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Source : Rugrats Passover Special
Rugrats Passover

Source :

Source : The Marriage Equality Hebra of Congregation B'Nai Jeshurun, Stonewall Seder 2007

As the novelist of African diaspora, Andrea Hairston, once wrote, "if no one tells your story, you die twice." So tonight we choose life, by honoring the stories of Jews throughout the ages who were queer in one way or another. We choose life with a new mitzvah - telling the stories that have been lost, censored or silenced.


This is our fifth Seder and our third Haggadah. Some of you are new to our Seders, some have been here every year, but we welcome you the same with open hearts.

A brief explanation of our Haggadah title.

  • SEPHARDIC: Though Stylish is both Ashkenazi and Sephardic, he identifies more strongly with the latter. We strive to incorporate Sephardic traditions into our lives as he reclaims his heritage and we build our home together.

  • VEGAN: We keep a vegetarian house, MK keeps a vegan diet. Our Seder is vegan except for a few store-bought desserts that were made with dairy.

  • SOCIAL JUSTICE: One of the most important aspects of Passover is the emphasis on human rights. Not just for Jews in the past but people everywhere who are oppressed.

  • QUEER: The word “queer” has been viewed as an insult for most of the 20th century but recent generations have worked to reclaim it. We apologize in advance if anyone here is offended by our use of it, but please know we do so as queer people. Being queer is a large part of MK's identity in particular, identifying with the word both in regard to gender (genderqueer) and sexuality. Being both Jewish and queer are things that make us “other” in our world today.

Source : Original

The Seder

This book is a Hagadah.which means “telling.” Tonight we will be having a seder, which means, “order”.Through this traditionally ordered ritual, we will retell the story of the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt, eat special foods that symbolize Pesach's many messages, and teach each other the traditions of Pesach, first celebrated more than 3,000 years ago.

An ancient rabbinic text instructs us, “Each person in every generation must regard himself or herself as having been personally freed from Egypt.” for the seder to be successful.

Tonight’s Seder is not just the retelling of an ancient story.Rather, we are asked to actually experience and acknowledge the bitterness of oppression and the sweetness of freedom so we may better understand the hope and courage of all men and women, of all generations, in their quest for liberty, security, and human rights. This haggadah attempts to incorporate the lives and work of each guest, and to relate the traditional story of passover to our personal experiences and to the modern world around us.

In the words of Audre Lorde: I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, .wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.

The order of the seder:

Kadesh-the recitation of Kiddush.
Urchatz-washing the hands.
Karpas-eating a vegetable dipped in salt-water.
Yachatz-breaking of the middle matzo.
Maggid-the recitation of the Hagadah.
Rachtzah-washing of the hands a second time.
Motze-the recitation of the blessing hamotzi.
Matzah-the recitation of the blessing al Achilas matzo, eating the matzo.
Morror-eating the bitter herbs.
Korech-eating a sandwich of matzo and bitter herbs.
Shulchan Oruch-eating the festive meal.
Tzafun-eating the afikomen.
Bayrech-the recitation of grace.
Hallel-the recitation of Hallel psalms of praise

Nirtzah-our prayer that G-d accepts our service.

Source : Laura & Salty Femme Haggadah
The  (Crowded) Vegan Seder Plate

The Seder Plate holds elements of the Seder story. This vegan Seder plate removes animal products, and adds the orange ensuring a space for women at this table.

  • Zeroa - for some a 'roasted bone', but on our plate a roasted beet that represents the Passover sacrifice offered while the Temple stood in Jerusalem (before 70 CE)
  • Beitza - for some a roasted egg, but for on our plate it is an avacado seed (or olives) representing both the Passover offering and the cycle of life and death.
  • Maror - A bitter herb (horseradish), which reminds us of the bitterness of enslavement.
  • Charoset - A mixture of fruit, nuts, wine and spices, which represents the mortar our ancestors used to build the structures in Mitzrayim (Egypt)
  • Karpas - A green vegetable (beet greens), which symbolizes hope and renewal.
  • Chazeret - A second bitter vegetable (parsley), again reminding us of the harshness of slavery
  • Orange - acknowledging the role of women in Jewish myths, community and society overall
  • Olive - For slavery to be truly over, for a people to be truly free, we must know that we can feed ourselves and our children, today, tomorrow, and into the following generations. In the lands of Israel and Palestine, olive groves provide this security. When olive groves are destroyed, the past and future is destroyed. Without economic security, a people can much more easily be conquered, or enslaved.
Source : Love and Justice In Times of War Haggadah
The whole point of the seder is to ask questions. This is your time to ask about things that confuse you, things you don’t understand, or even things you don’t agree with. There really is no is no such thing as a stupid question, especially tonight. 

- Joy Levitt (age 16)

Questions are not only welcome during the course of the evening but are vital to tonight’s journey. Our obligation at this seder involves traveling from slavery to freedom, prodding ourselves from apathy to action, encouraging the transformation of silence into speech, and providing a space where all different levels of belief and tradition can co-exist safely. Because leaving Mitzrayim--the narrow places, the places that oppress us—is a personal as well as a communal passage, your participation and thoughts are welcome and encouraged.

We remember that questioning itself is a sign of freedom. The simplest question can have many answers, sometimes complex or contradictory ones, just as life itself is fraught with complexity and contradictions. To see everything as good or bad, matzah or maror, Jewish or Muslim, Jewish or “Gentile”, is to be enslaved to simplicity. Sometimes, a question has no answer. Certainly, we must listen to the question, before answering. 

Source : Hannah Szenes

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.

Blessed is the heart with the strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

The Candle lighting celebration begins by honoring light

We light the candles and say…

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדלִיק נֵר שֶׁל יוֹם טוֹב

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech Ha’Olam
Asher Kidishanu B’Mitzvotav V’Tzivanu L’Hadlik Ner Shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who sanctifies us with commandments, and commands us to light the candles on this holiday.


בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech Ha’Olam
Sheche’hiyanu V’Keymanu V’Higiyanu Lazman Ha’Zeh.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe,
Who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

Traditionally Passover celebrates…

The Jewish people’s freedom from Egyptian bondage that took place approximately 3,500 years ago, as told in the first 15 chapters of the Book of Exodus. Before the Jewish people were known as Jewish or Jews – names that were derived from the Kingdom of Judah where they lived from 922 BCE until 587 BCE – they were known as either Israelites or Hebrews. “Hebrews,” “Israelites,” or the “Children of Israel” were names that collectively described the descendants of the Hebrew patriarch Jacob (also known as Israel). The Hebrews and Israelites eventually established and lived in both the Kingdom of Judah and the Kingdom of Israel.

The events of Passover written about in the Book of Exodus occurred at a time before the Jewish people were known as Jewish or Jews, and so we refer to the Jewish people as either Hebrews or Israelites in the Passover story that follows. Interestingly, the Hebrew word for Egypt is Mitzrayim, and means either “constriction” or “narrow straits.” This is in reference to the Israelites being in a state of constriction while toiling as slaves in the land of Goshen, an area of ancient Egypt. As slaves, the Israelites were building cities such as Pithom and Ra’amses which were used as supply centers for the Pharaohs of Egypt.

Source : JQ International GLBT Passover Haggadah

Judaic commentary has always viewed Mitzrayim as more than the literal escape from slavery, more than an escape from a place of narrow straights, an obviously accurate physical description of Egypt, but metaphorically the leaving behind or "exodus" from a narrow place - the place that squeezes the life our of the human soul and body. Mitzrayim is viewed as an intrinsically constrictive state; a state where we are unable to express ourselves and be free, to be who we are as we seek to define ourselves to others.

Source : A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices by Mishael Zion and Noam Zion
The Four Cups of the Seder are structurally connected to the four verbal performances this evening:

(1) Kiddush, sanctifying the holiday (2) Maggid, the storytelling (3) Birkat HaMazon, completing the Pesach meal; and (4) Hallel, completing the festival Psalms.

The Talmud connects the Four Cups to God's Four Promises to Israel: "Tell the children of Israel: I am Adonai! I will take them out... I will rescue them… I will redeem them… and I will marry them taking them as my people and I will be their God" (Exodus 6:6-7, Jerusalem Talmud Pesachim 10:1).

However, two 16th C. mystic rabbis identify the Four Cups with the Four Matriarchs of Israel. The Maharal of Prague (famous for the legend of Golem) and Rav Isaiah Horowitz of Tsfat explain:

(1) The Cup of Kiddush stands for Sarah who was the mother of a community of converts, believers by choice.

(2) The Cup of Maggid is for Rebecca who knew how to mother both Esav and Jacob, two opposed natures.

(3) The Cup of the Blessing after Eating represents Rachel whose son Joseph provided the whole family of Jacob with bread in a time of great famine.

(4) The Cup of Hallel (Praise) is for Leah who came to realize that the pursuit of the impossible, Jacob's love, must give way to appreciation of what one has. When her fourth child was born, Judah, she praised God: " This time I will thank God " (Genesis 29:35).

Source : The Marriage Equality Hebra of Congregation B'Nai Jeshurun, Stonewall Seder 2007

This cup is for the past, which is always with us . . . We drink tonight to those who were left out of the stories of our people. And we drink to those who labored to restore their memories.

Source : A Humanist Haggadah for Passover by Machar Congregation


Let us all fill our glasses with the fruit of the vine.

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

Spring is the season of new growth and new life.
Every living thing must either grow, or die; growth is a sign and a condition of life.

Human beings are perhaps unique among the Earth's inhabitants. Our most significant growth takes place inwardly.
We grow as we achieve new insights, new knowledge, new goals.

Let us raise our cups to signify our gratitude for life,
and for the joy of knowing inner growth, which gives human life its meaning.

Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

We sanctify the name of God and proclaim the holiness of this festival of Passover. With a blessing over wine, we lift our wine, our symbol of joy; let us welcome the festival of Passover.

In unison, we say…

Our God and God of our ancestors, we thank You for enabling us to gather in friendship, to observe the Festival of Freedom. Just as for many centuries the Passover Seder has brought together families and friends to retell the events that led to our freedom, so may we be at one with Jews everywhere who perform this ancient ritual linking us with our historic past. As we relive each event in our people’s ancient struggle, and celebrate their emergence from slavery to freedom, we pray that all of us may keep alive in our hearts the love of liberty. May we dedicate our lives to the abolition of all forms of tyranny and injustice.

Reclining on our left side demonstrates our freedom from slavery. We hold our first cup of wine and we recite:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech Ha’Olam Borey P’ree Hagafen.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.

Source : JQ International GLBT Passover Haggadah

We sanctify the name of God and proclaim the holiness of this festival of Passover.

Our God and God of our ancestors, we thank You for enabling us to gather in friendship, to observe the Festival of Freedom. Just as for many centuries the Passover Seder has brought together families and friends to retell the events that led to our freedom, so may we be at one with Jews everywhere who perform this ancient ritual linking us with our historic past. As we relive each event in our people’s ancient struggle, and celebrate their emergence from slavery to freedom, we pray that all of us may keep alive in our hearts the love of liberty. May we dedicate our lives to the abolition of all forms of tyranny and injustice.

Source : Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Pesach 7.2

Sanctifying the Day

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart.

Blessed is the heart with the strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake.

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

—Hannah Szenes

May the light of the candles we kindle together tonight bring radiance to all who live in darkness. May this season, marking the deliverance of our people from Pharaoh, rouse us against anyone who keeps others in servitude. In gratitude for the freedom we enjoy, may we strive to bring about the liberation of all people everywhere. Lighting these candles, we create the sacred space of the Festival of Freedom; we sanctify the coming-together of our community.

