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Introduction

We gather together tonight as a community to remember the bondage of our ancestors and the struggles of those that continue today, so that we may be inspired to cherish the freedom we now have, to recognize the bondage of those who are not yet free, and to encourage our collective call to help in the struggle to free all people and to value all people equally. On these evenings, the bond of friendship, love, family and community reaches out from within – as from this gathering – to unite all humankind in remembering our collective history in hope for tomorrow.

As a Jewish community, we are an old people; our history reaches back over 4000 years. In that history, our forebears have seen bondage and freedom, trial and triumph, high achievements and terrible disasters. Today, too, as we recline in the luxury of our freedom, let us not forget how deeply our neighbors in other places yearn for the simple necessity of release from their bondage and oppression and those who sit here beside you who have faced incredible challenges in their lives to gather here as a community.

You Don’t Have to Be Jewish to Celebrate Freedom

Passover is a Jewish holiday, but it is not just for Jews. We welcome our non-Jewish friends to our celebration of liberation. Liberation from oppression is always a deep concern for Jews because of our history. We invite our friends and family to share this night with Jews all over the world, as we take this opportunity to celebrate our freedom and pray for the freedom of all those who suffer, wherever and whomever they may be.

Introduction
by VBS
Source : Valley Beth Shalom Haggadah
  • In every generation, we must see ourselves as if we personally were liberated from Egypt. We gather tonight to tell the ancient story of a people's liberation from Egyptian slavery. This is the story of our origins as a people. It is from these events that we gain our ethics, our vision of history, our dreams for the future. We gather tonight, as two hundred generations of Jewish families have before us, to retell the timeless tale.
  • Yet our tradition requires that on Seder night, we do more than just tell the story. We must live the story. Tonight, we will re-experience the liberation from Egypt. We will remember how our family suffered as slaves; we will feel the exhilaration of redemption. We must re-taste the bitterness of slavery and must rejoice over our newfound freedom. We annually return to Egypt in order to be freed. We remember slavery in order to deepen our commitment to end all suffering; we recreate our liberation in order to reinforce our commitment to universal freedom.
Introduction
Source : VBS Haggadah

The first words in the creation of the universe out of the unformed, void and dark earth were God’s “Let there be light." Therein lies the hope and faith of Judaism and the obligation of our people: to make the light of justice, compassion, and knowledge penetrate the darkness of our time till the prophecy be fulfilled, ‘that wickedness vanish like smoke and the earth shall be filled with knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea’ (Isaiah 11:9).

Introduction
Source : http://www.zemirotdatabase.org/view_song.php?id=126

אַדִיר בִּמְלוּכָה, בָּחוּר כַּהֲלָכָה, גְּדוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

דָּגוּל בִּמְלוּכָה, הָדוּר כַּהֲלָכָה, וָתִיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

זַכַּאי בִּמְלוּכָה, חָסִין כַּהֲלָכָה טַפְסְרָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

יָחִיד בִּמְלוּכָה, כַּבִּיר כַּהֲלָכָה לִמוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

מוֹשֵׁל בִּמְלוּכָה, נוֹרָא כַּהֲלָכָה סְבִיבָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

עָנָיו בִּמְלוּכָה, פּוֹדֶה כַּהֲלָכָה, צַדִּיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

קָּדוֹשׁ בִּמְלוּכָה, רַחוּם כַּהֲלָכָה שִׁנְאַנָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

תַּקִיף בִּמְלוּכָה, תּוֹמֵךְ כַּהֲלָכָה תְּמִימָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.

Translation: Because it is proper for Him, because it befits Him. Mighty in sovereignty, rightly select. His minions say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Exalted in sovereignty, rightly glorious. His faithful ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Blameless in sovereignty, rightly powerful. His generals say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Singular in sovereignty, rightly strong. His learned ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Exalted in sovereignty, rightly awesome. Those who surround Him say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Humble in sovereignty, rightly saving. His righteous ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Holy in sovereignty, rightly merciful. His multitudes say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Strong in sovereignty, rightly supportive. His perfect ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” 

Introduction
Source : Original

Haroset

Maror

Beitzah (Egg)

Zroah (Pascal Lamb/Shankbone)

Karpas (Greens)

Melah (Salt Water)

Kadesh
Source : Original Illustration from Haggadot.com

Kadesh
Source : Design by Haggadot.com

Kadesh
Source : Design by Haggadot.com

Kadesh

Kadesh - Sanctification - קַדֵשׁ

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.

