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Introduction
Source : Design by Haggadot.com

Introduction

The Seder Plate

We place a Seder Plate at our table as a reminder to discuss certain aspects of the Passover story. Each item has its own significance.

Maror – The bitter herb. This symbolizes the harshness of lives of the Jews in Egypt.

Charoset – A delicious mix of sweet wine, apples, cinnamon and nuts that resembles the mortar used as bricks of the many buildings the Jewish slaves built in Egypt

Karpas – A green vegetable, usually parsley, is a reminder of the green sprouting up all around us during spring and is used to dip into the saltwater

Zeroah – A roasted lamb or shank bone symbolizing the sacrifice made at the great temple on Passover (The Paschal Lamb)

Beitzah – The egg symbolizes a different holiday offering that was brought to the temple. Since eggs are the first item offered to a mourner after a funeral, some say it also evokes a sense of mourning for the destruction of the temple.

Orange - The orange on the seder plate has come to symbolize full inclusion in modern day Judaism: not only for women, but also for people with disabilities, intermarried couples, and the LGBT Community.

Matzah

Matzah is the unleavened bread we eat to remember that when the jews fled Egypt, they didn’t even have time to let the dough rise on their bread. We commemorate this by removing all bread and bread products from our home during Passover.

Elijah’s Cup

The fifth ceremonial cup of wine poured during the Seder. It is left untouched in honor of Elijah, who, according to tradition, will arrive one day as an unknown guest to herald the advent of the Messiah. During the Seder dinner, biblical verses are read while the door is briefly opened to welcome Elijah. In this way the Seder dinner not only commemorates the historical redemption from Egyptian bondage of the Jewish people but also calls to mind their future redemption when Elijah and the Messiah shall appear.

Miriam’s Cup

Another relatively new Passover tradition is that of Miriam’s cup. The cup is filled with water and placed next to Elijah’s cup. Miriam was the sister of Moses and a prophetess in her own right. After the exodus when the Israelites are wandering through the desert, just as Hashem gave them Manna to eat, legend says that a well of water followed Miriam and it was called ‘Miriam’s Well’. The tradition of Miriam’s cup is meant to honor Miriam’s role in the story of the Jewish people and the spirit of all women, who nurture their families just as Miriam helped sustain the Israelites.

Introduction
Source : http://www.jewbelong.com/passover/

The day ends. The earth turns from sunshine to dusk and then to darkness. We assume for ourselves the task of kindling candles in the night, to enlighten the dark corners of our world. We still live in perilous times. Behind us, though receding into the memories of even the oldest among us, we can still sense the fires of Auschwitz and Hiroshima. Before us, the threat of acts of terrorism and gun violence. We gather tonight to create from fire, not the heat of destruction, but the light of instruction; indeed to see more clearly the wisdom, strength and caring that glows from within each of us.

TOGETHER: May these candles, lit on the Festival of Freedom, bring light into our hearts and minds. May they renew our courage to act for justice and freedom here and now. May they illumine the path to truth, justice and peace. And so we repeat the ancient blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו
וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁלְ (שַבָת וְשֶל) יֹום טֹוב

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam,
asher kiddishanu b’mitzvotav,
v’tzivanu lehadlik neir shel [Shabbat v'shel] Yom Tov.

We praise God, spirit of everything,
who has made us distinct through Your directives
and has directed us to kindle [the Shabbat] and holiday lights.

Kadesh
Source : Mix
It’s been a crazy week. The world with all its worries and bothers is still clamoring for your attention. The first step is to forget all that. Leave it behind. Enter into a timeless space, where you, your great-grandparents and Moses   all coincide.

The beginning of all journeys is separation. You’ve got to leave somewhere to go somewhere else. It is also the first step towards freedom: You ignore the voice of Pharaoh inside that mocks you, saying, “Who are you to begin such a journey?” You just get up and walk out.

This is the first meaning of the word, “Kadesh” -- to  transcend   the mundane world. Then comes the second meaning: Once you’ve set yourself free from your material worries, you can return and  sanctify   them. That is when true spiritual freedom begins, when you introduce a higher purpose into all those things you do. 

