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The blessings below are for a weeknight. (On Shabbat we add the words in parentheses)
וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי. וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאַָם. וַיְכַל אֱלֹקִים בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה. וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אוֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בֶָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת
(Vay'hi erev vay'hi voker yom hashi-shi. Vay'chulu hashamayim v'ha-aretz v’choltzva’am. Vay’chal Elohim bayom hashvi’i, m'lachto asher asah, vayishbot bayom hashvi-i, mikol-mlachto asher asah. Vay'vareich Elohim, et-yom hashvi’i, vay'kadeish oto, ki vo shavat mikol-mlachto, asher-bara Elohim la-asot.)
(“And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Now the heavens and all their host were completed. And on the seventh day God finished His work of creation which He had made. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, for on that day God rested from His work and ceased creating.)
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p'ri hagafen.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה (שַׁבָּתוֹת לִמְנוּחָה וּ) מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה, חַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשׂוֹן, אֶת יוֹם (הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶה וְאֶת יוֹם) חַג הַמַצוֹת הַזֶה, זְמַן חֵרוּתֵנוּ (בְּאַהֲבָה), מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ, זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, (וְשַׁבָּת) וּמוֹעֲדֵי קָדְשֶךָ (בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן,) בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְשָׂשׂוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, מְקַדֵּשׁ (הַשַׁבָּת וְ) יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikol’am, v'rom'manu mikol-lashon, v'kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, vatiten-lanu Adonai Eloheinu b'ahavah (shabatot limnuchah u) moadim l'simchah, chagim uz'manim l'sason et-yom (hashabat hazeh v'et-yom) chag hamatzot hazeh. Z'man cheiruteinu, (b'ahavah,) mikra kodesh, zeicher litziat mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v'otanu kidashta mikol ha’amim. (v'shabat) umo’adei kod’shecha (b'ahavah uv'ratzon) b'simchah uv'sason hinchaltanu. Baruch atah Adonai, m'kadeish (h’shabbat v') Yisrael v'hazmanim.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Who has chosen us from among all people, and languages, and made us holy through Your mitzvot, giving us lovingly [Shabbat for rest] festivals for joy, and special times for celebration, this [Shabbat and this] Passover, this [given in love] this sacred gathering to commemorate the Exodus from Egypt. You have chosen us, You have shared Your holiness with us among all other peoples. For with [Shabbat and] festive revelations of Your holiness, happiness and joy You have granted us [lovingly] joyfully the holidays. Praised are you, Adonai, Who sanctifies [Shabbat], Israel and the festivals.
On Saturday night include the following section:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל, ין אוֹר לְחשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בֵּין קְדֻשַּׁת שַׁבָּת לִקְדֻשַּׁת יוֹם טוֹב הִבְדַּלְתָּ, וְאֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה קִדַּשְׁתָּ. הִבְדַּלְתָּ וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ. ,בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְקֹדֶשׁ
( Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei m'orei ha-eish.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, hamavdil bein kodesh l'chol bein or l'choshech, bein Yisrael la-amim, bein yom hashvi-i l'sheishet y'mei hama-aseh. Bein k'dushat shabat likdushat yom tov hivdalta. V'et-yom hashvi-i misheishet y'mei hama-aseh kidashta. Hivdalta v'kidashta et-am'cha yisra-eil bikdushatecha. Baruch atah Adonai, hamavdil bein kodesh l'kodesh.)
(Praised are You Adonai our God Lord of the universe who created the lights of fire.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who makes a distinction between the holy and profane, light and darkness, Israel and the nations, Shabbat and the six workdays. You have made a distinction between the holiness of Shabbat and the holiness of the festival, and You have sanctified Shabbat above the six work-days. You have set apart and made holy Your people Israel with your holiness. Praised are you, Adonai, who distinguishes between degrees of sanctity.)
Say this Shehechiyanu blessing the first Seder night only:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶה
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam,
she’hecheyanu v'ki'manu v'higi-anu laz'man hazeh.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe,
who has sustained us, maintained us and enabled us to reach this moment in life.
Ritually wash hands without reciting the blessing. The need for hand washing before eating vegetables is no longer a ritual requirement, however, it is included here in the traditional Seder.
Jewish law requires the ritual washing of the hands before eating bread. This washing is accompanied by a blessing. But why do we wash before eating the green vegetable and why in this case is no blessing recited?
