Rabban Gamliel used to say: Whoever does not explain the following three symbols at the Seder on Passover has not fulfilled his duty:




Point to the shank bone:

The Passover offering which our fathers ate in Temple days, what was the reason for it? It was because the Holy One, blessed be He, passed over the houses of our forefathers in Egypt, as it is written in the Bible: “And you shall say it is the Passover offering for the Eternal Who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians and spared our houses. And the people bowed their heads and worshipped.”

Point to the Matzah :

This Matzah which we eat, what is the reason for it? It is because there was not time for the dough of our ancestors in Egypt to become leavened, before the Ruler of all, the Holy One, blessed be He, revealed Himself to them and redeemed them, as it is told in the Bible: “And they baked the dough which they had brought out from Egypt into cakes of unleavened bread, for it had not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt and they could not tarry, nor had they prepared for themselves any provisions.”

Point to the bitter herbs:

These bitter herbs which we eat – what is their meaning? They are eaten to recall that the Egyptians embittered the lives of our forebearers in Egypt, as it is written: “And they embittered their lives with hard labor: with mortar and bricks, with every kind of work in the fields; all the work which they made them do was cruel.” In every generation one must look upon oneself as having personally come out from Egypt, as the Bible says: “And thou shalt tell thy son on that day, saying, it is because of that which the Eternal did to me when I went forth from Egypt.” For it was not our ancestors alone whom the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed; He redeemed us too, with them as it is said: “He brought us out from there that He might lead us to and give us the land which He pledged to our forefathers.”

Raise the cup of wine and say together:

Therefore, it is our duty to thank and to praise in song and prayer, to glorify and extol Him Who performed all these wonders for our forebearers and for us. He brought us out from slavery to freedom, from anguish to joy, from sorrow to joy, from darkness to great light. Let us therefore sing before Him a new song. Halleluyah. Praise the Lord.

Put down the cup and continue

haggadah Section: -- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source: Silbergleit family Passover Haggadah 2005, per Rabbi Nathan Goldberg (adapted by Jeffrey Wise)