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Kadesh
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.

Urchatz

Water is refreshing, cleansing, and clear, so it’s easy to understand why so many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal.

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

Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. One at a time, pour water over each others’ hands.

As water is being poured over your hands, share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder OR as water is poured over your hands, share with us what you would like to let go of right now, what you would like to have “washed away”.

And after each person speaks, give them support by all saying “Kayn Yihee Ratzon”, or “So Be It.”

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

Passover, like many of our holidays, combines the celebration of an event from our Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.

We now take a vegetable, representing our joy at the dawning of spring after our long, cold winter. Most families use a green vegetable, such as parsley or celery, but some families from Eastern Europe have a tradition of using a boiled potato since greens were hard to come by at Passover time. Whatever symbol of spring and sustenance we’re using, we now dip it into salt water, a symbol of the tears our ancestors shed as slaves. Before we eat it, we recite a short blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

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

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

We look forward to spring and the reawakening of flowers and greenery. They haven’t been lost, just buried beneath the snow, getting ready for reappearance just when we most needed them.

-

We all have aspects of ourselves that sometimes get buried under the stresses of our busy lives. What has this winter taught us? What elements of our own lives do we hope to revive this spring?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

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

Maggid - Beginning
Source : http://www.jewishlights.com/PDF's/HasidicTales.pdf

When faced with a particularly weighty problem, the Baal Shem Tov, founder of Hasidic Judaism, would go to a certain place in the woods, light a sacred fire, and pray. In this way, he found insight into his dilemma. His successor, Rabbi Dov Ber, the Preacher of Mezritch, followed his example and went to the same place in the woods and said, “The fire we can no longer light, but we can still say the prayer.” And he, too, found what he needed. Another generation passed, and Rabbi Moshe Leib of Sassov went to the woods and said, “The fire we can no longer light, the prayer we no longer remember; all we know is the place in the woods, and that will have to suffice.” And it did. In the fourth generation, Rabbi Israel of Rishin stayed at home and said, “The fire we can no longer light, the prayer we no longer know, nor do we remember the place. All we can do is tell the tale.” And that, too, proved sufficient.

But why? Why is it that telling the story carries the same healing power as the original act? Because the story recreates the act in such a way as to invite us into it. We don’t simply listen to a story; we become the story. The very act of giving our attention to the story gives the story a personal immediacy that erases the boundary between the story and ourselves.

Although the power of the story to engage the listener is not unique to Jews, it is explicit in Judaism. Each spring at the Passover seder, a sto- ried re-creation of the Exodus from Egypt, participants are urged to tell the tale as if they themselves were experiencing the events right there in their own homes. The Passover story is not a recounting of what hap- pened once upon a time; it is a “live broadcast” spoken by observers “embedded” in the events themselves.

Storytelling, far more than sacrifice and law, is at the heart of Judaism. Rashi (an acronym for Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchak), the famous eleventh- century Jewish sage, asks in his commentary on the Torah why Torah doesn’t begin with the revelation at Sinai but instead begins with and includes the tales of creation, Cain and Abel, the Tower of Babel, and the legends of Abraham. Rashi answers that this is done to make it clear that God is the God of all creation and can do with it as God sees fit. But there is a less theological reason that I find far more convincing. If the Bible focused on law and commandments rather than embedding them in drama and storytelling, it would be much more difficult to get people to read it. It is the story that carries the law, not the law that carries the story.

Humans are storytelling animals. From the moment we awake to the moment we go to sleep, our primary means of communication is the story. Our stories define us, instruct us, create us. Without our stories, we do not exist, as the sad plight of amnesia sufferers makes so very clear. For us, our story is our self.

When you see friends on Monday morning and someone asks you what you did over the weekend, you don’t pull out your Palm Pilot or Pocket PC and read the appointments listed in your calendar. You tell a story: “Sunday morning started out normal enough, but on my way to the grocery store there was this incredible car accident, and I rushed over to help. You won’t believe who was in the car....” The same is true when you meet with family or friends at the end of a day and relate what hap- pened at home, work, or school. Unless you are a teenager talking to an adult, the answer to “What did you do today?” is rarely “Nothing.” You tell a story. And the story you tell determines the meaning you derive from the events of your life.

