The Ten Plagues

Haggadah Section: -- Ten Plagues

A full cup of wine symbolizes complete happiness. Midrash tells us that when God heard the angels rejoicing over the Egyptian's losses, he was angry and said, "Are not the Egyptians my people too? When all people are brothers and sisters, we mourn loss and pain no matter who suffers." As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom was hard-earned. We regret that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering, for we are all human beings made in the image of God. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them.

Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass and spill a drop for each plague. Let us deny ourselves a portion of our wine, for while we rejoice for those who are free of their oppressors, our joy is diminished by the death of their enemies. 

These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya |  צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

The Egyptians needed ten plagues because after each one they were able to come up with excuses and explanations rather than change their behavior. Could we be making the same mistakes? Make up your own list. What are the plagues in your life? What are the plagues in our world today? What behaviors do we need to change to fix them? 

If you believe that freedom for the oppressed can come from the struggle to overcome the evils of dictatorship, prejudice, greed, and fear, in addition, we must long for what is not yet accomplished. We look forward to the day that all are free from hunger, free from war, free to say what they believe, free to practice their own religious beliefs, and free to live in dignity. 

What hopes for today's world would give us great satisfaction to see accomplished?

When all people throughout the world, live freely without interference or persecution.

It will be accomplished.

When the environment that sustains us is healthy so that it can sustain the generations to come.

It will be accomplished.

When food and shelter are accepted as basic human rights and available to all.

It will be accomplished.

When children grow up in freedom, and have the love and support to realize their full potential.

It will be accomplished.

When all people have the means to care for their physical, social, and spiritual well-being.

It will be accomplished.

When all people, are free of the threat of violence, abuse, and domination.

It will be accomplished.

When no person has to fear hunger, cold, or loneliness.

It will be accomplished.

When people throughout the world cherish each other's differences so that all can live in dignity.

It will be accomplished.

Raise glasses

Tonight, let all of us look for the world to be a better place. Let us sow the seed of commitment so that one day all people can experience the joy and freedom we feel celebrating with family and friends here today.

Drink toast


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