Fruits or vegetables dipped in water can acquire ritual impurity (Lev. 11:34). Washing before eating vegetables which have come into contact with water is a hold-over from Talmudic times. In that period many Rabbis attempted to eat all their foods in a state of ritual purity – trying to experience in their daily eating the sense of sacredness associated with the Temple. To emphasize that this is only a pious custom, and not even a rabbinic requirement, no blessing is recited.
Except for the seder night the custom has fallen into general disuse, even among the strictly observant. But on seder night we wash at the beginning of the evening to create the spirit of a sacred gathering conducted in purity and devotion.
Take less than a kezayit (the volume of one olive) of the karpas, dip it into salt-water, and recite the following blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri ha’adamah.
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.
The original reason for dipping karpas goes back to Greco-Roman times, when it was customary to eat vegetables with dips as appetizers before the meal (and in the original seders, the meal was eaten at the beginning - not the end - thus enabling the children to ask the four questions about what they had just seen, rather than what was to come). Parsley was a palate cleanser.
Later, various other explanations were offered for karpas (derived from the Greek "Karpos", meaning fruit of the soil), including that it acknowledged the spring harvest season, encouraged children to ask questions (in places where the custom of pre-dinner dipping was no longer, or was never, a norm), and recalls the abusive labour that our ancestors endured as slaves, since Karpas dipped in salt water resembles the people’s tears.
The dipped appetizer, therefore, went from cultural norm to vestige (just as reclining/leaning did -- see section on Mah Nishtanah!). Because of this, the third of the four Mah Nishtanah questions asks why we dip at all. The answer reflects a philosophy that is based in common practice. We are who we are because we do what we do. Performing the ritual is important not because it is intrinsically rich with meaning; rather, the ritual is rich with meaning because it is what we do. As we travel through time, we carry our tradition’s wisdom and historical memory and layer upon it, bestowing it with contemporary wisdom. This is what keeps it relevant and vibrant.
Commitment to a continuity of ritual practice demands that on an ongoing basis, we pursue and bestow new meaning in our own context. Every generation needs to read itself into the narrative that it has inherited. The Haggadah clearly states, “Bchol dor va’dor . . . . In every generation a person is obligated to envision himself as if he left Egypt.” We need to imagine ourselves into the past; but also, to bring the past into the present.
Take the middle matzah and break it into two, one piece larger than the other.
The larger piece is set aside to serve as Afikoman. This is traditionally hidden, by the leader of the Seder for the children to “steal” or “find” and then ransom for a something at the end of the Seder.
The smaller piece is put back, between the two matzot. This smaller piece, along with the top matzah is what will be used for the “Motzi-Matzah” and “Korech”
Maggid – Beginning
Raise the tray with the matzot and say:
הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְּאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם. כָּל דִכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכֹל, כָּל דִצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח. הָשַׁתָּא הָכָא, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּאַרְעָא דְיִשְׂרָאֵל. הָשַׁתָּא עַבְדֵי, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין.
Ha lachma anya dee achalu avhatana b'ara d'meetzrayeem. Kol deechfeen yeitei v'yeichol, kol deetzreech yeitei v'yeefsach. Hashata hacha, l'shanah haba-ah b'ara d'yisra-el. Hashata avdei, l'shanah haba-ah b'nei choreen.
This is the bread of affliction, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need, come and share the Pesach meal. This year, we are here. Next year, in the land of Israel. This year, we are slaves. Next year, we will be free.
Refill the wine cups, but don’t drink yet.
Ha lachma anya is one of the Haggadah texts we rattle off every year, without really noticing that actually – it doesn't make much sense.
Traditionally we read it as an invitation to our fellow Jews, particularly those who are poor, to join our Seder. It seems like an appropriate opening to what is, by its very nature, a social event, one in which we celebrate our formation as a nation. We end by expressing the wish that God should ultimately complete our national redemption, returning us to the land of Israel and making us into a free people.
But what if Ha lachma actually means something completely different?
In fact, the text is far from straightforward.
First, historically, it is actually three separate statements that seem to have been cobbled together over time. “This is the bread of our affliction...” “Anyone who needs to should come and eat...” “This year we are here, next year in the land of Israel” - in various historical Haggadot, these appear in different orders, with variations in the words, or not at all. The paragraph we recite today clearly went through many iterations. And if you think about it, actually these lines are disjointed. They are talking about three completely different things.
But even if you take each line alone, they are problematic.
(1) First of all, it doesn't make sense to invite the poor to join the seder at this point in the ceremony. We have already made kiddush - therefore anyone joining here will not fulfil their obligation of drinking four cups of wine. They needed to be invited to join in earlier.
(2) Second, if you accept that the text is very ancient - some say it dates back to Temple times - we are clearly not inviting new guests to join any old Seder, but a Seder in which the Paschal lamb is eaten. “Whoever is hungry, let them come and eat. Whoever is needy, let them come and share in our Pesach” - that means, “share in our Paschal sacrifice”.
But the Paschal sacrifice was eaten by a group, usually a household, in which the members had pre-registered their attendance - in effect RSVP'd. So it was impossible to invite strangers off the street to eat it at the last minute. In addition, it was supposed to be eaten "al hasova" - on a full stomach. How, then, can we say, "Kol dichfin yetei veYichol" - anyone who needs to should come and eat? It couldn't be shared by anyone who was hungry.
(3) The last few lines make little sense either. "This year we are here, next year we will be in the land of Israel". This is patently untrue if you are, in fact, making your Seder in Israel. And if this was written as early as some researchers claim, before the destruction of the Temple, it made no sense originally either - the people were in the land of Israel already! Perhaps this is proof that it was written later, in the diaspora, but in this case it is hard to understand why people are being invited to join in the Paschal sacrifice, which could only be offered in Israel while the Temple was still standing.
(4) "This year we are slaves, next year we will be free" - this makes no sense whenever you say it. Isn’t the whole point of the Seder that we are now free? Of course you can always read this metaphorically, as freedom from materialism or some such, but the literal sense is plain wrong.
(5) And while we're looking at the textual difficulties, let's go back to the very first line. The reason given for eating matzah here is that it was “lachma anya” – bread of poverty or affliction, a reminder of Jewish life in Egypt. Later on in the Seder, however, we are explicitly told that the reason for matzah is that our ancestors’ dough did not have enough time to rise as they were fleeing from Egypt. Rather than being the bread of affliction, it is the bread of redemption. Why the inconsistency? Is it significant?
To answer these questions, stop thinking of Ha lachma as an invitation to the poor to partake in our seder. Rather, imagine yourself for a moment a Jew in the land of Egypt – right before the Exodus. The very night before the Exodus. These are your words.
Ha lachma anya, this is the bread of affliction/poverty which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt – this is the only meaning that matzah has for you right now. The episode in which you flee from bondage too quickly to bake proper bread is yet to happen. Matzah will not become the bread of redemption until you rush out of Egypt in great haste, tomorrow.
“ Whoever is hungry, let them come and eat. Whoever is needy, let them come and share in our Paschal sacrifice”. Just before the Israelites left Egypt, on the eve of the Exodus, they celebrated the first Pesach – known as Pesach mitzrayim, the Egyptian Pesach. This is a rare case in which the korban Pesach was offered outside Israel (it happened just once again, during the people's wanderings in the desert).
These lines are addressed to the members of the group signed up to share a Paschal offering. Those who are hungry are called upon to eat (from the special chagigah sacrifice, which formed the main part of the festival meal) before they partake in the korban Pesach. Those who are already full, and now need to (“ditzrich”) eat their share of the Pesach sacrifice, are called to come and do that.
Now we are here, next year we will be in the Land of Israel – That is, now we are in Egypt, next year we will be in the land of Israel – or so the Jews must have believed when they fled Mitzrayim.
Now we are slaves, next year we will be free men – Again, literally true for the generation that took part in the Exodus.
One of the main themes of Seder night is that in every generation, we are supposed to see ourselves as if we personally left the land of Egypt. This little paragraph, right at the opening of the seder, puts us in the right frame of mind, landing us in the minds of the Jews who were actually there, on the night before they left. We are in Egypt 3,300 years ago, preparing our Paschal sacrifice with the other members of our household, nervously and hopefully looking forward to our entire lives changing the next day. We start off by simulating their experience.
This helps explain why, in some very old Haggadot - such as that of Maimonides - the entire paragraph was preceded by the sentence, "Bivhilu yatzanu miMitzrayim" - "in a panicked rush we left Egypt". In theory this has nothing to do with Ha Lachma . But if you read Ha Lachma as getting into the heads of the Israelites on the eve of the Exodus, it makes perfect sense.
And now to the Seder….
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?
Later on in the Hagaddah we are told that anyone who has not mentioned “Pesach” (the Paschal sacrifice), “matzah” and “marror” has not carried out the full mitzvah of the Seder.
Perhaps this helps explain why we say Mah Nishtanah.
Its first two clauses concern our obligation to eat matzah and marror.
In the original versions of Mah Nishtanah, related in the Talmud, another clause concerned our obligation to eat the Paschal sacrifice. The difference between Seder night and other nights, we used to say, was that "On all other nights we eat meat which has been roasted, stewed, or boiled, but on this night we eat only roasted meat [ ie the korban Pesach ]".
On the most basic level, these verses are simply pointing out the obvious: that the specific commandments of Seder night make it different to all other nights.
But are they – or rather, were they originally – also a roundabout way of getting the children to refer to Pesach, matzah and marror, perhaps acknowledging that they were unlikely to make it to the end of the maggid text, when they are explicitly mentioned again?
בָּרוּךְ הַמָּקוֹם, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. בָּרוּךְ שֶׁנָּתַן תּוֹרָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא
כְּנֶגֶד אַרְבָּעָה בָנִים דִּבְּרָה תּוֹרָה . אֶחָד חָכָם, וְאֶחָד רָשָׁע, וְאֶחָד תָּם, וְאֶחָד שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל
Baruch hamakom, baruch hu. Baruch shenatan torah l'amo yisra-eil, baruch hu.
K'neged arba-ah vanim dib'rah torah. Echad chacham, v'echad rasha, v'echad tam, v'echad she-eino yodei-a lishol
The Torah speaks of four types of children: one is wise, one is wicked, one is simple, and one does not know how to ask.
חָכָם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מַה הָעֵדוֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֶתְכֶם? וְאַף אַתָּה אֱמָר לוֹ כְּהִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח: אֵין מַפְטִירִין אַחַר הַפֶּסַח אֲפִיקוֹמָן.
Chacham mah hu omeir? Mah ha-eidot v'hachukim v'hamishpatim, asher tzivah Adonai Eloheinu etchem? V'af atah emor lo k'hilchot hapesach. Ein maftirin achar hapesach afikoman.
The Wise One asks: "What is the meaning of the laws and traditions God has commanded?" (Deuteronomy 6:20) You should teach him all the traditions of Passover, even to the last detail.
רָשָׁע מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת לָכֶם? לָכֶם - וְלֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל כָּפַר בְּעִקָּר
.וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת שִנָּיו וֶאֱמֹר לוֹ: בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יי לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם. לִי - וְלֹא לוֹ. אִילּוּ הָיָה שָׁם, לֹא הָיָה נִגְאָל
Rasha, mah hu omer? Mah ha-avodah ha-zot lachem? Lachem v’lo lo. Ul'fi shehotzi et atzmo min hak'lal, kafar ba-ikar. V'af atah hakheih et shinav, ve-emor lo. Ba-avur zeh, asah Adonai li, b'tzeiti mimitzrayim, li v'lo lo. Ilu hayah sham, lo hayah nigal.
The Wicked One asks: "What does this ritual mean to you?" (Exodus 12:26) By using the expression "to you" he excludes himself from his people and denies God. Shake his arrogance and say to him: "It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt..." (Exodus 13:8) "For me" and not for him -- for had he been in Egypt, he would not have been freed.
תָּם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מַה זֹּאת? וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו: בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ יי מִמִּצְרָיִם, מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים
Tam mah hu omeir? Mah zot? V'amarta eilav. B'chozek yad hotzi-anu Adonai mimitzrayim mibeit avadim.
The Simple One asks: "What is all this?" You should tell him: "It was with a mighty hand that the Lord took us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."
ושֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל - אַתְּ פְּתַח לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יי לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם
V'she-eino yodei-a lishol, at p'tach lo. Shene-emar. V'higadta l'vincha, bayom hahu leimor.
Ba-avur zeh asah Adonai li, b'tzeiti mimitzrayim.
