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Introduction

Thank you for accepting our invitation to the seder and the celebration of the pesach.

It is worth noting at the outset that the seder is a religious observance that takes place not in a synagogue but in a home. We therefore welcome you as family to be full and equal participants in this communal celebration.

As a religious celebration, the traditional requirements governing eating and reading at the pesach meal emphasize the sanctity of this meal. Nevertheless, we have chosen elements for our haggadah that we hope blend tradition with elements that will be playful and intellectually stimulating. Indeed, elements of this seder might be understood as a kind of comment on Joyce's expression "Woman's reason. Jewgreek is greekjew. Extremes meet."

In this vein it is worth pointing out that the Seder is a festival whose major rites draw in some significant ways on pagan spring harvest festivals. In this vein, we hope that you will think of this seder as a symposium, not unlike the one that was held at the house of Agathon in concert with the Dionysia ta Megala in 416 BCE and was later recounted in Plato's Symposium. In other words, please feel free, or better, obligated to ask questions, to insert personal reflections, to challenge assertions and to tell good stories.

But, ultimately, this is a holiday whose meaning is rooted in the history of the Jewish people. And so, to borrow words from another haggadah:

"We are all invited to take a leap of solidarity back into the founding event of Jewish nationhood – the Exodus. First we relive slavery and indignity and then we re-experience the exhilarating gift of Divine liberation. Our goal is to return to the experiential sources of the Jewish values of freedom and justice. We make this journey as individuals, as families and as a worldwide community. In reliving our national autobiography we renew our covenant with one another and with God, who took us out of the house of bondage. [We therefore] commit ourselves to God’s words: 'Love the stranger as yourself for you were once strangers in Egypt' (Leviticus19:34)."

Introduction
Source : A Different night Family Participation Haggadah

From Wikipedia, the Fount of All True Scholarship:  Philo of Alexandria (c. 25 BCE – c. 50 CE), also called Philo Judaeus, was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who lived in Alexandria, in the Roman province of Egypt. Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His method followed the practices of both Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophy. His allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers, but he has barely any reception history within Rabbinic Judaism. He believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would stifle humanity's view and perception of a God too complex and marvelous to be understood in literal human terms.

*****

"At this time the whole household takes on the sanctity of a temple. The sacrifice becomes a seder meal. The invited guests cleanse themselves in water. They come not to fill their gullets with wine and their stomachs with food as at other symposia, but to celebrate with song, prayer (and story).”

"The whole people, old and young, ascend to the status of priests to conduct the holy service (the seder). For they all celebrate the great migration, when over 600,000 men and women happily exited from a land of cruelty and animosity towards strangers...”

Introduction

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:

Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom A-sher Ki-de-sho-nu Be-mitz-vo-sov Ve-tzi-vo-nu Le-had-lik Ner Shel Yom Tov.

[English: Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who sanctified us by commanding us to light the holiday candles.]

Bo-ruch A-toh Ado-noi E-lo-hei-nu Me-lech Ho-olom She-heche-yo-nu Ve-ki-yi-mo-nu Ve-higi-o-nu Liz-man Ha-zeh

[English: Blessed are you, Blessed are you, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us alive and brought us to this happy moment in our lives.]

A Traditional Woman’s’ Prayer at Candle Lighting

May it be Your will, God of our ancestors, that You grant my family and all Israel a good and long life. Remember us with blessings and kindness; fill our home with your Devine Presence. Give me the opportunity to raise my children, grandchildren, unborn grandchildren and grand-dog, to be truly wise, lovers of God, people of truth, who illuminate the world with Torah, good deeds and the work of the Creator. Please hear my prayer at this time. Regard me as a worthy descendant of Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel and Leah, our mothers, and let my candle burn and never be extinguished. Let the light of your face shine upon us. Amen.

Introduction

There are various interpretations for some of these traditional symbolic items of the passover plate:

Maror and chazeret: Bitter herbs

Charoset: “Mortar”

Karpas: A vegetable other than bitter herbs to be dipped in salt water

Z'roa or Zeroah: Lamb shankbone

Beitzah: A roasted hard-boiled egg

Kadesh

Below is a traditional Kiddush for Passover. On Shabbat, add the words in parentheses.

*****

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה (שַׁבָּתוֹת לִמְנוּחָה וּ) מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה, חַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשׂוֹן, אֶת יוֹם (הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶה וְאֶת יוֹם) חַג הַמַצוֹת הַזֶה, זְמַן חֵרוּתֵנוּ (בְּאַהֲבָה), מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ, זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, (וְשַׁבָּת) וּמוֹעֲדֵי קָדְשֶךָ (בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן,) בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְשָׂשׂוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, מְקַדֵּשׁ (הַשַׁבָּת וְ) יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikol’am, v'rom'manu mikol-lashon, v'kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, vatiten-lanu Adonai Eloheinu b'ahavah (shabatot limnuchah u) moadim l'simchah, chagim uz'manim l'sason et-yom (hashabat hazeh v'et-yom) chag hamatzot hazeh. Z'man cheiruteinu, (b'ahavah,) mikra kodesh, zeicher litziat mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v'otanu kidashta mikol ha’amim. (v'shabat) umo’adei kod’shecha (b'ahavah uv'ratzon) b'simchah uv'sason hinchaltanu. Baruch atah Adonai, m'kadeish (h’shabbat v') Yisrael v'hazmanim.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord, our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has chosen us from among the nations and the languages, sanctifying us by your mitzvot. Lovingly, You have given us (Shabbat for rest and) festivals for happiness, including today, (the Shabbat and) the Holiday of the Matzot, the season of our liberation, a sacred day to gather together and to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. For You have chosen us and sanctified us among the nations. You have granted us (lovingly the Shabbat and) joyfully the holidays. Blessed aree You, Lord, who sanctifies (the Shabbat and) the people of Israel and the festivals.

Urchatz

As we (pretend to) wash our hands, let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. 

Karpas
Source : Adapted from A Different Night Family Participation Haggadah

The dipping of greens is reminiscent of the historic "dipping" that led Israel into exile in Egypt. The descent to Egyptian slavery began when Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery and dipped his coat of many colors into a slaughtered goat’s blood in order to mislead their father Israel about his beloved son’s true fate. The ascent from exile – moral and physical – began when every family gathered together with their neighbors to share a lamb on seder night and to dip in its blood a hyssop plant and to dab it on the doorposts and the lintel as a protection against the tenth plague. The "dipping" also therefore refers to the "dipping" of the Egyptians that was complicit in the story of liberation and return from exile.

Take less than a kezayit (the volume of one olive) of the karpas, dip it into salt-water, and recite the following blessing:

*****

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

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

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruits of the earth.

Yachatz

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. In a moment, we will break the middle matzah into two 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, our younger guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in the portion of the seder called the Tzatoon.

A little later on we will discuss the symbolic significance of the matzah in a little more detail. For now, let us simply note that we eat matzah in memory of the quick flight of our ancestors from Egypt, who, when the word of their freedom came, 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; let us all say together:

*****

הא לחמא עניא די אכלו אבהתנא בארעא דמצרים. כל דכפין ייתי ויכל. כל דצריך ייתי ויפסח. השתא הכא. לשנה הבאה בארעא דישראל. השתא עבדי. לשנה הבאה בני חורין

Ha lachma anya di achalu avahatana b'ara d'Mitzrayim. Kal dichfin yeitei v'yeichul. Kal ditzrich yeitei v'yifsach. Hashata hacha, l'shanah haba'ah b'ara d'Yisrael. Hashata avdei. L'shana haba'ah b'nei chorin.

This is the bread of poverty and persecution that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry, come and eat; let all who are in need, come and share the Pesach meal. This year we are still here; next year in the land of freedom. This year we are still slave; next year free people."

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Primo Levi

PASSOVER

Tell me: how is this night different 

From all other nights?

How, tell me, is this Passover

Different from other Passovers?

Light the lamp, open the door wide

So the pilgrim can come in,

Gentile or Jew;

Under the rags perhaps the prophet is concealed.

Let him enter and sit down with us;

Let him listen, drink, sing and celebrate Passover;

Let him consume the bread of affliction,

The Paschal Lamb, sweet mortar and bitter herbs.

This is the night of differences

In which you lean your elbow on the table,

Since the forbidden becomes prescribed,

Evil is translated into good.

We will spend the night recounting

Far-off events full of wonder,

And because of all the wine

The mountains will skip like rams.

Tonight they exchange questions:

The wise, the godless, the simple-minded and the child.

And time reverses its course,

Today flowing back into yesterday, 

Like a river enclosed at its mouth.

Each of us has been a slave in Egypt,

Soaked straw and clay with sweat,

And crossed the sea dry-footed.

You too, stranger.

This year in fear and shame,

Next year in virtue and in justice.

-- Four Questions
Source : A Different Night Family Participation Haggadah

Traditionally, the Maggid opens with the Ma Nishtana--the Four Questions. Tonight, however, we will also ask our own questions. Let's begin, though, by reading the traditional four questions along with Don Isaac Abrabanel's responses (for a biography of Don Isaac look further down in the Haggadah).

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1. Why eat plain matza which is hard to digest? Poor laborers and slaves are fed matza not only because it is cheap but because it is filling and requires a long digestion period. The diet was designed by the oppressor to exploit the people efficiently.

2. Why eat raw, bitter vegetables? Maror is eaten plain only by the most oppressed workers who are given little time to prepare their meals. With more time they would have made these herbs into a tasty salad. On the other hand, dipping and reclining typify the manners of the leisure class in Roman times:

3. Why dip twice before eating? On seder night we are obligated to dip twice - karpas in salt water and maror in charoset – before the meal begins. Even today, finger foods dipped in tangy sauces are typical hors d’œuvres with cocktails (the first cup of wine) at banquets.

4. Why recline on pillows while drinking wine? The body language of the free reflects their ease and comfort. Reclining on sofas or pillows, everyone – big and small alike – experiences the freedom of the upper classes. On seder night these foods and these table manners are props and stage directions in the script acted out by all.

(based on Don Isaac Abrabanel's Zevach Pesach )

-- Four Questions
Source : Cecil Roth’s “Introduction” to his edition and translation of Leone Ebreo’s Dialoghi d’Amore

The family of Abrabanel was without a doubt among the most illustrious of those which adorned Spanish Jewry in the Middle Ages. Like more than one other in the Iberian Peninsula, it boasted descent from the house of David; but it did not depend on this remote and hypothetical ancestry for its distinction. From the thirteenth century onwards, it was active in public and communal service. It provided the Court of Castile with many tried servants; and in the fifteenth century, it reached its zenith in Don Issac ben Judah Abrabanel, statesman, financier, and exegete, who for upwards of a generation was among the dominating personalities in Jewish life and at the same time a considerable figure in European politics. The eldest of the latter’s trio of stately sons was named Judah after his grandfather. In accordance with convention, he was called also (in allusion to the benediction of Jacob—‘Judah is a lion’s whelp’) Leone or Leon, being thus known in subsequent life as Leone Ebreo, or Leon the Jew.

Judah Abrabanel was born in Lisbon, not much later than 1460. In 1483, on the death of King Alfonso (in whose service he had been), his father, Don Isaac, was suspected of complicity in the conspiracy of the Duke of Braganza against the new ruler and had to flee for his life, with the men-at-arms thundering at his heels. He found refuge at Toledo, where he immersed himself in his studies. His family accompanied him. It must have been with mingled delight and regret that Judah saw his father summoned from his bookish retirement to enter the service of Ferdinand and Isabella, whom he assisted in raising money both for the siege of Granada and for the first expedition of Columbus.

Hard on this followed the crowning tragedy of the Expulsion of the Jews (now no longer necessary to Castilian greatness) from Spain, and that that famous scene when Don Isaac threw himself before the feet of his royal master and mistress to obtain the rescindment of the decree. It was in vain, and the scholar-statesman’s family left the country at the head of the exiles. Not all, however; for in order to exert pressure upon these influential leaders a plot had been laid to kidnap Don Judah’s little son, in the expectation that this would weaken their determination and induce them to adopt Christianity. To forestall this, the child was sent with his nurse to Portugal, where he was seized by order of the King and in the end was forcibly baptised. The recollection of this outrage remained poignant in the father’s heart: and twelve years later he wrote a touching elegy, commemorating the tragedy which had embittered his life.

The Abrabanel family settled in Naples, where Don Isaac was once more summoned from another period of enforced literary retirement to enter the royal service. Don Judah, too, was henceforth in the public eye—not as a man of affairs, but as a physician, who brought to Italy the still famous traditions of Andalusia. The French invasion of 1494 and the wars which followed in its train caused the family to become wanderers once again. Don Judah lived in succession at Genoa, Barletta, Venice, perhaps [almost certainly] Florence. Ultimately, he was summoned back to Naples, where, overlooking past injuries he became body-physician to the Spanish Viceroy, Don Gonsalvo de Cordoba, the ‘Great Captain’. The position which he now enjoyed is testified to by a document of 1520, which informs us that, in recognition of his services, ‘Master Leon AbrabaneI, the physician’, together with his family and his household, were exempted from aII tribute. This is almost the last reliable mention of Leone Ebreo which has thus far been traced [as of 1937]: and it is to be presumed that he died not long after.

-- Four Questions

The Ma Nishtana is merely the traditional formula for four questions about the passover. For our purposes tonight, however, we would like to focus on the following four questions in a little more depth:

1) What response should the story of the ten plagues elicit from us?

2) Why do seder haggadot describe the Jews as a chosen people?

3) What does the celebration of the pesach call upon us to do?

4) What is the symbolic significance of matzah in the seder?

We will come to each of these questions in turn. When we turn our attention to these questions, it will help us to consider the various postures that we might take in addressing such questions. In order to do so, let us consider the role of the Four Children in the passover haggadah. But first, let us sing Ma Nishtana!

-- Four Questions

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה

מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין

חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה

הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה, כֻּלּוֹ מַצָּה

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין

שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת

הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה, כֻּלּוֹ מָרוֹר

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָנוּ

מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת

הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה, שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין

בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין

הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה, כֻּלָּנוּ מְסֻבִּין

Mah Nishtana halayla hazeh mikol haleylot? Mikol haleylot?

Sheb-ch-ol haleylot anu o-ch-lim ch-ametz umatzah, ch-ametz umatzah.

Halaylah hazeh, halaylah hazeh kulo matzah. (x2)

Sheb-ch-ol haleylot anu o-ch-lim she-ar yerakot.She-ar yerakot.

Halayla hazeh, halayla hazeh maror. (x2)

Sheb-ch-ol haleylot eyn anu matbilin afilu pa-am e-ch-at.Afilu pa-am e-ch-at.

Halayla hazeh, halayla hazeh sh'tae p'amim. (x2)

Sheb-ch-ol haleylot anu o-ch-lim beyn yoshvin uveyn mesubin. Beyn yoshvin uveyn mesubin.

Halayla hazeh, halayla hazeh kulanu mesubin. (x2)

-- Exodus Story
Source : Cokie and Steve Roberts, Our Haggadah (Harper Collins, 2011)

This version of the exodus story is taken from Cokie and Steve Roberts' Our Haggadah (Harper Collins 2011), which they say is adapted from the Revised English Bible. We will take turns reading paragraphs below:

*****

When there was famine in Canaan, “Jacob and all his family with him, his sons and their sons, his daughters and his sons’ daughters, he brought them all to Egypt.” Jacob’s son Joseph was the prime minister to the Pharaoh, who welcomed into his land Jacob and all of his family.

“In the course of time, Joseph and all his brothers and that entire generation died. The Israelites were prolific and increased greatly, becoming so numerous and strong that the land was full of them. When a new king ascended the throne of Egypt, one who did not know Joseph, he said to his people, ‘These Israelites have become too many and too strong for us. We must take steps to ensure that they increase no further; otherwise we shall find that, if war comes, they will side with the enemy, fight against us, and become masters of the country.’