Kiddush (the blessing over wine) |  kadeish  | קַדֵּשׁ  

All Jewish celebrations, from holidays to weddings, include wine as a symbol of our joy – not to mention a practical way to increase that joy. The seder starts with wine and then gives us three more opportunities to refill our cup and drink.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who chose us from all peoples and languages, and sanctified us with commandments, and lovingly gave to us special times for happiness, holidays and this time of celebrating the Holiday of Matzah, the time of liberation, reading our sacred stories, and remembering the Exodus from Egypt. For you chose us and sanctified us among all peoples. And you have given us joyful holidays. We praise God, who sanctifies the people of Israel and the holidays.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם,  שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה:

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, she-hechiyanu v’key’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who has kept us alive, raised us up, and brought us to this happy moment.

Drink the first glass of wine!

Kadesh
Source : Original Illustration from Haggadot.com

Urchatz
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com
Water is refreshing, cleansing, and clear, so it’s easy to understand why so many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal, which Judaism thinks of as a ritual in itself. (The Jewish obsession with food is older than you thought!)

To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands. If the people around your table don’t want to get up to walk all the way over to the sink, you could pass a pitcher and a bowl around so everyone can wash at their seats… just be careful not to spill!

Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do.

Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. Go around the table and share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder.

Karpas
Source : Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

A small piece of onion, parsley, or boiled potato is dipped into saltwater and eaten (after reciting the blessing over vegetables). Dipping the karpas is a sign of luxury and freedom. The saltwater represents the tears of our ancestors in Mitzrayim (Egypt). This year may it also represent tears of Black parents and families mourning the loss of their Black youth at the hands of police brutality.
Yachatz
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.

We eat matzah in memory of the quick flight of our ancestors from Egypt. As slaves, they had faced many false starts before finally being let go. So when the word of their freedom came, they took whatever dough they had and ran with it before it had the chance to rise, leaving it looking something like matzah.

Uncover and hold up the three pieces of matzah and say:

This is the bread of poverty which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate Passover with us. This year we are here; next year we will be in Israel. This year we are slaves; next year we will be free.

These days, matzah is a special food and we look forward to eating it on Passover. Imagine eating only matzah, or being one of the countless people around the world who don’t have enough to eat.

What does the symbol of matzah say to us about oppression in the world, both people literally enslaved and the many ways in which each of us is held down by forces beyond our control? How does this resonate with events happening now?

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We don’t hear of Moses being found by the daughter of Pharaoh – actually, we don’t hear much of Moses at all. Instead, we get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.

Maggid - Beginning

by Bradley Burston

Blessed are You,
Creator of the Second Chance,
Vendor of questions and plagues
Just this once, just for this cup,
Come on down. Take a seat.
Take a sip. Taste
Of this cup meant to bring an end to plagues and questions.
Roll them on your Sacred Tongue, taste as if chewing
Taste what we taste
Come on down.

We're ready to leave Egypt now. We've said our goodbyes and punched the clock for the last time.

We've done what you asked. We sang Dayenu, which means "You shouldn't have. You needn't have. You're too kind."

We did what you asked. We went through what we had, and we took with us only what we thought we really needed.

We have gone two cups. We're almost at the river. No longer slaves, not yet free. It's getting hard to focus. We're ready to eat. Come on down. Your children are hungry. Some of them are already thinking, Make it stop.

This cup, this is the end of Magid. This is the end of the Q and A, of Your chance to explain.

Blessed are You, who created us, each of us wise and wicked, innocent and too full of shame to know how to ask.

This is the night of second chances. Of reliving seders remembered, and of asking children to remember what they are living now.

Come on down. Taste what we taste. Hold your demands.

Not tonight. Not this week. We're busy this week. We're busy cleaning and making crumbs, debating the meaning and the ethnicity of beans. This week we are serving You.

Help us, God, to remember that freedom begins the day Pesach ends.

Blessed are You, Creator of the human trait of rebellion, and, thus, inventor of freedom.

Next week, next month, may we take with us out of Egypt only what we really need. May we take with us out of Egypt the idea that we get freedom when we give freedom.

May You, and we, let all who are hungry come and eat.

Blessed are You, our Lord, our God who runs the world and sets the rules of nature, and who creates this fruit of the vine.

-- Four Questions
Source : ajws.org

We encourage you to incorporate this reading into the Four Questions section of your seder. 

