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Source : Rabbi Micah Streiffer and Ava Pomerantz

Welcome to the Davidson Hillel Seder! We are so excited to spend it with all of you.

There's a few things to explain about Judaism and Jewish texts before we start.

First, the word Seder, means order, and so the Passover seder has a specific order that we will follow tonight.

Second, If you're wondering why the book is backwards, it actually isn't! We read right to left, because that's the way the Torah is written. Another thing, is that each prayer and song has Hebrew, English, and something called a transliteration, which is the Hebrew translated into English, so that everyone can follow along.

Third, this Haggadah, was created by a Hillel student during her Ministry Fellowship along with her wonderful mentor, Rabbi Michael Streiffer, on a website that can be added and edited at any time, so the hope is that it will be edited in years to come. It is a mix of different Haggadot around the world and Passover related books. The goal was to make a Haggadah that was accessible for both Jewish and non-Jewish students, since at the Davidson Seder, we have a lot of both. There is not much God language because many Jewish people celebrate Passover more as a tradition and to be with family and friends than to celebrate a belief in God.

Finally, the Haggadah has some extra interpretations for certain parts of the Seder because in the Jewish tradition, there are always more interpretations as rabbis through history visit and revise the thoughts of those before them. For the purpose of the Seder, that means that we'll be following certain pages together, but feel free to look at the pages we don't read and read them on your own if they sound of interest to you.

Thanks and enjoy!


The Seder Plate

We place a Seder Plate at our table as a reminder to discuss certain aspects of the Passover story. Each item has its own significance.

Maror – The bitter herb. This symbolizes the harshness of lives of the Jews in Egypt.

Charoset – A delicious mix of sweet wine, apples, cinnamon and nuts that resembles the mortar used as bricks of the many buildings the Jewish slaves built in Egypt

Karpas – A green vegetable, usually parsley, is a reminder of the green sprouting up all around us during spring and is used to dip into the saltwater

Zeroah – A roasted lamb or shank bone symbolizing the sacrifice made at the great temple on Passover (The Paschal Lamb)

Beitzah – The egg symbolizes a different holiday offering that was brought to the temple. Since eggs are the first item offered to a mourner after a funeral, some say it also evokes a sense of mourning for the destruction of the temple.

Orange - The orange on the seder plate has come to symbolize full inclusion in modern day Judaism: not only for women, but also for people with disabilities, intermarried couples, and the LGBT Community.


Matzah is the unleavened bread we eat to remember that when the jews fled Egypt, they didn’t even have time to let the dough rise on their bread. We commemorate this by removing all bread and bread products from our home during Passover.

Elijah’s Cup

The fifth ceremonial cup of wine poured during the Seder. It is left untouched in honor of Elijah, who, according to tradition, will arrive one day as an unknown guest to herald the advent of the Messiah. During the Seder dinner, biblical verses are read while the door is briefly opened to welcome Elijah. In this way the Seder dinner not only commemorates the historical redemption from Egyptian bondage of the Jewish people but also calls to mind their future redemption when Elijah and the Messiah shall appear.

Miriam’s Cup

Another relatively new Passover tradition is that of Miriam’s cup. The cup is filled with water and placed next to Elijah’s cup. Miriam was the sister of Moses and a prophetess in her own right. After the exodus when the Israelites are wandering through the desert, just as Hashem gave them Manna to eat, legend says that a well of water followed Miriam and it was called ‘Miriam’s Well’. The tradition of Miriam’s cup is meant to honor Miriam’s role in the story of the Jewish people and the spirit of all women, who nurture their families just as Miriam helped sustain the Israelites.

Source : Original Illustration from
Old & New Passover Symbols

Source :
Iraqi Passover Haggadah, 1902

After Treatment: Passover Haggadah, 1902. A Haggadah is the order of the Passover service recounting the liberation of the ancient Israelites from slavery and their exodus from Egypt, One of very few Hebrew manuscripts recovered from the Mukhabarat, Saddam Hussein’s Intelligence Headquarters, this Haggadah was hand-lettered and decorated by an Iraqi youth.