The quality of our lives depends to a great degree on the kinds of stories we tell. Miserable people tend to tell stories of woe; joyous peo- ple tend to tell stories of hope. The question we must ask is this: Do our tales reflect the personality of the teller, or do they create it? Does the tale mirror the teller, or does the teller come to resemble the tale?

The safest answer, of course, is that it is a bit of both. But my own experience as a congregational rabbi and professional storyteller is that the tale has greater power than the teller. This is why so many of the great spiritual teachers told stories. These are the great parables, the Zen koan, and the teaching tales of the world’s wisdom traditions. Listening to these tales with full attention lifts us out of our own story and reveals an alter- native drama that may offer us a greater sense of meaning than any of the tales we tell ourselves.

These tales shift our attention from the mundane to the holy while leaving us firmly grounded in the ordinary realities of our everyday lives. The most powerful teaching tales never take us out of the world but plant us more deeply in it. While often dealing with matters of the spirit, they continually ground us in the facts of daily living, for heaven and earth, nirvana and samsara, this world and the World to Come are sim- ply different ways of experiencing the singular reality of this very moment. And that is what great stories do: They show us a different way to engage reality. Nothing changes but our minds, and this, of course, changes everything. 

Maggid - Beginning
Source : ajws.org
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.”1 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.”2

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?”3

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 the 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. 

-- Four Questions
Source : JewishBoston.com

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 : http://www.chabad.org/holidays/passover/pesach_cdo/aid/411719/jewish/Multi-Lingual-Mah-Nishtanah-Four-Questions.htm

English

What makes this night different from all [other] nights? 

1) On all nights we need not dip even once, on this night we do so twice?

2) On all nights we eat chametz or matzah, and on this night only matzah?

3) On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night maror?

4) On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline?

Hebrew

Mah nishtanah halyla hazeh mikol halaylot

1) She'bechol halaylot ain anu matbilin afilu pa'am echat, halyla hazeh shtei pe'amim?

2) She'bechol halaylot anu ochlim chametz o matza, halyla hazeh kulo maztah?

3) She'bechol halaylot anu ochlim she'ar yerakot, halyla hazeh maror?

4) She'bechol halaylot anu ochlim bain yoshvin bain mesubin, halyla hazeh kulanu mesubin?

Yiddish

Tate ich vil bei dir fregen di fir kashes:

Ma nishtana halayla hazeh mikol haleylos. Vos iz anderesh fun der nacht fun Pesach fun ale necht fun a gants yor? 

1) Di ershte kashe iz,

Sheb'chol haleylos eyn anu matbilin afilu pa'am echas, halayla hazeh sh'tey p'amim?

Ale necht fun a gants yor tunken mir nisht ayn afileh eyn mol, ober di nacht fun peysach, tunken mir ayn tsvey mol -- ayn mol karpas in zaltz vasser, di tsveyte mol maror in charoses? 

2) Di tsveyte kashe iz,

Sheb'chol haleylos anu ochlin chameytz oy matzah, halayla hazeh kulo matzah?

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir chomets ader matseh, ober di nakht fun peysakh, esn mir nor matseh? 

3) Di drite kashe iz,

Sheb'chol haleylos anu ochlin sh'ar yerakos, halayla hazeh maror?

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir alerlay grintsen, ober di nacht fun peysach, esn mir nor bitere grintsen? 

4) Di ferte kashe iz,

Sheb'chol haleylos onu ochlin beyn yoshvin uveyn m'subin, halayla hazeh kulanu m'subin?

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir say zitsndikerheit un say ongeleynterheit, ober di nakht fun peysach, esn mir nor ongeleynterheit? 

Tate ich hob bei dir gefrekdt di di fir kashes yetzt gib mir a teretz.