Mah nishtanah ha-lailah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-lailot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

We know the traditional answers to this question: On this night, we eat matzah and bitter herbs, we dip and we recline. But this is not all, or even most, of what Passover is about.  

On most other nights, we allow the news of tragedy in distant places to pass us by.  

We succumb to compassion fatigue – aware that we cannot possibly respond to every injustice that arises around the world.

On this night, we are reminded that our legacy as the descendants of slaves creates in us a different kind of responsibility – we are to protect the stranger because we were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Let us add a fifth question to this year’s seder.  Let us ask ourselves,

Aych nishaneh et ha-shanah ha-zot mi-kol ha-shanim?

How can we make this year different from all other years?

This year, this Passover, let us recommit to that sacred responsibility to protect the stranger, particularly those vulnerable strangers in faraway places whose suffering is so often ignored.

Let us infuse the rituals of the seder with action:

When tasting the matzah, the bread of poverty, let us find ways to help the poor and the hungry.

When eating the maror, let us commit to help those whose lives are embittered by disease.

When dipping to commemorate the blood that protected our ancestors against the Angel of Death, let us pursue protection for those whose lives are threatened by violence and conflict.

When reclining in celebration of our freedom, let us seek opportunities to help those who are oppressed. 

At this season of liberation, join us in working for the liberation of all people.  Help us respond to the seder’s questions with action and justice. 

-- Four Children
Source : Bend the Arc

In every generation, we imagine as if we ourselves are living out the Exodus by gathering at Seder tables to retell the ancient story of our struggle for freedom. The Haggadah describes four children who each ask questions about the Exodus — and the answers we give them reveal different ways of relating to our liberation story.

Right now in America, we’re living in dangerous and unacceptable times. It’s precisely in times like these when we discover who we are as a people, as a society, as a nation. In this moment, it’s up to each of us to decide what we’re willing to act for and how we want future generations to remember us. The four children teach us that there are many ways that individuals understand their relationship to their own historical moment. At your Seder, consider each of the following responses as potential reactions to the current political environment. How will you respond? What is acceptable in unacceptable times?

We don’t get to choose the historical moment we live in, but we do get to choose how we respond.

How will you respond?

-- Exodus Story
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Our story starts in ancient times, with Abraham, the first person to have the idea that maybe all those little statues his contemporaries worshiped as gods were just statues. The idea of one God, invisible and all-powerful, inspired him to leave his family and begin a new people in Canaan, the land that would one day bear his grandson Jacob’s adopted name, Israel.

God had made a promise to Abraham that his family would become a great nation, but this promise came with a frightening vision of the troubles along the way: “Your descendants will dwell for a time in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and afflicted for four hundred years; however, I will punish the nation that enslaved them, and afterwards they shall leave with great wealth."

Raise the glass of wine and say:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְלָֽנוּ

V’hi she-amda l’avoteinu v’lanu.

This promise has sustained our ancestors and us.

For not only one enemy has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation there are those who rise against us. But God saves us from those who seek to harm us.

The glass of wine is put down.

In the years our ancestors lived in Egypt, our numbers grew, and soon the family of Jacob became the People of Israel. Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt grew alarmed by this great nation growing within their borders, so they enslaved us. We were forced to perform hard labor, perhaps even building pyramids. The Egyptians feared that even as slaves, the Israelites might grow strong and rebel. So Pharaoh decreed that Israelite baby boys should be drowned, to prevent the Israelites from overthrowing those who had enslaved them.

But God heard the cries of the Israelites. And God brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with great awe, miraculous signs and wonders. God brought us out not by angel or messenger, but through God’s own intervention. 

-- Exodus Story
Source : Michael Waltzer, Exodus and Revolution

Three conclusions from the Exodus story:

1) Wherever you live, it is probably Mitzrayim.

2) There is a better place, a promised land.

