Alternate Around the Table

Long ago our forebearers were worshippers of idols, but now God has drawn us to His service, as it is written, "And Joshua said to all the people, 'Thus said the Eternal God of Israel: In days of old your forefathers lived beyond the river; that is Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, and they worshipped other gods. Then I took Abraham, your father, from beyond the river and I led him through the wholeland of Canaan. And I increased his family by giving him a son, Isaac. And I gave to Isaac two sons, Jacob and Esau. To Esau I gave Mount Seir as a possession, while Jacob and his sons went down to Egypt.'"

Blessed be He, Who keeps His promise to Israel, blessed be He. For God foretold the end of the bondage to Abraham at the Covenant of Sacrifices. For God said to Abraham: "Know you that your children will be strangers in a land not their own.They will be enslaved there and will be oppressed four hundred years. But I will exercise judgement against the nation they serve. Afterward they will go forth with great wealth."

Cover the Matzah, raise the cup of wine, and say together:

This promise made to our forebearers holds true also for us. For more than one enemy has risen up to destroy us; in every  generation there are those who rise against us and seek our destruction. But the Holy One, blessed be He, saves us from their hands.

Put down the cup, uncover the Matzah, and continue

( Alternate Around the Table except Leader in Bold)

Come and learn what Laban the Aramean tried to do to our father Jacob. While Pharaoh decreed only against the males, Laban desired to uproot all. For so it is written: “An Aramean sought to destroy my father; and he went down to Egypt and dwelled there, a handful, few in number. There he became a nation, great, mighty and numerous.”

“He went down to Egypt” – compelled by God’s decree.

“He dwelled there.” This means that Jacob our father did not go down to Egypt to settle there but only to stay for a short while; for so it is said, “And they said to Pharaoh, we have come to dwell in the land because there is no pasture for the flocks of your servants, since the famine is very bad in the land of Canaan; and now let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.”

“Few in number” – as it is said: “Your forefathers went down into Egypt with seventy persons. Now the Eternal your God has made you as numerous as the stars in heaven.”

“And there he became a nation” – from this we learn that Israel became a distinct nation in Egypt.

“Great, mighty” – as it is said: “And the children of Israel were fruitful and increased and multiplied and became very strong and numerous, so that the land was full of them.”

“And numerous” – as it is said: “I have increased you as the growth of the field and you have become numerous and grown big and reached to excellence in beauty. You are fully grown, yet you remained naked and bare.”

“And the Egyptians did evil unto us and they made us suffer. They set upon us hard labor.”

“And the Egyptians did evil unto us” – as it is said in the Bible: “Come, let us deal craftily with them, lest they increase yet more, and if maybe that when war occurs they will be added to our enemies and fight against us and go up out of the land.”

“And they made us suffer” – as the Bible relates: “So the Egyptians set taskmasters over them in order to oppress them with their burdens; and they built Pithom and Raamses as store-cities for Pharaoh.”

“And they set upon us hard labor: – as the Bible states: “And the Egyptians enslaved the children of Israel with cruelty."

And we cried unto the Eternal, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction, our burden, and our oppression."

“And we cried unto the Eternal, the God of our fathers” – as the Bible recounts: “And it came to pass in the course of many days that the King of Egypt died, and the children of Israel groaned because of their servitude and cried out, and their outcry from their servitude came up to God.”

“And the Eternal heard our voice” – as the Bible tells:“And God heard their moaning, and remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac and with Jacob.”

“And saw our affliction” – this phrase suggests the enforced separation of husband and wife under Pharaoh’s persecution, as it is written:“And God saw the children of Israel and God understood their plight.”

“Our burden” – this recalls the drowningof the male children, as it is said: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the Nile, but every daughter you may keep alive.”

“And our oppression” – this refers to the persecusion, as the Bible says: “And I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them.”

“And the Eternal brought us forth from Egypt, with a strong hand, and with an outstretched arm, and with great terror, and with signs and wonders.”

“And the Eternal brought us forth form Egypt” – not by a ministering angel, not by a fiery angel, not by a messenger, but by Himself, in His glory, did the Holy One, blessed be He, do so, as the Bible records: “And I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and I will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man to beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments. I am the Lord.”

“With a strong hand” – this refers to the cattle plague, as it is said in the Bible: “Behold, the hand of the Eternal will strike your livestock in the field – the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the oxen and the sheep –  with a very grievous plague.”

“And with an outstretched arm” –  this refers to the sword, as the Bible states: “His sword drawn in his hand, outstretched over Jerusalem.”

“And with great terror” – this refers to the Revelation of God to Israel, as it is said: “Has any god ever tried to go and remove one nation from the midst of another nation, with trials, with signs and with wonders, and with battle, and with a strong hand and outstretched arm, and with great terrors, as the Eternal your God did for you in Egyp tbefore your eyes?”

“And with signs” – this refersto the rod of Moses, as it said: “And thou, Moses, shalt take in thy hand this rod where with thou shalt perform the signs.”

“And wonders” – this refers to the plague of blood, as it is written in Scripture: “I will show wonders in the heavens and on earth."

Another interpretation of this verse is as follows:  “With a strong hand” – means two plagues; “and with an outstretched arm” – two; “and with great terror” – two; “and with signs” –two; “and wonders” – two.

This refers to the ten plagues which the Lord, blessed be He, brought upon the Egyptions in Egypt, and they are as follows:

haggadah Section: -- Exodus Story
Source: Silbergleit family Passover Haggadah 2005, per Rabbi Nathan Goldberg (adapted by Jeffrey Wise)