Kadesh

The Hebrew word “Kiddush” means sanctification. But it is not the wine we sanctify. Instead, the wine is a symbol of the sanctity, the preciousness, and the sweetness of this moment. Held together by sacred bonds of family, friendship, peoplehood, we share this table tonight with one another and with all the generations who have come before us. Let us rise, and sanctify this singular moment.

HOW? We will drink four cups of wine at the Seder in celebration of our freedom. (Grape juice is fine too.) We stand, recite the blessing, and enjoy the first cup. L'chaim!

The blessing praises God for creating the "fruit of the vine." We recite the blessing, not over the whole grape, but over wine — squeezed and fermented through human skill. So, too, the motzee blessing is recited not over sheaves of wheat but over bread, leavened or unleavened, ground and kneaded and prepared by human hands. The blessing is over the product cultivated through human and divine cooperation: We bless the gifts of sun, seed and soil transformed by wisdom and purpose to sustain the body and rejoice the soul. (VBS)

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם, בורא פרי הגפן! ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם, אשר בחר בנו מכל עם ורוממנו מכל לשון, וקדשנו במצותיו. ותתן לנו יי אלהינו באהבה מועדים לשמחה, חגים וזמנים לששון, את יום חג המצות הזה, זמן חרותנו מקרא קדש, זכר ליציאת מצרים. כי בנו בחרת ואותנו קדשת מכל העמים, ומיעדי קדשך בשמחה ובששון הנחלתנו. ברוך אתה יי, מקדש ישראל והזמנים

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohaynoo melech ha-olam, boray pree ha-gafen. Baruch atah Adonai, Elohynoo melech ha- olam, asher bachar banoo meekol am, v’romemanoo meekol lashon, v’keedshanoo b’meetzvotav. Va’teetayn lanoo Adonai Elohaynoo b’bahava, mo’adeem lsimcha, chageem oo-z’maneem l’sason. Et yom chag ha-matzot ha-zeh,

z’man chayrootaynoo, meekra kodesh, zecher leetzeeyat Meetzrayeem. Kee vanoo vacharta, v’otanoo keed- ashta meekol ha- ameem. Oo’mo’adday kodsheh’cha b’seemcha oo-v’sason heen’chaltanoo. Barcuch ata Adonai m’kadesh Yisrael v’ha-z’maneem.

Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe. Who creates the fruit of the vine. Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe, Who has called us for service

from among the peoples of the world, sanctifying our lives with Your commandments. In love, You have given us festivals for rejoicing and seasons of celebration, this Festival of Matzot, the time of our freedom, a commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt.
Praised are You, Lord, Who gave us this joyful heritage and Who sanctifies Israel and the festivals.

Kadesh
Source : Original

Kadesh
Source : Traditional Haggadah Text

The following Seder is for a weeknight. (On Shabbat we add the words in parentheses)

רָיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי. וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאַָם. וַיְכַל אֱלֹקִים בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה. וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אוֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בֶָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת

(Vay'hi erev vay'hi voker yom hashi-shi. Vay'chulu hashamayim v'ha-aretz v’choltzva’am. Vay’chal Elohim bayom hashvi’i, m'lachto asher asah, vayishbot bayom hashvi-i, mikol-mlachto asher asah. Vay'vareich Elohim, et-yom hashvi’i, vay'kadeish oto, ki vo shavat mikol-mlachto, asher-bara Elohim la-asot.)