3) The way to this promised land is through the wilderness – there is no way to get there except by joining together and marching

-- Exodus Story
"A Not-So-Serious Passover Play for the Classroom or the Dining Room" by S. Mitchell

CHARACTERS: Slave Narrator, G_d (as a voice offstage), Moses, Aaron, Burning Bush, Pharoah

SLAVE NARRATOR: In Egypt we Hebrews had a difficult life. All day we worked under the whips of the taskmasters, making bricks and stacking them into giant pyramids, using nothing but our bare hands and a mixture of apples, raisins and nuts to bind the bricks together. We ate nothing but horseradish and drank only salt water. The only joy we had came from squeezing our fresh loaves of bread, which were soft and thick and light and fluffy as clouds. We had nothing to hope for. But little did we know that one of us, an escaped Hebrew who lived as a stranger in a foreign land of Midian, would soon return to us as our savior.

MOSES: Here sheep! Here sheep, sheep! Hey, come back! Don't make me chase you-- (Suddenly surprised at the sight of a burning bush.) Oh, my gosh!

MOSES: That little bush is on fire! (He dowses it.)

MOSES: But why aren't you burned, little bush?

G_D: Moses!

MOSES: Here I am.

G_D: Remove the sandals from your feet, for the place you stand on is holy ground.

Moses removes his shoes.

G_D: Moses! Whew! Stinky!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Put your shoes back on, please.

MOSES: Who are you?

G_D: I am the G_d of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. And Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun, Benjamin, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher--

MOSES: What do you want from me?

G_D: I have heard the cry of the Hebrew slaves and I've come to rescue them, to lead them out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Websites, Hippies, Trekkies, Yuppies, Muppets, Skittles, Ewoks--

MOSES: Get to the point...

G_D: Actually, you are going to do it.

MOSES: Do what?

G_D: You, Moses, will lead the Hebrews out of that land into a good land flowing with milk and honey, the country of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites--

MOSES: Who am I that I should lead the Israelites to freedom? What will they say when I tell them, "The G_d of your fathers has sent me to lead you"? If they ask, "What is His name?", what do I tell them?

G_D: Tell them, "I am who I am."

G_D: They'll believe you, Moses. Then go to the Pharoah and ask him to let you go on a three day's journey into the desert to offer sacrifices. If he says yes, which he won't, you'll go and you won't come back.

MOSES: Good plan. Do you think Pharoah will buy it?

G_D: No.

MOSES: What's Plan B?

G_D: Pharoah won't let your people go unless he is forced. So I will stretch out my hand and smite Egypt by doing all sorts of wondrous deeds there. Lots of people and animals will die.

MOSES: Couldn't you just make Pharoah say yes the first time?

G_D: I cannot. But perhaps Moses can convince him.

MOSES: How will I convince him? What if he doesn't believe me? I need some proof of your wondrous power.

G_D: Do you know any card tricks?

MOSES: No.

G_D: The nickel in the ear trick?

MOSES: No.

G_D: The rabbit from a hat?

MOSES: No.

G_D: Saw the lady in half?

MOSES: No.

G_D: Don't worry. You'll think of something. Now go!

SLAVE NARRATOR: So Moses came back to us, and before long, he and his brother Aaron paid Pharoah a visit.

Moses pushes Aaron ahead of him into Pharoah's room as Pharoah dresses himself. Aaron pushes back, then Moses pushes him forward again, and on and on.

PHAROAH (to the mirror): Today, I'm going to wear this hat. This is a good Pharoah hat. No, I'll wear this hat--this is better. Yes. No, no, this one, it's the best. OK. No, maybe this one is better.

Moses pushes Aaron into the room hard.

AARON: I'm going!

Pharoah turns around.

PHAROAH: Well, if it isn't the freakies who talk to the gods. I've heard of you both. You've got my slaves all riled up. Tell me. Is He planning to make it rain tomorrow?

AARON: Our G_d has called upon us to make a sacrifice to Them in the desert.

PHAROAH: How narcissistic of your god. I like it. So how did it go?

AARON: We haven't done it yet.

PHAROAH: Why not?

Aaron is silent. Moses whispers in his ear.

AARON: We have to do it in the desert.

PHAROAH: You live in the desert. Go into your backyard and make your sacrifice.

AARON: It's not that simple. Our G_d wants us to do it far away from here.

PHAROAH: Really.

AARON: Yes, sir. About a three day's walk.

PHAROAH: I see. So what I think I hear you saying is, you want to take all of my slaves out on a sort of field trip.

AARON: A holy sacrifice.

PHAROAH: Right, a holy sacrifice. In the desert.

