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The seder officially begins with a physical act: lighting the candles.  In Jewish tradition, lighting candles and saying a blessing over them marks a time of transition, from the day that is ending to the one that is beginning, from ordinary time to sacred time.  Lighting the candles is an important part of our Passover celebration because their flickering light reminds us of the importance of keeping the fragile flame of freedom alive in the world.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with laws and commanded us to light the festival lights.

As we light the festival candles, we acknowledge that as they brighten our Passover table, good thoughts, good words, and good deeds brighten our days.

Source : Meg Valentine

A word about God: everyone has his or her own understanding of what God is. For some people, there is no God, while for others, God is an integral part of their lives. While we may not agree on a singular concept of God, we share a common desire for goodness to prevail in the world. And this is the meaning of tonight:  freedom winning out over slavery, good prevailing over evil.

Please consider the source of benevolence in your life, be it God, or a belief in humanity, and hold that source in your hearts as we move through the evening.

Source :
Seder Plate

The seder plate holds the ritual items that are discussed during the seder. 

One of the most striking symbols of Passover is the roasted lamb shankbone (called zeroah), which commemorates the paschal (lamb) sacrifice made the night the ancient Hebrews fled Egypt. Some say it symbolizes the outstretched arm of God (the Hebrew word zeroah can mean “arm”). Many vegetarians use a roasted beet instead. This isn’t a new idea; the great Biblical commentator Rashi suggested it back in the 11th Century.

Bitter herbs (usually horseradish) bring tears to the eyes and recall the bitterness of slavery. The Seder refers to the slavery in Egypt, but people are called to look at their own bitter enslavements.

There’s nothing further from maror than charoset (“cha-ROH-set”), the sweet salad of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon that represents the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to make bricks.

Karpas is a green vegetable, usually parsley (though any spring green will do). Karpas symbolizes the freshness of spring. Some families still use boiled potatoes for karpas, continuing a tradition from Eastern Europe where it was difficult to obtain fresh green vegetables.

Salt water symbolizes the tears and sweat of enslavement, though paradoxically, it’s also a symbol for purity, springtime, and the sea.

The orange is a symbol of the fruitfulness and inclusion of LGBTQ+ members of the Jewish community.
We spit out the seeds of homophobia, and welcome all who feel marginalized.

The roasted egg (baytsah) is a symbol in many different cultures, usually signifying springtime and renewal. Here it stands in place of one of the sacrificial offerings which was performed in the days of the Second Temple. Another popular interpretation is that the egg is like the Jewish people: the hotter you make it for them, the tougher they get.

May we reflect on our lives this year and soften our hearts to those around us. Another year has passed since we gathered at the Seder table and we are once again reminded that life is fleeting. We are reminded to use each precious moment wisely so that no day will pass without bringing us closer to some worthy achievement as we all take a moment to be aware of how truly blessed we are.

Our faith gives us many holidays to celebrate throughout the year and they are all times for self reflection, gently guiding us to a better path in life. We are each given a chance to reflect on our past year; to think about where we have been and how we will live our lives in the year to come. We reaffirm our commitment to lead good and meaningful lives, promoting peace wherever we go.

Source :
By Rabbi Tamara Cohen

We sit down for our seders this year at a powerful cultural moment when the voices of women and girls are rising – the collective activism of #metoo, Emma Gonzales’s six minutes of silence and 11-year-old African American Naomi Wadler’s speech at the March for Our Lives, and even the truth telling of Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels.

All this makes the absence of women’s voices in the Passover Haggadah more glaring. Thirty years ago, feminists began adding Miriam and the midwives to our seders. This year, to address the #metoo movement and our societal need for deep reckoning around gender, sexuality, and power, it is time to take a step further.

I propose that we do so by adding mirrors to our seder plates this year.

Before proceeding, a warning. The Rabbinic midrash that introduces the role of women’s mirrors in the Exodus imagines a past peopled only by heterosexual married couples. It ends with the birth of many, many children, as if there were only one ultimate path for women to contribute to the Jewish future. This is enough to keep some of us away. But I think that there is something about the significance of the mirror in this story that we all need to pay attention to.

Mirrors to Awaken and Embolden

Midrash Tanchuma describes how the Israelite women defied Pharaoh’s decree prohibiting sexual relations. The women made picnics in the fields for their labor-weary partners and then led them in playful flirtation.