בָּ רוּך אַ תָּ ה יְ יָ, אֱ להֵ ינוּ רוּחַ הַ עוֹֹ לָ ם, אָ שֶ ר קִ דְ שָ נוּ בְּ מִ צְ וֹתָ יו וְ צִ וָ נוּ לְ הָ דלִ יק נֵ ר שֶ ל יוֹם טוֹֹ ב.

Blessed are you, Adonai our God, Breath of Life, who sanctifies us with your commandment to kindle the holiday lights.

בָּ רוּך אַ תָּ ה יְ יָ, אֱ להֵ ינוּ מֶ לֶ ך הָ עוֹלָ ם, שֶׁ הֶ חֱ יָ נוּ וְ קִ יְּ מָ נוּ וְ הִ גִּ יעָ נוּ לַ זְּ מַ ן הַ זֶּ ה:

Blessed are you, Adonai, sovereign of all worlds, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this moment. 

Source : Velveteen Rabbi Haggadah 7.2

Washing the Hands

This symbolic hand-washing recalls Miriam's Well. This well followed Miriam, sister of Moses, through the desert. Filled with waters of life, the well was a source of strength and renewal to all who drew from it. One drink from its waters was said to alert the heart, mind and soul, and make the meaning of Torah more clear. When we wash hands again later, we will say blessings to sanctify that act. This hand-washing is purely symbolic, and therefore the blessing is unspoken.

Maggid - Beginning
Maggid By Marge Piercy

The courage to let go of the door, the handle. The courage to shed the familiar walls whose very stains and leaks are comfortable as the little moles of the upper arm; stains that recall a feast, a child’s naughtiness, a loud blistering storm that slapped the roof hard, pouring through.

The courage to abandon the graves dug into the hill, the small bones of children and the brittle bones of the old whose marrow hunger had stolen; the courage to desert the tree planted and only begun to bear; the riverside where promises were shaped; the street where their empty pots were broken.

The courage to leave the place whose language you learned as early as your own, whose customs however dangerous or demeaning, bind you like a halter you have learned to pull inside, to move your load; the land fertile with the blood spilled on it; the roads mapped and annotated for survival.

The courage to walk out of the pain that is known into the pain that cannot be imagined, mapless, walking into the wilderness, going barefoot with a canteen into the desert; stuffed in the stinking hold of a rotting ship sailing off the map into dragons’ mouths.

Cathay, India, Serbia, goldeneh medina, leaving bodies by the way like abandoned treasure. So they walked out of Egypt. So they bribed their way out of Russia under loaves of straw; so they steamed out of the bloody smoking charnelhouse of Europe on overloaded freighters forbidden all ports–

out of pain into death or freedom or a different painful dignity, into squalor and politics. We Jews are all born of wanderers, with shoes under our pillows and a memory of blood that is ours raining down. We honor only those Jews who changed tonight, those who chose the desert over bondage,

who walked into the strange and became strangers and gave birth to children who could look down on them standing on their shoulders for having been slaves. We honor those who let go of everything but freedom, who ran, who revolted, who fought, who became other by saving themselves.

-- Four Questions
Source : The Marriage Equality Hebra of Congregation B'Nai Jeshurun, Stonewall Seder 2007

Why are we different from all other people?

What is our sacred role?

How are we the same as all other people?

Where do we come from and what is our story?

-- Four Questions
Source : A Humanist Haggadah for Passover, Machar

LEANING--Why do we eat while leaning on this night?

In Ancient Rome, rich people used to eat while lying on a couch leaning on one elbow as slaves and servants fed them.

Some ancient Jews saw this relaxed type of eating as a sign of freedom and prosperity, so they would lean to one side eating at the Seder on Passover, the festival of freedom. Some modern Jews, working with others, helped create greater liberty and well-being for the world.

Today, we celebrate freedom and equality by sitting up and feeding ourselves, but the leaning question remains in the service as a reminder of how it was when our people longed for freedom.

-- Four Questions
Source : A Bund Haggadah: Russian Social-Democratic Workers' Party Pesakh Haggadah According to a New Mode (1900)

(Here the son asks)

Father, I wish to ask you four questions:

Ma nishtana, how are we worse off than Shmuel the manufacturer, from Meir the banker, from Zarah the moneylender, from Reb Turdus the Rabbi?

They do nothing and have food and drink, both by day and night a hundred times over, and we toil with all our strength the entire day, and at night we don't have even a meal, as well?

They have great castles, shown off and drubbed up with all the trappings, beautiful rooms standing unbelievably empty-and we lie stuck together in a hole and they even want to throw us out of there?

They do nothing and wear the most expensive clothes-and we toil like own and have not a shirt on our bodies?

They eat a hearty dinner, drink a full-bodied glass of wine and go to sleep in a spacious warm bed and “Everything goes well among us” and we lay ourselves down in a tiny corner on a straw mattress so that we can soon awaken to work?

Father, give me a reason for all four of my questions!

(The father considers a while. He scratches the back of his neck. Then he answers.)

The reason, my child, is this:

For Pharaoh did we toil in Egypt.

Servitors, slaves were we by Pharaoh, and we mashed clay, baked bricked, build towns, and toiled like oxen. And then we had a G-d who took pity on the unfortunate, so that he helped us by freeing us from slavery. Today, however, today G-d sides with the rich, as if they alone had a G-d, as if in order to have a G-d, people must pay in coin. And from where can we, poor workers, take money? Today we can't count on G-d to free us, today we have over us thousands of Pharaohs who torment us, who take our strength and to whom we are sold-our sons and the sons of our sons. We must now remember with love and longing and speak of it both day and night to our children and children's children.

And the more a man tells of the coming forth from Egypt, the more is he to be praised.