French

Pourquoi cette nuit se différencie-t-elle de toutes les autres nuits? 

1) Toutes les nuits, nous ne sommes pas tenus de tremper même une seule fois, cette nuit nous le faisons deux fois?

2) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons du 'Hametz ou de la Matzah, cette nuit, seulement de la Matzah?

3) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons n'importe quel sorte de légumes, cette nuit, du Maror?

4) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons assis ou accoudés, cette nuit, nous sommes tous accoudés?

Spanish

¿Qué hace diferente a esta noche de todas las [demás] noches? ¿Ma nishtaná haláila hazé micól haleilót? 

1) En todas las noches no precisamos sumergir ni siquiera una vez, ¡y en esta noche lo hacemos dos veces? ...shebejól haleilót éin ánu matbilín afílu paám eját, haláila hazé shtéi peamím? 

2) En todas las noches comemos jametz o matzá, ¡en esta noche solamente matzá? ...shebejól haleilót ánu ojlín jamétz umatzá, haláila hazé kuló matzá? 

3) En todas las noches comemos cualquier clase de verdura, ¡esta noche maror? ...shebejól haleilót ánu ojlín sheár ieracót, haláila hazé marór? 

4) En todas las noches comemos sentados erguidos o reclinados, ¡esta noche todos nos reclinamos! 

Italian

Perché è diversa questa sera da tutte le altre? 

1) Perché tutte le sere non intingiamo neppure una volta questa sera lo facciamo due volte?

2) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo chamètz e matzà questa sera soltanto matzà? 

3) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo qualsiasi verdura questa sera maròr?

4) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo e beviamo sia seduti e sia adagiati, ma questa sera siamo tutti adagiati?

German

Was unterscheidet diese Nacht von allen anderen Nächten?

In allen anderen Nächten brauchen wir nicht ein einziges Mal einzutunken, in dieser Nacht zweimal?

In allen anderen Nächten können wir Gesäuertes und Ungesäuertes essen, in dieser Nacht nur Ungesäuertes?

In allen anderen Nächten können wir verschiedene Kräuter essen, in dieser Nacht nur bittere Kräuter?

In allen anderen Nächten können wir freisitzend oder angelehnt essen, in dieser Nacht sitzen wir alle angelehnt?

Korean

Oneul pameun piongso pamdeul kwa pikiohalte otoke tareumnika?

Piongso pameneun han bonto chikoso mokzi aneunde, oneul pameneun we tubonina chikoso mokseumnika?

Piongso pameneun chametzto mokko, matzahto mokneunde, oneul pameneun we matzahman mokseumnika?

Piongso pameneun yoro yachereur mokneunde, oneul pameneun we maror mokseumnika?

Piongso pameneun hori pioso ankito hago, kideso ankito haneunde, oneul pameneun we uri modu ta kideso anjaya hamnika?

-- Four Children
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we tell the story, we think about it from all angles. Our tradition speaks of four different types of children who might react differently to the Passover seder. It is our job to make our story accessible to all the members of our community, so we think about how we might best reach each type of child:

What does the wise child say?

The wise child asks, What are the testimonies and laws which God commanded you?

You must teach this child the rules of observing the holiday of Passover.

What does the wicked child say?

The wicked child asks, What does this service mean to you?

To you and not to himself! Because he takes himself out of the community and misses the point, set this child’s teeth on edge and say to him: “It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.” Me, not him. Had that child been there, he would have been left behind.

What does the simple child say?

The simple child asks, What is this?

To this child, answer plainly: “With a strong hand God took us out of Egypt, where we were slaves.”

What about the child who doesn’t know how to ask a question?

Help this child ask.

Start telling the story:

“It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.”

-

Do you see yourself in any of these children? At times we all approach different situations like each of these children. How do we relate to each of them?

-- Four Children
Source : By Rabbi Einat Ramon, Ph.D. | Ritual Component

The Torah speaks of four Daughters: one possessing wisdom of the heart, one rebellious, one simple and pure, and one who cannot ask questions.

The daughter possessing wisdom of the heart what does she say? "Father, your decree is harsher than Pharoah's. The decree of the wicked Pharoah may or may not have been fulfilled, but you who are righteous, your decree surely is realized." The father heeded his daughter (Miriam). So we too follow in her steps with drums and dancing, spreading her prophecy amongst the nations

The rebellious daughter, what does she say? "Recognize" the ways of enslavement and the tyranny of man's rule over man. Although she rebels against authority it is said: She was more righteous than he, and we enjoy no freedom until we have left our unjust ways.

The simple and pure daughter, what does she say? "Wherever you go, so shall I go, and where you rest your head so there will I rest mine. Your people are mine, and your God my God" (Ruth,1:16). We shall indeed fortify her in her loyalty to those she loved, and it was said to her: "May God make the woman who is coming into your house like Rachel and Leah, both of whom built up the House of Israel."

And the daughter who cannot ask– only her silent weeping is heard, as it is written, "and she wept for her father and mother." We will be her mouthpiece and she will be for us a judge. We will return her to her mother's house and to her who conceived her, and we will proclaim "liberty in the land for all its inhabitants."

Each of the Four Daughters expresses a unique path from bondage to freedom in a national and human sense. They learn from examining their parents' lives and from the struggle of their nation, while their parents themselves are exposed to new spiritual layers as a result of their daughter's education.

Wise of Heart: According to the Midrash, young Miriam persuaded her father Amram and the other enslaved men of Israel not to separate from their wives despite Pharoah's decree to destroy all male newborns. When her mother Yocheved gave birth to a boy, the two worked together to save the new son/brother. Miriam recognized the historical significance of this nascent struggle, as she did at the splitting of the Red Sea, and thus led her people to redemption ( Talmud Bavli, Sotah 12 ).

Rebellious: Tamar's complex relationship with her father-in-law, Judah, son of Jacob our forefather, expresses a rebellion whose result was critical to the continuation of the tribe of Judah and the Jewish people. With her deeds, Tamar barricaded herself against her loss of freedom as an imprisoned widow. She eventually achieves the yibum (levirate marriage) to which she is entitled, and becomes the "founding mother" of the Davidic dynasty, symbol of messianic redemption (Tamar, Genesis 38:26).

Simple and Pure: Ruth the Moabitess remained true to her mother-in-law Naomi, and her ingenious loyalty is absolute. This wonderful emotional closeness that Ruth so adamantly demonstrates rescues both of them from poverty and internal bondage (Ruth 4:11).

The One Who Cannot Ask: This last of the four daughters lacks sufficient freedom to taste even slightly the redemption and thus remains weeping in utter slavery. Although the 'beautiful captive' from war is allowed to grieve for her parents before she is taken (Deuteronomy 21:13), she is a reminder of the reality of silenced bondage, which continues to exist in our midst in various ways. The silent weeping that erupts from this dark reality is a call to action for the cause of freedom and liberty of every man and woman (Leviticus 25:10), born in the image of God, in order to live securely in their homes, among their people and loving family (Song of Songs 3:4).

Rabbi Einat Ramon, is the first Israeli-born woman to be ordained as a Rabbi.

This clip originally appeared on Ritualwell.org.

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

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

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

Raise the glass of wine and say:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְלָֽנוּ

V’hi she-amda l’avoteinu v’lanu.

This promise has sustained our ancestors and us.

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

The glass of wine is put down.

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

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

-- Exodus Story
-- Exodus Story
Source : http://hartman.org.il/Blogs_View.asp?Article_Id=659&Cat_Id=273&Cat_Type=Blogs

By Rabbi Dr. Donniel Hartman

Our rabbis teach that all Jews must see themselves as if they had come out of Egypt. The Exodus from Egypt is not a story of a distant past but a living memory which must shape our present lives and identities as Jews.

