Please wait while we prepare your Haggadah...
This may take up to thirty seconds.

Source : Machar

We have come together this evening for many reasons. We are here because Spring is all around, the Earth is reborn, and it is a good time to celebrate with family and friends. We are here because we are Jews, because we are members of the Jewish nation, with its deep historic roots and its valuable old memories and stories.

We are here to remember the old story of the liberation of the ancient Hebrews from slavery in Egypt - a great struggle for freedom and dignity. We are here because the struggle for human freedom never stops. We are here to remember all people - Jews and non-Jews - who are still struggling for their freedom.

As we feel how wonderful and important it is for diverse peoples to come together, let us recite and then sing the words of HINNEH MAH TOV. 

HINNEH, MAH TOV - BEHOLD, HOW GOOD! (Adaptation* of T'hillim / Psalms 133.1)    

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is when peoples* dwell together in unity!

Hinneh, mah tov u-mah naim shevet ammim* gam yahad! 

(*originally "brothers", or "achim")


There's No Seder Like Our Seder

Like no seder I know.

Everything about it is halachic

Nothing that the Torah won't allow.

Listen how we read the whole Haggadah-

It's all in Hebrew, 'cause we know how.

There's no seder like our seder

We tell a tale that is swell.

Moses took the people out into the heat;

They baked the matzoh while on their feet.

Now isn't that a story that just cant be beat?

Let's go on with the show!

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

It is said, there is nothing new under the sun, yet nothing remains the same. Against the backdrop of eternity the earth displays an ever-changing countenance. The sun rises and the sun sets, yet each day and each season is fresh and new.

Slowly, one season emerges from another. The harshness of ice and snow yields to gentle, nourishing showers. Inevitably, the cold, dark days succumb to the warmth and light of Spring. We rejoice in the warm light and rich blessings of this season.

The celebration of Passover represents the perennial rebirth and survival of the Jewish people and the world of nature. The light of these candles symbolizes a renewal of life, a reaffirmation of freedom. 


N'-varekh `et ha-`or ka-`asher niqqavets b'-tsavta` l'-hadliqnerotshelyomtov. B'-`or ha-herut n'-varekh`et ha-haiyim.


Let us bless the light as we gather together to kindle the festival candles. With the light of liberation let us bless life.

[The candles are lit.] 

Source : Machar


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

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

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

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

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


The fruit of the vine - with it, let us drink "To Life!"

Let us all now drink the first cup of the fruit of the vine. 

Source : Machar
SALT WATER - Why do we dip our food in salt water two times on this night? The first time, the salty taste reminds us of the tears we cried when we were slaves.

[Greens held up for all to see.]

KARPAS - Parsley and celery are symbols of all kinds of spring greenery. The second time, the salt water and the green can help us to remember the ocean and green plants and the Earth, from which we get the water and air and food that enable us to live.

Leader: N'-varekh `et pri ha-`Adamah.


Let us bless the fruit of the Earth.

[Please dip your parsley into salt water two times and eat it.] 

Source : Machar

Leader: We have drunk the wine and tasted the special foods of the Passover celebration. They symbolize our attachment to the traditions of our culture, to freedom, and to life. To remind us of these values as we go back out into the world, at the end of our festival meal, we shall return to have a final taste of matzah - our symbol of suffering and liberation, of renewal in nature and humanity.

I am breaking this matzah into two pieces. One half I will return to the table.

[Leader breaks a matzah, sets down half, and holds up half as the afikoman.]

The other half I will wrap in a napkin and save until the end of the meal. This piece is called the 'Afikoman'

Without it the seder cannot end, so I must make sure that it does not get lost. Of course, I am very forgetful, so I may need help finding it if I do misplace it. In fact, I manage to lose it every year - it ends up seemingly "hidden" (tsaphun). So just figure that I'll be asking all you younger folks to help me find it pretty soon.

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

Passover is the celebration of life. The story of the Jewish people is truly a triumph of life. Against the odds of history, the Jewish people have done more than survive - we have adapted creatively to each new time, each new place, from the birth of our people to the present day.