Speak aloud of Shmuel the manufacturer, aloud of Meir the banker, Zarah the moneylender, Turdus the Rabbi, as these very kind dear people sit together, drink a glass of good wine and also contemplate the exodus from Egypt, the story which, although it is clear and simple. They don't like at all. Does it mean, they say, that slaves create a union and free themselves? What in the world, then, will become of us? No, the clear and simple meaning is no use to us. We must search for another interpretation. We must never let ourselves understand the clear and simple meaning. Upon which Reb Shmuel stands up and says “ The days of your life imply but days. ” Your whole life shall be of the night, by day you shall be mine, my servitors, my slaves, you shall work for me in the factory and besmirch yourselves. Reb Turdus the Rabbi kneels, turns up his eyes to Heaven and says, “ All the days of thy life include the nights as well. ”

Work, little fool, toil. Those who are besmirched; if Messiah comes, you'll be happy. You'll have a shining Paradise. But, the sages say this world-a person lives only once on earth and he must profit and learn that he is free- that you should carry all your days the memory of the land of Egypt. You must remember that you have long been freed from servitude and must lead a decent life.

-- Four Children
Source : Eli Lebowicz,
The Four Sons

The Four Sons as represented by the Bluth boys from Arrested Development.
-- Four Children
Source : Love and Justice Haggadah, compiled and created by Dara Silverman and Micah Bazant

It is a tradition at the Seder to include a section entitled “the Four Children.” We have turned it upside down, to remind us that as adults we have a lot to learn from youth. From the U.S. to South Africa to Palestine, young people have been, and are, at the forefront of most of the social justice movements on this planet. If there is a mix of ages of people at your seder, perhaps some of the older people would like to practice asking questions, and the younger folks would like to respond:

The Angry Adult – Violent and oppressive things are happening to me, the people I love and people I don’t even know. Why can’t we make the people in power hurt the way we are all hurting? Hatred and violence can never overcome hatred and violence. Only love and compassion can transform our world.

Cambodian Buddhist monk Maha Ghosananda, whose family was killed by the Khmer Rouge, has written: It is a law of the universe that retaliation, hatred, and revenge only continue the cycle and never stop it. Reconciliation does not mean that we surrender rights and conditions, but means rather that we use love in all our negotiations. It means that we see ourselves in the opponent -- for what is the opponent but a being in ignorance, and we ourselves are also ignorant of many things. Therefore, only loving kindness and right-mindfulness can free us.

The Ashamed Adult – I’m so ashamed of what my people are doing that I have no way of dealing with it?!? We must acknowledge our feelings of guilt, shame and disappointment, while ultimately using the fire of injustice to fuel us in working for change. We must also remember the amazing people in all cultures, who are working to dismantle oppression together everyday.

Marianne Williamson said: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate; our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous? Actually who are you not to be? You are a child of G-d. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of G-d that is within us. It’s not just in some of us, it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

The Fearful Adult – Why should I care about ‘those people’ when they don’t care about me? If I share what I have, there won’t be enough and I will end up suffering. We must challenge the sense of scarcity that we have learned from capitalism and our histories of oppression. If we change the way food, housing, education, and resources are distributed, we could all have enough.

Martin Luther King said: It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated. We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. We are made to live together because of the interrelated structure of reality.

The Compassionate Adult – How can I struggle for justice with an open heart? How can we live in a way that builds the world we want to live in, without losing hope? This is the question that we answer with our lives.

Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel wrote: Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy. And yet being alive is no answer to the problems of living. To be or not to be is not the question. The vital question is: how to be and how not to be…to pray is to recollect passionately the perpetual urgency of this vital question.

Anne Frank wrote: It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all of my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness, I hear the ever approaching thunder, which will destroy us too; I can feel the sufferings of millions and yet, if I look up into the heavens, I think that it will all come right, that this cruelty too will end and that peace and tranquility will return again. In the meantime, I must uphold my ideals, for perhaps the time will come when I shall be able to carry them out."

Each of us bears in our own belly the angry one, the ashamed one, the frightened one, the compassionate one. Which of these children shall we bring to birth? Only if we can deeply hear all four of them can we truthfully answer the fourth question. Only if we can deeply hear all four of them can we bring to birth a child, a people that is truly wise.


Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah.

-- Four Children
Source : Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah, Passover 2003/5763

The Transgender Child: What is up with this gender essentialist crap?

The Revolutionary Child: Why are we wasting time with all of this religious stuff? Religion is the opiate of the masses. Why on this night are we not instead smashing the state?

The Gentile Child: What page are we on?

The Eco-feminist Punk Rock Vegan Hypochondriac Child: Was this haggadah printed in a union ship on 100% post-consumer recycled hemp paper using soy ink that was not tested on animals, and has anyone seen my inhaler?

-- Four Children
Source : A Bund Haggadah: Russian Social Democratic Worker's Party Pesakh Haggadah According to a New Mode (1900)

Blessed is the place. Blessed shall be the place and blessed shall be the time which has given us these clever and kind people, who open our eyes. There are four sons of the Torah. This is the business of four kinds of people, four classes- one wise, one wicked, one simple, one who does not know how to ask.

The wise one will say. What says the wise one? The wise one asks: What mean the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments which the Lord our G-d hath commanded you? What are the laws to discuss that G-d has given you? How can a G-d give such laws, that all of humankind shall trudge toward toil and barely have enough to keep their souls, and that a small part of them shall take all of what the rest have and waste and squander and live in a sea of pleasure?

This is what the villain says. The parasite says: What is your work?-what is your work, why should you not work? A person must work! Work makes life sweet! Work, work, children!

For you but not for him. But he commands us to work and besmirch ourselves. Only us. And only he sticks a finger in the cold water and lives from our labor! And when he rises above the community, he is an "atheist," he denies the fundamental truths that all people are born equal, and doesn't believe in human freedom; hence we have nothing to do with him. You should make him uncomfortable as well by quoting. You shall but show your teeth and say, "Remember, once upon a time we freed ourselves from the slave-houses, from Egypt, and we will surely free ourselves from our current yoke."