Source : A Different Night, Jewish Boston, Ezter Haggadah

To make Kiddush is to declare a moment holy. “Here I am, ready to perform the mitzvah of the first cup of wine and to dedicate this whole evening ‘to telling the story of miracles and wonders that were performed for our ancestors in Egypt on the night of the 15th of the month of Nisan’ more than 3,200 years ago. This is what the Torah commands us: ‘Remember the day of your Exodus from Egypt’ “ (Ex. 13:3; Maimonides, Chametz 7:1).

We say this to get ready for the seder, to set a Cavanah, or intention as a sort of mindfulness exercise. ​

We are about to drink our first cup of wine which will symbolize gratitude for life.                                       

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. And with raised cups, we say together:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

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

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

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

We now drink the first glass of wine!

Source : Original Illustration from
Four Cups of Wine

Source : Ezter Haggadah, Abraham Joshua Heschel

We are about to drink our first cup of wine which is the sanctification of this holiday, or as Heschel says, a moment in an “architecture in time.” As we drink, we recline to the left as was the custom in history, as wealthy people ate while lying on a couch, leaning on one elbow as slaves and servants fed them. The Jewish people thought of this relaxed type of eating as a sign of freedom and prosperity, so they would lean to one side eating at the Seder on Passover, the festival of freedom. Today, we who are free eat while sitting up, even at Passover, but the question remains in the service as a reminder of how it was when our people longed for freedom.

Tonight we drink four cups of wine. There are many explanations for this custom. They represent, some have said, 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.

Source : Rabbi Micah Streiffer and Ava Pomerantz

This is the first ritual hand washing of the night, which we are going to do, unlike the Jews before us, with some hand sanitizer. It prepares for the appetizers or karpas which we are about to eat.

Source : A Different Night, Oceanside Seder

Karpas is a vegetable and typically we use parsley. We use Karpas because it represents both the historic birth of Israel after the Exodus from Egypt and simultaneously, the rebirth of nature renewed with each spring . We dip it in salt water to represent the tears of the slaves.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

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

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

Now it's time for some appetizers: gefiltefish!

Source : Original Illustration from
Dip Parsley in Saltwater

Source :

The Truth About Gefilte Fish

There is a little known secret that, hidden in what was once the Russian Pale of Settlement (basically Belarus and Eastern Poland), there is a deep, fresh water lake stocked with the unique fish called gefilte... Just kidding. But it is true that gefilte fish is a uniquely Ashkenazi Jewish food...So where did it come from?

Gefilte fish is generally made of filleted, ground fish, usually carp, pike and/or whitefish. The ground fish is then combined with ingredients such as matzah meal, egg and seasonings, after which it is either boiled or baked . Originally, the ground fish was then stuffed back into the skin of the whole fish--thus the origin of the name gefilte (derived from the German word for stuffed). Today, most people purchase gefilte fish in jars, fully prepared, or in frozen loaves that can be easily seasoned and prepared.

It is commonly thought that Jews began eating gefilte fish as a means of avoiding the melacha (creative work forbidden on Shabbat) of bo'rayr (sorting the bad out of the good). Fish served whole often left a person with the difficult challenge of dealing with the small bones on Shabbat. Filleted gefilte fish, however, has no bones.

A practical reason for the popularity of gefilte fish, however, was probably budgetary. Ground fish can serve more people, and the extra ingredients also add taste to less expensive species of fish.

Gefilte fish is most often served with ground horseradish.

Source : A Different Night

The three different Matzahs each represent different things.

1. The top represents the usual blessing over the bread (motzi), and tonight, instead of over bread or Challah, it’s over Matzah.

2. The bottom matzah is for the Hillel sandwich (Korech) which we’ll make later with matza, maror (bitter herbs), and charoset (a sweet and delicious food).