Memory is a tricky thing in which we are not merely passive recipients of past events, but active participants in shaping the memory and determining its features. The critical question we have to ask ourselves is what story we choose to tell. What do we remember from Egypt and most importantly what do we take away from that memory as a foundation block for contemporary Jewish life?

The Exodus story, as retold by our tradition, has many facets, each weaving its own narrative and moral lesson. The most dominant and common one portrays our liberation from Egypt as a story of Jewish election. It tells of our suffering in Egypt, of a God who remembers God’s covenant with our forefathers, and who reaches down with a mighty hand and outstretched arm and with great miracles to free us and to make us God’s inheritance and chosen people.

In telling the story we remember the liberation, so we can bask in the light of God’s love and care and feel the pride and dignity of being God’s chosen people. We count, relish, magnify, and multiply each miracle as evidence both of God’s unique love for us and as a foundation for the promise of things yet to come.

This story has served us well, especially in the darkest moments of exile as we awaited our next liberation story. It served to create a pride of membership even when our precarious political status seemed to suggest that we were the abandoned child. As our freedom and power increased with the rebirth of Israel and our newfound acceptance in the Western world the pride taken from the story served and serves as an ongoing catalyst for our people to strive for excellence and to define ourselves by our achievements. It is a story which embeds us with a sense of dignity and self-worth in which to be a Jew and to be mediocre is viewed as a contradiction in terms unworthy of the people who were freed by God from Egypt.

This story, however, can and at times has a darker side. Pride can be the mother of arrogance, and chosenness, instead of serving as a catalyst for achievement, can be the foundation for entitlement. The story of God’s love can give birth to a sense of superiority and a denigration of those who were not the recipients of that love.

In truth this darker side can be found throughout our tradition, as the Exodus story was sometimes used to discriminate between Jew and non-Jew. It even finds its way into the ending of the traditional Passover Haggadah with the calling for God to pour out God’s wrath upon the nations that do not know God. 

As we tell the story it is important that we own this part as well, for to ignore it will allow it to fester and to influence our soul. It is only when a symptom of an illness is recognized that appropriate acts can be instituted to activate healing.

As a part of this healing there is a dimension of the Exodus which rarely enters into the telling of the story or the traditional Haggadah, but which had significant impact on the Jewish moral code. It is the part of the story that precedes the liberation and which speaks of our humble and suffering past. It obligates us to use this memory as a catalyst for responsibility toward all who are in a similar circumstance. 

If the first story unites us with fellow Jews, the second places us forever in the midst of the community of sufferers. It tempers our pride with a measure of humility to ensure that arrogance and entitlement never become our inheritance. It channels our drive to achieve into areas which do not merely service our own interests but the needs of all, especially the downtrodden and forgotten.

If the prayer, “Pour out Your Wrath,” is the personification of our darker side, then the beginning of the Haggadah, “This is the bread of affliction, which our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, let them come and eat. All who are needy, let them join us at our table,” is meant to serve as its antidote.

Both, however, are present in our story. It behooves our people, whose liberation story serves as a catalyst for excellence, that we recognize that it is our responsibility to determine which side of the story we tell and which side we allow to define our future as a people. It is true that we were once slaves; now, however, we are free. As a free people the power is now in our hands to be a force for good or for evil. It is in our hands to show that Jewish pride and a sense of God’s love for us need not lead to arrogance and blindness to the needs and rights of others. It is in our hands to determine which story will define us as a people. Here too mediocrity and being Jewish must be a contradiction in terms.

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Machar

Leader:
Let us all refill our cups.

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

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

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

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

Leader:

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

Everyone:

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

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

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

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

Leader:

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

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

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

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Franny Silverman, for the Sh'ma Haggadah supplement

Dayenu means "it would have been enough."  And not in a kvetchy/sarcastic way!  Dayenu is a sincere expression of gratitude, of the Jewish people's cup overfloweth. 

There are many any verses in the Hebrew proclaiming how it would have been enough just to be brought out from slavery in Egpyt, to get the Torah, to be gifted Shabbat, etc...