“So taskmasters were appointed over them to oppress them with forced labor. This is how Pharaoh’s store cities, Pithom and Ramses, were built. But the more oppressive the treatment of the Israelites, the more they increased and spread, until the Egyptians came to loathe them. They ground down their Israelite slaves, and made life bitter for them with their harsh demands, setting them to make mortar and bricks and to do all sorts of tasks in the fields.

“Pharaoh then issued an order to all the Egyptians that every newborn Hebrew boy was to be thrown into the Nile, but all the girls were to be allowed to live.”

A Levite woman “conceived and bore a son, and when she saw what a fine child he was, she kept him hidden for three months. Unable to conceal him any longer, she got a rush basket for him, made it water-tight with pitch and tar, laid him in it, and placed it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. The child’s sister stood some distance away to see what would happen to him.

“Pharaoh’s daughter came down to bathe in the river, while her ladies-in-waiting walked on the bank. She noticed the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to bring it. When she opened it, there was the baby; it was crying and she was moved with pity for it. ‘This must be one of the Hebrew children,’ she said. At this the sister approached Pharaoh’s daughter: ‘Shall I go and fetch you one of the Hebrew women to act as a wet nurse for the child?’” The baby was taken to his mother who nursed him and raised him. “Then, when he was old enough, she brought him to Pharaoh’s daughter, who adopted him and called him Moses, ‘because,’ said she, ‘I drew him out of the water.’

“One day after Moses was grown up, he went out to his own kinsmen and observed their labors. When he saw an Egyptian strike one of his fellow Hebrews he looked this way and that and, seeing no one about, he struck the Egyptian down and hid his body in the sand.

“When it came to Pharaoh’s ears, he tried to have Moses put to death, but Moses fled from his presence and went and settled in Midian.” There he married the daughter of Jethro and became the shepherd of Jethro’s flock.

“Years passed, during which time the king of Egypt died, but the Israelites still groaned in slavery. They cried out and their plea for rescue ascended to God.” One day when Moses was tending the sheep of his father-in-law he saw “a fire blazing out from a bush. Although the bush was on fire, it was not being burnt up, and Moses said to himself, ‘I must go across and see this remarkable sight. Why ever does the bush not burn away?’ When the Lord saw that Moses had turned aside to look, he called to him out of the bush, ‘Moses, Moses!’ He answered, ‘Here I am.’

“The Lord said, ‘I have witnessed the misery of my people in Egypt and have heard them crying out because of their oppressors. I know what they are suffering and have come down to rescue them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that country into a fine, broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey.

“‘Come, I shall send you to Pharaoh, and you are to bring my people out of Egypt.’ ‘But who am I,’ Moses said to God, ‘that I should approach Pharaoh and that I should bring the Israelites out of Egypt?’ God answered, ‘I am with you.’” God told Moses to appoint his brother, Aaron, as his spokesman “and he will tell Pharaoh to let the Israelites leave his country. But I shall make him stubborn, and though I show sign after sign and portent after portent in the land of Egypt, Pharaoh will not listen to you.”

The Pharaoh refused to allow the people of Israel to leave Egypt, so the Lord sent plague after plague on Pharaoh and the Egyptians. Nine plagues the Lord inflicted on the Egyptians but still Pharaoh remained stubborn until God sent the tenth plague—the killing of the firstborn. But first, God instructed Moses to tell the Israelites to slay a lamb and “take some of the blood and smear it on the two doorposts and on the lintel of the house.

“It is the Lord’s Passover. On that night I shall pass through the land of Egypt and kill every firstborn of man and beast. Thus I shall execute judgment, I the Lord, against all the gods of Egypt. As for you, the blood will be a sign on the houses in which you are: when I see the blood I shall pass over you; when I strike Egypt, the mortal blow will not touch you. You are to keep this day as a day of remembrance, and make it a pilgrim-feast, a festival of the Lord; generation after generation you are to observe it as a statute for all time.”

-- Exodus Story
Source : From the eighth chapter of Eight Chapters (introduction to commentary on Pirkei Avot in the Rambam's Commentary on the Mishnah)

One element of the story of the exodus that the Roberts' version elides is God's hardening of Pharaoh's heart. Moses Maimonides (ca 1135 - 1204 CE) recognized this element of the story as a significant paradox since it seemed to suggest that God forced Pharaoh to make the wicked decisions that brought about the punishment of the plagues. As Maimonides recognizes, if this were so, then the notion that the plagues were a punishment as well as a means of the liberation of the Jews would both destroy the notion that moral responsibility depends upon the assumption that human beings are moral agents and any corresponding notion of divine justice (though it should be noted that Maimonides' conception of "divine justice" is, in turn, not altogether obvious). Below is a passage from chapter eight of Maimonides' "Eight Chapters" (his introduction to his commentary on Pirkei Avot in his Commentary on the Mishnah ). What do you make of the Rambam's attempt to reconcile this element of the story with a reasonable conception of human agency and divine justice?

*****

Pharaoh and his followers disobeyed by choice, without force or compulsion. They oppressed the foreigners who were in their midst and treated them with sheer injustice. As it is clearly said: And he said to his people: Behold, the people of Israel… Come, let us deal shrewdly with them. This action was due to their choice and to the evil character of their thought; there was nothing compelling them to do it. God punished them for it by preventing them from repenting so that the punishment which His justice required would befall them. What prevented them from repentance was that they would not set [Israel] free.