Even though death has pursued us relentlessly, time and time again, we have chosen to live. During the many centuries of the Jewish experience, memories of destruction are tempered by the knowledge that the world can also be good.

We have endured slavery and humiliation. We have also enjoyed freedom and power. Darkness has been balanced by light.

Our forebears traveled the Earth in search of the safety and liberty they knew must exist. We have learned to endure. We have learned to progress.

We are proud survivors. We celebrate our good fortune and seek the advancement of all.


One of the customs of the seder is the asking of questions - questions about what the ritual actions of the seder mean. The Passover tradition involves the youngest children asking - actually singing - about these matters in a song we call "The Four Questions." 

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Rabbi Daniel Brenner,

Here is a kid and adult friendly alternative to for the Maggid section (the Passover story section) of the Haggadah. This short play is in the style of "sedra scenes" -- a contemporary take which makes the story current but stays true to the Exodus narrative. I've written it for large crowds -- so there are 13 parts, but if you have a smaller gathering you can easily double up.

A short play for the seder


NARRATOR: Our story begins in the land of Egypt where Joseph, once a prisoner, is now the Pharaoh’s chief advisor.

JOSEPH: So how are things back in Israel?

BENJAMIN: Oy! Terrible. Our gardens and crops are dying. There is no rain this year. That is why we had to come down to Egypt!

JOSEPH: Well, don’t in Egypt is fantastic. Playstation 3 in every house, High Definition Television, Lincoln Navigators in the driveway, This is the most powerful nation on the planet!

BENJAMIN: Did you have rain this year? Are the gardens and crops doing well?

JOSEPH: We don’t have to worry about that. I’ve stored away tons of food in giant warehouses. The Pharaoh will be able to feed the people for three years at least, even if we get no rain.

BENJAMIN: What does the Pharaoh think of us Hebrews?

JOSEPH: He loves me. He welcomes the Hebrews into his land. Bring the entire family, we’ll make a great life here.

Narrator: The Hebrews all moved to Egypt and had many children and lived a successful life. But after many years, after Joseph and his brothers had died, a new Pharaoh rose to power.

PHARAOH: Advisor, bring me the latest census report. I want to know all the people who I rule over!

ADVISOR: Yes, you’re Royal Highness. I have the numbers here.

PHAROAH: Let’s see: Nubians, Midians, yes, very good. Are there really that many Hebrews?

ADVISOR: Oh yes, your highness. They are growing in number. They are very strong workers.

PHAROAH: Do you think that might be a danger? Perhaps they will challenge my rule – make demands. You know how these workers are always complaining about the size of the rocks for the new Pyramids. I am worried that they will use their strength in numbers to rise up against me!

ADVISOR: Yes, you are right, we must do something to break their spirits.

PHAROAH: First, let us begin with something small. We’ll get them to make more bricks each day. If that doesn’t work, we’ll eliminate the fifteen-minute breaks. If that doesn’t break them, then maybe we’ll turn to harsher measures.

Narrator: The Hebrew workers struggled to keep up with Pharaoh’s demands.

HEBREW 1: My hands are killing me. And my back, oy! I can’t take this pace.

HEBREW 2: We can make a thousand bricks a day—but two thousand? No team can work that hard! We’ll fall over!

HEBREW 3: Quit your kvetching and get back to work, the boss is coming!

BOSS: Efficiency, people! We have got to make 900 more bricks by sundown! Come on, let’s work faster!

HEBREW 1: We are working as fast as we can, boss.

BOSS: Listen, smart aleck, I’ve got a lot of pressure on my shoulders. If Pharaoh doesn’t get his bricks, I’m out of a job. I got a family to feed, too, you know. So get back down in the pit and start working!

HEBREW 2: We haven’t had a break all day!

BOSS: And you are not going to get one! Work!

HEBREW 3: You know what, boss; you have become a real pain in the backside!

BOSS: What’d you say?

HEBREW 3: You heard me.

[The BOSS walks over and pushes Hebrew 3 to the ground]

BOSS: Now get back to work before I get really angry!

Narrator: Meanwhile, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted a young Hebrew child. The child, Moses, was raised with the finest Egypt had to offer.

BAT PHAROAH: Here, sweetheart, eat your honey cakes before your flute lesson.

MOSES: I’m so excited about the party this evening.

BAT PHAROAH: Your new robe looks lovely, dear. I just hope that the Pyramid is finished. Your grandfather has the workers working double time just to get the place finished before the great assembly.

MOSES: I heard that the Hebrews were complaining.

BAT PHAROAH: Complaining? Don’t worry about that. We take care of the needs of all our workers, dear. They are fed, given homes, and we give them a new pair of shoes each year. We are very generous. The only problem is that there are simply too many Hebrews. For that reason, we are cutting down their number. I know that it is sad that we have to kill off their baby boys, but we are really doing it for their own good.

MOSES: I know so little about the world. Someday I’d like to go out of the palace and see how they live.

BAT PHAROAH: They are not clean like us, dear. Especially the Hebrews. They throw garbage on the streets, and the smells are truly horrible.

Narrator: One day Moses decides to sneak out of the palace, and see for himself the plight of the Hebrews.

HEBREW 1: I can’t work, today, I’m sick! And I hurt my arm yesterday lifting stones!

BOSS: I don’t want to hear excuses. This pyramid has got to be finished by Thursday! Today is Wednesday! So get moving!

HEBREW 1: I can’t work. Please, listen to me, have some compassion!

HEBREW 2: Give him a break, boss!

BOSS: Shut up!

HEBREW 3: Don’t get involved!

HEBREW 2: I’m tired of this, boss! My cousin there is hurt. He can’t work today. And he’s not working. So go tell Pharaoh that he’ll have to hire some more workers or this isn’t getting done!

BOSS: Shut up!

[Boss pushes Hebrew 2 to the ground.]

HEBREW 1: Stop it!

BOSS: I’m going to hurt you bad, you whiny Hebrew!

HEBREW 3: Stop! One of Pharaoh’s princes is coming!

MOSES: What is happening?

BOSS: I am going to give this man the beating he deserves, your honor! Watch this!


[Moses hits the Boss, who falls to the ground]

HEBREW 3: Oh no! What did you do to the boss? We’ll be blamed for this! We’ll be punished!

MOSES: What have I done? What have I done?

Narrator: Moses ran away, far off into the wilderness. Where he is taken in by Yitro, and marries one of Yitro’s daughter’s Zipporah. One day, as Moses is taking care of yitro’s sheep, he stumbles across a burning bush.

GOD: Moses, Moses!

MOSES: Who is that? What is going on? What is happening?

GOD: It is me, the God of your ancestors, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.

MOSES: You must have the wrong number.

GOD: This is no time for jokes. You must go back to Egypt and stand up to Pharaoh! Then you will lead the people back to their homeland!

MOSES: How will I do that? The people do not know me! I have no power now that I have run away!

GOD: I will be with you. Go to your sister, Miriam, and brother, Aaron, and stand up to Pharaoh!

Narrator: Moses returns to Egypt, with his wife and son, Gershom. Aaron and Moses approach Pharaoh.

PHAROAH: What do you want?

AARON: Our people need a three-day vacation. We need to go outside of the city so that we can pray to God in our own way.

PHAROAH: Why can’t you wait for the festival of the pyramids? Then your people will have a chance to celebrate with everyone.

MOSES: We do not wish to pray to your gods. We have one God, who is mightier than all of your gods.

PHAROAH: You must be joking. The gods have made Egypt a great nation. What has your God done for you?

MOSES: You’ll see what our God can do! And then you’ll give in to our demands!

PHAROAH: Don’t count on it, Hebrew!

Narrator: Pharaoh was a stubborn man. Even after plagues of blood, frogs, lice, disease, hail, and darkness, he would not let the Hebrews take a day off. It wasn’t until a disease struck and killed the first born of every Egyptian, that the Pharaoh changed his mind.

PHAROAH: Don’t you understand what is happening?

ADVISOR: No, your highness, I don’t know why our gods are not protecting us.

PHAROAH: Everything we did to the Hebrews is now happening to us!!!

ADVISOR: Maybe their God is powerful!