As translated by Aviva Zornberg, “The women would take mirrors and look into them with their husbands. A woman would say, ‘I am more beautiful than you,’ and then he would say, ‘I am more beautiful than you.’ As a result they would accustom themselves to desire and they were fruitful and multiplied.”

Notice the steps here: the women take the lead, they are playful, they begin by seeing themselves as desirable – and with these crucial elements develop positive intimacy.

The mirror is a tool these women use to not only affirm their inherent self-worth but to educate and awaken men to their own inherent self-worth so that they can meet as equals.

I hope the story about the righteous women of Exodus will be a powerful source of inspiration for girls and women who are in the process of claiming their right to have and to express desire of all kinds. Those who walk in the world as men and boys can also learn from these ancient mirrors. Boys and men need mirrors that show them a vision different from what media and society encourage them to see. Rather than a distorted, oversized sense of themselves or a projected masculinity dependent on dominating women and less powerful men, boys need mirrors to help them see who they really are and can be — as human beings in need of love and validation, play, respect, boundaries, and freedom. I hope they will take from this story the heritage of sharing the lead more often, in all arenas of their lives as a surprisingly liberating pathway to their own freedom as boys and men.

My hope is that transgender and non-binary teens will also find ways to use these ancient mirrors to recognize their own beauty and to have the sharing of their self-knowledge be greeted by parents, peers, and the larger community with appreciation for the diversity of human gender as a wondrous expression of what it means to be free.

Mirrors Help Teens Resist

I have seen teens receive such “mirrors” through the work of Moving Traditions, where teens of all genders come to appreciate their own multi-faceted beauty, see one another as subjects, and resist the tyranny of gender norms and scripts that get in the way of their forming healthy relationships, connections, and expressions of their emerging sexuality.

This year I will put mirrors on my Seder table. I will tell the midrash making changes in my telling to add friends in the fields and couples of various genders. I will use the mirrors to playfully challenge the kids at our table to think more broadly about how they see themselves – beyond their physical selves. I will talk with them about how beautiful they are when they allow themselves to be themselves. The adults at the table will share stories of our journeys to free ourselves from gender norms and scripts, stories of how we came to learn that love and desire grow from positive self-love and from mutuality and equality.

This is a year for every seder to take a step toward becoming more feminist. Because, as bell hooks writes, “A genuine feminist politics always brings us from bondage to freedom, from lovelessness to loving.” Because “dayenu, v’lo dayennu,” the changes we have witnessed and been part of this year are powerful steps on the journey, but not yet enough.

Rabbi Tamara R. Cohen is the Chief of Innovation at Moving Traditions. She is also the editor of the Ma’yan Haggadah available at

Source : Jewish Labor Committee Seder

The word Seder means “order.” While order can be oppressive when it
suppresses creativity and choice, order can also be a liberating source of
In the first chapter of Genesis, the world is fashioned out of chaos, each
stage of Creation providing the foundation for the next. First light bursts out
from darkness; then the waters appear, followed by trees and plants; then
animals, from small to large; and finally, human beings. The organizing
principle of Creation is itself a promise of the goodness inherent in the
world. Rather than eliminating chaos, the natural order contains it,
channeling its creativity and vitality to support all life.
Likewise, democratic societies are built on order. The three branches of
government, each playing a distinct role, create a delicately balanced
structure. Were one branch to overpower the others, the resulting imbalance
could return our society to chaos. From a Jewish perspective, this system
underscores the belief that no human is above the law, and that the social
contract protects humanity from our worst instincts.
The order of the Seder reflects the innate human desire to create order out of
chaos. Each step in the Seder has its place. We begin with a welcome, then
explain the purpose of the gathering, enjoy a sacred communal meal, and
close with thanksgiving and hope for the future. Within this fixed order,
there is still room to tell stories, to discuss, and most important, to ask
questions. Chaos is not eradicated but contained, its energy channeled into
creative rituals and engagement.

Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

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!

Source : Original Illustration from
Four Cups of Wine


Jewish celebrations usually include wine as a symbol of joy.

Wine sanctifies an occasion and makes it holy.

During the Passover Seder we drink four cups of wine, why four?

In the Book of Exodus, God convinced the Jews to leave Egypt using four statements:

I shall take you out
I shall rescue you
I shall redeem you
I shall bring you

We toast each of these statements with a cup of wine.

Pour and raise your first cup of wine/grape juice. This cup is dedicated to the renewal of spring, to the renewal of ourselves.

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 your first cup of wine/grape juice!