As for the One Who Does Not Know How To Ask, you should open the discussion for him, as it is written: "And you shall explain to your child on that day, 'It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt." (Exodus 13:8)
The Four Sons
The “Wicked Son,” we are told by the Haggadah, is to be scolded for asking, “What does this service mean to you?” (Hebrew lakhem), since by saying “to you” rather than “to us,” he excludes himself from the Jewish community. And yet, right before he makes his appearance we have the “Wise Son” — and what does the Wise Son ask? He asks, “What are the testimonies and the statutes and the judgments which the Lord our God has commanded you?” (Hebrew etkhem), just like the Wicked Son! What’s the difference?
Both the Wicked and the Wise Son’s questions (as well as those of the “Simple Son” and the son “who does not know how to ask”) are biblical quotations. The Wicked Son’s quotation comes from Exodus 12:26, the Wise Son’s from Deuteronomy 6:20 and the Haggadah seems to be making the point that although both say “you,” the questioner in Deuteronomy is genuinely interested in the customs of Passover, whereas the questioner in Exodus is dismissive of them.
However, the earliest compilers of the Haggadah clearly had in front of them an alternate version of the verse from Deuteronomy whose wording was “… which the Lord our God has commanded us” (Hebrew otanu) rather than “has commanded you.”
The evidence for this comes from both rabbinic and nonrabbinic sources. The rabbinic sources are two: the third-and-fourth-century-C.E. Jerusalem Talmud and the Mekhilta of Rabbi Ishmael, a late fourth-or-early-fifth-century halachic text. In both of them, we hear about the same Four Sons who appear in the Haggadah — and in both, the Wise Son says “us” rather than “you.”
Were the Jerusalem Talmud and the Mekhilta deliberately emending the biblical verses to strengthen the contrast between the two sons? Apparently not, for our nonrabbinic sources tell us that there were manuscripts of the Bible itself that had “us” and not “you” in the verse from Deuteronomy. There are two of these sources also: the third-and-second-century-BCE Septuagint, a translation of the Bible into Greek, and the fourth-century-C.E. Vulgate, the Church Father Jerome’s translation of the Bible into Latin. The Septuagint has “…. hosa eneteilato Kyrios ho Theos henom hemin,” and the Vulgate, following in its footsteps, “… quae praecipit Dominus Deus noster nobis.” Clearly, both Jerome and the translators of the Septuagint were working with a Hebrew Bible that was different from the one we have now and had wording identical to that in the Jerusalem Talmud and the Mekhilta.
Although the Haggadah as a book is not a datable document, having grown into its present form by a process of accretion over the course of many centuries, its oldest sections also date to the first centuries of the Common Era. One of these sections is the passage about the Four Sons — and in it, too, the Wise Son must have originally said “us” and not “you,” thus opposing him more forcefully to the Wicked Son.
Why, then, was this version replaced by the less logical one we have now? The answer can only be that the text of the Bible that came to be canonical for Jews, the so-called Masoretic text, codified in Tiberias in the early Middle Ages, had “you” (etkhem) rather than “us” (otanu) in Deuteronomy 6:20, and that copyists (and later, printers) of the Haggadah fell in line with this, not wanting the Haggadah to be at odds with the Bible. And so the Wise Son was made to be less wise-sounding than he should be, and less wise-sounding than he originally was.
(Philologos column in the Forward, 24 March 2010)
Traditionally, we have always regarded the son who does not know how to ask questions as either very young, or as less developed even than the simple son. But perhaps he is not actually a blank slate. Perhaps he is actually the son who is so sure of his own opinions and so set in his own worldview, that he is unable to disentangle himself from those views and subject them to rational questioning and debate.
As different as they may be, the four sons of the Haggadah have one thing in common: whether involved, challenging, inept or indifferent, they are all present at the seder table. They are all relating, albeit in vastly differing ways, to our annual reliving of the Exodus and our birth as a nation. The line of communication is open; the potential wise son that resides within every Jewish child is approachable.
According to the Lubavitcher Rebbe, however, in our era of spiritual displacement, there also exists a fifth son: the Jew who is absent from the seder table. He asks no questions, poses no challenges, displays no interest. For he knows nothing of the seder , nothing of the significance of the Exodus, nothing of the revelation at Sinai at which we assumed our mission and role as Jews.
To these children of G-d we must devote ourselves long before the first night of Passover. We must not forget a single Jewish child; we must invest all our energies and resources to bringing every last fifth son to the seder -table of Jewish life.