(“And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Now the heavens and all their host were completed. And on the seventh day God finished His work of creation which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on that day God rested from His work and ceased creating.)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן

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

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

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

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

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has chosen us from among all people, and languages, and made us holy through Your mitzvot, giving us lovingly [Shabbat for rest] festivals for joy, and special times for celebration, this [Shabbat and this] Passover, this [given in love] this sacred gathering to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. You have chosen us, You have shared Your holiness with us among all other peoples. For with [Shabbat and] festive revelations of Your holiness, happiness and joy You have granted us [lovingly] joyfully the holidays. Praised are you, Adonai, Who sanctifies [Shabbat], Israel and the festivals.

On Saturday night include the following section:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל, ין אוֹר לְחשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בֵּין קְדֻשַּׁת שַׁבָּת לִקְדֻשַּׁת יוֹם טוֹב הִבְדַּלְתָּ, וְאֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה קִדַּשְׁתָּ. הִבְדַּלְתָּ וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ. ,בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְקֹדֶשׁ

( Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei m'orei ha-eish.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol bein or l'choshech, bein Yisrael la-amim, bein yom hashvi-i l'sheishet y'mei hama-aseh. Bein k'dushat shabat likdushat yom tov hivdalta. V'et-yom hashvi-i misheishet y'mei hama-aseh kidashta. Hivdalta v'kidashta et-am'cha yisra-eil bikdushatecha. Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bein kodesh l'kodesh.)

(Praised are You Adonai our God Lord of the universe who created the lights of fire.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes a distinction between the holy and profane, light and darkness, Israel and the nations, Shabbat and the six workdays. You have made a distinction between the holiness of Shabbat and the holiness of the festival, and You have sanctified Shabbat above the six work-days. You have set apart and made holy Your people Israel with your holiness. Praised are you, Adonai, who distinguishes between degrees of sanctity.)

Say this Shehechiyanu blessing the first Seder night only:

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

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam,
she’hecheyanu v'ki'manu v'higi-anu laz'man hazeh.

Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe,
who has sustained us, maintained us and enabled us to reach this moment in life.

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

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drink the first glass of wine!

Kadesh
Source : Congregation Ahavas Achim Keene, NH

Kadesh
Source : Congregation Ahavas Achim - Keene, NH

Urchatz
Source : Original

Urchatz
Source : K Cohen
 

Ritual hand-washing in preparation for the seder |  urchatz  | וּרְחַץ 

This is a moment to cleanse and refresh, so that we can begin the seder intentionally.

As you wash your hands, imagine washing away any distractions, leaving your mind clear to engage fully in tonight's ritual.

Urchatz
Source : Unknown

Each person takes the water jug and washes the hands of the person next to them.

Leader: As we wash, let us remember to be servants of one another, yet know that we are worthy to have our hands washed by others.

Karpas
Source : Original

Karpas
Source : Adapted from Jewishboston.com
Passover combines the celebration of an event from 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, in this case parsely, to represent our joy at the dawning of spring after our long, cold winter. 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?

Karpas
Source : Original Illustration from Haggadot.com

Karpas
Source : Rabbi Geela Rayzel Raphael, Five Interfaith Passover Readings You Can Add to Your Haggadah
Karpas (parsley that is dipped in salt water during the seder) kavannah (spiritual focus)--time for spring awakening, new directions--renewal and bursting forth of new ideas.

We take this time to honor others who travel with us from other faiths and cultural traditions. We acknowledge the fact that they bring a new perspective to our lives and a legacy of their own that enriches ours. We are grateful for the growth that we have experienced because they are in our lives.

As a plant bursts forth with new energy to bloom, so too we recognize that at this time of Jewish history we are blossoming in different ways. As the garden needs tending, so, too, do our relationships with spouses, in-laws and families of other traditions. Weeding out all that is not necessary and loving, we make room for fresh insight and respect. Welcome those who sit around this table for the first time or the twentieth, bringing new understanding to our discussion.

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?

Karpas
Source : Kim and Frank Peavey-Hunter

The Passover Seder is a perfect celebration for a farmer. First of all, farmers love to recount the plagues: floods in June; hail in July; broken down hayloaders in August; potato beetles, cabbage moths, and squash bugs in September; blight and pestilence in October, woodchuck and deer all season long.