AARON: Yes!

PHAROAH: Three days away from here.

AARON: Exactly!

PHAROAH: And I suppose you'll be needing to pack a few things.

AARON: Well...

PHAROAH: For your three-day hike in the desert.

AARON: Well, yes!

PHAROAH: So you can make it back here safe and healthy enough to pick up right where you left off.

AARON (excited): Absolutely, yes!

PHAROAH: OK.

AARON: Great! OK, then. We'll see you in a few days!

MOSES: You'll hardly miss us!

PHAROAH: Wait.

AARON: Sir?

PHAROAH: I'm assuming you have a Plan B?

AARON: Huh?

PHAROAH: In case I'm not the fool you think I am. You Hebrews are going nowhere.

SLAVE NARRATOR: G_d had indeed made Pharoah obstinate. He ordered the taskmasters to increase our work and punish us with greater cruelty. And though Moses and Aaron returned to him each day with various amazing feats to prove their holy authority, Pharoah simply ordered his own magicians to explain these tricks away.

MOSES: G_d, it's not working. We told him everything you said. We tried a few card tricks. We turned my staff into a snake. But nothing works. And the slaves--they think I'm only making things worse for them.

G_D: Yes, I expected this. It's time I showed them the awesome power of the Lord. It is time I smite Egypt with my wondrous deeds! Go back to Pharoah, lads, and warn him of my wrath.

SLAVE NARRATOR: So with G_d looking on, Moses and Aaron returned to Pharoah.

Pharoah is looking at himself in the mirror again, deciding on an impressive royal pose, changing his mind again and again, when Moses and Aaron approach.

PHAROAH: Boys, welcome back! Have any new tricks to show me?

AARON: Pharoah.

PHAROAH: Yes.

AARON: Let my people go.

PHAROAH: OK.

AARON: OK?

PHAROAH: No.

AARON: If you don't, you will witness the awesome power of the Lord.

PHAROAH: I see. Could you be more specific?

AARON: If you don't let the Hebrews go free, we will pack our things and lead them away. And when your taskmasters try to stop us, they will find themselves frozen, unable to move. And we'll walk right by them, smiling, laughing, and they won't even be able to blink. They'll be stuck, frozen like giant blocks of ice, and--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D (anxious) : Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Tell Aaron I can't do that. I can't freeze people.

MOSES: Well, what can you do?

G_D: I will turn all their waters to blood.

MOSES: Ugh! I pass out at the sight of blood.

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so Egypt was colored red with blood. The fish in the river died, the Egyptians had to dig to find clean water to drink, and Moses was woozy for many days. After a week, G_d commanded Aaron to stretch his hand over the waters of Egypt and the country was overrun by frogs. This time, Pharoah sent for Moses and Aaron.

AARON: Now, Pharoah, you have seen the awesome power of the Lord!

PHAROAH: Yes, and the frogs were cute at first, I admit, but all the ribbeting is driving me crazy. Make them disappear and I'll let your people go.

Aaron and Moses turn to go.

PHAROAH: Wait!

AARON: Yes?

PHAROAH: Forget it. Can't leave.

AARON: If you don't let us go, the Lord will punish you even more severely.

PHAROAH: How?

AARON: How?

MOSES: How?

G_D: How?

AARON: Why, he'll make the ground beneath your soldiers' feet turn to glue, so when you try to follow us, their feet will get stuck, and then they'll reach down to free themselves and their hands will stick to their feet, and then they won't be able to do anything, and we'll laugh and laugh and--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Here I am!

G_D: Tell Aaron I can't do that. I can't turn the ground into glue.

MOSES: Well, what can you do?

G_D: I'll, I'll, I'll turn the dust of the earth into little gnats, which will go "bzzzz" over the land!

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so the land and air were swarming with gnats. But Pharoah refused again. And then came flies. And the pestilence. And the boils. And again Pharoah called Moses and Aaron to his chambers.

Pharoah, stands in front of his mirror, his face covered with boils. He grimaces at his reflection as Moses and Aaron enter.

PHAROAH: Oh, thank G_d you're here. Make these things go away. I've tried everything. Facial masks, Buff Puffs, exfoliants, zinc supplements, hypnosis, feng shui, everything! Clear my complexion and I'll let you Israelites worship in the desert for FOUR days if you want to.

