with the Other, or Conversation, is a non-allergic relation, an ethical relation; but inasmuch as it is welcomed this conversation is a teaching. Teaching is not reducible to maieutics; it comes from the exterior and brings me more than I contain. In its non-violent transitivity the very epiphany of the face is produced.” ― Emmanuel LévinasTotality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority



Contributed by Spencer Ruskin
Source: Original

The Leader passes around one of the sheets of matzoh. Each participant takes a small piece.

All:  Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kidishanu b'mitzvotav vitzivanu al a'chilat matzoh.

(Blessed art thou, the LORD our God, King of the Universe, who hath santified us and commanded us to eat matzoh)

All eat their matzoh.

Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.


In Every Generation

Contributed by shai cherry
Source: Rav Shai Cherry

There have been many suggestions as to Judaism's most fundamental concept.  Here's my candidate:  In each and every generation, each of us must see ourselves as if we left Mitzrayim.

Rav Kook says each of us took something from that experience that the world needs before it can be fully redeemed.  Our father Abraham knew well how to argue with God, but he didn't argue when told his descendants would be slaves for 400 years.  We needed to live through the affliction, and come out onh the other side, in order to empower others to do the same.  We remind ourselves, each year, of our history and our responsibility. 

We are commanded not to oppress the alien in our midst.  That alone requires much intention.  But, like God and our neighbor, the Torah commands we love the alien, the stranger, the undocumented farmworker or nanny.  Why?  Because we were aliens in the Land of Mitzrayim.  The Torah is explicit:  our experience in Egypt demand us to empathize with those who are in similar states of vulnerability.  That's our contribution to redemption.

Shulchan Oreich

The all night seder Illuminated Manuscript

Contributed by Karen Johnson
Source: Courtesy of Hebrew Union College

The all night seder Illuminated Manuscript


The Cup of Redemption- The third cup

Contributed by Barry Louis Polisar
Source: Telling the Story: A Passover Haggadah Explained

Fill the third cup of wine

Together we take up the third cup of wine, now recalling the third divine promise to the people of Israel: “And I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.”

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p'ri ha-gafen.

We now drink the third cup of wine


Adorno and Horkheimer on Judaism

Contributed by Ajay Chaudhary
Source: Dialectic of Enlightenment

The Jewish religion brooks no word which might bring solace to the despair of all mortality. It places all hope in the prohibition on invoking falsity as God, the finite as the infinite, the lie as truth. The pledge of salvation lies in the rejection of any faith which claims to depict it, knowledge in the denunciation of illusion. - Adorno and Horkheimer


Elijah’s Cup and Miriam’s Cup

Contributed by Eileen Levinson
Source: Jconnect Seattle's Liberal Seder

The fourth cup of wine is poured

We now draw our attention to the two empty cups on the table--one of which is for Elijah the Prophet, and the other for Miriam the Prophetess. Tradition teaches us that each of these biblical characters plays an important task of bringing redemption.It is said that that Elijah the Prophet visits the homes of Jewish families on Passover, to check to see if we are all truly ready to welcome the stranger, and are thus prepared to enter as a people into the messianic age. To Elijah we each offer a little bit of wine from our own cups, as a symbolic gesture of our readiness for redemption.

To honor Miriam the Prophetess, we each pour not wine, but water into a cup. According to tradition, Miriam sustained the Israelites in the desert with water from her well, and to this day her life-giving waters still flow into wells everywhere,sustaining us all as we work to bring redemption and wait for Elijah.

And so we open the door, pass around the Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups so that everyone can contribute to them, and sing together their songs of redemption:



Contributed by Jewish Boston
Source: The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

Nirtzah  marks the conclusion of the seder. Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories and sung songs, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with  Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.

Though it comes at the end of the seder, this moment also marks a beginning. We are beginning the next season with a renewed awareness of the freedoms we enjoy and the obstacles we must still confront. We are looking forward to the time that we gather together again. Having retold stories of the Jewish people, recalled historic movements of liberation, and reflected on the struggles people still face for freedom and equality, we are ready to embark on a year that we hope will bring positive change in the world and freedom to people everywhere.

In  The Leader's Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, Rabbi David Hartman writes: “Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become.”

What can  we  do to fulfill our reckless dreams? What will be our legacy for future generations?

Our seder is over, according to Jewish tradition and law. As we had the pleasure to gather for a seder this year, we hope to once again have the opportunity in the years to come. We pray that God brings health and healing to Israel and all the people of the world, especially those impacted by natural tragedy and war. As we say…

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim