There are two points during the Seder when we wash our hands. This first washing, Urchatz, is a symbolic and ritual washing, done by one person and with no blessing. The second washing, Rachtzah, is a washing used to prepare all of us for the meal and is said with a blessing.

As we wash our hands for the first time this evening, we remember that we have the freedom to access resources that many do not.

The first hand-washing of the Seder is unusual. The rabbis point out that even a child would wonder at least two things: why do we wash without a blessing and why do we bother to wash when we will not be eating our meal for some time. They suggest that we wash our hands here in order to raise questions. Questions, both of wonder and of despair, are crucial to our time at the Seder and, really, our growth as human beings. We have permission to ask questions, even of God, when we see and experience suffering.

Now one person will symbolically wash their hands for all of us seated here.

haggadah Section: Urchatz