AARON: OK. We'll begin packing.

They turn to leave.

PHAROAH: Wait!

AARON: Yes?

PHAROAH: If I change my mind?

AARON: If you change your mind?

PHAROAH: What would happen?

AARON: Well, if you don't let us go, the Lord will rain down on you millions of little round balls, and when you try to chase after us, you'll slip and fall down. And you'll try to get up, and you'll slip and fall again, and we'll be laughing so hard--

G_D: Stop!

Time stops. Pharoah, Aaron and Moses all stop moving and speaking.

G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Just try it, G_d!

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so the Lord drowned the land in a downpour of hail, so fierce that every animal and plant was struck down and the crops were ruined. A plague of locusts followed. And then Pharoah called upon our heroes again.

PHAROAH: OK. I'm pretty sure I'm going to let your people go this time. But just supposing I don't?

AARON: If you don't let us go, your people will be blinded by darkness--

Aaron pauses and looks to Moses. Moses looks up to the heavens, but G_d is silent. Moses shrugs at Aaron.

AARON: And when they try to chase after us, they'll bump into each other and fall down and then get up and run the wrong way, and when you hear our giggling, you'll reach for us, but you'll only grab each other by accident!

MOSES: Can you do that, G_d?

G_D: Yes, I think I can do that one.

AARON: Alrighty then.

SLAVE NARRATOR: But Pharoah proved wishy-washy again. And Aaron and Moses promised Pharoah the worst plague of them all.

AARON: If you don't let us go, the Lord will make Hannukah last eight months instead of eight days, and every night our children will wander through the villages singing ( singing in an annoying voice), "I have a little dreidel, I made it out of clay, And when--"

PHAROAH: No!

G_D: Moses, Moses!

MOSES (exasperated) : What is it?!

G_D: I like the dreidel song.

MOSES: Then YOU think of something!

G_D: Mark your doorposts with the blood of a lamb.

MOSES: Not more blood!

G_D: The angel of death will pass over the homes that bear this mark. And take the living spirits of the first-born Egyptians.

SLAVE NARRATOR: And so it came to pass. And this time, not only did Pharoah give us permission to leave, but all of Egypt helped us pack and rushed us out toward the Red Sea.

Pharoah rushes Aaron and Moses as they pack their things.

PHAROAH: Here, I had my soldiers wrap up your bread!

AARON: But it hasn't had time to rise.

MOSES: And your rushing us leaves us no time to cook our ceremonial feast!

PHAROAH: You'll have to get it catered! Now get out of here!

Moses and Aaron leave.

PHAROAH: Wait!

No response.

PHAROAH: Wait! I think I might change my mind!

Still no response.

SLAVE NARRATOR: Pharaoh did change his mind, and he sent his people to hunt us down as we made our way toward the Red Sea. I think you know what happened next. Four hundred thirty years of oppression came to an end.

AARON: What are you talking about?! We're eating sandwiches of mortar on flat bread!

SLAVE NARRATOR: Stop complaining. ( He raises his arms in celebration. ) Next year in Jerusalem!

AARON: Yeah, right!

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Machar

Leader:
Let us all refill our cups.

[Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]

Tonight we drink four cups of the fruit of the vine.
There are many explanations for this custom.
They may be seen as symbols of various things:
the four corners of the earth, for freedom must live everywhere;
the four seasons of the year, for freedom's cycle must last through all the seasons;
or the four matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel.

A full cup of wine symbolizes complete happiness.
The triumph of Passover is diminished by the sacrifice of many human lives
when ten plagues were visited upon the people of Egypt.
In the story, the plagues that befell the Egyptians resulted from the decisions of tyrants,
but the greatest suffering occurred among those who had no choice but to follow.

It is fitting that we mourn their loss of life, and express our sorrow over their suffering.
For as Jews and as Humanists we cannot take joy in the suffering of others.
Therefore, let us diminish the wine in our cups
as we recall the ten plagues that befell the Egyptian people.

Leader:

As we recite the name of each plague, in English and then in Hebrew,
please dip a finger in your wine and then touch your plate to remove the drop.