MOSES: Let my people go!

PHAROAH: Tell the police that are surrounding their neighborhood to let them go.

Narrator: That night, Moses, spoke to the people.

MOSES: Put on your sandals, we will not have time to bake the bread for tomorrow! Tonight we will leave Egypt, and set out for a new land! Our children, and our children’s children will remember this night! They will tell the story of how we stood up to Pharaoh, and how God helped us to be free!

AARON: Let all who are hungry come and eat!

Narrator: And the Jews all lived in peace happily ever after

Maggid - Beginning

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the songs of angry men?
It is the music of the people
Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

Will you join in our campaign?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Somewhere beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?

Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free!

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing the songs of angry men?
It is the music of the people

Who will not be slaves again!
When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes!

-- Four Questions
Source : Machar

Mah nishtanah ha-lailah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-leilot? mi-kol ha-leilot? 
Why is this night different from all other nights?

She-b-khol ha-leilot `anu `okhlin hamets u-matsah, hamets u-matsah, ha-lailah ha-zeh ha-lailah ha-zeh kulo matsah? 
On all other nights we eat either bread or matsah. Why, on this night, do we eat only matsah?

She-b-khol ha-leilot `anu `okhlin sh'`ar y'raqot, sh'`ar y'raqot, ha-lailah ha-zeh, ha-lailah ha-zeh maror, maror? 
On all other nights we eat herbs of any kind. Why, on this night, do we eat only bitter herbs?

She-b-khol ha-leilot `ein `anu matbilin `aphilu pa'am `ehat, `aphilu pa'am `ehat, ha-lailah ha-zeh ha-lailah ha-zeh sh'tei ph'amim? 
On all other nights, we do not dip our herbs even once. Why, on this night, do we dip them twice?

She-b-khol ha-leilot `anu `okhlin bein yoshvin u-vein m'subin, bein yoshvin u-vein m'subin, ha-lailah ha-zeh, ha-lailah ha-zeh kulanu m'subin? 
On all other nights, we eat either sitting or leaning. Why, on this night, do we eat while leaning?

As we continue our seder, we will answer these four questions about what makes this night different from all other nights. 

-- Exodus Story
Source : Machar

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

These questions are a central part of tonight's seder ceremony.
Yet before we answer them, let us tell a story of Jewish hope.
The tale of our people's first quest for freedom
from slavery in Egypt was written so long ago
that no one knows how much of it is fact and how much is fiction.
Like all good stories, however, its moral lessons are valid and important.

It is written that long ago, during a time of famine,
the ancient Israelites traveled to Egypt.
According to this legend, the Israelites at that time were all in a single family -
Jacob and his children.

One of Jacob's sons was Joseph.
He was so wise that the ruler of Egypt - the Pharaoh -
made Joseph a leader over all the people of Egypt.

But as time passed, another Pharaoh became the ruler of Egypt.
He did not remember about Joseph and his wise leadership.
This new Pharaoh turned the Israelites into slaves,
and burdened them with heavy work and sorrow.

After the Israelites were in Egypt for over 400 years, a man arose among them.
He demanded that Pharaoh let his people go!
Many times he risked his life to insist on the freedom of his people,
until he finally succeeded.

At our Passover Seder, we celebrate the story of Moses
and the people he led out of slavery 3000 years ago.
We celebrate the struggle of all people to be free.
Throughout the centuries, the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt
has inspired Jews and non-Jews in times of persecution and hardship.

Let us remember that the thirst for freedom exists in all people.
Many centuries after the legendary time of Moses,
African people were brought to America as slaves.
These slaves longed for freedom,
and they were inspired by the story of Moses and the ancient Israelites.

When the slaves in America sang "Go Down Moses,"
they were thinking of their own leaders who were working to end slavery.
Let us now sing that beautiful song.



When Israel was in Egypt land, Let my people go!
Oppressed so hard they could not stand, Let my people go!

Go down Moses,
Way down in Egypt land, Tell old Pharaoh
To let my people go.
When Moses took them from their toil, Let my people go!
He led them all to freedom's soil Let my people go!



