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Introduction
Source : Philip Goldwasser

This is the first page of my Haggadah which I have been working on for over 10 years.  I am almost done with the manuscript and I welcome comments and hope that my pages will get use at other Seder tables.

Introduction
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

The moral and spiritual worth of the hallowed institution of the Seder, which has become a vital part of the Jewish consciousness, is priceless. We should suffer an irretrievable loss, were it allowed to pass into neglect. To avert such a danger, has been the anxious thought to which the Union Haggadah owes its origin.

In "carrying on the chain of piety which links the generations to each other", it is necessary frankly to face and honestly to meet the needs of our own day. The old Haggadah, while full of poetic charm, contains passages and sentiments wholly out of harmony with the spirit of the present time. Hence the proper editing of the old material demanded much care and attention on the part of the editors of the first edition of the Union Haggadah. Benefiting by their labors, those entrusted with the task of its revision are able to present a work at once modern in spirit and rich in those traditional elements that lend color to the service.

The Seder service was never purely devotional. Its intensely spiritual tone mingled with bursts of good humor, its serious observations on Jewish life and destiny with comments in a lighter vein, and its lofty poetry with playful ditties for the entertainment of the children. It assumes the form of an historical drama presented at the festal table, with the father and children as leading actors. The children question and the father answers. He explains the nature of the service, preaches, entertains, and prays. In the course of the evening, a complete philosophy of Jewish history is revealed, dealing with Israel's eventful past, with his deliverance from physical and from spiritual bondage, and with his great future world-mission. In its variety, the Haggadah reflects the moods of the Jewish spirit. Rabbinical homily follows dignified narrative, soulful prayers and Psalms mingle with the Ḥad Gadyo and the madrigal of numbers, Eḥod Mi Yode‘a.

The assignment to the child of a prominent part in the Seder service is in consonance with the biblical ordinance: "And thou shalt tell thy son in that day" (Ex. XIII: 8). The visible symbols, the living word of instruction, and the ceremonial acts, are sure to stimulate religious feeling. Parent and child are thus brought into a union of warm religious sympathy, which is all the more indissoluble because strengthened by the ties of natural affection. Their souls are fired with the love of liberty, and their hearts are roused to greater loyalty to Israel and to Israel's God of Freedom.

Introduction
Source : B'nai Yissachar, a teaching on Pesach

A powerful teaching from B'nai Yissachar, taught in the name of Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev...

We should carefully examine this fact: Throughout the entire Torah, this festival is called “The Feast of Matzot.” Yet, Jews call the festival “The Feast of Passover.”

Give ear to this teaching -- we’ve heard it taught in the name of the Holy, Renowned Rabbi whose Jewish leadership, teaching, and holiness are great, our teacher, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev (may the memories of the righteous and holy be a blessing) --

Look: In Torah it is written (Exod 12:39): “And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had taken out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, since they had been driven out of Egypt 
and could not delay; nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.”  For this, God praised them through the words of His prophet: “Thus says the Eternal: I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved Me as a bride, following me in the desert, in a land unsown” (Jer 2:2). Note that they didn’t ask, “should we take provisions?” They simply trusted in the Eternal, and were sure of His salvation. And so they took only dough, to bake unleavened cakes.

And look: the Passover sacrifice that the Jews ate in Temple times was performed because the Omnipresent One passed over the houses of our ancestors, etc...

This is why God, in the Torah, calls the holiday “The Feast of Matzot.” In doing so, God is praising the Jewish People
for baking unleavened bread which they brought out of Egypt as cakes of matzot, and for not taking along provisions for themselves.

Meanwhile, the Jewish people call the holiday “Passover” in praise of the Holy One, “who passed over the homes of the Israelites...when He struck Egypt, but saved our houses” (Exod 12:27).
 

Introduction
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

What’s the story behind the Haggadah?

 

According to Rabbi Moshe Lazarus, the word Haggadah comes from the Torah command – “And you shall tell (v’Higadeta) your children on that day…” Although the minimal fulfillment of this mitzvah is a simple recounting of the going out of Egypt and explaining a few of the Passover symbols, proper fulfillment requires much more.

Over the centuries, additions have been made to the Haggadah to enhance this mitzvah. Many of these additions gained such wide acceptance that they became part of the Haggadah. One of those additions is the Chad Gadya. Another is Dayeinu. Rav Saadia Gaon (882 CE – 942 CE) included neither in his Haggadah, although he did recognize the existence of Dayeinu. Neither Rashi (1040-1105) nor Maimonides (1135-1204) included Chad Gadya in their versions of the Haggadah, although Rashi did include Dayeinu.

 

Our Haggadah was created as a GLBT community response for the need of a fully inclusive and integrated GLBT Passover experience. In years past, GLBT Seders have incorporated select items of GLBT significance such as an orange on the Seder Plate and Miriam’s Cup. However, our Seders saw the need for fully integrated GLBT content. What sets this Haggadah apart is the creation and integration of the GLBT struggle, history, pain and joy throughout the text as a conscious amalgamation to a holiday that has already grown synonymous with the Jewish GLBT civil liberties movement.  

 

Great care was taken to ensure the elements of a traditional Seder were preserved while integrating the GLBT material into this Haggadah. Following the customary Seder order, four new segments have added ceremonious acts to the ritual nature of the traditionally well organized Passover Seder. First Eyru’ayim meaning “events” in Hebrew is a recounting of the GLBT historical timeline of struggles and accomplishments over the last century. Judaism teaches the importance of remembering the history, good and bad, of our people as well as our traditions, customs and culture. The Eyru’ayim brings us the opportunity to pass forward the history of this movement and to collectively learn from our history in much the same manner as in the Maggid, the telling of the ancient Exodus story.

 

The remaining three segments HaCarah, Chamutz and HaDerekh, meaning “The Recognition, Sour Vegetables and The Path” respectively in Hebrew revolve around the addition of a second Seder Plate. In recent years, the GLBT community has added an orange to the traditional Seder Plate. However, in this Haggadah, we fully integrate the GLBT Seder Plate, created and developed by Asher Gellis for Passover 2007. The GLBT Seder Plate and its symbolic components are integrated into this GLBT Haggadah and it is becomes an equal and integral part of our Seder experience alongside the traditional Seder Plate.

 

The orange is no longer just the addition of a foreign object to the traditional Seder Plate. Instead,  a whole new GLBT Seder Plate, full of symbolism, was developed to sit proudly and equally next to the  traditional Seder Plate, with its shank bone, egg, charoset, bitter herbs, greens and parsley. The orange is now joined by the coconut, sticks and stones, flowers, pickled vegetables and fruit salad, each representing additional hardships and blessings that we will explore at our GLBT Seder.

 

In addition to our four segments adding ceremonious acts to the ritual nature of the Passover Seder experience, many other innovative creations have been integrated, including an additional “fifth” question that has been added to the traditional “Four Questions,” which we now call “Our Five Questions,” authored by Lior Hillel and “The Four Children,” by Eric Rosoff.

 

The GLBT Jewish community’s timeline and 10 Plagues, Miriam’s Cup, an accurate account to the origin of the orange on the Seder Plate and other Judaic and GLBT content was researched, compiled and edited by Kevin Shapiro and Joel Kushner.