Everyone:

Blood - Dam (Dahm)
Frogs - Ts'phardea (Ts'phar-DEH-ah)
Gnats - Kinim (Kih-NEEM)
Flies - Arov (Ah-ROV)
Cattle Disease - Dever (DEH-vehr)
Boils - Sh'hin (Sh'-KHEEN)
Hail - Barad (Bah-RAHD)
Locusts - `Arbeh (Ar-BEH)
Darkness - Hoshekh (KHO-shekh)
Death of the Firstborn - Makkat B'khorot (Ma-katB'kho-ROT) 

[Take turns reading. Each person is invited to read a grouped set of lines - or to pass.]

In the same spirit, our celebration today also is shadowed
by our awareness of continuing sorrow and oppression in all parts of the world.
Ancient plagues are mirrored in modern tragedies.

In our own time, as in ancient Egypt, ordinary people suffer and die
as a result of the actions of the tyrants who rule over them.
While we may rejoice in the defeat of tyrants in our own time,
we must also express our sorrow at the suffering of the many innocent people
who had little or no choice but to follow.

Leader:

As the pain of others diminishes our joys,
let us once more diminish the ceremonial drink of our festival
as we together recite the names of these modern plagues:

Hunger
War
Tyranny
Greed
Bigotry
Injustice
Poverty
Ignorance
Pollution of the Earth Indifference to Suffering

Leader:
Let us sing a song expressing our hope for a better world. 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As all good term papers do, we start with the main idea:

ּעֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין  

Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. Now we are free.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and God took us from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. Had God not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, then even today we and our children and our grandchildren would still be slaves. Even if we were all wise, knowledgeable scholars and Torah experts, we would still be obligated to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

The plagues and our subsequent redemption from Egypt are but one example of the care God has shown for us in our history. Had God but done any one of these kindnesses, it would have been enough – dayeinu.

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu hotzi- hotzianu, Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim, Dayeinu

If God had only taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough!

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et ha-Torah, Natan lanu et ha-Torah , Dayeinu

If God had only given us the Torah, that would have been enough.

 The complete lyrics to Dayeinu tell the entire story of the Exodus from Egypt as a series of miracles God performed for us. (See the Additional Readings if you want to read or sing them all.)

Dayeinu also reminds us that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large. 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָֽיִם

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et-atzmo, k’ilu hu yatzav mimitzrayim.

In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.

The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors whom God redeemed; God redeemed us too along with them. That’s why the Torah says “God brought us out from there in order to lead us to and give us the land promised to our ancestors.”

---

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs. May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the second glass of wine!

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Abraham Joshua Heschel, Design by Haggadot.com

Rachtzah
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again wash our hands to prepare ourselves. In Judaism, a good meal together with friends and family is itself a sacred act, so we prepare for it just as we prepared for our holiday ritual, recalling the way ancient priests once prepared for service in the Temple.

Some people distinguish between washing to prepare for prayer and washing to prepare for food by changing the way they pour water on their hands. For washing before food, pour water three times on your right hand and then three times on your left hand.

After you have poured the water over your hands, recite this short blessing.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ  עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to wash our hands.

Motzi-Matzah
Source : JewishBoston.com

The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה

The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who brings bread from the land.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat matzah.

Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.

Maror
Source : Earth Justice Seder

The bitter herbs serve to remind us of how the Egyptians embittered the lives of the Israelites in servitude. When we eat the bitter herbs, we share in that bitterness of oppression. We must remember that slavery still exists all across the globe. When you go to the grocery store, where does your food come from? Who picked the sugar cane for your cookie, or the coffee bean for your morning coffee? We are reminded that people still face the bitterness of oppression, in many forms. 

Together, we recite: 

ָבּרוּךְ ַאָתה יי ֱאלֹ ֵהינוּ ֶמֶלךְ ָהעוָֹלם, ֲא ֶשר ִקְד ָשנוּ ְבּ ִמ ְצווָֹתיו, ְו ִצָוּנוּ ַעל ֲאִכיַלת ָמרוֹר

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror. 

Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with
Your commandments and ordained that we should eat bitter herbs. 

{ GREENING TIP }  Start a garden in your community and use the produce for synagogue gatherings or donate it to your local food pantry or soup kitchen. 

For more information on the environmental justice, please visit rac.org/enviro .  For all Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism resources, please visit rac.org/Passover .

Koreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : Original Design from Haggadot.com

Tzafun
Source : JewishBoston.com

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

The playfulness of finding the afikomen reminds us that we balance our solemn memories of slavery with a joyous celebration of freedom. As we eat the afikomen, our last taste of matzah for the evening, we are grateful for moments of silliness and happiness in our lives.

Bareich
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Refill everyone’s wine glass.

We now say grace after the meal, thanking God for the food we’ve eaten. On Passover, this becomes something like an extended toast to God, culminating with drinking our third glass of wine for the evening:

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, whose goodness sustains the world. You are the origin of love and compassion, the source of bread for all. Thanks to You, we need never lack for food; You provide food enough for everyone. We praise God, source of food for everyone.

As it says in the Torah: When you have eaten and are satisfied, give praise to your God who has given you this good earth. We praise God for the earth and for its sustenance.

Renew our spiritual center in our time. We praise God, who centers us.

May the source of peace grant peace to us, to the Jewish people, and to the entire world. Amen.

The Third Glass of Wine

The blessing over the meal is immediately followed by another blessing over the wine:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the third glass of wine!

Bareich
Source : Original Illustration from Haggadot.com

Hallel
Source : http://thesunmagazine.org/issues/401/to_say_nothing_but_thank_you
by  JEANNE LOHMANN

All day I try to say nothing but thank you,  breathe the syllables in and out with every step I take through the rooms of my house and outside into a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.

I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy after a hot shower, when my loosened muscles work,  when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly hair combs into place. 

Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute,  and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I  remember who I am, a woman learning to praise something as small as dandelion petals floating on the steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup, my happy, savoring tongue.

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

The Cup of Elijah

We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.

In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of God to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven. Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover seder.

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

Eliyahu hanavi
Eliyahu hatishbi
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi
Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu
Im mashiach ben-David,
Im mashiach ben-David

Elijah the prophet, the returning, the man of Gilad:
return to us speedily,
in our days with the messiah,
son of David.

Nirtzah
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Nirtzah  marks the conclusion of the seder. Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories and sung songs, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with  Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.

Though it comes at the end of the seder, this moment also marks a beginning. We are beginning the next season with a renewed awareness of the freedoms we enjoy and the obstacles we must still confront. We are looking forward to the time that we gather together again. Having retold stories of the Jewish people, recalled historic movements of liberation, and reflected on the struggles people still face for freedom and equality, we are ready to embark on a year that we hope will bring positive change in the world and freedom to people everywhere.

In  The Leader's Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, Rabbi David Hartman writes: “Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become.”

What can  we  do to fulfill our reckless dreams? What will be our legacy for future generations?

Our seder is over, according to Jewish tradition and law. As we had the pleasure to gather for a seder this year, we hope to once again have the opportunity in the years to come. We pray that God brings health and healing to Israel and all the people of the world, especially those impacted by natural tragedy and war. As we say…

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!

Songs
Rumi, the Persian poet of the soul, understands the meaning of love in this way:

            Your task is not to seek love

            But merely to seek and find all the barriers

            That you have built against it.

            The same can be said of freedom; we build barriers against it, barriers born of fear-fear of death, fear of not having enough, fear of not being enough, fear of being happy. An antidote to these fears is gratefulness; when we cultivate our awareness of life as a gift freely given, instead of our enslavement to greed we learn the liberating power of  gratitude; we recognize our thankfulness for who we are rather than being trapped by the  compulsion to be perfect; rather than the fear of and the fixation on tomorrow, we feel the joy of the moment; we discover the capacity  to shed the chains of paralyzing guilt and embrace instead  the redeeming possibilities of gratefulness as the impetus for doing the good and the compassionate in life.      

            Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, and confusion into clarity. It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com
Who knows one?

At some seders, people go around the table reading a question and the answers in one breath. Thirteen is hard!

Who knows one?

I know one.

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows four?

I know four.

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows five?

I know five.

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows six?

I know six.

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows seven?

I know seven.

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eight?

I know eight.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows nine?

I know nine.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows ten?

I know ten.

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows twelve?

I know twelve.

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows thirteen?

I know thirteen

Thirteen are the attributes of God

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Songs
Source : Time of Israel