3. The middle matzah is what we work with now. It is split in half: one portion is hidden for the “afikoman” which is the last taste of food at the end seder and the other half (the smaller portion) we use to say the motzi.

Source : Original

Source : A Different Night

This is the bread of poverty and persecution that our ancestors ate in the land of egypt. As it says in the Torah "seven days shall you eat.... matzot- the bread of poverty and persecution" (Deut. 16:3) so that you may "remember that you were a slave in Egypt.." (Deut. 26:12).

Let all who are hungry, come and eat

Let all who are in need, come and share the Pesach meal.

This wear we are still here- Next year, in the land of Israel.

This year we are still slaves- Next year, free people.

Source : My People's Passover Haggadah

The ritual of breaking the middle matzah has become a time in seders today, to break social structures excluding the LGBTQ community as well as other marginal groups, because by breaking the matzah, we create space to include all (Zierler).

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Rabbi Micah Streiffer and Ava Pomerantz

The Maggid, or storytelling in Hebrew, is the bulk of the Seder. It’s complex in that it’s one story, but this one story is depicted in 6 different ways because the sages couldn’t decide on how to treat this story with the most respect. Others believe that it was told in different ways to keep people active and speaking so they could stay up through the entire seder: first we have the four questions, second the four children, third an actually telling, fourth some singing, fifth the ten plagues, and sixth an explanation of symbols.

Maggid - Beginning
Source :

During Maggid, Syrian Jews throw sacks of matzah over their shoulders and say a special verse in Hebrew about leaving the Egypt in haste.

-- Four Questions

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

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

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

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

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


Mah nishtanah halyla hazeh mikol halaylot

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


¿Qué hace diferente a esta noche de todas las [demás] noches?

1) En todas las noches no precisamos sumergir ni siquiera una vez, ¡y en esta noche lo hacemos dos veces?

2) En todas las noches comemos jametz o matzá, ¡en esta noche solamente matzá?

3) En todas las noches comemos cualquier clase de verdura, ¡esta noche maror?

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


Perché è diversa questa sera da tutte le altre?

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

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

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

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


Was unterscheidet diese Nacht von allen anderen Nächten?

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

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

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

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


Oneul pameun piongso pamdeul kwa pikiohalte otoke tareumnika?

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

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

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

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

-- Four Questions
Source : Traditional

                 Maggid – Four Questions


?מַה נִּשְּׁתַּנָה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת

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

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

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

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

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

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

-- Four Questions
Source : My People's Passover Haggadah

What’s funny is that it’s actually one question, Mah Nishtanah-”Why is this night different?” with four parts. It’s tradition that the youngest child asks the four questions. There are a lot of reasons for this, but one is that Judaism is about teaching and passing down through generations, like the famous saying, L’dor Vador, from generation to generation. The youngest is then to read it, because they are the one who will keep the tradition going. An interesting Hebrew language coincidence is that children in Hebrew is banim. The word is related to three Hebrew roots that mean child, builder, and the one who understands.

The questions used to be improvised by the youngest son, as long as it followed the format of degradation of Israel, its Exodus and praising of God, and ending with the sealing of redemption.

-- Four Children
Source :

    The four children are used to tell the story. This was added much later in Haggadot by rabbis. One interpretation is that the four sons represent different generations: the wise being the ones who immigrated to North America, the wicked being the kids who rebelled  and take on Western values, the Simple being he just goes along with his family not knowing why, and the one who doesn’t know how to ask because he is so far removed.

We will read the four children as a screenplay. We need two volunteers: one as the narrator and one who will represent each child.

Narrator: What does the wise child say?

Wise Child: What are the testimonies, the statutes, and the laws which the Lord our God has commanded you?” (Deut. 6:20)

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

Narrator: What does the wicked child say?

Wicked Child: Whatever does this service mean to you? (Exodus 12:26)

Narrator: This child emphasizes the you and not the child’s own self. The child is excluding him/herself from Judaism and the community as a whole. Therefore, if the  child had been there, he would have been left behind because he doesn’t even include himself.