God explained this to [Pharaoh] and informed him that if He had only wanted to take [Israel] out [of Egypt], He would have exterminated [Pharaoh] and his followers, and they would have gone out. But in addition to taking them out, He wanted to punish [Pharaoh] for oppressing them previously. As He had said at the very outset: And also that nation, whom they shall serve, I will I judge. It was not possible to punish them if they repented, so they were prevented from repenting and they continued holding [Israel]. This is what He says: Surely now I have put forth my hand. . . but because of this I have left you standing, etc.

No disgrace need be attached to us because of our saying that God may punish an individual for not repenting, even though He leaves them no choice about repentance, For He, may be exalted, knows the sins, and His wisdom and justice impose the extent of the punishment. He may punish in this world alone, He may punish in the other [world] alone, or He may punish in both realms. His punishment in this world varies: He may punish with regard to the body, money, or both. He may impede some of man’s voluntary movements as a means of punishment, like preventing his hand from grasping, as He did with Jeroboam, or the eye from seeing, as He did with the men of Sodom who had united against Lot.

Similarly, He may prevent the choice of repentance so that a man does not at all incline toward it and is destroyed for his sin. It is not for us to know His wisdom to the extent of knowing why He punished this individual with this kind of punishment and did not punish him with another kind, just as we do not know the reason he determined this species to this form and not another form. But the general rule is that all of His ways are just. He punishes the sinner to the extent of his sin and He rewards the beneficent man to the extent of his beneficence.

-- Ten Plagues

As we mentioned when we dipped our karpas earlier, so too in the case of the dipping of drops of wine for each of the following plagues, we should recall that various elements of the story of the exile and exodus are mirrors for each other.

Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.

*****

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 |

-- Ten Plagues
Source : A Different Night Family participation Haggadah

“By spilling a drop of wine, from the Pesach cup for each plague, we acknowledge that our own joy is lessened and incomplete. For our redemption had to come by means of the punishment of other human beings. Even though these are just punishments for evil acts, it says ‘Do not rejoice at the fall of your enemy.’” (Proverbs 24:17)

-- Ten Plagues

As if the 10 plagues just enumerated weren't bad enough, Midrashic literature suggests that some biblical passages might support the conclusion that God's wrath expressed itself according to the following possible formulas:

 Rabbi Yossi, the Galilean posed the riddle this way: How do we know that the Egyptians suffered 10 plagues in Egypt and on the see they suffered 50 plagues? In Egypt what does it say? “The magicians said to Pharaoh: It is the finger of God.” (Shemot 8:15) On the sea what does it say? “Israel saw the great hand which Hashem did to Egypt, and the people feared Hashem, and believed in Hashem and in Moshe His servant.” (14:31) How many did they suffer in Egypt? 10 plagues. Say thus: In Egypt they suffered 10 plagues; on the see they suffered 50 plagues.

Rabbi Eliezer says: How do we know that each plague that the Holy One (Blessed be He) brought on the Egyptians in Egypt consisted of four plagues? It says “He sent among them the fierceness of His anger: wrath, and indignation, and trouble, a sending of messengers of evil.” – wrath (1), indignation (2), trouble (3), sending of evil messengers (4). Therefore say: In Egypt they suffered 40 plagues, on the see they suffered 200 plagues.

Rabbi Akiba says: How do we know that each plague that the Holy One (Blessed be He) brought on the Egyptians in Egypt consisted of five plagues? It says “He sent among them the fierceness of His anger, wrath, and indignation, and trouble, a sending of messengers of evil.” – fierceness of his anger (1), wrath (2), indignation (3), trouble (4), sending of evil messengers (5). Therefore say: In Egypt they suffered 50 plagues, on the see they suffered 250 plagues.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Cokie and Steve Roberts, Our Haggadah (Harper Collins, 2011)

Here is the conclusion of the exodus narrative in Cokie and Steve Roberts' Our Haggadah :

*****

And so with the terrible tenth plague, “Pharaoh summoned Moses and Aaron while it was still night and said, ‘Up with you! Be off, and leave my people, you and the Israelites. Go and worship the Lord, as you request.’ And on that very day the Lord brought the Israelites out of Egypt. Then Moses said to the people, ‘Remember this day, the day on which you have come out of Egypt, the land of slavery, because the Lord by the strength of his hand has brought you out.’

When it was reported to the Egyptian king that the Israelites had gone, he and his courtiers had a change of heart. “The Egyptians, all Pharaoh’s chariots and horses, cavalry and infantry, went in pursuit, and overtook them encamped beside the sea. The Lord said to Moses, ‘You are to raise high your staff and hold your hand out over the sea to divide it asunder, so the Israelites can pass through the sea on dry ground.’ And the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, while the waters formed a wall to the right and left of them.

“Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Hold your hand out over the sea, so that the water may flow back on the Egyptians, their chariots and horsemen.’ Moses held out his hand over the sea, and at daybreak the water returned to its usual place and the Egyptians fled before its advance, but the Lord swept them into the sea. As the water came back it covered all Pharaoh’s army, the chariots and cavalry, which had pressed the pursuit into the sea. Not one survived. That day the Lord saved Israel from the power of Egypt.”

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Baruch Spinoza, Theological-Political Treatise, chapter 3

The celebration of the Pesach and the story of the Exodus can all too easily be read in a way that would confirm the most self-aggrandizing notions of Jewish election. Below is a quote from Baruch Spinoza that should encourage us to resist any such interpretation.