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

The freedom we celebrate tonight is not only freedom from slavery.
It is also the freedom to live in peace,
with dignity and with hope for a bright future.
This constant vision has inspired the Jewish people
since the ancient times when the Bible was written.

For centuries, most Jews lived in Europe,
where they were often persecuted.
They were driven from place to place,
and their lives were often filled with terror and despair.

There came a time when many Jewish families learned of a place called America,
where people could live without fear.
This was the promise that America held out to them and to many other suffering people.

By the thousands, and then by the millions, year after year they crossed a large ocean.
Enduring separation from all they had known,
they faced the dangers of a long voyage before reaching the shores of America.

For a time, many suffered from poverty and disease.
Yet their courage, perseverance, and skills,
helped to advance the freedoms that we celebrate here tonight.

This evening, as we celebrate our own freedom
let us take notice of the on-going struggles toward freedom
here and in many other parts of the world.

-- Exodus Story

Loving Kindness Meditation

May I be happy

May I be healthy

May I be free from suffering

May (person) be happy

May (person) be healthy

May (person) be free from suffering

May all beings everywhere be happy

May all beings everywhere be healthy

May all beings everywhere be free from suffering

-- Exodus Story

Mighty Moses

(Sung to "Davy Crocket")

Found by the princess on the shores of the Nile

Brought up Egyptian for a little while

Always remembered that he was a Jew

And to his people, he was always true.

Moses, Mighty Moses!

Leader of the Jewish pioneers.

Came before Pharaoh, many years ago

Said to him, "Pharaoh let my people go!"

For if you don't your people will suffer

And day by day, it's gonna get tougher

Moses, Mighty Moses!

Leader of the Jewish pioneers.

Into the wilderness from Egypt of old,

Came mighty Moses, so brave and so bold.

With outstretched arm and a wave of his hand,

He parted the sea and crossed on dry land.

Moses, Mighty Moses!

Leader of the Jewish pioneers.

He led them on for forty long years,

He bound their wounds and dried their tears

He gave them manna from the Lord's own hand

And pointed the way to the promised land

Moses, Mighty Moses!

Leader of the Jewish pioneers.

Up Mount Sinai Moses did climb,

Left his people for Aaron to mind;

He was not afraid though the thunder did roar

And brought back the commandments  forevermore.

Moses, Mighty Moses!

Leader of the Jewish pioneers.

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Machar

Let us all refill our cups.

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

Pollution of the Earth Indifference to Suffering

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

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Louis Armstrong

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day and the dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

The colors of the rainbow
So pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces
Of people goin' by

I see friends shakin' hands
Sayin', "How do you do?"
They're really sayin'
"I love you"

I hear babies cry, I watch them grow
They'll learn much more than I'll ever know
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Machar

Dedicated To The Struggle For Peace And Freedom

The second cup of wine is dedicated
not only to the struggles of the Jewish people,
but to all people seeking a secure life free of fear and persecution.
We hope and work particularly for the Israelis and the Palestinians
that they may all learn to live together in freedom and peace.

Let us strive to fulfill the words of the prophet Micah:
"They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation shall not take up sword against nation, they shall never again know war.
But they shall sit every one under their vines and fig trees,
and none shall make them afraid" (Micah 4.3-4).


Let us all raise our glasses in a toast to peace and freedom for all.
P'ri ha-gaphen - `itto, nishteh
"L'-Shalom u-l'-Herut!" 


The fruit of the vine - with it, let us drink
"To Peace and Freedom!" 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Freedom, Lachaim (sung to Hava Nagila)

Freedom, L'chaim

Freedom, L'chaim

Freedom, L'chaim

Eat Matza Balls

Freedom, L'chaim

Freedom, L'chaim

Freedom, L'chaim

Eat Chopped Liver

Got to get out of the Egyptian skies

The bread we call matzoh didn't have time to rise

Angel of death passed over our door

So slaves oh slaves we are no more

So eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat

Suffering is what we tow

Guilt and eating's what we know

Please pass the brisket over

We don't want to have any leftovers

Celebrate, Celebrate!

Drink that Manischewitz wine!