Kadesh
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

To symbolize the joy which the festival brings into the Jewish home, the mistress kindles the lights and recites the following blessing:


‏בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָֽעוֹלָֽם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל-(שַׁבָּת וְשֶׁל)-יוֹם טוֹב.‎

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM ASHER KIDD’SHONU B’MITZVOSOV V’TZIVONU L’HADLIK NER SHEL (on Sabbath add: SHABBOS V’SHEL) YOM TOV.


‏בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָֽעוֹלָֽם. שֶׁהֶֽחֱיָֽנוּ וְקִיְּמָֽנוּ וְהִגִּיעָֽנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזְּה׃‎

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM SHEHEḤEYONU V’KIY’MONU V’HIGIONU LAZMAN HAZZEH.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments, and hast commanded us to kindle the (on Sabbath add: Sabbath and) festival lights.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast kept us alive and sustained us and brought us to this season.

May our home be consecrated, O God, by the light of Thy countenance, shining upon us in blessing, and bringing us peace!

Company: Amen.

Kadesh
Source : www.Chabad.org

The first cup of wine is poured and the Kiddush is recited.

When the festival occurs on Shabbat, start here:

Prepare the meal of the supernal King. This is the meal of the Holy One, blessed be He, and His Shechinah.
The sixth day. And the heavens and the earth and all their hosts were completed. And on the seventh day G-d finished His work which He had made, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made. And G-d blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on it He rested from all His work which G-d created to make.

When the festival begins on a weekday begin here:

Attention Gentlemen:

Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Blessed are You, G-d, our G-d, King of the universe, who has chosen us from among all people, and raised us above all tongues, and made us holy through His commandments. And You, G-d, our G-d, have given us in love (On Shabbat add the shaded words:) Shabbaths for rest and festivals for happiness, feasts and festive seasons for rejoicing this Shabbat-day and the day of this Feast of Matzot and this Festival of holy convocation, the Season of our Freedom in love, a holy convocation, commemorating the departure from Egypt. For You have chosen us and sanctified us from all the nations, and You have given us as a heritage Your holy Shabbat and Festivals in love and favor, in happiness and joy. Blessed are You, G-d, who sanctifies the Shabbat and Israel and the festive seasons.

When the festival falls on Saturday night add the following:

Blessed are You, G-d, our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the lights of fire.
Blessed are You, G-d, our G-d, King of the universe, who makes a distinction between sacred and profane, between light and darkness, between Israel and the nations, between the seventh day and the six work-days. You have made a distinction between the holiness of the Shabbat and the holiness of the festival, and You have sanctified the seventh day above the six work-days. You have set apart and made holy Your people Israel with Your holiness. Blessed are You, G-d, who makes a distinction between holy and holy.

Blessed are You, G-d, our G-d, King of the universe, who has granted us life, sustained us, and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Drink the cup of wine while seated, reclining on the left side as a sign of freedom.

Karpas
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

Some parsley, lettuce or watercress is distributed to all present who dip it in salt water or in vinegar, and before partaking of it say in unison:

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM BORE P’RI HO’ADOMO.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the earth.

Yachatz
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

We are about to take the middle matzah and divide it in half. This matzah which we break and set aside is a symbol of our unity with Jews throughout the world. We will not conclude our Seder until the missing piece (the Afikomen) is found and spiritually reunited. This is a reminder of the indestructible link which infuses us as a world family.

In unison we say…

 

We cannot forget those who remain behind in any land of persecution, fearful of a growing public anti-Semitism or bigotry. To those still seeking liberty of life, to those striving courageously to build a better Jewish life in the country of their choice and to those of all humankind that strive to live a free and equal existence with all people of the world regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity and religion, we pledge our continued vigilance, support, and solidarity.


Later, we will search for the hidden piece of matzah. In much the same way, we seek to reconnect with our neighbors throughout the world. Once having found the missing half, we will be able to continue our Seder. So, too, will the continued bonding of Diaspora Jewry with our homeland allow Israel to grow and blossom as the eternal core of our collective Jewish identity.

 

In unison, we say…

 

We pray that they may live in peace, in a land at peace, with a world knowing war no more. We pray that the characteristics that make each human unique will be celebrated everywhere, with a world embracing diversity and knowing prejudice no more.

 

For the daily meal, there is one loaf of bread; but on the Sabbath there are two loaves as a reminder of the double portion of manna which fell on Friday for the Children of Israel as they traveled in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:22) In honor of Passover, a third matzah was added specifically for the Passover Seder experience.

 
אֲפִיקוֹמָן

We break the middle matzah in half and place the larger piece of matzah, the Afikomen, in a napkin and hide it.


The door is opened as a sign of hospitality.

 

The matzot are uncovered and held up.

  

Behold the matzah, bread of infliction, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate the Passover with us.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : "The Union Haggadah," The Central Council of American Rabbis

It is well for all of us whether young or old to consider how God's help has been our unfailing stay and support through ages of trial and persecution. Ever since He called our father Abraham from the bondage of idolatry to His service of truth, He has been our Guardian; for not in one country alone nor in one age have violent men risen up against us, but in every generation and in every land, tyrants have sought to destroy us; and the Holy One, blessed be He, has delivered us from their hands. The Torah tells us that when Jacob our father was a homeless wanderer, he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there, few in number. All the souls of his household were threescore and ten. And Joseph was already in Egypt; he was the governor over the land. And Joseph placed his father and his brethren, and gave them a possession, as Pharaoh had commanded. And Israel dwelt in the land of Goshen; and they got them possessions therein, and were fruitful, and multiplied exceedingly. And Joseph died, and all his brethren, and all that generation. Now there arose a new king over Egypt, who knew not Joseph. And he said unto his people: 'Behold, the people of the children of Israel are too many and too mighty for us; come, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that when there befalleth us any war, they also join themselves unto our enemies, and fight against us, and get them up out of the land'. Therefore they set over them taskmasters to afflict them with burdens. And they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Raamses. But the more the Egyptians afflicted them, the more the Israelites multiplied and the more they spread abroad. And the Egyptians dealt ill with us, and afflicted us, and laid upon us cruel bondage. And we cried unto the Lord, the God of our fathers, and the Lord heard our voice and saw our affliction and our toil and our oppression. And the Lord brought us forth out of Egypt, with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with great terror and with signs and with wonders. He sent before us Moses and Aaron and Miriam. And He brought forth His people with joy, His chosen ones with singing. And He guided them in the wilderness, as a shepherd his flock. Therefore He commanded us to observe the Passover in its season, from year to year, that His law shall be in our mouths, and that we shall declare His might unto our children, His salvation to all generations.

All read in unison:
Who is like unto Thee, O Lord, among the mighty?
Who is like unto Thee, glorious in holiness, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?
The Lord shall reign for ever and ever.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

Should enemies again assail us, the remembrance of the exodus of our fathers from Egypt will never fail to inspire us with new courage, and the symbols of this festival will help to strengthen our faith in God, who redeems the oppressed. Therefore, Rabban Gamaliel, a noted sage, declared: "Whoever does not well consider the meaning of these three symbols: Pesaḥ, Matzo and Maror, has not truly celebrated this Festival".