Maggid – Exodus Story
עֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם, וַיּוֹצִיאֵנוּ יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מִשָּׁם בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה. וְאִלּוּ לֹא הוֹצִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִמִּצְרָיִם, הֲרֵי אָנוּ וּבָנֵינוּ וּבְנֵי בָנֵינוּ מְשֻׁעְבָּדִים הָיִינוּ לְפַרְעֹה בְּמִצְרָיִם. וַאֲפִילוּ כֻּלָנוּ חֲכָמִים, כֻּלָנוּ נְבוֹנִים, כֻּלָנוּ זְקֵנִים, כֻּלָנוּ יוֹדְעִים אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, מִצְוָה עָלֵינוּ לְסַפֵּר בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם. וְכָל הַמַרְבֶּה לְסַפֵּר בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם הֲרֵי זֶה מְשֻׁבָּח
Avadim hayinu l'faroh b'mitzrayim. Vayotzi-einu Adonai Eloheinu misham, b'yad chazakah uvizroa n'tuyah, v'ilu lo hotzi hakadosh Baruch hu et avoteinu mimitzrayim, harei anu uvaneinu uv'nei vaneinu, m'shubadim hayinu l'faroh b'mitzrayim. Va-afilu kulanu chachamim, kulanu n'vonim, kulanu z'keinim, kulanu yod'im et hatorah, mitzvah aleinu l'sapeir bitzi-at mitzrayim. V’chol hamarbeh l'sapeir bitzi-at mitzrayim, harei zeh m'shubach.
We were slaves in Egypt and the Lord freed us from Egypt with a mighty hand. Had not the holy one liberated our people from Egypt, then we, our children and our children's children would still be enslaved.
Seder of our Sages : Telling of the Story
מַעֲשֶׂה בְּרַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֶר וְרַבִּי יְהוֹשֻעַ וְרַבִּי אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה וְרַבְּי עֲקִיבָא וְרַבִּי טַרְפוֹן שֶהָיוּ מְסֻבִּין בִּבְנֵי בְרַק, וְהָיוּ מְסַפְּרִים בִּיצִיאַת מִצְרַיִם כָּל אוֹתוֹ הַלַּיְלָה עַד שֶׁבָּאוּ תַלְמִידֵיהֶם וְאָמְרוּ לָהֶם: רַבּוֹתֵינוּ, הִגִּיעַ זְמַן קְרִיאַת שְׁמַע שֶׁל שַׁחֲרִית
Ma-aseh b'rabi Eli-ezer, v'rabi Y'hoshua, v'rabi Elazar ben azaryah, v'rabi Akiva, v'rabi Tarfon, she-hayu m'subin bivnei vrak, v'hayu m'sap'rim bitzi-at mitzrayim, kol oto halaylah, ad sheba-u talmideihem v'am'ru lahem. Raboteinu, higi-a z'man k'ri-at sh'ma, shel shacharit.
It once happened that Rabbis Eliezer, Joshua, Elazar ben Azaryah, Akiva and Tarfon were reclining at the seder table in Bnei Brak. They spent the whole night discussing the Exodus until their students came and said to them: "Rabbis, it is ime for us to recite the Shema
אָמַר אֶלְעָזָר בֶּן עֲזַרְיָה : הֲרֵי אֲנִי כְבֶ שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה, וְלֹא זָכִיתִי שֶׁתֵּאָמֵר יְצִיאַת מִצְרַים בַּלֵּילוֹת עַד שֶׁדְּרָשָׁה בֶּן זוֹמָא: שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, לְמַעַן תִּזְכֹּר אֶת יוֹם צֵאתְךָ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיְם כָּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ הַיָמִים, כָּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ - הַלֵּילוֹת. וַחֲכָמִים אוֹמְרִים: יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ הָעוֹלָם הַזֶּה,כָּל יְמֵי חַיֶּיךָ לְהָבִיא לִימוֹת הַמָשִׁיחַ
Amar rabi Elazar ben Azaryah. Harei ani k'ven shivim shanah, v'lo zachiti, shetei-ameir y'tzi-at mitzrayim baleilot. Ad shed'rashah ben zoma. Shene-emar: l'ma-an tizkor, et yom tzeitcha mei-eretz mitzrayim, kol y'mei chayecha. Y'mei chayecha hayamim. Kol y'mei chayecha haleilot. Vachachamim om'rim. Y'mei chayecha ha-olam hazeh. Kol y'mei chayecha l'havi limot hamashi-ach.
Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah said: "I am like a seventy-year old man and I have not succeeded in understanding why the Exodus from Egypt should be mentioned at night, until Ben Zoma explained it by quoting: "In order that you may remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life." The Torah adds the word all to the phrase the days of your life to indicate that the nights are meant as well. The sages declare that "the days of your life" means the present world and "all " includes the messianic era.
יָכוֹל מֵרֹאשׁ חֹדֶשׁ, תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּיוֹם הַהוּא, אִי בַּיוֹם הַהוּא יָכוֹל מִבְּעוֹד יוֹם, תַּלְמוּד לוֹמַר בַּעֲבוּר זֶה - בַּעֲבוּר זֶה לֹא אָמַרְתִּי אֶלָא בְּשָׁעָה שֶׁיֵשׁ מַצָה וּמָרוֹר מֻנָּחִים לְפָנֶיךָ
Yachol meirosh chodesh, talmud lomar bayom hahu. Iy bayom hahu, yachol mib'od yom. Talmud lomar ba-avur zeh. Ba-avur zeh lo amarti, ela b'sha-ah sheyeish matzah u-maror munachim l'fanecha.
One might think that the Haggadah should be recited on the first day of the month of Nisan, but the Torah says: "You shall tell your son on that day" [the first day of Passover]. One might think that the phrase on that day means that the story of the Exodus should be recited in the daytime; therefore, the Torah says: "This is on account of what the Lord did for me." The word this refers to the time when this matzo and this marror are placed before you - on Passover night when you are obliged to eat them.
מִתְּחִלָּה עוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה הָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וְעַכְשָׁיו קֵרְבָנוּ הַמָּקוֹם לַעֲבֹדָתוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹאמֶר יְהוֹשֻעַ אֶל כָּל הָעָם, כֹּה אָמַר יי אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל : בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר יָשְׁבוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם מֵעוֹלָם, תֶּרַח אֲבִי אַבְרָהָם וַאֲבִי נָחוֹר, וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים. וָאֶקַח אֶת אֲבִיכֶם אֶת אַבְרָהָם מֵעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר וָאוֹלֵךְ אוֹתוֹ בְּכָל אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן, וָאַרְבֶּה אֶת זַרְעוֹ וָאֶתֵּן לוֹ אֶת יִצְחָק, וָאֶתֵּן לְיִצְחָק אֶת יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת עֵשָׂיו. וָאֶתֵּן לְעֵשָׂו אֶת הַר שֵּׂעִיר לָרֶשֶׁת אֹתוֹ, וְיַעֲקֹב וּבָנָיו יָרְדוּ מִצְרָיִם
Mit'chilah ov'dei avodah zarah hayu avoteinu. V'achshav keir'vanu hamakom la-avodato. Shene-emar: Vayomer Y'hoshua el kol ha-am. Koh amar Adonai Elohei yisra-eil, b'eiver hanahar yash'vu avoteichem mei-olam, Terach avi avraham va-avi nachor. Vaya-avdu Elohim acheirim. Va-ekach et avichem et avraham mei-eiver ha-nahar, va-oleich oto b'chol eretz k'na-an. Va-arbeh et zaro, va-eten lo et Yitzchak. Va-etein l'yitzchak et Ya-akov v'et Eisav. Va-etein l'eisav et har sei-ir, lareshet oto. V'ya-akov uva-nav yar'du mitzrayim.
At first our forefathers worshiped idols, but then the Omnipresent brought us near to divine service, as it is written: "Joshua said to all the people: so says the Lord God of Israel--your fathers have always lived beyond the Euphrates River, Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor; they worshipped other gods. I took your father Abraham from the other side of the river and led him through all the land of Canaan. I multiplied his family and gave him Isaac. To Isaac I gave Jacob and Esau; to Esau I gave Mount Seir to inherit, however Jacob and his children went down to Egypt."