Secondly, farmers love to dream of spring, and new beginnings, just as the Seder celebration does. There's no more hopeful sight than tiny, just germinated, vibrantly green lettuce or scallions. Spring is a time of potential and possibilities; no big farming disasters have happened yet, and we can vividly imagine the rest of the season: fertile soil, plenty of sunshine, an inch of gentle rain a week, vigorous growth of crops (but never weeds!), and abundant harvests.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, there is a celebration of freedom, both in farming and in the Seder. Vandana Shiva, scholar, environmental activist, and food sovereignty advocate, has worked tirelessly, in India and globally, against agricultural industrialization and the resulting monoculture cropping, heavy chemical pesticide use, genetic engineering of crops, and the corporate ownership of seeds. “Seed freedom” is essential for farming, just as human freedom is essential for our lives.

Shiva promotes biodiversity and indigenous knowledge in agriculture, to increase production, nutrition, and farmers' incomes, and to support the health and freedom of women and family farmers. As she writes, “Recently I interviewed organic farmers in the Indian mountains. An old woman was asked why she farmed in this terrible place. Her reply was: 'It is the only way of being completely free.' ”

Perhaps farming is not the only way to be free, but it is one of the ways, and we celebrate that freedom in the Seder. We are free to complain. Free to rejoice. Free to work. Free to eat. Free to walk, and talk, and love each other.

Yachatz
Source : Original

Yachatz
Source : http://ajws.org/what_we_do/education/publications/holiday_resources/passover_seder_reading_2009.pdf

Breaking the matzah

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." After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen.

Reader 1: Ha lachma anya—this is the bread of affliction. At the seder we begin as slaves. We eat matzah, the bread of affliction, which leaves us hungry and longing for redemption. It reminds us of a time when we couldn’t control what food was available to us, but ate what we could out of necessity. The matzah enables us to taste slavery— to imagine what it means to be denied our right to live free and healthy lives.

But, while we will soon enjoy a large meal and end the seder night as free people, millions of people around the world can not leave the affliction of hunger behind. Let us awaken to their cries and declare:

Kol dichfin yeitei v’yeichol—let all who are hungry, come and eat. As we sit at our seder and contemplate our people’s transition from slavery to freedom, let us hope for a time when all who are hungry will eat as free people. Let us pray:

Let all people gain autonomy over their sources of sustenance.

Let local farms flourish and local economies strengthen.

Let exploitation of natural resources cease so that the land may nourish its inhabitants.

Let communities bolster themselves against the destruction wrought by flood and drought.

Let our world leaders recognize food as a basic human right and implement policies and programs that put an end to world hunger.

Hashata avdei—this year we are still slaves. Leshanah haba’ah b’nei chorin—next year we will be free people.

This year, hunger and malnutrition are still the greatest risks to good health around the world. Next year, may the bread of affliction be simply a symbol, and may all people enjoy the bread of plenty, the bread of freedom.

Yachatz
Source : Original Illustration from Haggadot.com

Maggid - Beginning

The Story of Exodus

During the time when Pharaoh issued his decree to kill Israelite males, Moses, who later was to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to freedom, was an infant. His concerned mother, Jochebed placed him in a basket of reeds in the Nile River while Moses’ sister Miriam watched from a distance to see who would come to find him. The basket was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who decided to raise the infant as her own son and named him Moses. She unknowingly hired Jochebed as a nurse to care for him, and Jochebed secretly taught Moses his Israelite heritage. At age 40, on a visit to see his fellow Israelites, Moses saw an Egyptian taskmaster beating an Israelite slave and in his rage, killed the Egyptian. Fearing for his life, Moses fled Egypt. He fled across the desert, for the roads were watched by Egyptian soldiers, and took refuge in Midian, an area in present-day northwestern Saudi Arabia along the eastern shores of the Red Sea.