PESAḤ

One of the company asks:
What is the meaning of Pesaḥ?
The leader lifts up the roasted shank-bone and answers:

Pesaḥ means the Paschal Lamb, and is symbolized by this shank-bone. It was eaten by our fathers while the Temple was in existence, as a memorial of God's favors, as it is said: "It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, for that He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses". As God in the ancient "Watch-Night" passed over and spared the houses of Israel, so did He save us in all kinds of distress, and so may He always shield the afflicted, and for ever remove every trace of bondage from among the children of man.

MATZO

One of the company asks:
What is the meaning of Matzo?
The leader lifts up the Matzo and answers:
Matzo, called The Bread Of Affliction, was the hasty provision that our fathers made for their journey, as it is said: "And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt. There was not sufficient time to leaven it, for they were driven out of Egypt and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any provisions." The bread which of necessity they baked unleavened, thus became a symbol of divine help.

MAROR

One of the company asks:
And what is the meaning of Maror?
The leader lifts up the bitter herbs and answers:

Maror means Bitter Herb. We eat it in order to recall that the lives of our ancestors were embittered by the Egyptians, as we read: 'And they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and in all manner of field labor. Whatever task was imposed upon them, was executed with the utmost rigor." As we eat it in the midst of the festivities of this night, we rejoice in the heroic spirit which trials developed in our people. Instead of becoming embittered by them, they were sustained and strengthened.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : UJC & The Federations of North America Haggadah

While the Jews endured harsh slavery in Egypt, God chose Moses to lead them out to freedom. Moses encountered God at the burning bush and then returned to Egypt to lead the people out of Egypt. He demanded that Pharaoh let the Jewish people go. That part of our Passover story is best described in the familiar song “Go Down Moses.”
 

-------


When Israel was in Egypt's land,
Let my people go;
Oppressed so hard they could not stand,
Let my people go.


Chorus


Go down, Moses,
Way down in Egypt's land;
Tell old Pharaoh
To let my people go!


"Thus saith the Lord," bold Moses said,
Let my people go;
"If not, I'll smite your first-born dead,"
Let my people go.


Chorus


No more shall they in bondage toil,
Let my people go;
Let them come out with Egypt's spoil,
Let my people go.


Chorus

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Original Haggadah, Translation and Thoughts by Robbie Medwed

פֶּסַח שֶׁהָָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מָה? עַל שׁוּם שֶׁפָּסַח הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, עַל בָּתֵּי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בְּמִצְרַיִם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח הוּא לַיָּי, אֲשֶׁר פָּסַח עַל בָּתֵּי בְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּמִצְרַיִם, בְּנָגְפּוֹ אֶת־מִצְרַיִם וְאֶת־בָּתֵּינוּ הִצִּיל.

This Pesach that our ancestors used to eat, what's the reason? It's because the Holy One, blessed be He, passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is said: "It is the Passover offering for the Lord, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when he defeated Egypt and saved our houses." 

The Pesach here, of course, is the lamb, because of the whole blood on the doorposts thing and God passing over us and all that. But more likely, we probably chose the lamb because for the Egyptians the lamb was a pretty sacred animal. Not "cat sacred," but enough so that we probably offended them enough to rile them up.

And another interesting fact: vegetarians often use beets instead of shankbones. They look "bloody" from all of the juice and there's precedent in the Talmud that they were used even back then. 

Maggid - Beginning
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

These events on our timeline reflect mostly accomplishments of the GLBT community in the face of adversity. Tonight we acknowledge and recognize the GLBT community’s endurance under ten additional plagues. For each of these plagues we continue our tradition of dipping our finger tip in our wine cups, and for each plague we place one drop of wine on our plates:

Blood - דָּם: The blood shed in the Nazi death camps and in Queer-bashings. 

Laughter - צְחוֹק: The laughter caused by our stereotyped representation in jokes and in the media. 

Guilt - אַשְׁמָה: The guilt we are told is inherent in our simple existence. 

Shame - בִּיֵּשׁ: The shame we are made to feel when we share our lives and our bodies with someone of the same gender as ourselves. 

Despair - יֵאוּשׁ: The despair we feel when we are told that we are evil and monstrous, that AIDS is God's judgment upon us. 

Fear - פָּחַד: The fear caused by a hostile society that would cast us out if it knew what we are. 

Pain - כְּאֵב: The physical pain of being attacked by homophobes, and the mental pain of being rejected by family and community. 

Loneliness - בְּדִידוּת: The loneliness of thinking that we are the only one of our kind.  

Darkness - אֲפֵלָה: The darkness of our closets, and of where many of us are forced to spend our lives: the bars, the parks, the unsafe neighborhoods.  

Silence - שֶׁקֶט: The hollow silence of when we do not speak out in our own defense, the silence from one generation to another. 

 

In unison we say:

 

We may not have individually felt each plague, but since they afflict our community on a global level, they afflict us as well. Let us not become complacent.

 

And let us not become so involved with our own problems that we forget others who also suffer. The path out of Egypt is open to all who flee slavery and seek the Promised Land.

 

To cleanse ourselves and wash off these ten GLBT plagues that still exist in our world today we wash our hands and say the blessing.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Internet images - FOR PERSONAL USE ONLY

 Ten plagues in ten images. Suitable for storytelling or as a cover. NOTE: these images were downloaded from the Internet and should be used for private, in-home use only.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

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 huge task, 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 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.


With your finger tip, remove one drop of wine from your cup and wipe it on your plate, as each plague is mentioned…

The Second Cup – The 10 Plagues

 

Blood – דָּם

Frogs – צְפֵרְדֵּעַ

Lice – כִּנִים

Wild Beasts – עָרוֹב

Blight – דֶּבֶר

Boils שְׁחִין

Hail – בָּרַד

Locusts – אַרְבֶּה

Darkness – חשֶׁךְ

Slaying of the First-Born – מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

 

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 : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

The leader lifts up the Matzo and says:

 Lo! This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in want come and celebrate the Passover with us. May it be God's will to redeem us from all trouble and from all servitude. Next year at this season, may the whole house of Israel be free!

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

PRAISED art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, and hast enabled us to observe this night of the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. O Lord our God and God of our fathers, may we, with Thy help, live to celebrate other feasts and holy seasons. May we rejoice in Thy salvation and be gladdened by Thy righteousness. Grant deliverance to mankind through Israel, Thy people. May Thy will be done through Jacob, Thy chosen servant, so that Thy name shall be sanctified in the midst of all the earth, and that all peoples be moved to worship Thee with one accord. And we shall sing new songs of praise unto Thee, for our redemption and for the deliverance of our souls. Praised art Thou, O God, Redeemer of Israel.

The cups are filled for the second time.

All read in unison:

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM BORE P’RI HAGGOFEN.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine.

Drink the second cup of wine.

-- Four Questions
Source : Original Haggadah, Translation and Thoughts by Robbie Medwed

 רָשָׁע מַה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת לָכֶם? לָכֶם ולֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת־עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל, כָּפַר בָּעִקָּר. וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת־שִׁנָּיו, וֶאֱמָר־לוֹ: בַּעֲבוּר זֶה, עָשָׂה יְיָ לִי, בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם, לִי וְלֹא־לוֹ. אִלּוּ הָיָה שָׁם, לֹא הָיָה נִגְאָל:

What does the wicked one say? "What is this service to you?" He separates himself from the responsibility. And because he does so, be honest with him and tell him: "This is because of what Adonai has done for me, when he took me out of Egypt." Emphasize you and not him, because even if he had been there, he would not have been worthy to be redeemed.

We're told that we should say to the wicked child that he would not have deserved to be taken out of Egypt, all because he asked the wrong kind of question. But if we re-read the question he asks, it's hard to see the difference between what he is saying and what the wise son says. Both of them say "you" as though to exclude themselves. So why do we get upset with the wicked son and not with the wise son?

-- Four Questions
Source : Original Haggadah, Translation and Thoughts by Robbie Medwed

 תָּם מַה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מַה זֹּאת? וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו: בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ יְיָ מִמִּצְרַיִם מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים:

What does the simple one say? "What's this?" And you should tell him: With a strong hand Adonai took us out of Egypt, from slavery.

A Question: Is it enough to give a simple answer to a simple child? 

A Second Question: The child that does not know how to ask - is he unable to ask

because he does not know or because he has not yet had the chance to ask?

-- Four Questions
Source : Love and Justice Haggadah

One custom is for the “leader” to ask for the seder plate to be removed, as if the meal were suddenly over. This is meant to prompt younger people to ask the four questions. The refilling of the wine cups is also meant to provoke the young, by implying that a second kiddush is about to be made.

All: On all other nights we eat leavened bread and matzah. Why on this night only matzah?
Reader: Avadot hayinu. We were slaves. We were slaves in Mitzrayim. Our mothers in their flight from bondage in Mitzrayim did not have time to let the dough rise. With not a moment to spare they snatched up the dough they had prepared and fled. But the hot sun beat as they carried the dough along with them and baked it into the flat unleavened bread we call matzah. In memory of this, we eat only matzah, no bread, during Passover. This matzah represents our rush to freedom.

All: On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables. Why on this night do we make certain to eat bitter herbs?
Reader: Avadot hayinu. We were slaves. We eat maror to remind us how bitter our ancestors’ lives were made by their enslavement in Mitzrayim.

All: On all other nights we do not usually dip food once. Why on this night do we dip twice?
Reader: Avadot hayinu. We were slaves. The first time we dip our greens to taste the brine of enslavement. We also dip to remind ourselves of all life and growth, of earth and sea, which gives us sustenance and comes to life again in the springtime. The second time we dip the maror into the charoset. The charoset reminds us of the mortar that our ancestors mixed as slaves in Mitzrayim. But our charoset is made of fruit and nuts, to show us that our ancestors were able to withstand the bitterness of slavery because it was sweetened by the hope of freedom.

All: On all other nights we sit on straight chairs. Why on this night do we relax and recline on pillows during the seder?
Reader: Avadot hayinu. We were slaves. Long ago, the wealthy Romans rested on couches during their feasts. Slaves were not allowed to rest, not even while they ate. Since our ancestors were freed from slavery, we recline to remind our selves that we, like our ancestors, can overcome bondage in our own time. We also recline to remind ourselves that rest and rejuvenation are vital to continuing our struggles. We should take pleasure in reclining, even as we share our difficult stories.

A) Some of the questions people are really asking as they participate in a seder:

1. How many more hours until we eat?
2. Why on this night do some of us traditionally eat balls of reconstituted fish parts?
3. Will G-d strike me down if I get up to go to the bathroom during the maggid?
4. Why on this night do said fish balls always have slice of carrot on top, and is it true that jelled broth is in fact the Jewish people’s most enduring contribution to humanity? (2)

B) A little discussion, eh?

Share four questions that are coming up for you at this time. They can be specific (like, why only four questions?) or general (What is the meaning of life and my existence and how did I end up here tonight?)

-- Four Questions
Source : A Growing Haggadah

פֿאַרוואָ אין די נאַכט פֿוּן פסח אנדערש פֿוּן אַלע נאַכט פֿוּן אַ גאַנץ יאָר?
אַלע נאַכט פֿוּן אַ גאַנץ יאָר עסן חמץ אָדער מצה; אַבער די נאַכט פֿוּן פסח, עסן מיר נאָר מצה.
אַלע נאַכט פֿוּן אַ גאַנץ יאָר עסן אַלערליי גרינסן; אַבער די נאַכט פֿוּן פסח, עסן מיר ביטערע גרינסן.
אַלע נאַכט פֿוּן אַ גאַנץ יאָר טרינקן מיר ניט אַיין אַפֿילוּ אַיין מאָל; אַבער די נאַכט פֿוּן פסח, טרינקן מיר צוײ מאָל.
אַלע נאַכט פֿוּן אַ גאַנץ יאָר טרינקן מיר מיר סיי זיצנדיק אוּן סיי אָנעשאָרט; אַבער די נאַכט פֿוּן פסח, עסן מיר נאָר אָנעשאָרט.

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-- Four Questions
Source : A Growing Haggadah

On The Importance Of Questions
    The eldest reads:
Nobel Prize winning physicist Isaac Isadore Rabi’s mother did not ask him: “What did you learn in school today?” each day. She asked him: “Did you ask a good question today?”
More Questions
    The oldest teenager, or the person older than 19, yet closest to the teen years reads:
Why do the same questions get asked each year?
I probably have more questions than the youngest, why does a child ask the questions?
How come we ask these questions, but you rarely give a straight answer?
    Does anyone have other questions to add?
Some Answers
Questioning is a sign of freedom, and so we begin with questions.
To ritualize only one answer would be to deny that there can be many, often conflicting answers. To think that life is only black and white, or wine and Maror, bitter or sweet, or even that the cup is half empty or half full is to enslave ourselves to simplicity.
Each of us feels the challenge to search for our own answers. The ability to question is only the first stage of freedom. The search for answers is the next.
Can we fulfill the promise of the Exodus in our own lives if we do not search for our own answers?
Does every question have an answer? Is the ability to function without having all the answers one more stage of liberation? Can we be enslaved to an obsessive search for the answer?
Do you have the answer?
 

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-- Four Children
Source : UJC & The Federations of North America Haggadah

The Torah describes four children who ask questions about the Exodus. Tradition teaches that these verses refer to four different types of children.

The wise child asks, “What are the laws that God has commanded us?”
The parent should answer by instructing the child in the laws of Passover, starting from the beginning and ending with the laws of the Afikomen.

The wicked child asks, “What does this Passover service mean to you?”
The parent should answer, “It is because of what God did for me when I came out of Egypt. Specifically ‘me’ and not ‘you.’ If you had been there (with your attitude), you wouldn’t have been redeemed.”

The simple child asks, “What is this Seder service?”
The parent should answer, “With a mighty hand God brought us out of Egypt.
Therefore, we commemorate that event tonight through this Seder.”

And then there is child who does not know how to ask.
The parent should begin a discussion with that child based on the verse:
“And you shall tell your child on that day, ‘We commemorate Passover tonight because of what God did for us when we went out of Egypt.’”

Motzi-Matzah
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

The upper Matzo is broken and distributed. All then read in unison:

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM HAMOTZI LEḤEM MIN HO’ORETZ.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth.

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM ASHER KIDD’SHONU B’MITZVOSOV V’TZIVONU AL ACHILAS MATZO.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us through Thy commandments, and ordained that we should eat unleavened bread.