Narrator: What does the simple child say?

Simple Child: What is this? (Exodus 13: 14)

Narrator: You answer simply as well, God brought us out of Egypt where we were slaves.

Narrator: As for the child who does not know how to ask, you should should prompt the child, trying to get them to ask a question saying by beginning the story: It is because of this (point to matzah and maror), that God did for me when I went frre from Egypt (Ex 13:8)

-- Four Children
Source : My People's Passover Haggadah

The third and fourth question are pretty similar. Classical Greco-Roman literature prefers three children because so many other parts of the religion have three (wash hands three times, three blessings), but now in modern times, it has moved to four (four cups of wine, four blessings). 

-- Four Children
Source : Rabbi Micah Streiffer:
Four Children of Star Wars

In the section called the “Four Sons,” the Passover seder very wisely recognizes that different children learn differently, depending on their disposition, level of knowledge, age, etc. Here’s how I got my kids to care about the Four Sons at our seder last night:


The Wise Son (Obi Wan Kenobi)

The wise son almost always follows the rules. He wants nothing more than to learn from his teachers and to use his learning for the good of others. A lifelong learner, he embodies the spirit of tradition, and uses his skills to live those traditions and pass them on.


The Wicked Son (Anakin Skywalker)

Why is he wicked? Not because he is not learned; he knows enough to ask questions! And not because he doesn’t care; he is sitting at the seder table (or the Jedi council, as the case may be). His problem is that he separates himself from those around him, and in so doing, he becomes increasingly self-centered. The wicked son’s choices are about what is best for him and him alone. If others have to suffer to accomplish this, so be it.


The Simple Son (Jar Jar Binks)

The simple son is not the cleverest or most knowledgeable, but his heart is in the right place. He asks unsophisticated questions, but he cares deeply about what is right. If we explain simply, and encourage him to participate as an equal, he will grow in his understanding and skill and can make a real contribution.


The Son Who Does Not Know How to Ask (Luke Skywalker)

The fourth son has not had the benefit of having been taught. Either because he is too young, or because he simply had no access to the proper education (or because he was being hidden from his Sith Lord father in an effort to save him and the galaxy from destruction). He is not simple, and he is not wicked, but he lacks the knowledge that he needs and does not even know where to begin asking questions. He can be taught, and he can become a great leader, but he needs guidance.

-- Exodus Story
Source :;,

Telling of the Story

Whoever leads this section will be Pharoah.

We will go around the table reading. This version is the one we learned as kids and truly tells the story we see as a whole.

First reader:

Over three thousand years ago, G‑d saved the Jewish people and took them out of slavery in Egypt, leading them through the Split Sea and into the land of Israel.

For a long time, Pharaoh’s advisors had been warning him as to the growing threat of the Jewish nation and that a Jewish boy would be born who would grow up, overturn the entire Egyptian empire and lead his people to freedom.

So Pharoah said: “All Jews must work from sunrise to sunset…without pay! Egyptians may use a Jewish slave to do whatever they need. All Jewish baby boys are to be thrown into the Nile!”

Next reader:

A Jewish woman called Yocheved had a baby boy and sent him floating down the Nile, to try and save him from being killed. The floating basket was picked up by the Princess of Egypt – Batya – Pharaoh’s own daughter! Discovering the beautiful infant inside, Batya named him Moses and raised him.

Despite the fact that he grew up in the palace, Moses could not bear to see the suffering of the Jewish people. One day, Moses chanced upon an Egyptian taskmaster, savagely whipping a Jewish slave to death. Furious, Moses cried out one of G‑d’s Holy Names, and the Egyptian immediately died. Certain that Pharaoh’s officers would be after him, Moses fled to Midian.

Next reader:

There, he saw a strange sight: a bush covered in fire, yet the bush was not being burnt by the flames! Amazed Moses drew even nearer, and all of a sudden heard a voice (some say it was God) speaking to him.

“Go down to Egypt and tell Pharaoh to let My people go!”