*****

"The Hebrew nation was not chosen by God in respect to its wisdom nor its tranquility of mind, but in respect to its social organization and the good fortune with which it obtained supremacy and kept it so many years. This is abundantly clear from Scripture. Even a cursory perusal will show us that the only respects in which the Hebrews surpassed other nations, are in their successful conduct of matters relating to government, and in their surmounting great perils solely by God’s external aid; in other ways they were on a par with their fellows, and God was equally gracious to all. For in respect to intellect (as we have shown in the last chapter) they held very ordinary ideas about God and nature, so that they cannot have been God’s chosen in this respect; nor were they so chosen in respect of virtue and the true life, for here again they, with the exception of a very few elect, were on an equality with other nations: therefore their choice and vocation consisted only in the temporal happiness and advantages of independent rule."

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Brian Klug, "A People Apart," Jewish Quarterly

Despite the odd way in which Brian Klug spells some of the words in the passage below, the words are well-chosen and offer an additional perspective on the question of Jewish election.

*****

"‘The people of God’: the very idea is outrageous. Not only the ultimate chutzpah, it carries a double dose of mortal danger. For a chosen people is a proud people, the envy of the nations. Pride and envy: the one begets arrogance and chauvinism, the other breeds hatred and contempt. None of which is conducive to happiness and all of which sounds depressingly familiar in the chequered career of ‘the people of God’ from that day forth. Now, if you were God, would you wish these things on your favourite people? Then why does God gull the children of Israel with an offer that is a poisoned chalice? And why on earth does he announce to the nations that the Israelites are the apple of his eye (Deut. 32:10)? If he really loves them, why not do his favourite people a favour – and stay shtum?"

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Various

The following quotations seem to us to have resonance with many of the themes of the seder. Many of these quotes are borrowed from Cokie and Steve Roberts' Our Haggadah. Others are from various other sources. If you see one you'd like to comment on, applaud, or jeer, speak up.

*****

To be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others. —Nelson Mandela

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can’t ride you unless your back is bent. —Martin Luther King Jr.

When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall. —Mohandas K. Gandhi

The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball—the further I am rolled, the more I gain. —Susan B. Anthony

The world has never yet seen a truly great and virtuous nation because in the degradation of woman the very fountains of life are poisoned at their source. —Lucretia Mott

It is possible to become discouraged about the injustice we see everywhere. But God did not promise us that the world would be humane and just. He gives us the gift of life and allows us to choose the way we will use our limited time on earth. It is an awesome opportunity. —Cesar Chavez

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Two elements that traditionally close out the Maggid encourage us to consider how the seder calls upon us to celebrate the Pesach with a view not toward the past but to responsibilities for our future actions. These elements are the B'chol dor vador and the blessing of the cup of redemption.

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 while reclining to the left!

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

To conclude the Maggid, we will take turns each enumerating some of the items from the traditional expressions of gratitude in Dayenu and then sing a few verses for the first few of these items of gratitude. Note, even if you have trouble singing some of the verses, you are expected at least to sing the chorus!

Ilu hotzi, hotzianu; hotzianu miMitzraim; hotzianu miMitzraim: Dayeinu.

Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-ye-nu Da-ye-nu !

Ilu natan, natan lanu; natan lanu et haShabbat; natan lanu et haShabbat: Dayeinu.

Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-ye-nu Da-ye-nu !

Ilu natan, natan lanu; natan lanu et haTorah; natan lanu et haTorah: Dayeinu.

Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-da-ye-nu, Da-ye-nu Da-ye-nu !

Rachtzah

As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again (pretend to) wash our hands to prepare ourselves and say the following 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 : Adapted from various sources

Before we can enjoy our meal, we should attend the fourth question that we set out for ourselves a little earlier, namely what is the symbolic significance of matzah in the seder celebration. Let's begin with the Let's now extend our reflections on the bread of affliction by reading the following blessing over the meal and matzah:

*****

בְָּרוּךְ 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.

In order to stimulate our reflection on the significance of matzah in the seder, let's take turns reading the next few passages.

This is matzah, the bread of oppression and rebellion that our mothers baked and ate at a time when they had to be organizing and preparing and resisting and running. There was no time for the bread to rise. Each year we eat matzah to remind ourselves of their struggle, and that our struggle continues. We eat matzah to remind ourselves that only when we we turn from mere survival toward the attempt to find meaning in our actions do we become free.

This is matzah, the bread of affliction and oppression. Let all people who hunger to know and express their nature and strength, all people who seek to find their meanings and place in tradition—come and join our celebration. For the sake of liberation we say these ancient words together: This is the bread of affliction, let all who are hungry come and eat.

These words join us with our people and with all who are in need, with those imprisoned, those under occupation, and those forced to live in the streets. For our liberation is bound up with the deliverance from bondage of people everywhere.

This year we are here seeking a path towards freedom and dignity. Next year, may we live in a world made whole and free, part of a larger community which strengthens and sustains us.

Maror

In creating a holiday about the joy of freedom, we turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset.

*****

ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְיַָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר:

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

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

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 : JewishBoston.com

Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

Enjoy! But don’t forget when you’re done we’ve got a little more seder to go, including the final two cups of wine!

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

The section of the Seder that is called the Bareich is traditionally initiated by expressions of gratitude for that which sustains life. At this point we pour our third glass of wine, give thanks for the meal and for the fruit of the vine. You may drink the wine after the third blessing below.