Eat the Matzo.

Maror
Source : www.Chabad.org

Now take a kezayit (the volume of one olive) of the Maror, dip it into the Charoset -- but then shake off the Charoset that stuck to it, so that the bitter taste will not be neutralized. Recite the following blessing:

Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the eating of Maror.

Now eat the Maror, without reclining.

Koreich
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

Each person receives some bitter herbs and ḥaroses, which he places between two pieces of matzo. The leader then reads:

This was the practice of Hillel, at the time the Temple was still in existence. He combined the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs and ate them together, to carry out the injunction concerning the Passover sacrifice: "With unleavened bread and with bitter herbs, they shall eat it."

All read in unison:

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM ASHER KIDD’SHONU B’MITZVOSOV V’TZIVONU AL ACHILAS MOROR.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments, and ordained that we should eat bitter herbs.

Eat the Moror.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : www.Chabad.org

Now eat and drink to your heart's delight. It is permitted to drink wine between the second and third cups.

Tzafun

On Passover we

Opened the door for Elijah

Now our cat is gone .

Tzafun
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

At the conclusion of the meal, the children are given an opportunity to find the Aphikomon. The reader redeems it and distributes pieces of it to all present.

After partaking of the Aphikomon, it is customary to eat nothing else.

Bareich
Source : www.Chabad.org

The third cup is poured now, and recite Birkat Hamazon (Blessing after the Meal) over it.

A Song of Ascents. When the L-rd will return the exiles of Zion, we will have been like dreamers. Then our mouth will be filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyous song. Then will they say among the nations, "The L-rd has done great things for these." The L-rd has done great things for us, we were joyful. L-rd, return our exiles as streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears will reap with joyous song. He goes along weeping, carrying the bag of seed; he will surely come [back] with joyous song, carrying his sheaves.

A Psalm by the sons of Korach, a song whose foundation is in the holy mountains. The L-rd loves the gates of Zion more than all the dwelling places of Jacob. Glorious things are spoken of you, O city of G-d. I will make mention of Rahab and Babylon unto those that know me; behold Philistia and Tyre, as well as Cush, "This one was born there." But of Zion it will be said, "This man and that man was born there," and He, the Most High, will establish it. The L-rd will count the register of the nations, "This one was born there." Selah. Singers and dancers alike [will chant], "All my inner thoughts are of you."

I will bless the L-rd at all times; His praise is always in my mouth. The ultimate conclusion, all having been heard: fear G-d and observe His commandments, for this is the whole of man. My mouth will utter the praise of the L-rd, and all flesh shall bless His holy Name forever and ever. And we will bless the L-rd from now and forever; Halleluyah praise G-d.

Before mayim acharonim (washing fingers) the following verse is said:

This is the portion of a wicked man from G-d, and the heritage assigned to him by G-d.

After mayim acharonim, the following verse is said:

And he said to me: This is the table that is before the L-rd.

When the Grace after Meal is said with a quorum of three or more males over the age of 13, the leader begins:

Gentlemen, let us say Grace!

The others respond:

May the Name of the L-rd be blessed from now and forever.

The leader [repeats the response and] continues:

With the permission of the masters, teachers and gentlemen, let us bless He of whose bounty we have eaten.

The others respond:

Blessed be He of whose bounty we have eaten.

The leader repeats this response.

Those present who did not partake of the meal respond:

Blessed and praised be His Name always, forever and ever.

If there is a quorum of ten males over the age of 13 then the leader begins:

Gentlemen, let us say Grace!

The others respond:

May the Name of the L-rd be blessed from now and forever.

The leader repeats the response and continues:

With the permission of the masters, teachers and gentlemen, let us bless our G-d He of whose bounty we have eaten.

The others respond:

Blessed be our G-d He of whose bounty we have eaten.

The leader repeats this response.

Those present who did not partake of the meal respond:

Blessed be our G-d and praised be His Name always, forever and ever.

All who ate recite the Grace:

Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who, in His goodness, feeds the whole world with grace, with kindness and with mercy. He gives food to all flesh, for His kindness is everlasting. Through His great goodness to us continuously we d o not lack food, and may we never lack it, for the sake of His great Name. For He is a [benevolent] G-d who feeds and sustains all, does good to all, and prepares food for all His creatures whom He has created, as it is said: You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Blessed are You L-rd, who provides food for all.

We thank You, L-rd, our G-d, for having given as a heritage to our fathers a precious, good and spacious land; for having brought us out, L-rd our G-d, from the land of Egypt and redeemed us from the house of slaves; for Your covenant which You have sealed in our flesh; for Your Torah which You have taught us; for Your statutes which You have made known to us; for the life, favor and kindness which You have graciously bestowed upon us; and for the food we eat with which You constantly feed and sustain us every day, at all times, and at every hour.

For all this, L-rd our G-d, we thank You and bless You. May Your Name be blessed by the mouth of every living being, constantly and forever. As it is written: When you have eaten and are satiated, you shall bless the L-rd your G-d, for the good land which He has given you. Blessed are You, L-rd, for the land and for the food.

Have mercy, L-rd our G-d, upon Israel Your people, upon Jerusalem Your city, upon Zion the abode of Your glory, upon the kingship of the house of David Your anointed, and upon the great and holy House which is called by Your Name. Our G-d, our Father, Our Shepherd, feed us, sustain us, nourish us and give us comfort; and speedily, L-rd our G-d, grant us relief from all our afflictions. L-rd, our G-d, please do not make us dependent upon the gifts of mortal men nor upon their loans, but only upon Your full, open, holy and generous hand, that we may not be shamed or disgraced forever and ever.

On Shabbat add:

May it please You, G-d, our G-d, to strengthen us through Your commandments, and through the precept of the Seventh Day, this great and holy Shabbat. For this day is great and holy before You, to refrain from work and to rest thereon with love, in accordance with the commandment of Your will. In Your will, G-d, our G-d, bestow upon us tranquility, that there shall be no trouble, sadness or grief on the day of our rest. G-d, our G-d, let us see the consolation of Zion Your city, and the rebuilding of Jerusalem Your holy city, for You are the Master of [all] salvations and the Master of [all] consolations.]

Our G-d and G-d of our fathers, may there ascend, come and reach, be seen and accepted, heard, recalled and remembered before You, the remembrance and recollection of us, the remembrance of our fathers, the remembrance of Mashiach the son of David Your servant, the remembrance of Jerusalem Your holy city, and the remembrance of all Your people the House of Israel, for deliverance, well-being, grace, kindness, mercy, good life and peace, on this day of the Festival of Matzot, on this Festival of holy convocation. Remember us on this [day], L-rd, our G-d, for good; recollect us on this [day] for blessing; help us on this [day] for good life. With the promise of deliverance and compassion, spare us and be gracious to us; have mercy upon us and deliver us; for our eyes are directed to You, for You, G-d, are a gracious and merciful King.

Rebuild Jerusalem the holy city speedily in our days. Blessed are You, L-rd, who in His mercy rebuilds Jerusalem. Amen.

Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, benevolent G-d, our Father, our King, our Might, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Maker, our Holy One, the Holy One of Jacob, our Shepherd, the Shepherd of Israel, the King who is good and does good to all, each and every day. He has done good for us, He does good for us, and He will do good for us; He has bestowed, He bestows, and He will forever bestow upon us grace, kindness and mercy, relief, salvation and success, blessing and help, consolation, sustenance and nourishment, compassion, life, peace and all goodness; and may He never cause us to lack any good.