So Moses and his brother Aaron came before Pharaoh and said,

Everyone reads: “Let my people go!”

But Pharaoh just laughed. They threatened Pharaoh with 10 terrible plagues if he did not listen to G‑d, but he did not believe them:

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya | צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

We also like to include modern plagues today. We live in a very different world, but Passover is a good time to remember that, even after our liberation from slavery in Egypt, there are still many challenges for us to meet:

Hunger, War, Crime, Disease, Racism, Abuse, Poverty, Homophobia, Pollution, Indifference to human suffering.

After the plagues, Pharoah had had enough and yelled: “Go! And take all the Jews with you!”

Moses sent word to all the Jews. “The time has come” he told them, “grab your bags and get ready to leave at once. Don’t wait for your bread to rise, just go!”

Final reader:

The Jews left and walked until they reached the sea where they saw the Egyptian army chasing after them because Pharaoh had changed his mind. G‑d told Moses to stretch his arm out over the waters, and all at once, the sea split! Miraculously, the Jews were able to walk through on dry land, but as soon as the Egyptians stepped foot in the sea, the walls of water came crashing down on them. The Jews were freed!

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Ezter Haggadah

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 ancient 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 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.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Alex Hoffman

This is the famous song of being freed. Dayenu means “enough” so each line is a different statement, and it ends with “it would have been enough.” No one really knows each line, so just join along with Dayenu.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Ezter Haggadah, Jewish Boston

Now for the second cup of wine which will represent the struggle for human 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. In particular, may the Israelis and the Palestinians come to enjoy freedom and peace.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the second glass of wine!

Source : Rabbi Micah Streiffer and Ava Pomerantz

The last way of telling the story is through symbols. Each of these three foods (plus all the others on the Seder plate) represents a piece of the story of our freedom.

Source : Ezter Haggadah, Jewish Boston

Matzah 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.

בְָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source : Ezter Haggadah

However, scholars have noted that long before the Jews celebrated Passover, farmers of the Middle East celebrated Chag Ha-matsot, the festival of unleavened bread, at this time of year. This was a festival where unleavened bread was made from the new grain harvest that took place at this time of the year        

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

Source : Ezter, Jewish Boston

Tradition says that this root 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 the Spring festival 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.

Let us all now say the blessing over the Maror:

ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְיַָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר:

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

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

Source : A Different Night

"Personally, I cannot imagine Passover without horseradish. Its combination of intense pleasure and pain makes a good analog for the bittersweet nature of our memories at Passover: We remember good times with family and friends, often with those who are no longer with us or are far away. We give our brief lives added dimension by linking them to the pain and triumph of Jewish history.

As the Irish fiddler Seamus Connolly once said in the name of his mother, 'We're never so happy as when we're crying.' We never enjoy the horseradish so much as when it brings tears to our eyes" (Ira Steingroot).

Source :,

In Cuba, Jews are poor and can't access all of the fruits needed to make Charoset, so they use matzah, honey, cinnamon, and wine instead. In Gibraltar, a British overseas territory on the coast of Spain, they put brick dust in Charoset to resemble the mortar used during slavery. In India, Charoset contains raisins, dates, and sesame paste. In Spain, they put dates, apricots, pistachios, pine nuts, and coconuts in the Charoset.

Source : A Different Night, Jewish Boston

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

Our ancestors combined the matzah, bitter herb, and sweet Charoset into a Hillel sandwich or Koreich (which is sandwich in Hebrew). It’s named Hillel, after a famous Jewish leader, Hillel which is also why our group is called Hillel.