Source : original for the Haggadah

In washing our hands, we also think of those who don't get to share in the basic human right of abundant, clean water

of people deprived of water by the weather in Somalia, in India, in Texas

and those deprived of water by human action in places like Flint, Michigan

as well as those whose homes have been ravaged by wind and water in Colombia, in California, and here in New Jersey.

We wash our hands and accept our responsibilities to those threatened by the presence and absence of water

and pray that those with the human power to change things do not wash their hands of what the world needs them to correct.

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.
Source : Aish/Pollock
Salt Water

Salt is unique in that it is bitter on its own, yet sweetens and brings out the taste of that which it is added to. For this reason, salt is the staple of suffering.

There are two perspectives of suffering – Purposeless Suffering and Purposeful Suffering.

Purposeless Suffering is suffering without reason, value, or an end-goal, and is therefore completely bitter. It is based on a keyhole view of life: “What is right in front of my eyes is all there is and there is no grander scheme.”

We squint in order to focus on something in the distance.

The Kabbalists explain that for this reason, the reaction of a person in pain is to close his eyes, since physical eyes don't see the spiritual purpose. Just as a person squints, which is a partial closing of one's eyes in order to focus on something in the physical distance, one may close his eyes completely in order to focus on something in the "spiritual distance.”

Purposeful Suffering is sweetened by understanding the greater context – that all is from God and for the best.

At the Seder, we dip the Karpas into saltwater in order to embody the concept of Purposeful Suffering – that we view any suffering in life as a surgery for our ultimate betterment rather than meaningless torture. (Additionally, we dip Karpas into salt water to represent the tears cried by the Jewish people while enslaved under Egyptian rule.)

We see these two sides of salt expressed by the Dead Sea. Due to its high salt concentration, the Dead Sea contains no life within it, yet has an incredible capacity to heal. On its own, the Dead Sea is "bitter," but when a person dips into the Dead Sea, he is "sweetened."

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.

We also dip Karpas to help us remember the sweetness of life. How the universe  works in cycles and the spring will always come back around providing us with new life. 

True freedom requires sacrifice and pain. Most human beings only think they want freedom. The truth is they yearn for the bondage of social order, rigid laws, materialism. The only freedom man really wants is to be comfortable.

- Emma Goldman

Source : -

Breaking the middle matzah | yachatz | יַחַץ

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 must hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal. Because the meal cannot end until all guests taste the afikomen, whoever has found it may ransom it back to the other guests.

We eat matzah in memory of the quick flight of our ancestors from Egypt. As slaves, they faced many false starts before finally securing their freedom. 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, letting it bake in the sun, and thus looking something like matzah.

The host uncovers and holds up the three pieces of matzah and says:

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 may we be in Israel. This year we are slaves; next year we will be free.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

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
Source : Rabbi Alon C Ferency

Arami Oved Avi

אֲרַמִי אבֵֹד אָבִי, וַיֵרֶׁד מִצְרַיְמָה, וַיָגָר שָם בִמְתֵי מְעָט .

Deuteronomy 26:1-10

My ancestor was a refugee Aramean. He descended to Egypt and resided there in small numbers. There, he became a great nation, powerful and vast. The Egyptians persecuted us, and battered us, giving us severe labors. We cried out to God, who is god to our ancestors, and then God heard our voice. God saw our suffering, toil, and oppression. God took us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with great demonstrations[ of God’s power] and wonderful signs. God brought us to this place, and gave us this Land, a Land of milk and honey.

Letter from a Foreign Jew (Egypt, 11th cent.)

I have no cover, and no couch, and no work to which I can resort. I am from a faraway place, namely Rahba [Iraq].

I have been here three months and none of our coreligionists has paid attention to me or fed me with a piece of bread. So I have turned to God the exalted and to my master to do for me what is appropriate for every wayfarer and give me as charity a little money to raise [my] spirits, for I am miserable and dying from hunger. Dogs get their fill these days with bread, but not I.

The Economist, Keep the Borders Open, January 3, 2008

History has shown that immigration encourages prosperity. Tens of millions of Europeans who made it to the New World in the 19th and 20th centuries improved their lot, just as the near 40m foreign-born are doing in America today.