While in Midian, Moses met a Midianite priest named Jethro and became a shepherd for the next 40 years, eventually marrying one of Jethro’s daughters, Zipporah. Then, when Moses was about 80 years of age, God spoke to him from a burning bush and said that he and his brother Aaron were selected by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to freedom. At first, Moses hesitated to take on such a hugetask, but eventually Moses and his brother Aaron set about returning to Egypt, commencing what was to be the spectacular and dramatic events that are told in the story of Passover. It is said that the Israelites entered Egypt as a group of tribes and left Egypt as one nation. It has also been estimated that the Passover exodus population comprised about 3 million people, plus numerous flocks of sheep who all crossed over the border of Egypt to freedom in Canaan.

Under the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III in Egypt in 1476 BCE, the Israelite leader Moses (“Moshe” in Hebrew) – guided by God – led his people out of Egypt after a series of 10 plagues that were created by God and initiated by Moses. Prior to most of the plagues, Moses had warned the Pharaoh about each plague and that it would devastate his people, if he refused to let the Israelites go. After the first two plagues, the Pharaoh refused to let them go because his court magicians were able to re-create the same miracles, and so the Pharaoh thought: “This proves that the Israelite God is not stronger than I.” But when the third plague occurred, the Pharaoh’s magicians were not able to duplicate this miracle; however, that still did not change the Pharaoh’s mind about letting the Israelites leave Egypt. After each subsequent plague, the Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go, but the Pharaoh soon changed his mind and continued to hold the Israelites as slaves. Finally, after the 10th plague, the Pharaoh let the Israelites go for good.

When the Pharaoh finally agreed to free the Israelite slaves, they left their homes so quickly that there wasn’t even time to bake their breads. So they packed the raw dough to take with them on their journey. As they fled through the desert

they would quickly bake the dough in the hot sun into hard crackers called matzah. Today to commemorate this event, Jews eat matzah in place of bread during Passover.

Though the Israelites were now free, their liberation was incomplete. The Pharaoh’s army chased them through the desert towards the Red Sea. When the Israelites reached the sea they were trapped, since the sea blocked their escape. When the Israelites saw the Egyptian army fast approaching toward them, they called out in despair to Moses. Fortunately, God intervened and commanded Moses to strike his staff on the waters of the Red Sea, creating a rift of land between the waves, enabling the Israelites to cross through the Red Sea to safety on the other side. Once the Israelites were safely across, God then commanded Moses to strike the waters of the Red Sea with his staff again, just as the Egyptian army followed them through the parted Red Sea. The waters came together again, drowning the entire Egyptian army and the Israelites were saved.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Original

-- Four Questions
Source : Traditional

                 Maggid – Four Questions

מַהנִּשְּׁתַּנָה

?מַה נִּשְּׁתַּנָה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת

Mah nish-ta-na ha-lai-lah ha-zeh mikol ha-lei-lot?

Why is this night of Passover different from all other nights of the year?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה - כּוּלוֹ מַצָּה

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot anu och'lin cha-meitz u-matzah. Ha-laylah hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights, we eat either leavened or unleavened bread, why on this night do we eat only matzah?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Sheb'chol ha-lei-lot anu och'lin sh'ar y'rakot. Ha-lai-lah h-azeh maror.

On all other nights, we eat vegetables of all kinds, why on this night must we eat bitter herbs?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אֶנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים

Sheb'chol ha-lei-lot ein anu mat-beelin afee-lu pa-am echat.Ha-lai-lah hazeh sh'tei p'ameem.

On all other nights, we do not dip vegetables even once,
why on this night do we dip greens into salt water and bitter herbs into sweet haroset?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָנו מְסֻ

Sheb’khol ha-lei-lot anu och-leem bein yo-shveen u-vein m’su-been, ha-lailah hazeh kulanu m’subeen.

On all other nights, everyone sits up straight at the table, why on this night do we recline and eat at leisure?

-- Four Children
Source : Internet

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 : Ben Aronin

Said the father to the children
"At the Seder you will dine,
You will eat your fill of matzoh,
You will drink four cups of wine."

Now this father had no daughters,
But his sons they numbered four,
One was wise, and one was wicked,
One was simple and a bore.