*****

יְהִי שֵׁם יְיָ מְבֹרָךְ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם.

Y’hee sheim Adonai m’vo-rach mei-atah v’ad olam.

Praised be the name of the Lord now and forever.

בָּרוּךְ (אֱלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ חָיִּינוּ.

Baruch (Eloheinu) she’achalnu mishelo uv’tuvo chayinu.

Blessed be (our God) whose food we have eaten.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַזָּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בְּטוּבוֹ בְּחֵן בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים הוּא נוֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָנוּ וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל כִּי הוּא אֵל זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס לַכֹּל וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וּמֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל בְּרִיּוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hazan et ha-olam kulo b’tuvo, b’chein b’chesed uv-rachamim, hu noten lechem l’chol basar, ki l’olam chasdo, uv-tuvo hagadol, tamid lo chasar lanu v’al yechsar lanu mazon l’olam va’ed. Ba-avur sh’mo hagadol, ki hu Eil zan um’farneis lakol, u-meitiv lakol u-meichin mazon l’chol-b’riyotav asher bara. Baruch atah Adonai, hazan et hakol.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who nourishes the whole world. Your kindness endures forever. May we never be in want of sustenance. God sustains us all, doing good to all, and providing food for all creation. Praised are you, Adonai, who sustains all.

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.

Bareich

Nicholas of Cusa's De pace fidei was written in 1453 in response to the fall of Constantinople. Although many contemporary Cusanus scholars tend to emphasize the ecumenical themes of the text, there is a deep tension between these ecumenical impulses and its apologetic bent. Depressingly, the apologetic bent is most noticeable in the ways in which representatives of Islam are depicted as being persuaded to accept several central tenets of trinitarian theology as well as several unsavory characterizations of Jews and Judaism in the text. Admittedly, then, this is a strange text to quote in a Passover seder. And yet, even if he cannot acknowledge it (which is, in a way, merely to mimic the principle of charity involved in what Nicholas called his own peculiar method of "pia interpretatione"), the text seems to capture the pulse of several ideas central to the themes of the seder.

Traditionally, Bareich involves a number of prayers of gratitude to God and supplication for Mercy. In place of options from other aggagot, let us therefore read the following excerpts from the supplication of the Archangel in Nicholas of Cusa's De pace fidei.

*****

“O Lord, King of the universe, what does any creature have that You did not give to it? It was fitting that the human body, formed from the clay of the earth, was inbreathed by You with a rational spirit, so that from within this body an image of Your ineffable power would shine forth. From one [man] there was multiplied the great number of people who inhabit the surface of dry land.…

"But You know, O Lord, that there cannot be a great multitude without much diversity and that almost all [men] are compelled to live a hard life full of troubles and miseries and to be underlings, in abject subjection, to kings who wield dominion. Consequently, it has come about that, of all [men], few have so much leisure that by using their freedom of choice they are able to arrive at a knowledge of themselves. For they are distracted by many corporeal cares and tasks…. [And] the earthly human condition has this characteristic: viz., that longstanding custom, which is regarded as having passed over into nature, is defended as the truth. In this way there arise great quarrels when each community prefers its own faith to another [faith].

"Aid [us], then, O You who alone are able to. For this strife occurs for the sake of You, whom alone all [men] worship in everything they are seen to adore. For no one, in whatever he is seen to desire, desires [anything] except the good, which You are. And in all intellectual inference no one seeks anything other than the truth, which You are.

"What does that which is alive seek except to continue living? What does that which exists seek except to continue existing? You, then, who are the giver of life and of existence, are the one who is seen to be sought in different ways in different rites, and You are named in different names; for as You are [in Yourself] You remain unknown and ineffable to all….

"Therefore, do not hide Yourself any longer, O Lord. Be propitious, and manifest Your face; and all peoples will be saved, who no longer will be able to desert the Source of life and its sweetness, once having foretasted even a little thereof. For no one departs from You except because He is ignorant of You."

Bareich
Source : A Different Night Family Participation Haggadah

As we pour a glass of wine for Elijah and open the door for him, let us offer the following prayer together from the Maharal of Prague.

HaRachaman! May the Merciful One send Elijah the prophet to announce good news about redemption and comfort--just as You promised: "Here I will send you Elijah the prophet before the Lord's great and awesome day. He will reconcile the hearts of parents to their children and children to their parents..." (Malachi 3.24)

Bareich

Like most religions, Judaism developed within a patriarchal society. Men recorded and interpreted religious law and wrote the traditional prayers. Miriam's Cup is a newer ritual object that is placed on the seder table beside the Cup of Elijah to represent her importance in the Passover story. Miriam's Cup is filled with water, rather than wine, and serves as a symbol of Miriam's Well, which was the source of water for the Israelites in the desert for 40 years.

Filling Miriam's Cup is also a way of drawing attention to the importance of the other women of the Exodus story --such as Moses' mother, Yocheved, and even the Pharoah's daughter --who have sometimes been overlooked but about whom our tradition says, "If it wasn't for the righteousness of women of that generation we would not have been redeemed from Egypt" (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 9b).

*****

Yehi ratzon milfanecha, adonai eloheinu, velohei avoteinu v'imoteinu, borei ha'olam: shetishm'reinu ut'kaymeinu bamidbar chayeinu im mayim chayim. V'titen lanu et hachizzuk v'et hachomchah l'daat she'tzmichat geulateinu nimtza baderekh chayim lo rak b'sof haderekh.