Many migrants return home with new skills, savings, technology and bright ideas. Remittances to poor countries in 2006 were worth at least $260 billion— more, in many countries, than aid and foreign investment combined…

The movement of people also helps the rich world. Prosperous countries with greying workforces rely ever more on young foreigners. Indeed, advanced economies compete vigorously for outsiders’ skills. Around a third of the Americans who won Nobel prizes in physics in the past seven years were born abroad. About 40% of science and engineering PhDs working in America are immigrants. Around a third of Silicon Valley companies were started by Indians and Chinese. The low-skilled are needed too, especially in farming, services and care for children and the elderly. It is no coincidence that countries that welcome immigrants—such as Sweden, Ireland, America and Britain—have better economic records than those that shun them.

-- Four Questions
Source :

The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. If everyone at your seder is around the same age, perhaps the person with the least seder experience can ask them – or everyone can sing them all together.

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות

Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה  

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah.
Tonight we only eat matzah.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables,
but tonight we eat bitter herbs.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים

Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.

On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time.
Tonight we do it twice.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין.  :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.

On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining.
Tonight we recline.

-- Four Questions
Source : Temple Israel of Boston

To be read following the chanting of the Four Questions.

1. The Torah demands, “Justice, justice shall you pursue!” (Deut 16:20). What are the obstacles to fulfilling this commandment in the context of criminal justice?

2. The Sage Hillel taught: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow” (BT Shabbat 31a). At the heart of our Passover story is the remembrance of being slaves in Egypt. How do we internalize this narrative of “imprisonment” and express it in our own public lives?

3. In Genesis we read that God created human beings, “b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image.” How does institutionalized racism undermine this teaching? Do you feel obliged to assign this teaching to all human beings, including those who have committed heinous crimes?

4. The Talmud teaches, “The person who destroys one life, it is as though that person has destroyed the whole world; and the person who saves one life, it is as though that person has saved the whole world” (JT Sanhedrin 4:1). It is naive to overlook the societal necessity of a working criminal justice system. Imagine a criminal justice system that fulfills the supreme Jewish value of saving lives: What does it “look like”?

-- Four Children
Source : JoJo Schwartz Jacobson
The Four Children: 2018 Edition

The WISE child asks “how can we speak truth to power in ways that demonstrate commitment to intersectionality, and how can we leverage every resource we have to make the world a better place?”

To her, we say “thank you. Keep leading the way. We will follow you and support you as you continue to ask important questions.”

The WICKED child asks “what did you do to this world? What can I do about it anyway?”

To him, we say “I’m sorry. But it’ll be your world soon enough, so you better get involved.”

The SIMPLE child asks “Can you please stop killing us?”

To her, we say “Yes. We will fight for you.”

As for THE CHILD WHO CANNOT ASK, we owe it to him to fight with every fiber of our beings to make this world a better place, a more just and righteous place, a place worthy of his memory and of his siblings’ futures.

-- Four Children
Source : Bend the Arc
4 Responses to Living in Unacceptable Times

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,

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 : For This We Left Egypt? By Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach

The Passover Story (At Last!)

Source: For This We Left Egypt? By Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach

The Passover story begins thousands of years ago in the land of Egypt, which is located in the Middle East, unfortunately. Egypt was ruled by a man called the Pharaoh, who was very powerful. Like one time he said, “I want a pyramid,” and although it took many years, a group of Egyptian workers actually built him a pyramid. When the Pharaoh saw it, he was very surprised, because what he actually wanted was some soup, which in ancient Egyptian sounds very similar to the word for pyramid. So everybody had a good laugh, and then Pharaoh had the workers executed, because that’s how embarrassed he was.

So anyway, around this time, a nice Jewish boy named Joseph arrived in Egypt, and he came to be an advisor to the Pharaoh because he had a degree in management. He advised the Pharaoh to build storehouses to store the grain, which Pharaoh thought was a tremendous idea, because up to that point he had been sorting the grain in the bathroom and it was disgusting. The Pharaoh was so pleased that he invited Joseph to stay in Egypt and bring his relatives to hang out also. They became known as the Israelites, and they multiplied and prospered in various fields, although generally not team sports.

Years passed, and eventually the Pharaoh died. (He was buried in the pyramid, which by then the Egyptians jokingly referred to as “the Big Stone Soup.”) A new Pharaoh took over, and he turned out to be a real schmuck. He was afraid that the Israelites would become too  powerful, so he made them into slaves.

Slavery totally sucked. The Pharaoh made the Israelites work from sunrise to sunset with no days off, not even Labor Day. The Israelites were forced to hard work, such as hewing stones, which as you would know if you ever hewed a stone, is no picnic. But the Israelites continued to multiply, so Pharaoh Schmuck decreed that every male baby born to an Israelite woman had to be cast into the River Nile, where they ran a risk of, at minimum, getting a cramp, particularly if they were cast too soon after eating a heavy meal.

