Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Maggid, Rachtzah, Motzie, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Beirach, Hallel, Nirtzah.
Sanctify, Wash, Appetizer, Break, Tell, Wash, Motzie, Eat Matzah, Bitter, Wrap, Set the Table, Hidden, Bless, Praise, Accepted.
There are fifteen parts to the Seder; a number which carries considerable significance. There were fifteen steps in the ancient Temple where the Levites sang daily before God. There are fifteen chapters of Psalms that begin with the words: “A Song of Ascent.” Every month, 15 days are required until the moon grows full, into a full moon. There are 15 generations from Moses to King Solomon and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. The number 15 will appear again in the Seder,in the Dayeinu, describing the steps taken from leaving Egypt until building a life in the Land of Israel. We might suggest that the number 15 represents a spiritual movement upward — an ascent.
Rav Kook taught that these 15 steps, known as the Simanei ha—Seder are to be viewed not merely as a variety of rituals, but rather as guided steps that are built up, based upon each other, each upon the previous. These steps are the rungs in a ladder that are intended to move us toward a spiritual ascent as we follow the signposts throughout the Seder. If we consider the overall picture of the night, we open the night with Kadesh, a call to each of us to engage in sanctifying the night with the special actions and study of the Haggadah. When we reach the final step at the end of the night, Nz'rtzah, we are no longer called upon to follow a ritual or take a particular action. The word Nz'rtzah, which is in the passive form, suggests that we have attained a feeling of freedom and holiness. We feel uplifted. The 15 steps are meant to guide us so that we may grow spiritually from the Seder experience.
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