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Machar Congregation

Just as the food of our Passover seder nourishes our bodies, our sharing and our reflections at this seder uplift our spirits. Let us celebrate the bounty of our lives by singing our version of that old favorite "DAYENU." 

["Dayenu" means "Enough for us."]

`Im yesh la-nu herute-nu (3x)

Day, day-enu, day, day-enu, day, day-enu, dayenu, dayenu. (repeat)

`Im yesh la-nu simhate-nu (3x)


`Im yesh la-nu tiqva-te-nu (3x)


If we have our freedom, it is enough for us.
If we have our happy occasion (our seder), it is enough for us.
If we have our hope, it is enough for us. 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Orginial

We are grateful that we are together on this night as a family ~ Dayenu

We are grateful that we are together to share this moment ~ Dayenu

We are grateful that we are together, alive and healthy ~ Dayenu

We are grateful that we are able to eat together ~ Dayenu

We are grateful that we have a light shining upon us ~ Dayenu

We are grateful for everything and everyone that we have ~ Dayenu

We are grateful for all that has touched our lives ~Dayenu

We are grateful that our ancestors never gave up home, and to them we drink the second glass of wine together ~ Dayenu

Source : Machar Congregation

[Matsah held up for all to see.]

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

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

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

Let us now say a blessing for the matsah.



Notsi`matsah-lehem min ha-`arets
- k'dei she-nistapeq v'-nit-kalkelkula-nu.


Let us bring forth matsah - food from the land -
so we all may be satisfied and sustained.

Let us all now eat a piece of matsah.

Source : Machar Congregation

[Maror held up for all to see.]

MAROR--Why do we eat maror?
Tradition says that this bitter herb is to remind us of the time of our slavery. We force ourselves to taste pain so that we may more readily value pleasure.

Scholars inform us that bitter herbs were eaten at spring festivals in ancient times. The sharpness of the taste awakened the senses and made the people feel at one with nature's revival. Thus, maror is the stimulus of life, reminding us that struggle is better than the complacent acceptance of injustice.


As a blessing for the maror, let us all sing this song about striving to be fully human.
Then we will all take a taste of horseradish on a piece of matsah. 

(Mishnah, Pirqei `Avot 2.6)

hishtaddel lih'yot `ish.

Where people are less than human,
strive to be fully human. 

Source : Machar

We have answered the four traditional questions, but there are still more questions to be answered.
There are other special foods on our Seder plate:

a bone (z'roa) or a beet,
a roasted egg (beitsah)
an orange,
and, many people's favorite, the sweet condiment (haroset).

Why are they here?


Z'ROA can mean a shankbone - the bone of a forelimb - or a vegetable.
This lamb's bone is the symbol of the ancient shepherd's festival of Pesah or Passover.

It was celebrated at the time of the full moon in the month lambs and goats were born. At that time, each family would sacrifice a young lamb or goat at a spring feast. Jews ended these sacrifices when the Jerusalem Temple was destroyed.

Since z'roa also means vegetable, a beet can be used instead of an animal bone on the seder plate.
The Jewish people are very diverse, so the rabbis who wrote the Talmud acknowledged this vegetarian alternative.


Why do we have a beitsah on the seder plate?
Beitsah is the egg of life, a symbol of the birth of the young in spring. Each of us begins as an egg and grows to adulthood. The egg reminds us of our evolutionary past and of the gifts of human inheritance. But the egg is fragile. It represents potential that can be destroyed. Left alone, its life would perish.

Growing life needs warmth and love and security, guidance, hope, and vision. To achieve their full potential, human beings need the support and encouragement of family and community. Beitsah symbolizes the fragility and interdependence of life.

[All who so desire may now eat a piece of egg.]


Why have we added an orange to our seder plate?
We place this fruit among our ceremonial foods as a symbol of our efforts to make sexual minorities feel acknowledged in our community. We recognize the contributions made by these family members and friends.

By inviting and welcoming all with open hearts and open minds, we celebrate diversity and freedom. We put an orange on our seder plate as a new symbol of liberation around sexuality and gender roles.

[All may eat a piece of orange.]