There was an Israelite couple named Amram and Yocheved, who had a male baby, but they didn’t want him to be cast into the Nile. So instead, they hid him for three months. Then they put him into a basket and put the basket into the Nile. But it was OK because they ysed an ancient Egyptian car seat. Their daughter, Miriam, hid in the reeds and watched to see what happened next, which you will find out in the next paragraph.

As it happened, at that moment, Pharaoh’s beautiful daughter was bathing in the Nile, which she preferred because the Pharaoh’s bathroom still smelled faintly of grain. She noticed this baby floating past in a basket and she said, “I shall keep this baby, as apparently it does not belong to anybody!” Yes, she was beautiful, but dumber than a brick.

Miriam stepped out from behind the reeds and offered to raise baby and have her mom (who of course was Yocheved, the baby’s real mother) be the nurse. The Pharaoh’s daughter was like, “Sure!” So, bottom line, this woman went to take a bath and came home with a baby and two new domestic employees. We can only imagine what she would have done with a credit card. She decided to name the baby Moses, which was an ancient Egyptian word meaning either drawn from water or soup.

Moses grew up. He lived a life of luxury as the prince of Egypt in the Pharaoh’s palace, but he was upset about the treatment of the Israelites. One day, he saw an Egyptian beating a slave, so Moses killed him (the Egyptian) and had to flee from Egypt, making his escape by riding off on a speedy young sheep, which is where we get the expression, “on the lamb.”

Moses went to the land of Midian, where he became a professional shepherd, which was a living. One day, he was shepherding on Mount Horeb when he saw a bush that was on fire and speaking in a voice that sounded kind of like Morgan Freeman’s. This turned out to be God, who told Moses that he was going to rescue the Israelites from slavery and take them to a land flowing with milk and honey. This raised several questions in Moses’s mind, such as:

  1. Were the milk and honey flowing separately, or mixed together?

  2. Were they flowing right on the ground?

  3. Wouldn’t that attract insects?

But this did not seem like a good time to interrupt.

God told Moses that he should go back to Egypt and tell the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go or God would bring plagues down upon the Egyptians. Moses said “OK” because when a divine, all-powerful, flaming shrubbery tells you to do something, you do it.

Discussion questions:

  1. Would you store grain in a bathroom? Why or why not?

  2. According to scripture, Moses had a speech impediment. Some scholars believe that Adonai (God) chose a leader with a handicap to prove that he does not require perfection. Others argue that all the other Israelites had even worse speech impediments. And still others hold that Moses just had a slight lisp you could barely notice and it was no big deal. Which group of scholars do you think is the most fun at parties?

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Audre Lorde

It has rained for five days
the world is
a round puddle
of sunless water
where small islands
are only beginning
to cope
a young boy
in my garden
is bailing out water
from his flower patch
when I ask him why
he tells me
young seeds that have not seen sun
and drown easily.

-- Ten Plagues

Door standers
We are delayed in the station because of train traffic ahead of us
Pole leaners
Loud talkers
Mouth noises
No bikes at this location  

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Machar

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.


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.


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.


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:

Pollution of the Earth Indifference to Suffering

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

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Alla Renee Bozarth

Pack Nothing.
Bring only your determination to serve 
and your willingness to be free.

Don’t wait for the bread to rise.
Take nourishment for the journey, 
but eat standing, be ready
to move at a moment’s notice.

Do not hesitate to leave
your old ways behind—
fear, silence, submission.

Only surrender to the need 
of the time— to love
justice and walk humbly
with your God.

Do not take time to explain to the neighbors.
Tell only a few trusted friends and family members.

Then begin quickly, 
before you have time to sink back 
into the old slavery.

You will learn to eat new food
and find refuge in new places.
I will give you dreams in the desert
to guide you safely home to that place
you have not yet seen.

The stories you tell one another around your fires
in the dark will make you strong and wise.

Those who fight you will teach you.
Those who fear you will strengthen you.
Those who follow you may forget you.
Only be faithful. This alone matters.

Wear protection. 
Your flesh will be torn
as you make a path
with your bodies
through sharp tangles. 
Wear protection.

Sing songs as you go, 
and hold close together.
You may at times grow
confused and lose your way.

Continue to call each other
by the names I’ve given you, 
to help remember who you are.
You will get where you are going
by remembering who you are.