In this version, you may sing some, all or none of the traditional verses, but then open it up so Dayenu can become a participatory song where everyone offers their own "dayenu" for the year. As in: It would have been enough if________, but also ______! Dayenu! Day-day-enu...etc...

For example:It would have been enough if I graduated high school this year, but I also got accepted to my top choice for college! Dayenu! (And everyone sings the chorus!)

This an be done at the Dayenu moment in the Seder or introduced earlier and then whenever someone is moved throughout the Seder to share their Dayenu moment, they can. Depends on the enthusiasm of the crowd. 

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

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

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ

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

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

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ

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

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

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

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

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

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

ּעֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין  

Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

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

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

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

We have now told the story of Passover…but wait! We’re not quite done. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet. Rabban Gamliel would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice.

The shank bone represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. It is called the pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors.

The matzah reminds us that when our ancestors were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. Our ancestors grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled.

The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt.

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

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

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

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

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

---

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the second glass of wine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motzi-Matzah
Source : JewishBoston.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maror
Source : JewishBoston.com

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror  |מָרוֹר   

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר

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

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

Koreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

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

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

Koreich
Source : Original

In Talmud Pesachim, Rava teaches, "A person who swallows matzah without chewing fills the mitzvah, the commandment, to eat matzah. However, a person who swallows maror without chewing doesn't fulfill the mitzvah to eat maror."

Matzah is Biblical fast food. Matzah is flat because the Hebrews were in such a hurry to get out of Egypt, they didn't wait for their bread to rise. They rushed out, eating crackers, because they had to eat something. Matzah is optimistic, portable, light and undemanding.

Rashbam says that the mitzvah of eating matzah isn't connected to taste. It's connected to story. The Seder ends with a literal countdown, numbering the days until Shavuot, the holiday when the Hebrews get the Torah. Matzah is the food of the future. We eat matzah on Passover to remind us that we're on our way.

Charoset and Maror are the tastes of the past. Charoset is a sweet memory. Maror is a bitter encounter made fresh. Charoset is the sweetness of family, Maror the bitterness of Holocaust. These are our roots as individual people and as a People. Maror wants attention, and loves to get a reaction. Charoset is sweet, and also thick and heavy. Charoset is said to be the material the Hebrews used to make bricks. Sweetness between people and bricks are made of the same material. The presence of both forms a foundation.

The Hillel sandwich is the three of these together. Matzah, Maror and Charoset. Together, they are the present.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

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

Tzafun
Source : JewishBoston.com

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

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

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

Refill everyone’s wine glass.

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

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

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

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

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

The Third Glass of Wine

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the third glass of wine!

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

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! 

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

The Cup of Elijah

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

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

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!

Nirtzah
Source : Franny Silverman, for the Sh'ma Haggadah supplement
At the end of the seder, it is traditional to say or sing " Next Year in Jerusalem". We sometimes think of this as a literal wish, though far fewer of us have actually found ourselves in Jerusalem for seder the following year -- congratulations if you have!

But Jerusalem is more than a place, it is a feeling, it is a hope.  At this point in the seder, 1/2 or 1/4 sheets of paper should be passed around to each participant, along with an envelope and writing utensil.  Folks are invited to write a brief note to their future selves inspired by "next year in Jerusalem." As metaphor: what is our own personal Jerusalem where we hope to see ourselves a year from now? 

Everyone seals and addresses their envelope to themselves, and the seder leader, or whoever is leading this exercise takes responsibility for keeping the notes all year and mailing them the following Pesach season.

This exercise can be done formally when everyone sits down to dessert or it can be introduced when the break for the meal happens and people can elect to write the notes at their leisure. 

I often have a basket out for people to drop their notes in.

Nirtzah
Source : Judy Chicago

We read together...

And then all that has divided us will merge

And then compassion will be wedded to power

And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind

And then both men and women will be gentle

And then both women and men will be strong

And then all will live in harmony with each other and the earth

And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.