And the fourth was sweet and winsome,
He was young and he was small,
While his brothers asked the questions,
He could scarcely speak at all.

Said the wise one to his father
"Would you please explain the laws.
Of the customs of the Seder
Will you please explain the cause?"

And the father proudly answered
"As our fathers ate in speed,
Ate the Pascal lamb 'ere midnight,
And from slavery were freed"

"So we follow their example,
And 'ere midnight must complete,
All the Seder, and we should not
After twelve remain to eat."

Then did sneer the son so wicked,
"What does all this mean to you?"
And the father's voice was bitter
As his grief and anger grew.

"If yourself you don't consider,
As a son of Israel
Then for you this has no meaning,
You could be a slave as well!"

Then the simple son said softly,
"What is this?" and quietly
The good father told his offspring
"We were freed from slavery."

But the youngest son was silent,
For he could not speak at all,
His bright eyes were bright with wonder
As his father told him all.

Now, dear people, heed the lesson
And remember evermore,
What the father told his children
Told his sons who numbered four!

-- Exodus Story
Source : Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn • www.jmcbrooklyn.org

1. After the ten plagues, Pharoah finally lets our people go, and the Israelites leave in a big hurry. They pack their bags, gather their children and livestock, toss the unleavened bread on their backs, and begin their journey. It is Pharaoh’s change of heart, after refusing so many times to let them go, that allows the Israelites to arrive at this moment of freedom.

2. After being freed, the Israelites find themselves between the roaring sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them. They panic and say to Moses, “There weren’t enough graves in Egypt, so you brought us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? It would have been better to stay as slaves than to die here.” We can learn a lot about resistance to transition from the complaints of the Israelites.

3. Sometimes in the midst of doubt and fear, it can feel impossible to take that first step forward. A rabbinic Midrash tells the story of Nachshon ben Aminadav, who walked into the sea until the water was above his neck; only after he took this great risk did the waters part for all the Israelites. Passover is our annual invitation to take that first step.

Ask everyone to imagine the moment where they can’t stay in the same place. Go around the table and ask each person to say one word to answer this question: What would you need to act, to move forward, away from constriction and narrowness, toward freedom? [examples: “faith,” “community,” “imagination,” “lightness”, etc]

Go around the table and each person can answer this second question: What is one situation or pattern you’ve resisted changing even when you know it’s not in service to living the life you want to lead?” [examples: “going to sleep super late,” “my unfulfilling job,” “that relationship (you know the one),” etc.]

4. There’s commentary that the post-Exodus forty years of wandering in the desert was the necessary length of time to allow the generation of Israelites raised with a slave mentality to be replaced by a new generation of free people. This means that only those born into freedom were able to enter the Promised Land. We can translate this to our own lives to mean that we have to transition out of fixed mindsets and make space for new ways and paths and directions.

Remembering our own capacity to enslave and be enslaved, as well as our ability to find freedom in our lives, is one of the most meaningful practices of Passover. May we all be blessed with a Passover of liberation. May our practice be a source of strength as we find paths to freedom, and may our open-heartedness benefit all beings.

-- Exodus Story
Source : original copy right natalia kadish 2009

Moshe in basket

-- 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.

Rachtzah
Source : Original

Motzi-Matzah
Source : Original

Maror
Source : Revenge of Dinah: A Feminist Seder on Rape Culture in the Jewish Community

A simple piece of Matzah serves to remind us of the immense suffering of ancient slavery. Now we take into account a second item, bitter chocolate, to remind us of modern suffering. One might question how chocolate is representative of hardship, for its purpose is to satisfy one’s pleasures, to be eaten in times of love and craving. Simply put, it is expected to be sweet, but when it is not, the unwanted chocolate is automatically dismissed and rejected. The expectations of chocolate is to be sweet and readily available for one’s satisfaction. Victims/survivors of rape culture can be seen in a similar light. A prize to be won by the hands of a pursuer, it softens, melts, drip, drip, drip. Their dignity mutilated down the wrist, almost ink, slowly hardening to etch su ering like blood. No longer a clean-cut square, the chocolate is transformed into a desired shape, sugar stu ed in to make it what it is not. Today, we embrace chocolate in its plain form, celebrating not its bitterness, but its strength.