-- Ten Plagues
Source :
Beyonceder - Tell Him Boy Bye

Source : John Perry Barlow

Be patient.
Expand your sense of the possible.
Expect no more of anyone than you can deliver yourself.
Concern yourself with what is right rather than who is right.
Never forget that, no matter how certain, you might be wrong.
Learn the needs of those around you and respect them.
Avoid the pursuit of happiness. Seek to define your mission and pursue that.
Understand humility.
Foster dignity.

10 of the 25 "Principles of Adult Behavior" , by John Perry Barlow.

Source : The Other Side of the Sea: T'ruah's Haggadah on Fighting Modern Slavery
Our hands were touched by this water earlier during tonight's seder, but this time is different. This is a deeper step than that. This act of washing our hands is accompanied by a blessing, for in this moment we feel our People's story more viscerally, having just retold it during Maggid. Now, having re-experienced the majesty of the Jewish journey from degradation to dignity, we raise our hands in holiness, remembering once again that our liberation is bound up in everyone else's. Each step we take together with others towards liberation is blessing, and so we recite: 

                                                         --Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu bemitvotav vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִּם.

Blessed are You ETERNAL our God, Master of time and space, who has sanctified us with commandments and instructed us regarding lifting up our hands.

Source : Martin Luther King, Jr.

We still have a long, long way to go before we reach the promised land of freedom. Yes, we have left the dusty soils of Egypt, and we have crossed a Red Sea that had for years been hardened by long and piercing winter of massive resistance, but before we reach the majestic shored of the promised land, there will still be gigantic mountains of opposition ahead and prodigious hilltops of injustice.

Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and the comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.

Let us be dissatisfied until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security.

Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family will live in a decent sanitary home.

Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.

Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity.

Let us be dissatisfied until men and women...will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin.

Let us be dissatisfied until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Let us be dissatisfied until the day when nobody will shout, "White Power!" when nobody will shout, "Black Power!" but everybody will talk about God's power and human power.

Source :

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.

Source : Religious Action Center

During the course of a holiday about the joy of freedom, we make a special effort to turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset. We don’t totally eradicate the taste of the bitter with the taste of the sweet… but doesn’t the sweet mean more when it’s layered over the bitterness?

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,

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

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

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

Eat one kezayit of maror, dipped in the charoset but not overwhelmed by the sweetness of the charoset,
without reclining.

Source :

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

A Toast of Thanksfulness to Us

To where we’ve each come from

To where we’re going and how we’re changing

To being where we are and who we are

To what we can share

To what we can’t share… yet

To our joys and our struggles

Which in full times connect us

Which in hard times isolate us

To process, and the times we lose sight of process

To pain, to growth,

To painless growth, to painful growth

To our efforts, our faith, our determination

To our fears, tears, laughter, hugs and kisses

To wisdom, to study, along and in groups

To our books and tools, to toys

To materials, raw and fine

To work, to meetings, to sleep

To our eyes, which fortunately read Haggadahs

And see mountains, faces, flowers, bodies and sunshine

To our ears, hands, noses, mouths, toes, knees, and breasts,

To caress, to touch, to our senses

To the times we fall down and pick ourselves up

And the times friends help us up

To the shoulders we cry on

To the arms that hold us

To the strength in each of us, alone

To our work, our play, our loving, our growth,

And to life itself… l’chaim!

We feast!

(We fill the wine cups for the third time, to be blessed and drunk after redeeming the afikomen)

Source :

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.

Source : Dalia Sapon-Shevin

The Third Cup of Wine

A cup to the freedom fighters

this is a prayer for all freedom fighters, a prayer for the tired, the burnt out, the heartsick, the cynical

this is a prayer for all freedom fighters brave enough to cry, for the reaching around of arms, the firm handclaps of comradeship, the sanctuary of bodies when we need to hide our faces.

this is a prayer for wordless understanding, the flickering human eye flames of humor and warmth, compassion and mirth, the ridiculous, horrific, ecstatic worlds in our eyes, the volumes of untold stories.

this is a prayer for laugh lines and stretch marks, for the tough beauty of mothers and old folks, for skin gone leathery with the sun and the passage of years, for dirt stained knuckles and chapped lips.

this is a prayer for the road map scars, the burn marks, the tender new flesh of healing, the tattoos, the cuts and bruises, the patchwork of our hearts.

seeds watered with tears and summer thunderstorm torrents.