The simple one says. The simple unassuming person asks what is that: What comes between you? What are you arguing about? What are you shouting about? Why can't you talk over the matter amiably? And you shall say to him. You shall answer him By might of hand, that through our cry for help were we freed from Egypt and through our cry for help will we be freed again now.

As for he who knows not how to ask, you should prompt him. When someone doesn't know what to ask, you should tell him alone the entire story in brief, the entire story of our past and present servitude, and tell him thus:

(Leads into story of Exodus)

-- Exodus Story
Source :

Funniest book ever. We open on a man being told that his future is going to be awesome, if he'll just travel to Egypt. So he goes to Egypt, where his children are enslaved and put to hard labour. For 400 years. The family at last escapes, enters a forbidding desert and gets lost. For 40 years. Finally, five volumes later, they reach the promised home, only to be relentlessly attacked, invaded and chased away. The End. Hilarious.

-- Exodus Story
Source : AJWS

Written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt

On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.

The Book of Exodus, much like the Book of Genesis, opens in pervasive darkness. Genesis describes the earth as “unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep.” In Exodus, darkness attends the accession of a new Pharaoh who feared the Israelites and so enslaved them. God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis. But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.

There is Yocheved, Moses’ mother, and Shifra and Puah, the famous midwives. Each defies Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Israelite baby boys. And there is Miriam, Moses’ sister, about whom the following midrash is taught: [When Miriam’s only brother was Aaron] she prophesied… “my mother is destined to bear a son who will save Israel.” When [Moses] was born the whole house… filled with light[.] [Miriam’s] father arose and kissed her on the head, saying, “My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled.” But when they threw [Moses] into the river her father tapped her on the head saying, “Daughter, where is your prophecy?” So it is written, “And [Miriam] stood afar off to know what would be[come of] the latter part of her prophecy.”

Finally, there is Pharaoh’s daughter Batya, who defies her own father and plucks baby Moses out of the Nile. The Midrash reminds us that Batya knew exactly what she doing: When Pharaoh’s daughter’s handmaidens saw that she intended to rescue Moses, they attempted to dissuade her, and persuade her to heed her father.

They said to her: “Our mistress, it is the way of the world that when a king issues a decree, it is not heeded by the entire world, but his children and the members of his household do observe it, and you wish to transgress your father’s decree?”

But transgress she did.

These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day. Retelling the heroic stories of Yocheved, Shifra, Puah, Miriam and Batya reminds our daughters that with vision and the courage to act, they can carry forward the tradition those intrepid women launched.

While there is much light in today’s world, there remains in our universe disheartening darkness, inhumanity spawned by ignorance and hate. We see horrific examples in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and Ukraine. The Passover story recalls to all of us—women and men—that with vision and action we can join hands with others of like mind, kindling lights along paths leading out of the terrifying darkness.

-- Exodus Story
Source : The Workmen's Circle Seder for a Better World, An Activist's Hagodeh

"We were always, in the depths of our hearts, completely free men and women. We were slaves on the outside, but free men and women in soul and spirit."

-Rabbi Judah Loew, The Maharal of Prague (1525-1609)

-- Exodus Story
Source : JWA / Jewish Boston - The Wandering Is Over Haggadah; Including Women's Voices

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.

The Passover story is most often associated with the leadership of Moses, but in fact the cycle of protest that culminated in the Exodus from Egypt began with the courageous acts of two women who disobeyed Pharaoh’s decree to murder all Hebrew male babies born in Egypt. These women, Shifra and Puah, practiced a bold and noteworthy profession—midwifery. It was their commitment to preserving human life and their skills as midwives that provided the safe and secret delivery of Hebrew baby boys. That the biblical text actually mentions Shifra and Puah by name suggests the ultimate importance of their role in the liberation of the Israelites.

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. 

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Adapted from Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah
10 Plagues - Love and Justice in Times of War

Reader 1: The idea of justice embodied in our story is direct and unquestioned—punishment for punishment, murdered children for murdered children, suffering for suffering. The people of Mitzrayim suffered because of their own leader, who is in part set-up by an angry G-d eager to demonstrate his own superiority. In our story, all of this was necessary for freedom. Jews have been troubled by this for generations and generations, and so, before we drink to our liberation, we mark how the suffering diminishes our joy by taking a drop of wine out of our cup of joy for each of the ten plagues visited on the people of Mitzrayim.

Reader 2: We are about to recite the ten plagues. As we call out the words, we remove ten drops from our overflowing cups, not by tilting the cup and spilling some out, but with our fingers. This dipping is not food into food. It is personal and intimate, a momentary submersion like the first step into the Red Sea. Like entering a mikvah (a ritual bath).

Reader 1: We will not partake of our seder feast until we undergo this symbolic purification, because our freedom was bought with the suffering of others.

Reader 2: As we packed our bags that last night in Egypt, the darkness was pierced with screams. Our doorposts were protected by a sign of blood. But from the windows of the Egyptians rose a slow stench: the death of their firstborn.

Reader 1: Soften our hearts and the hearts of our enemies. Help us to dream new paths to freedom. Reader 1: So that the next sea-opening is not also a drowning; so that our singing is never again their wailing. So that our freedom leaves no one orphaned, childless, gasping for air.

For each plague flick or pour a drop of wine onto the plate.

Dam.............Blood Tzfardeyah.............Frogs Kinim.............Lice Arov.............Wild Beasts Dever.............Blight Shichin.............Boils Barad.............Hail Arbeh.............Locusts Choshech.............Endless Night Makat B’chorot.............Slaying of the First-Born

Reader 3: The Pharaoh of the Passover story is not just a cruel king who happened to live in a certain country. The Pharaoh that our ancestors pictured, each and every year, for century after century was for them every tyrant, every cruel and heartless ruler who ever enslaved the people of his or another country. And this is why Passover means the emancipation of all people in the world from the tyranny of kings, oppressors and tyrants. The first emancipation was only a foreshadowing of all the emancipations to follow, and a reminder that the time will come when right will conquer might, and all people will live in trust and peace.