"Blessed is the force that sustains us with living water. May we, like the children of Israel leaving Egypt, be guarded and nurtured and kept alive in the wilderness, and may we receive the wisdom to understand that the journey itself holds the promise of redemption."

Hallel

As we come to the end of the seder, we drink one more glass of wine. With this final cup, we give thanks for the experience of celebrating Passover together, for the traditions that help inform our daily lives and guide our actions and aspirations.

***

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.

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim

Next year in Jerusalem!

...תקון עולם

Tikkun olam...

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
Source : Brian Klug's Family

An Apple Will Not Fall [Oon Apple Vil Nisht Fuln]

[Note: According to Brian Klug, this is a (very) rough translation from the Yiddish (see below for the Yiddish).]

Show me a peasant anywhere in the world who tries to pick an apple and he can’t – because the apple will not fall.

Show me a cat anywhere in the world who tries to scratch the peasant who tries to pick an apple and he can’t – because the apple will not fall.

Show me a dog anywhere in the world who tries to bite the cat who tries to scratch the peasant who tries to pick an apple and he can’t – because the apple will not fall.

Show me a stick anywhere in the world that tries to hit the dog who tries to bite the cat who tries to scratch the peasant who tries to pick an apple and he can’t – because the apple will not fall.

Show me a fire anywhere in the world that tries to burn the stick that tries to hit the dog who tries to bite the cat who tries to scratch the peasant who tries to pick an apple and he can’t – because the apple will not fall.

Show me water anywhere in the world that tries to put out the fire that tries to burn the stick that tries to hit the dog who tries to bite the cat who tries to scratch the peasant who tries to pick an apple and he can’t – because the apple will not fall.

Show me the ox anywhere in the world who tries to drink the water that tries to put out the fire that tries to burn the stick that tries to hit the dog who tries to bite the cat who tries to scratch the peasant who tries to pick an apple and he can’t – because the apple will not fall.

Show me the slaughterer who tries to kill the ox who tries to drink the water that tries to put out the fire that tries to burn the stick that tries to hit the dog who tries to bite the cat who tries to scratch the peasant who tries to pick an apple and he can’t – because the apple will not fall.

Show me the Angel of Death who slaughters them all: now the ox drinks the water, the water puts out the fire, the fire burns the stick, the stick hits the dog, the dog bites the cat, the cat scratches the peasant, the peasant picks the apple – and the apple falls.

Songs
Songs
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 : Rabbi Eli Garfinkel

We’re Gonna Sing Dayenu

Start the Torah, Genesis, Ark, Noah, what a mess
Babel’s Tower, God has power, Abraham let’s go,
Sarah’s barren, can’t have children, Isaac isborn, try to kill him, Sarah’s Dying, Isaac’s crying, Rivka is hisbeau

Esau’s tricked, too bad, birthright sold, brother’s blessed,
Beth El, to find a wife, andthen Jacob marries twice
Rachel’s hotter, Leah’s first, Twelve sons, it could be worse
Joseph’s dreaming, brothers hate him, throw him down there, goodbye

We’re gonna sing Dayenu It’s the song we’re learning While the brisket’s burning We’re gonna sing Dayenu They may really hate us But God always saves us

Joseph Viceroy, save the food, new king, he hates the Jews Boys in river, gave us shivers, Moses kills a dude
Bush flames, God exclaims, Save my people, can’t lose Ten plagues, they’re mad, Egypt chases hard,

Cross Sea, we’re free, now the story really starts
Eating manna, it’s God’s will, Moses tarries, calf is built God’s rage, burns bad, broke the tablets, shattered them, We get grace, saving face, let’s all say Baruch Hashem!

We’re gonna sing Dayenu It’s the song we’re learning While the brisket’s burning We’re gonna sing Dayenu They may really hate us But God always saves us

Get the law, write it down, oral Torah, don’t you doubt Mishkan, build it right, don the robes of holy might
Vayikra, Kohanim, they were holy, served the Name Holiness and sacred rites, oh that must have been a sight. . .

Count ‘em up, sent spies, so evil, they were fools Fringes rule, Korah, all his posse in a hole
Red Cow, rock and staff, Bilaam’s curse, a talking ass Ba’al Peor, kills two more, Moses honors Phineas

We’re gonna sing Dayenu It’s the song we’re learning While the brisket’s burning We’re gonna sing Dayenu

They may really hate us But God always saved us

Say the Sh’ma, bind hand, Moses dies outside the land,
Big wall, it falls, Led a big invasion
Deborah of the Judges’ fame, someone butchered Samson’s mane King Saul, Agag, David puts his faith in God,
New King, Solomon, Union of the North and South
Temple slayed, blown away, what else do I have to say

We’re gonna sing Dayenu It’s the song we’re learning While the brisket’s burning We’re gonna sing Dayenu They may really hate us But God always saves us

Second Temple, build it big, Greek control, makes us sick Purim, Esther, Hanukkah, we rock
Romans, burned down, second Temple to the ground
Then they say we killed their god, exiled, beaten, hurt and shot Wrote the Mishnah, Talmud Sage, halakha, awesome age Caliph’s sword, violent horde, rats, plague, awful sores

But there’s good news all the more, Jewish study of the law,
Then we’re back on Israel’s shores, saved our nation, never bored!