I am binding our stories together, blood and bone and sinew, stitch, solder, suture. I am building something with drill, paintbrush, knife, welding torch, needle, thread, time, garlic, hope, trash.

this is my prayer, this is my wish, this is my song under my breath and all the love in my heart, this is my loud cursing and giggling, this is my holiest silence.

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam boreh p'ri hagafen.

Blessed is the source that fills all creation and brings forth the fruit of the vine.


Also on the table is a cup of wine left untouched for Elijah the prophet, Eliahu HaNavi. According to Jewish tradition, the Prophet Elijah was a brave man who denounced the slavery and wickedness, and he will return one day to lead everyone to peace and freedom. Jewish legends recall the mystical appearance of Elijah in times of trouble, to promise relief and redemption, to lift downcast spirits and to plant hope in the hearts of the downtrodden.

It is customary during the Passover Seder to open the door of the house for Elijah, in the hope that the age of universal peace may soon be at hand. We open the door to peace knowing that Elijah's task is really our own. Only when we have made a world where nation shall not lift up sword against nation, where justice is universal, and where each person is free, will the dream of peace be real. As we confront the injustice of this world, may we be like Elijah, who in defense of justice, spoke truth to power.

Source : HIAS

Gathered around the Seder table, we pour four cups, remembering the gift of freedom that our ancestors received centuries ago. We delight in our liberation from Pharaoh’s oppression.
We drink four cups for four promises fulfilled.
The first cup as God said, “I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians.”
The second as God said, “And I will deliver you from their bondage.”
The third as God said, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”
The fourth because God said, “I will take you to be My People.”
We know, though, that all are not yet free. As we welcome Elijah the Prophet into our homes, we offer
a fifth cup, a cup not yet consumed.
A fifth cup for the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world still waiting to be free
— from the refugee camps in Chad to the cities and towns of Ukraine, for the Syrian refugees still
waiting to be delivered from the hands of tyrants, for the thousands of asylum seekers in the United
States still waiting in detention for redemption to come, for all those who yearn to be taken in not as
strangers but as fellow human beings.
This Passover, let us walk in the footsteps of the One who delivered us from bondage. When we
rise from our Seder tables, may we be emboldened to take action on behalf of the world’s refugees,
hastening Elijah’s arrival as we speak out on behalf of those who are not yet free.

–Reprinted with permission from HIAS.

Source :

Singing songs that praise God | hallel | הַלֵּל

This is the time set aside for singing. Some of us might sing traditional prayers from the Book of Psalms. Others take this moment for favorites like Chad Gadya & Who Knows One, which you can find in the appendix. To celebrate the theme of freedom, we might sing songs from the civil rights movement. Or perhaps your crazy Uncle Frank has some parody lyrics about Passover to the tunes from a musical. We’re at least three glasses of wine into the night, so just roll with it.

Fourth Glass of Wine

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.

Drink the fourth and final glass of wine! 


Sweet mother I’m coming home 

Now I know I’m not alone 
Cause I’ve been far 
Now I’m close 
Sweet mother
I’m coming home 

Tell me mother can you hear me sing 
Your love is everything 
Heart and soul 
Breath and skin 
Your love is everything 

Oh mother, please hold me tight 
Cause mother I need some help tonight 
What went wrong 
Will soon be right 

Oh mother, please hold me tight 
Tell me mother can you hear me sing 
Your love is everything 
Heart and soul 
Breath and skin 
Your love is everything 

Oh mother, this world is strange 
Love me mother and make me brave 
In my dreams 
On this stage 
Oh mother, this world is strange 

Tell me mother can you hear me sing 
Your love is everything 
Heart and soul 
Breath and skin 
Your love is everything 

Tell me mother can you hear me sing 
Your love is everything 
Heart and soul 
Breath and skin 
Your love is everything…

Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

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


Source : Poem by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice--
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do--
determined to save
the only life you could save.

Source :
Beyonceder - Next Year in Jerusalem

Source : Revolutionary Love Project,

We pledge to rise up in Revolutionary Love.

We declare our love for all who are in harm’s way, including refugees, immigrants, Muslims, Sikhs, Jews, LGBTQIA people, Black people, Latinx, the indigenous, the disabled, and the poor. We stand with millions of people around the globe rising up to end violence against women and girls (cis, transgender and gender non-conforming) who are often the most vulnerable within marginalized communities. We vow to see one another as brothers and sisters and fight for a world where every person can flourish.