Everyone at the table should eat a piece of bitter chocolate and consider quietly the ways in which they feel pressured to take shapes that aren’t natural to them.

Maror
Source : Original

Koreich
Source : Original

Shulchan Oreich
Tzafun
Source : Original

Tzafun
Source : Brooke Burman

I'm hiding somewhere in the house,

But where, you do not know.

I could be behind the bookshelf,

In a basket,

Or even right under your nose!

What'll the prize be?

To figure it out, you'll have to find me.

You don't see me but I see you,

As soon as you find me give a big whoop,

Everyone will come to see ,congratulations you found me!

Tzafun
Source : Jewish Boston

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 : Original

Hallel
Source : Original

Nirtzah
Source : Original

Commentary / Readings
Source : http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/16111
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

Commentary / Readings
Source : Hannah Arendt, Men in Dark Times, via Brain Pickings https://www.brainpickings.org/2016/04/12/hannah-arendt-men-in-dark-times/

Humanity manifests itself in brotherhood most frequently in “dark times.” This kind of humanity actually becomes inevitable when the times become so extremely dark for certain groups of people that it is no longer up to them, their insight or choice, to withdraw from the world. Humanity in the form of fraternity invariably appears historically among persecuted peoples and enslaved groups. ... This kind of humanity is the great privilege of pariah peoples; it is the advantage that the pariahs of this world always and in all circumstances can have over others. ...

It is as if under the pressure of persecution the persecuted have moved so closely together that the interspace ... has simply disappeared. This produces a warmth of human relationships which may strike those who have had some experience with such groups as an almost physical phenomenon.  ... 

In its full development it can breed a kindliness and sheer goodness of which human beings are otherwise scarcely capable. Frequently it is also the source of a vitality, a joy in the simple fact of being alive, rather suggesting that life comes fully into its own only among those who are, in worldly terms, the insulted and injured

Commentary / Readings

I speak to you as an American Jew.

As Americans we share the profound concern of millions of people about the shame and disgrace of inequality and injustice which make a mockery of the great American idea.

As Jews we bring to this great demonstration, in which thousands of us proudly participate, a two-fold experience -- one of the spirit and one of our history.

In the realm of the spirit, our fathers taught us thousands of years ago that when God created man, he created him as everybody's neighbor. Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man's dignity and integrity.

From our Jewish historic experience of three and a half thousand years we say:

Our ancient history began with slavery and the yearning for freedom. During the Middle Ages my people lived for a thousand years in the ghettos of Europe . Our modern history begins with a proclamation of emancipation.

It is for these reasons that it is not merely sympathy and compassion for the black people ofAmerica that motivates us. It is above all and beyond all such sympathies and emotions a sense of complete identification and solidarity born of our own painful historic experience.

When I was the rabbi of the Jewish community in Berlin under the Hitler regime, I learned many things. The most important thing that I learned under those tragic circumstances was that bigotry and hatred are not '.the most urgent problem. The most urgent, the most disgraceful, the most shameful and the most tragic problem is silence.

A great people which had created a great civilization had become a nation of silent onlookers. They remained silent in the face of hate, in the face of brutality and in the face of mass murder.

America must not become a nation of onlookers. America must not remain silent. Not merely black America , but all of America . It must speak up and act,. from the President down to the humblest of us, and not for the sake of the Negro, not for the sake of the black community but for the sake of the image, the idea and the aspiration of America itself.

Our children, yours and mine in every school across the land, each morning pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States and to the republic for which it stands. They, the children, speak fervently and innocently of this land as the land of "liberty and justice for all."

The time, I believe, has come to work together - for it is not enough to hope together, and it is not enough to pray together, to work together that this children's oath, pronounced every morning from Maine to California, from North to South, may become. a glorious, unshakeable reality in a morally renewed and united America.