May the Merciful One reign over us forever and ever.

May the Merciful One be blessed in heaven and on earth.

May the Merciful One be praised for all generations, and be glorified in us forever and all eternity, and honored in us forever and ever.

May the Merciful One sustain us with honor.

May the Merciful One break the yoke of exile from our neck and may He lead us upright to our land.

May the Merciful One send abundant blessing into this house and upon this table at which we have eaten.

May the Merciful One send us Elijah the Prophet may he be remembered for good and may he bring us good tidings, salvation and consolation.

May the Merciful One bless my father, my teacher, the master of this house, and my mother, my teacher, the mistress of this house; them, their household, their children, and all that is theirs; us, and all that is ours. Just as He blessed our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, "in everything," "from everything," with "everything," so may He bless all of us (the children of the Covenant) together with a perfect blessing, and let us say, Amen.

From On High, may there be invoked upon him and upon us such merit which will bring a safeguarding of peace. May we receive blessing from the L-rd and just kindness from the G-d of our salvation, and may we find grace and good understanding in the eyes of G-d and man.

On Shabbat add: May the Merciful One cause us to inherit that day which will be all Shabbat and rest for life everlasting.

May the Merciful One cause us to inherit that day which is all good.

May the Merciful One grant us the privilege of reaching the days of the Mashiach and the life of the World to Come. He is a tower of salvation to His king, and bestows kindness upon His anointed, to David and his descendants forever. He who makes peace in His heights, may He make peace for us and for all Israel; and say, Amen.

Fear the L-rd, you His holy ones, for those who fear Him suffer no want. Young lions are in need and go hungry, but those who seek the L-rd shall not lack any good. Give thanks to the L-rd for He is good, for His kindness is everlasting. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Blessed is the man who trusts in the L-rd, and the L-rd will be his trust.

Recite the blessing for the wine, and drink in reclining position.

Blessed are You, L-rd, our G-d, King of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

The fourth cup is poured and the door is opened. Say the following:

Bareich
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

The cups are filled for the fourth time.

The leader lifts the cup of wine and reads:
The festive service is completed. With songs of praise, we have lifted up the cups symbolizing the divine promises of salvation, and have called upon the name of God. As we offer the benediction over the fourth cup, let us again lift our souls to God in faith and in hope. May He who broke Pharaoh's yoke for ever shatter all fetters of oppression, and hasten the day when swords shall, at last, be broken and wars ended. Soon may He cause the glad tidings of redemption to be heard in all lands, so that mankind—freed from violence and from wrong, and united in an eternal covenant of brotherhood—may celebrate the universal Passover in the name of our God of freedom.

All read in unison:
May God bless the whole house of Israel with freedom, and keep us safe from danger everywhere. Amen.
May God cause the light of His countenance to shine upon all men, and dispel the darkness of ignorance and of prejudice.
May He be gracious unto us.
Amen.
May God lift up His countenance upon our country and render it a true home of liberty and a bulwark of justice. And may He grant peace unto all mankind.
Amen.
‏בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָֽעוֹלָֽם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּֽפָּן׃‎
BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM BORE P’RI HAGGOFEN.
Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who createst the fruit of the vine.
Drink the fourth cup of wine.

Nirtzah
Source : www.Chabad.org


Afterwards say:

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!

Commentary / Readings
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

In every generation, each Jew should regard himself as though he too were brought out of Egypt. Not our fathers alone, but us also, did the Holy One redeem; for not alone in Egypt but in many other lands, have we groaned under the burden of affliction and suffered as victims of malice, ignorance and fanaticism. This very night which we, a happy generation, celebrate so calmly and safely and joyfully in our habitations was often turned into a night of anxiety and of suffering for our people in former times. Cruel mobs were ready to rush upon them and to destroy their homes and the fruit of their labors. But undauntedly they clung to their faith in the ultimate triumph of right and of freedom. Champions of God, they marched from one Egypt into another—driven in haste, their property a prey to the rapacious foe, with their bundles on their shoulders, and God in their hearts.

Because God, "the Guardian of Israel, who sleepeth not nor slumbereth" revealed Himself on that Watch-night in Egypt and in all dark periods of our past, as the Redeemer of the enslaved, we keep this as a Watch-night for all the Children of Israel, dedicated to God our redeemer.

While enjoying the liberty of this land, let us strive to make secure also our spiritual freedom, that, as the delivered, we may become the deliverer, carrying out Israel's historic task of being the messenger of religion unto all mankind.

All read in unison:

So it is our duty to thank, praise and glorify God, who brought us and our forefathers from slavery unto freedom, from sorrow unto joy, from mourning unto festive gladness, from darkness unto light. Let us therefore proclaim His praise.

Commentary / Readings
Source : Jconnect Seattle's Liberal Seder

The fourth cup of wine is poured

We now draw our attention to the two empty cups on the table--one of which is for Elijah the Prophet, and the other for Miriam the Prophetess. Tradition teaches us that each of these biblical characters plays an important task of bringing redemption.It is said that that Elijah the Prophet visits the homes of Jewish families on Passover, to check to see if we are all truly ready to welcome the stranger, and are thus prepared to enter as a people into the messianic age. To Elijah we each offer a little bit of wine from our own cups, as a symbolic gesture of our readiness for redemption.

To honor Miriam the Prophetess, we each pour not wine, but water into a cup. According to tradition, Miriam sustained the Israelites in the desert with water from her well, and to this day her life-giving waters still flow into wells everywhere,sustaining us all as we work to bring redemption and wait for Elijah.

And so we open the door, pass around the Elijah’s and Miriam’s cups so that everyone can contribute to them, and sing together their songs of redemption:

Commentary / Readings
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

The leader asks the questions. The whole company responds, each reading as fast as possible, in the effort to finish the answer first.

Who knows One?
I know One: One is the God of the World.

Who knows Two?
I know Two: Two Tables of the Covenant. One God of the World.

Who knows Three?
I know Three: Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Four?
I know Four: Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Five?
I know Five: Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Six?
I know Six: Six Days of Creation; Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Seven?
I know Seven: Seven Days of the Week; Six Days of Creation; Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Eight?
I know Eight: Eight Lights of Ḥanukkah; Seven Days of the Week; Six Days of Creation; Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Nine?
I know Nine: Nine Festivals*; Eight Lights of Ḥanukkah; Seven Days of the Week; Six Days of Creation; Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Ten?
I know Ten: Ten Commandments; Nine Festivals; Eight Lights of Ḥanukkah; Seven Days of the Week; Six Days of Creation; Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Eleven?
I know Eleven: Eleven Stars in Joseph's Dream; Ten Commandments; Nine Festivals; Eight Lights of Ḥanukkah; Seven Days of the Week; Six Days of Creation; Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Twelve?
I know Twelve: Twelve Tribes; Eleven Stars; Ten Commandments; Nine Festivals; Eight Lights of Ḥanukkah; Seven Days of the Week; Six Days of Creation; Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

Who knows Thirteen?
I know Thirteen: Thirteen Attributes of God (Exodus XXXIV: 6-7); Twelve Tribes; Eleven Stars; Ten Commandments; Nine Festivals; Eight Lights of Ḥanukkah; Seven Days of the Week; Six Days of Creation; Five Books of Moses; Four Mothers of Israel; Three Patriarchs; Two Tables of the Covenant; One God of the World.