We declare love even for our opponents. We vow to oppose all executive orders and policies that threaten the rights and dignity of any person. We call upon our elected officials to join us, and we are prepared to engage in moral resistance throughout this administration. We will fight not with violence or vitriol, but by challenging the cultures and institutions that promote hate. In so doing, we will challenge our opponents through the ethic of love.

We declare love for ourselves. We will practice the dignity and care in our homes that we want for all of us. We will protect our capacity for joy. We will nurture our bodies and spirits; we will rise and dance. We will honor our mothers and ancestors whose bodies, breath, and blood call us to a life of courage. In their name, we choose to see this darkness not as the darkness of the tomb - but of the womb. We will breathe and push through the pain of this era to birth a new future.


Now, what does all of this mean in this great period of history? It means that we've got to stay together. We've got to stay together and maintain unity. You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh's court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that's the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.

Secondly, let us keep the issues where they are. The issue is injustice. The issue is the refusal of Memphis to be fair and honest in its dealings with its public servants, who happen to be sanitation workers. Now, we've got to keep attention on that. That's always the problem with a little violence. You know what happened the other day, and the press dealt only with the window-breaking. I read the articles. They very seldom got around to mentioning the fact that one thousand, three hundred sanitation workers are on strike, and that Memphis is not being fair to them Now we're going to march again, and we've got to march again, in order to put the issue where it is supposed to be -- and force everybody to see that there are thirteen hundred of God's children here suffering, sometimes going hungry, going through dark and dreary nights wondering how this thing is going to come out. That's the issue. And we've got to say to the nation: We know how it's coming out. For when people get caught up with that which is right and they are willing to sacrifice for it, there is no stopping point short of victory...

"God sent us by here, to say to you that you're not treating his children right. And we've come by here to ask you to make the first item on your agenda fair treatment, where God's children are concerned. Now, if you are not prepared to do that, we do have an agenda that we must follow. And our agenda calls for withdrawing economic support from you."

Let us rise up tonight with a greater readiness. Let us stand with a greater determination. And let us move on in these powerful days, these days of challenge to make America what it ought to be. We have an opportunity to make America a better nation. And I want to thank God, once more, for allowing me to be here with you.

Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop.

And I don't mind.

Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!

And so I'm happy, tonight.

I'm not worried about anything.

I'm not fearing any man!

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord!!

Commentary / Readings
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.

Commentary / Readings
Source : Bend the Arc's 50 Years After Selma

By Alicia Garza, Co-Founder of the #BlackLivesMatter

Solidarity is a verb, not an adjective.

Solidarity requires that we act in accordance with our deepest purpose and longings. Much can be learned from a long tradition of radical solidarity between Jewish and Black communities. Today, shifts in our political conditions raise the important question: what are the opportunities for solidarity right now, in an increasingly complicated world where anti-Black racism threatens to erode our legacies?

Within the Jewish community, the increasing prevalence of Black Jewish people from across the diaspora is providing new answers to this question at a time when the fight for Black liberation has again taken center stage. According to the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, a Black person is killed in this country every 28 hours by police, security officers or vigilantes. #BlackLivesMatter challenges us to leverage and activate our legacies of radical solidarity in new ways to eradicate anti-Black racism inside and outside of our communities.

This political moment isn’t just about supporting the liberation of all Black lives—this political moment is about eradicating structural racism so that we can liberate the very humanity of all of us.

Commentary / Readings

From a distance everything looks like a miracle but up close even a miracle doesn’t appear so. Even someone who crossed the Red Sea when it split only saw the sweaty back of the one in front of him and the motion of his big legs, and at most, a hurried glance to the side, fish of many colors in a wall of water, like in a marine observatory behind walls of glass. 

The real miracles happen at the next table in a restaurant in Albuquerque: Two women were sitting there, one with a zipper on a diagonal, so pretty, the other said, “I held my own and I didn’t cry.” And afterwards in the reddish corridors of a strange hotel I saw boys and girls holding in their arms even smaller children, their own, who also held cute little dolls. 

Source :

Who Knows One? 
At some seders, people go around the table reading the question and all 13 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

Source :

Chad Gadya

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Dizabin abah bitrei zuzei

Chad gadya, chad gadya.

One little goat, one little goat:

Which my father brought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The cat came and ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The dog came and bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The stick came and beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The fire came and burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The water came and extinguished the

Fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The ox came and drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The butcher came and killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The angle of death came and slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The Holy One, Blessed Be He came and

Smote the angle of death who slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.