We take a piece of matzah, put some horseradish on it, and then the sweet charoset on top, then stack another piece of matzah on top to have a sandwich. Together they create a bittersweet sensation that combines how the Passover story is bitter in remembering our ancestors, but sweet in that we share a great meal together.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : A Different Night, Oceanside, Micah Streiffer, Jewish Boston

Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

Here are a few discussion questions while eating the meal:

  1. Does the suffering we go through make the freedom worth it? 
  2. In an age when genocide and oppression are facts of life around the world what can we learn from the story of the Exodus? How can we apply the lessons of this story to the world around us?
  3. Who are the Moses and Pharaoh of the year?
Source :

It’s tradition that the children go and look for the Afikoman and when found, a special prize is given. Some say it’s so the children will stay up during the seder.

The Afikoman comes from the Greek epikomen, meaning “that which comes after." We traditionally wrap it in a cloth as did our ancestors wrapped their matzah when they left Egypt.

Source : A Different Night

On seder night, we hide and then seek the afikoman, reuniting the two parts separated at the beginning of the seder.  May we learn to discover the lost parts of ourselves and to find wholeness in whatever we do.

Source : Ray Bernstein
Birkat Hamazon

We now say a blessing to thank whomever made the wonderful meal and to celebrate everyone coming together for a great meal.

Source : Ezter, Jewish Boston

We drink the third cup of wine to those who were taken from us and to those who fought for freedom and life:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the third glass of wine!

Source : Ezter, Jewish Boston


This is the cup of Elijah. According to Jewish tradition, the Prophet Elijah was a brave man who denounced the slavery of his day. Legend teaches that he will return one day to lead everyone to peace and freedom.

It was customary during the Passover Seder to open the door of the house for Elijah, in the hope that the age of universal peace may soon be at hand.

We, too, open the door to peace, knowing that Elijah's task is really our own. Only when we have made a world where nation shall not lift up sword against nation, where justice is universal, and where each person is free, will the age-old dream of peace be real.

To begin our singing for the night Hallel, we sing a song about Elijah,  Eliayu Hanavi :

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי,

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי.

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד, 

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד.

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

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

Source : Jewish Boston

Fourth Cup of Wine: For the future

As we come to the end of the seder, we drink one more cup of wine, this one celebrating the future and what comes next for us all.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן:

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

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

Drink the fourth and final cup of wine!

Source : A Different Night
Cha Gad-ya

This is the Jewish version of "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" 

Source : Unknown

What happened to the tortoise?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A breadfruit fell on the tortoise
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the breadfruit?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A stake pierced the breadfruit
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the staff?
The tortoise, the tortoise
Termite ate up the staff
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the termite?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A fowl ate the termite
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the fowl?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A kite/hawk carried the fowl
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the kite/hawk?
The tortoise, the tortoise
A gun killed the kite/hawk
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the gun?
The tortoise, the tortoise
Fire burnt the gun
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the fire?
The tortoise, the tortoise
Water quenched the fire
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the water?
The tortoise, the tortoise
The ground soaked up the water
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to the ground?
The tortoise, the tortoise
The Lord (Chukwu Abiama) created the ground
The tortoise, the tortoise

What happened to Chukwu Abiama?
The tortoise, the tortoise
Nothing happened to Chukwu Abiama
The tortoise, the tortoise

Source : Jewish Boston

We've reached the end of our seder and behalf of Davidson Hillel, we want to say thank you all for attending. It's a night full of laughter, songs, wine, telling the story of ancestors, and good food. We always end the seder by saying,

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim


Some interpret it quite literally as hopefully they will be in Jerusalem next Passover or more metaphorically, that there are always things to hope for.

Source : Original


Most entries are from which provides Haggadot from all around the world. The ones used here were:

  • Jews Around the World
  • An Illustrated Haggadah
  • Traditional Haggadah
  • Liberal Haggadah

The other entries were combined from various websites, books, and the words of both Rabbi Micah Streiffer and Ava Pomerantz.

Ezter Haggadah.

Hoffman, Lawrence A. and Arnow, David. My People’s Passover Haggadah: volume 1. Jewish Lights Publishing: 2008, Woodstock VT.

Oceanside Seder.

Zion, Noam and Dishon, Daivd. A Different Night. The Shalom Hartman Institute: Jerusalem, Israel.