------------------

*The nine Jewish festivals are: 1. Pesaḥ (Passover), 2. Shabuoth (Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost) 3. Rosh Hashanah (New Year) 4. Yom Kippur (Day of Atonement) 5. Succoth (Feast of Tabernacles) 6. Sh’mini Atzereth (Eighth Day of Solemn Assembly) 7. Simḥath Torah (Rejoicing in the Law), 8. Ḥanukkah (Feast of Dedication or Feast of Lights) 9. Purim (Feast of Lots)

Commentary / Readings
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

All read the third line of each stanza in unison.

Unto God let praise be brought
For the wonders He hath wrought—
At the solemn hour of midnight.

All the earth was sunk in night
When God said "Let there be light!"
Thus the day was formed from midnight.

So was primal man redeemed
When the light of reason gleamed
Through the darkness of the midnight.

To the Patriarch, God revealed
The true faith, so long concealed
By the darkness of the midnight.

But this truth was long obscured
By the slavery endured
In the black Egyptian midnight.

Till the messengers of light
Sent by God, dispelled the night,
And it came to pass at midnight.

Then the people God had freed
Pledged themselves His law to heed,
And it came to pass at midnight.

When they wandered from the path
Of the Lord, His righteous wrath
Hurled them into darkest midnight.

But the prophets’ burning word
By repentant sinners heard
Called them back from darkest midnight.

God a second time decreed
That His people should be freed
From the blackness of the midnight.

Songs of praise to God ascend,
Festive lights their glory lend
To illuminate the midnight.

Soon the night of exile falls
And within the Ghetto walls
Israel groans in dreary midnight.

Anxiously with God they plead,
Who still trust His help in need,
In the darkest hour of midnight.

And He hears their piteous cry.
"Wait! be strong, My help is nigh,
Soon ‘twill pass—the long-drawn midnight.

"Tenderly I cherished you
For a service great and true;
When ‘tis past—the long-drawn midnight."

O, Thou Guardian of the Right,
Lead us onward to the light
From the darkness of the midnight.

Father, let the day appear
When all men Thy name revere
And Thy light dispels the midnight.

When no longer shall the foe
From th’ oppressed wring cries of woe
In the darkness of the midnight.

But Thy love all hearts shall sway;
And Thy light drive gloom away,
And to midday change the midnight.

Commentary / Readings
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

The traditional Seder plate contains…             

Bitter Herbs - מָרוֹר

Egg - בֵּיצָה

Parsley - כַּרְפַּס

Greens - יְרָקוֹת

Charoset - חֲרֹסֶת

Shank bone – זְרוֹעַ

 

When the hardships imposed by the Pharaoh did not slow down the population growth of the Israelites, Pharaoh then decreed that all Israelite males born should be killed. However, the Israelite midwives – Shifra and Puah – who were ordered by Pharaoh to be in charge of this task, feared the wrath of God and made sure that this did not happen. The Pharaoh then ordered his people to throw every male child born to an Israelite in the Nile River. Pharaoh was afraid that Israelite males would grow up to become fighters against his regime. Pharaoh spared Israelite girls because he doubted they would become fighters against his regime, and he thought they would marry Egyptian men and adopt Egyptian values.

 

But they did not! Baruch Ha’shem…

 

As human beings today, we reflect with great distance on the hardship of our ancient ancestors but with great commitment we spend a significant amount of energy retelling and remembering their suffering and story of perseverance annually. As we make great efforts to celebrate and commemorate, we also turn and look at our recent history and the stories that surround our collective struggle to bring equality and respect to all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion and any other divisible way we segment ourselves in our modern lives.

 

The GLBT community has made great strides in the last half century to receive recognition, acceptance and respect as human beings and within the Jewish community great attempts have been made to further inclusion efforts within the community on spiritual and cultural fronts. We sit here today to celebrate, commemorate and further commit ourselves to making all people welcome and respected here at this table and everywhere we can in our everyday lives.

 

As GLBT community members, allies, friends and family of the GLBT community, our second Seder Plate symbolically represents our lives, our struggles and our progress here and now.

 

Our GLBT Seder plate contains…

Orange - תַּפּוּז

Coconut - קוֹקוֹס

Sour Vegetables - חֲמוּצִים

Fruit Salad - סָלַט פֵּרוֹת

Sticks and Stones - זֶרֶדִים וְאֶבֶנִים

Flowers – פְּרָחִים

 


Commentary / Readings
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

1939 Gad Beck, a gay Jewish teenager living in Hitler's Germany joined the Jewish underground, smuggling food, arranging housing and helping Jews escape from Berlin, often by bribing German officials.

 

1955-1956 Poet Alan Ginsberg authors "Howl," which contains gay sexual imagery.

 

1969 Stonewall Rebellion in New York City.

 

1972 Two gay men and two lesbians decide to form their own synagogue in Los Angeles. Beth Chayim Chadashim holds its first service in July of 1972. In London, The Jewish Gay and Lesbian Group, JGLG is formed.

 

1974 Beth Chayim Chadashim is chartered by the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, making it not only the first gay and lesbian synagogue, but also the first gay religious organization of any kind to be officially recognized by an American national body.

 

1974 David Goodstein buys the LA Advocate, which will become the largest circulating gay newspaper.

 

1980 World Congress of Gay and Lesbian Jewish Organizations founded.

 

1984 The Reconstructionist Rabbinical College faculty vote to admit gay and lesbian students.

 

1989 Barnett "Barney" Frank comes out becoming the first openly gay Jewish member of the US Congress.

 

1990 Reform Judaism voted in favor of admitting acknowledged, sexually active homosexuals into its rabbinate.

 

1992 The Conservative law committee declared that Jewish law clearly prohibited commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples and the admission of openly gay people to rabbinical or cantorial schools.

 

1993 Israel forbids discrimination against sexual orientation in its military.

 

1997 the Jerusalem Open House is founded to serve the city's LGBTQ population regardless of religion or nationality.

 

2000 The Central Conference of American Rabbis, which is part of the Jewish Reform movement, has agreed to sanction religious ceremonies for same-sex couples.

 

2000 Hebrew Union College founds the Institute for Judaism & Sexual Orientation to challenge and eliminate homophobia and heterosexism and to transform the communities connected to the Reform movement into ones that are inclusive and welcoming of GLBT Jews.

 

2001 Award-winning documentary Trembling Before God released, a cinematic portrait of various gay Orthodox Jews who struggle to reconcile their faith and their sexual orientation.

 

2002 Uzi Even is sworn in as the first openly gay member of Israel's parliament, the Knesset.

 

2002 Paul Colichman and Stephen P. Jarchow found HERE!  America's 1st GLBT dedicated TV network

 

2004 JQ International is born to serve the 20’s and 30’s demographic of the GLBT Jewish community with specific programming designed to fully integrate and reconcile the Jewish and GLBT identity among its young adult members. JAG, Judios Argentinos GLBT was born in Buenos Aires due to the interest of a group of friends and Rabbi Sergio Bergman who, together, addressed the lack of treatment of gay Jewish issues in the local Jewish Community.