Why do we eat haroset?
Fruits, nuts, spices, and wine are combined to make this sweet condiment. Being the color of clay or mortar, it reminds us of the bricks and mortar used by slaves - Jews and others - in building the Pharaohs' palaces and cities. Yet the taste of haroset is sweet, and thus reminds us of the sweetness of freedom.


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

Source :

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

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

Source : Machar

Let us all refill our cups.

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

During this festival of life, let us remember our lost sisters and brothers - the millions of Jews enslaved and killed in the Holocaust. We remember them along with all the others who suffered.

They were all parts of the rainbow - of ethnic, religious and sexual minorities, of progressive activists, resistance fighters, and people with disabilities. Their anguish and death is with us, even in our times of celebration.

We resolve that their memory shall not be lost. We accept the responsibility of working to prevent such suffering from ever again occurring on this earth.

We remember the heroism of those who fought against fascism and tyranny in the forests and the cities of Europe.Men, women, and children who loved freedom and humanity struggled with their own hands against the powerful armies of those who sought to oppress and kill them.

We remember the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising on the dawn of the first day of Passover, April 19, 1943.  The Nazis were coming to complete the deportation of the remaining Jews to the death camps.

A shot rang out on Nalevki Street, signaling the beginning of this Jewish revolt. A few hundred Jews with a few guns and hand grenades had decided to resist the tremendous power of the German army and the Gestapo. The courageous men and women of the Jewish Fighting Organization held out for forty-two days.

Although few of the Jewish fighters survived the battle, the story of their courage will never die. Similar acts of resistance took place in Minsk, Vilna, Bialystock, in the cities and towns of Poland, and even in the death camps - Treblinka, Sobibor, Auschwitz. 


We were slaves in Egypt and we were slaves in fascist Europe. We have much to remember.
Let us raise our glasses to those who were taken from us and to those who fought for freedom and life. 

P'ri ha-gaphen-`itto,nishteh "L'-Haiyim!"   


"L'- Haiyim!" 

Source : Machar

Let us all refill our cups.

Leader picks up cup for all to see.

This is the cup of hope.

The seder tradition involves pouring a cup for the Hebrew prophet Elijah. For millennia, Jews opened the door for him, inviting him join their seders, hoping that he would bring with him a messiah to save the world.

Yet the tasks of saving the world - once ascribed to prophets, messiahs and gods - must be taken up by us mere mortals, by common people with shared goals. Working together for progressive change,we can bring about the improvement of the world, tiqqun ha-olam - for justice and for peace, we can and we must.


Let us now symbolically open the door of our seder to invite in all people of good will and all those in needto work together with us for a better world.Let us raise our fourth cup as we dedicate ourselves to tiqqun olam, the improvement of the world.


"L' Tiqqun Olam!"

All drink the fourth cup.

Source : Pesach: A Season of Justice

This new custom celebrates Miriam’s role in the deliverance from slavery and her help throughout the wandering in the wilderness. An empty cup is placed alongside Elijah’s cup. Each attendee at the Seder then pours a bit of his/her water into the cup, symbolizing Miriam’s life-giving well that followed the wandering Israelites. With this new custom, we recognize that women are equally integral to the continued survival of the Jewish community. With a social action lens, we see the pouring of each person’s water as a symbol of everyone’s individual responsibility to respond to issues of social injustice, and that, together, significant actions can take place.

Source : Machar Congregation

Leader: [Announces the name of the child or children who found the `afikoman.]
Let us continue our seder by eating one last little piece of matsah to leave us with the taste of freedom's struggles.

[Everyone eat a last piece of matsah.]

Now, let us conclude our seder.


We have recalled struggles against slavery and injustice.
We have sung of freedom and peace.
We revisited times of persecution and times of fulfillment.
Only half a century ago, Nazis committed the crimes of the Holocaust.
Today, as Jews in the United States, we are more free than at any other time.

Yet Jewish history shows that life is ever-changing,
and we must learn how to survive under all conditions.
When we are persecuted, we must struggle for our own freedom.
The more freedom we attain,
the more we must help others attain freedom.

This is the lesson of Passover. This is why we celebrate the Festival of Freedom.