Now, we commemorate some of the plagues that ravage our present-day societies. ( Everyone may call out current plagues and spill drops of wine.)

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : HIAS Seder Supplement
I will deliver you...

Just as we remember all of the times throughout history when the nations of the world shut their doors on Jews fleeing violence and persecution in their homelands, so, too, do we remember with gratitude the bravery of those who took us in during our times of need the Ottoman Sultan who welcomed Spanish Jews escaping the Inquisition, Algerian Muslims who protected Jews during pogroms in the French Pied -Noir, and the righteous gentiles hiding Jews in their homes during World War II. In the midst of the current global refugee crisis, we aspire to stand on the right side of history as we ask our own government to take a leadership role in protecting the world’s most vulnerable refugees. May we find the bravery to open up our nation and our hearts to those who are in need. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who delivers those in search of safety.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

Blessed are You, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

After the traditional song “Dayenu”, we're also going to sing “That Would be Enough” from the musical “Hamilton”, the story of founding father Alexander Hamilton's life. It will make sense, trust us.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

“Dayenu” traditionally has 15 verses, divided up into three parts.

Leaving Slavery

  1. If He had brought us out of Egypt.

  2. If He had executed justice upon the Egyptians.

  3. If He had executed justice upon their gods.

  4. If He had slain their first-born.

  5. If He had given to us their health and wealth.


  1. If He had split the sea for us.

  2. If He had led us through on dry land.

  3. If He had drowned our oppressors.

  4. If He had provided for our needs in the wilderness for 40 years.

  5. If He had fed us manna.

Being With God

  1. If He had given us Shabbat.

  2. If He had led us to Mount Sinai.

  3. If He had given us the Torah.

  4. If He had brought us into the Land of Israel.

  5. If He built the Temple for us.

We will only be singing the first stanza of each section and the chorus between each verse. Translation is provided for comprehension, we'll only be singing the Hebrew.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Smith College Haggadah

Dayenu means “it would have sufficed” or “we would have been satisfied.” Perhaps “grateful” would be a better translation. Dayenu is the song of our gratitude. A Jewish philosopher was once asked, “what is the opposite of hopelessness?” And he said, “Dayenu,” the ability to be thankful for what we have received, for what we are. The first prayer that a Jew is expected to recite upon waking expresses hir gratitude for being alive. This holds for all generations, and surely ours. For each of us, every day should be an act of grace, every hour a miraculous offering.

In many Sephardi and Mizrahi communities, the singing of Dayenu is accompanied by beating each other with leeks or scallions. Using bunches of scallions or leeks, Seder participants beat each other (lightly) on the back and shoulders to symbolize the taskmasters whip.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם

וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָּהֶם שְׁפָטִים


If He had brought us out from Egypt

and had not carried out judgments against them

!— Dayenu, it would have sufficed

אִלּוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם

וְלֹא הֶעֱבִירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה


If He had split the sea for us

and had not taken us through it on dry land

!— Dayenu, it would have sufficed

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַּׁבָּת

וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי


If He had given us the Shabbat

and had not brought us before Mount Sinai

!— Dayenu, it would have sufficed

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

“That Would Be Enough” and “Dayenu” share the same refrain, the former in English and the latter in Hebrew. One pertains to the future, the other to the past. Eliza says that if this does happen, it will be enough. But Hamilton betrays her. He is unfaithful and publicly proclaims his infidelity.

“Dayenu” says that if this had happened, it would have been enough. That is, if God had done this for us, it would have been enough, but God did more. According to the story of Exodus, however, it wouldn't have been enough. God promised to get the Jews out of Egypt, and they would have not accomplished this had all the miracles not occurred. Similarly, they would have died during the years of exile in the desert.

Why then do we sing the refrain “dayenu”?

If Eliza's refrain is one of hope, what is ours?

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source :

Hamilton recognizes that in the 18th century, both rebellious and conventionally feminine women are trapped. Angelica has the intellect and the drive to make valuable contributions to the emerging republic, but instead she is stuck behind the scenes, "a girl in a world in which / my only job is to marry rich." Her refrain throughout the show is, "I will never be satisfied," because it is her tragedy to live in a world where she cannot do the kind of work that would satisfy her. In contrast, Eliza has the opportunity and means to do the kind of domestic work that she loves and is good at, but she lives in a world where this kind of work is not valued, because it's considered less important than the political work Hamilton does. Eliza is stuck at the fringes of history, whispering, "Oh, let me be a part of the narrative," and her refrain is, "That would be enough," because it is her tragedy to live in a world where she is denied the little respect she asks for.

And Hamilton gives both Angelica and Eliza the space onstage to examine their tragedies. Angelica’s "Satisfied" is widely considered to be one of the best songs in the show —Rolling Stone calls it Hamilton’s "finest moment" — and the musical ends with Eliza in the spotlight and center stage, declaring, "I put myself back in the narrative." In the world of Hamilton, Angelica’s plight is worth more musical attention than the Federalist Papers; Eliza’s domestic work and contributions to history are so important they become the focus of the finale.

Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 : A Humanist Haggadah for Passover by Machar Congregation

Matsah is the symbol of our affliction and our freedom.Legend has it that when Moses and his followers fled Egypt, they moved so quickly that the bread they baked did not have time to rise.

However, scholars have noted that long before the Jews celebrated Passover, Middle Eastern farmers celebrated a spring festival of unleavened bread. This was a festival where unleavened bread was made from the fresh barley grain newly harvested at this time of the year.