 

2006 The Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, adopted policies giving gays and lesbians the chance to serve as clergy.

 

2006 Israel's High Court of Justice rules that two gay men married in Canada, as well as four other same-sex couples wedded abroad, should have their union recognized in Israel.

 

2007 The Jewish Community Foundation recognizes the valuable work of JQ International and provides significant funding to advance JQ's mission and create lesbian specific programming.

 

2007 The Jewish Theological Seminary, the intellectual and spiritual center of Conservative Judaism, began accepting openly gay and lesbian candidates into its rabbinical and cantorial schools.

 

2008 The Women's Programming committee is launched by JQ International to better understand and serve America's young adult lesbian Jewish population.

 

2008 The 1st fully integrated GLBT Haggadah is created.

Commentary / Readings
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

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

 

Besides the obvious homophone (words with different meanings and different spellings but the same pronunciation) of strait and straight, which parallels the Israelites liberation and escape from narrow straits, a place of oppression, our GLBT community often seeks escape from narrow-minded straights. We gather here today as the result of GLBT activists that struggled and fought for the rights and privileges we have today and from the support of countless GLBT allies in the straight community. Those allies who have stood by us personally in our lives and those who we will never know that have stood by countless other GLBTs in our community today and historically. These straight allies have escaped narrow mindedness and chose the path of justice and righteousness.

 

We spend a lot of time focusing on those outside our community that we feel hold us down and fail to recognize us as equal or worthy of equal rights, but at what point will we focus on what holds us back from within the GLBT community? How can we work from within our community to improve how we view ourselves, our souls and the value of our gender identity and sexual orientation?

Commentary / Readings
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

The path that brought us to who we are today is full of flowers we can see and smell. The flowers here on our Seder plate represent the beauty within each of us on this path of life, but we must recognize the sticks and stones that lay on our path to making us who we are today.  For the members of our community that have suffered the pain and anguish of physical assault for being different and for those that have suffered verbal abuse and harassment we bow our heads, close ours eyes and reflect on our own experiences and how different our lives might have been had we been in your shoes.

 

These sticks and stones have affected us and shaped our identities. Today we remember the many crossroads, vistas, cracks and divots along the way.

 

We take the sticks, stones and flowers and recite:

 

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם שֶׁהַכֹּל נִהְיָה בִּדבָרוֹ.

 

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech Ha’Olam, she-ha-kol ni-h'yeh bid-va-ro.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, by whose word everything comes to be.  

 

 

Commentary / Readings
Source : Jonathan Freund

My father's story about the yellow bench in Germany that was "For Jews Only," and the non-Jewish nanny who let him sit with her on the non-Jewish bench. We use this as an example of "When we were slaves," and to compare that to the Jim Crow laws of the Civil Rights era. We also compare my father's nanny who protected him to Shifra and Puah.

Commentary / Readings
Source : self

Warsaw Ghetto, 1943

 

The date that the Nazis chose to destroy the Warsaw Ghetto was Passover, April 19, 1943. By this time, the Jews of the Ghetto knew that the daily trains to Treblinka were not transporting anyone to resettlement camps in the East, but were taking them to be killed in the gas chambers.

In spite of the Nazis' efforts to enslave and dehumanize our people before they murdered us, we maintained our values and traditions.  Public prayer became a forbidden act, punished by severe beatings or even execution, but prayer services continued secretly, in hundreds of hidden sanctuaries. When kosher slaughter was outlawed, we risked our lives to avoid violating the laws of Kashrut. We observed Passover in any and every way that we could: matzah was baked in clandestine factories; raisin wine and beet juice filled the Four Cups of the Seder.

The Piaseczner Rebbe held prayer services, provided meals, and gave derashot (Hasidic teachings) throughout the three years of occupation and the Ghetto.  He spoke of our unshakable faith in our Creator.  He taught that despite all appearances, the world is still a holy place, and all evil will one day be transformed into good.  If we stayed true to our G*d and our Torah, we would survive, and we must never forget our dignity and self-respect.  We are royalty; even while being beaten, we remain royalty. Most of all, the Rebbe taught us compassion: compassion for other Jews, whom one must help in any way possible, and compassion for G*d, who suffers with us when we are in pain.

In the face of the Nazis’ efforts to destroy us, we remained faithful to our Torah and to our G*d, never giving up hope that the world would one day emerge from darkness.

 

Together:

We remember the heroism of the Jews--men, women, and children--
who fought in the ghettos, in the forests, on the war fronts,
together with all of democratic humanity,
to stop the curse of fascism from engulfing the earth.

 

We will honor their memory by dedicating ourselves to the cause of
peace and freedom in our land and throughout the world.
Songs
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

Allegorical meanings have been sought in the Ḥad Gadyo, on the supposition that it illustrates the working of Divine justice in the history of mankind. In reality, it is a rhyme for children, to keep their interest to the end of the Seder. As in the preceding number so in this one, grown people become children. The company reads in unison (not racing as in "Who Knows One" but) with regular rhythm, as to the beat of music; or sings it to one of the following musical settings.

An only kid! An only kid,
My father bought
For two zuzim *.
An only kid! An only kid!

2. Then came the cat
And ate the kid
My father bought For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

3. Then came the dog
And bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!    

4. Then came the stick
And beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!   

5. Then came the fire
And burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

6. Then came the water
And quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

7. Then came the ox
And drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

8. Then came the butcher
And killed the ox
That drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

9. Then came the angel of death
And slew the butcher
That killed the ox
That drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

10. Then came the Holy One, blest be He!
And destroyed the angel of death
That slew the butcher
That killed the ox
That drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

-----------

*zuzim - pieces of money

Songs
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

The company repeats the refrain "Dayenu" which is equivalent to "It would have satisfied us".

How manifold are the favors which God has conferred upon us!

HAD HE brought us out of Egypt, and not divided the sea for us, Dayenu!

HAD HE divided the sea, and not permitted us to cross on dry land, Dayenu!

HAD HE permitted us to cross the sea on dry land, and not sustained us for forty years in the desert, Dayenu!   

HAD HE sustained us for forty years in the desert, and not fed us with manna, Dayenu!

HAD HE fed us with manna, and not ordained the Sabbath, Dayenu!

HAD HE ordained the Sabbath, and not brought us to Mount Sinai, Dayenu!   

HAD HE brought us to Mount Sinai, and not given us the Torah, Dayenu!   

HAD HE given us the Torah, and not led us into the Land of Israel, Dayenu!

HAD HE led us into the Land of Israel, and not built for us the Temple, Dayenu!

HAD HE built for us the Temple, and not sent us prophets of truth, Dayenu!

HAD HE sent us prophets of truth, and not made us a holy people, Dayenu!

All read in unison:

How much more then are we to be grateful unto the Lord for the manifold favors which He has bestowed upon us! He brought us out of Egypt, divided the Red Sea for us, permitted us to cross on dry land, sustained us for forty years in the desert, fed us with manna, ordained the Sabbath, brought us to Mount Sinai, gave us the Torah, led us into the Land of Israel, built for us the Temple, sent unto us prophets of truth, and made us a holy people to perfect the world under the kingdom of the Almighty, in truth and in righteousness.