The old fermented dough was thrown out so that last year's grain would not be mixed with this year's. Therefore, the new season began with the eating of unleavened bread - matsah. Later on, the Jewish people incorporated this agricultural festival into the celebration of freedom and renewal we now call Passover.

Source : Original

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset |  maror   |מָרוֹר   

We recognize that even though we are so grateful for our journeys toward liberation, and that we experience so much joy through the process of freeing ourselves, there are also many parts of the journey that are difficult and unpleasant.

We acknowledge the mixture of pleasant and unpleasant experiences by mixing bitter and sweet flavors as we eat the maror with 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.

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

by L S
Source : Love + Justice In Times of War Haggadah

In the early 1980s, the Hillel Foundation invited me to speak on a panel at Oberlin College. While on campus, I came across a Haggadah that had been written by some Oberlin students to express feminist concerns. One ritual they devised was placing a crust of bread on the Seder plate, as a sign of solidarity with Jewish lesbians (there’s as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the Seder plate).

At the next Passover, I placed an orange on our family’s seder plate. During the first part of the Seder, I asked everyone to take a segment of the orange, make the blessing over fruit, and eat it as a gesture of solidarity with Jewish lesbians and gay men, and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community (I mentioned widows in particular).

Bread on the Seder plate brings an end to Pesach – it renders everything hametz. And it suggests that being lesbian is being transgressive, violating Judaism. I felt that an orange was suggestive of something else: the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life. In addition, each orange segment had a few seeds that had to be spit out – a gesture of spitting out, repudiating the homophobia of Judaism.

When lecturing, I often mentioned my custom as one of the many new feminist rituals that have been developed in the last twenty years. Somehow, though, the typical patriarchal maneuver occurred: My idea of an orange and my intention of affirming lesbians and gay men were transformed. Now the story circulates that a man said to me that a woman belongs on the bimah as an orange on the seder plate. A woman’s words are attributed to a man, and the affirmation of lesbians and gay men is simply erased. Isn’t that precisely what’s happened over the centuries to women’s ideas?

Keep one orange on the Seder plate, and pass out orange slices.

Source : Love and Justice in Times of War Haggadah

Let us now all eat haroset on a piece of matsah.

We now make a little sandwich - called a "korekh" or a "Hillel sandwich;" tradition credits Rabbi Hillel with creating this sandwich 2000 years ago. By eating some bitter herb (maror) and some haroset between two pieces of matsah, you can taste the "bittersweet" meaning of Passover.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : National Center for Jewish Healing, A Personal Passover Journal for memory and Contemplation

Finding and Eating the Afikoman

In hiding and seeking the afikoman, we reunite the two parts separated at the beginning of the seder. At this moment, we have the opportunity to discover lost parts of ourselves, to become reconciled with relatives who have become distant and to find wholeness in aspects of Judaism which may not have been part of our lives. Finding that which is hidden is a powerful message when we feel loss and lost. Within our loss, we find ways of healing the broken part of our lives.

Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

Fill the cups with wine; open door; all rise...

Elijah the Prophet

Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet
Before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.

-Malachi 4:5

Elijah the prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah from Gilead, May he come quickly, In our days, with the Messiah son of David.

Eh-lee-ya-hu ha-na-vee, Eh-lee-ya-hu ha-tish-bee, Eh-lee-ya-hu ha-gi-la-dee, Bim-hey-ra Ya-vo e-ley-nu Im-ma-shi-ach ben Da-vid.

Elijah the prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah from Gilead, May he come quickly, In our days, with the Messiah son of David.

cup of wine for elijah

Let us open the door and invite Elijah to enter and join with us as we drink the wine of our freedom

Eliyahu Ha-Navi (“Elijah the Prophet” in English) was a biblical prophet who lived in the 9th century BCE during the reign of King Ahab and Queen Jezebel in the Kingdom of Israel. His prophetic fervor and fierce defense of God in the face of pagan influences in comparison with all other Israelite biblical prophets earned him the honor of being the ‘guardian angel’ of the Israelites and subsequently, the Jewish people. Because he was considered the strongest defender of God, he was said to be the forerunner of the Messiah. In the Book of Malachi, Malachi, who was the last of the Israelite prophets, states that Elijah would reappear just before the coming of the Messianic Age. (Malachi 3:1)

a cup of water for miriam

Tonight we have both our traditional cup filled with wine for Elijah the Prophet, and a second one filled with water, for Miriam the Prohetess (Exodus 15:20).

According to Rabbi Susan Schnur, Miriam is a central figure in the Passover drama. She stands guard loyally when her baby brother Moses is set floating on the Nile, and she arranges for a wet-nurse, Moses’ own mother, who gets paid by Pharaoh’s daughter for caretaking and living with her own child. Miriam leads the Israelites in singing and dancing (that most natural expression of religious joy) after they cross the Red Sea. And she dies by the kiss of God; the Angel of Death, we are told, has no power over her. After her death in the desert, the Israelites lose their most precious possession: water-and its then that Miriam’s grieving brother strikes the rock.

The Midrash teaches us that the water, which disappeared at Miriam’s death, came from a miraculous well. Created during twilight on the eve of the world’s first Sabbath, God gave the well to Miriam because of her holiness, and it was intended to accompany the Israelites in the desert throughout the span of her life. “Miriam’s Well,” as it was called, not only quenched thirst; it also cured body and soul. Both Miriam and her well were spiritual oases in the desert bedrock sources of nurturance and healing

We raise our wine glasses and say collectively:

You abound in blessings, God, creator of the universe, Who sustains us with living water. May we, like the children of Israel leaving Egypt, be guarded and nurtured and kept alive in the wilderness to understand that the journey itself holds the promise of redemption.


Source : Harvey Cox

I have come to look forward to the opening of the door for an Elijah who is always a no-show, and I have come to believe that precisely by not appearing, that great prophet is showing us something we need to know. What does it mean that there is never anyone at the door?

Source : Velveteen Rabbi Haggadah 7.2

Miriam and Elijah

Three thousand years ago, a farmer arose in the Middle East who challenged the ruling elite. In his passionate advocacy for common people, Elijah created a legend which would inspire generations to come. Elijah declared that he would return once each generation in the guise of someone poor or oppressed, coming to people's doors to see how he would be treated. Thus would he know whether or not humanity had become ready to participate in the dawn of the Messianic age. He is said to visit every seder, and sip there from his cup of wine.

Tonight we welcome two prophets: not only Elijah, but also Miriam, sister of Moses. Elijah is a symbol of messianic redemption at the end of time; Miriam, of redemption in our present lives. Miriam’s cup is filled with water, evoking her Well which followed the Israelites in the wilderness. After the crossing of the Red Sea, Miriam sang to the Israelites a song. The words in the Torah are only the beginning:

Sing to God, for God has triumphed gloriously;

Horse and driver, God has hurled into the sea.

So the Rabbis asked: Why is the Song of Miriam only partially stated in the Torah? And in midrash is found the answer: the song is incomplete so that future generations will finish it. That is our task.

[Open the door for Elijah and Miriam; rise. ]

Source : Hafiz

No one can keep us from carrying God
Wherever we go.

No one can rob His Name
From our heart as we try to relinquish our fears
And at last stand — Victorious.

We do not have to leave him in the mosque
Or church alone at night;
We do not have to be jealous of tales of saints
Or glorious masts, those intoxicated souls
Who can make outrageous love with the Friend.

We do not have to be envious of our spirits’ ability
Which can sometimes touch God in a dream.

Our yearning eyes, our warm-needing bodies,
Can all be drenched in contentment
And Light.

No one anywhere can keep us
From carrying the Beloved wherever we go.

No one can rob His precious Name
From the rhythm of my heart,
Steps and breath.

Source : e.e. cummings

i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any–lifted from the no
of all nothing–human merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Source :

The Wicked Child

I read the haggadah backwards this year
The sea opens,
the ancient Israelites slide back to Egypt
like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk

Freedom to slavery
That’s the real story
One minute you’re dancing hallelujah,
shaking your hips to the j-j-jangle of the prophetesses’ tambourines,
the next you’re knee deep in brown muck
in the basement of some minor pyramid

The angel of death comes back to life
two zuzim are refunded.
When armies emerge from the sea like a returning scuba expedition
the Pharoah calls out for the towel boy.
The bread has plenty of time to rise.

I read the hagaddah backwards this year,
left a future Jerusalem,
scrubbed off the bloody doorposts,
wandered back to Aram.

Source : A Bund Haggadah: Russian Social-Democratic Worker's Party Pesakh Haggadah According to a New Mode (1900)

Who knows "one"?

Who knows one? I know one: one humankind is here in the world.

Who knows two? I know two: in two parts is humankind divided: poor and rich.

Who knows three? I know three: the Christian Trinity darkens the world.

Who knows four? I know four: the four basics rule work.

Who knows five? I know five: Capital controls all five continents.

Who knows six? I know six: six days of the week a worker becomes besmirched.

Who knows seven? I know seven: the rich person counts seven days a week as Holiday.

Who knows eight? I know eight: from eight days on, a little boy already suffers because of religion.

Who knows nine? I know nine: Nine months to work three months closer to death.

Who knows ten? I know ten: from Ten Commandments came the 613 mitsvot.

Who knows eleven? I know eleven: only rabbis and idlers can compare eleven merchants with eleven stars.

Who knows twelve? I know twelve: twelve holes are in a dozen bagels, and this is opposed to the twelve tribes.

Who knows thirteen? I know thirteen: to thirteen thousand atheists is the Capitalist system useless!

Commentary / Readings
Source : Love and Justice In Times of War Haggadah

by cynthia greenberg    

leaving is the easy part
not where to run, how to get there
children pulling at your hems
so many bags to carry
which way in the dark will you wander
what star use as your guide
stepping out into the uncertain sands
what then

it is more than the worry of food, shelter, water, food
what will become of us
this is what holds you back

leaving is the simplest part
to turn, in panic, anger, disdain, passion
rent of all trappings, belonging, owing-ness
to flee

us running, leaping, all gaiety at bonds released
the haze, intoxication, din
will we recognize suffering
notice disequillibrium bedding down among us
as we beat freedom drums
will we turn to the sounds of still-lacking

leaving is the lonliest part
determinedly setting out through unmapped waters
grasping ourselves, the air, what comes next full in our hands
we are wild joyfully moving as the dream
our mothers, fathers, cousins dreamed for us

even in our haste
history whispers:
bring all you have borne with you
leaving it, you will find no peace

what you make of liberation
that is the trick
can you, unshackled, set someone else free? 

Source :

Translation by Daniel Kahn, Oy Division - "Oh you foolish little zionists" (1931)

Oi, ihr narishe tsionistn
Mit ayer narishn meykhl
Ihr mag dokh geyn tsu dem arbeter | 2
Un lernen bai im seykhl!

Ihr vilt undz forn keyn Yerushalaim!
Mir zaln dortn golodayen
Mir viln beser zain in Rus[n]land, | 2
Mir veln zikh bafrayen!

Oh you foolish little Zionists
With your utopian mentality
You'd better go down to the factory | 2
And learn the worker's reality

You want to take us to Jerusalem
So we can die as a nation
We'd rather stay in the Diaspora | 2
And fight for our liberation

Глупенькие сионисты,
Вы такие утописты.
Вы бы лучше шли в рабочие | 2
Или в трубочисты.

В Иерушалаим
Идти за вами не желаем,
Мы в Рассее останемся -
Бороться с Николаем!
Мы в рассеяньи останемся -
Бороться с Николаем!
Mir viln beser zain in Rus[n]land,
Mir veln zikh bafrayen!

Source : Time of Israel
Chag Gad Ya Emoji Style