בָּרוּךְ שׁוֹמֵר הַבְטָחָתוֹ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חִשַּׁב אֶת הַקֵּץ, לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶּׁאָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ בִּבְרִית בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹּאמֶר לְְאַבְרָם, יָדֹע תֵּדַע כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם, וַעֲבָדוּם וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שנה. וְגם אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן יֵצְאוּ בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל
Baruch shomeir havtachato l'yisra-eil. Baruch hu. Shehakadosh Baruch hu chishav et hakeitz, la-asot k'mah she-amar l'avraham avinu bivrit bein hab'tarim. Shene-emar: vayomer l'avram yadoa teida, ki geir yihyeh zaracha, b'eretz lo lahem, va-avadum v'inu otam arba meiot shanah. V'gam et hagoy asher ya-avodu dan anochi. V'acharei chein yeitz'u, birchush gadol.
Praised be He who keeps His promise to Israel; praised be He. The holy one, blessed be he, predetermined the time for our final deliverance in order to fulfill what He had pledged to our father Abraham in a covenant, as it is written: "He said to Abram, your descendants will surely sojourn in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and afflicted for four hundred years; however, I will punish the nation that enslaved them, and afterwards they shall leave with great wealth."
We lift up our cup wine and cover the matzah, as we recite the following and recall God's promise to Abraham, emphasizing eternal divine watchfulness.
וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְלָנוּ, שֶׁלֹּא אֶחָד בִּלְבָד עָמַד עָלֵינוּ לְכַלּוֹתֵנוּ, אֶלָּא שֶׁבְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר עוֹמְדִים עָלֵינוּ לְכַלוֹתֵנוּ, וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא מַצִּילֵנוּ מִיָּדָם
V'hi she-am'dah la-avoteinu v'lanu. Shelo echad bilvad, amad aleinu l'chaloteinu. Ela sheb'chol dor vador, om'dim aleinu l'chaloteinu, v'hakadosh Baruch hu matzileinu mi-yadam.
This covenant that remained constant for our ancestors and for us has saved us against any who arose to destroy us in every generation, and throughout history when any stood against us to annihilate us, the Kadosh Barukh Hu kept saving us from them.
We lower the wine cup and continue with the recitation of the traditional Midrash or Rabbinic discussion of the Passover Exodus story as recorded in the Torah, beginning first with the threat to Israel from Lavan and then the threat from Pharaoh.
צֵא וּלְמַד, מַה בִּקֶּשׁ לָבָן הָאֲרַמִּי לַעֲשׂוֹת לְיַעֲקֹב אָבִינוּ--שֶׁפַּרְעֹה הָרָשָׁע, לֹא גָזַר אֵלָא עַל הַזְּכָרִים; וְלָבָן בִּקֶּשׁ לַעְקֹר אֶת הַכֹּל, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "אֲרַמִּי אֹבֵד אָבִי, וַיֵּרֶד מִצְרַיְמָה, וַיָּגָר שָׁם" (דברים כו,ה). מְלַמֵּד שֶׁלֹּא יָרַד לְהִשְׁתַּקֵּעַ אֵלָא לָגוּר שָׁם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "וַיֹּאמְרוּ אֶל-פַּרְעֹה, לָגוּר בָּאָרֶץ בָּאנוּ, כִּי-אֵין מִרְעֶה לַצֹּאן אֲשֶׁר לַעֲבָדֶיךָ, כִּי-כָבֵד הָרָעָב בְּאֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן; וְעַתָּה יֵשְׁבוּ-נָא עֲבָדֶיךָ, בְּאֶרֶץ גֹּשֶׁן" (בראשית מז,ד)
בִּמְתֵי מְעָט--כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "בְּשִׁבְעִים נֶפֶשׁ, יָרְדוּ אֲבֹתֶיךָ מִצְרָיְמָה; וְעַתָּה, שָׂמְךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ, כְּכוֹכְבֵי הַשָּׁמַיִם, לָרֹב") דברים י,כב)
וַיְהִי-שָׁם, לְגוֹי--מְלַמֵּד שֶׁהָיוּ יִשְׂרָאֵל מְצֻיָּנִין שָׁם. גָּדוֹל וְעָצוּם--כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "וּבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, פָּרוּ וַיִּשְׁרְצוּ וַיִּרְבּוּ וַיַּעַצְמוּ--בִּמְאֹד מְאֹד; וַתִּמָּלֵא הָאָרֶץ, אֹתָם" )שמות א,ז)
וָרָב--כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "רְבָבָה, כְּצֶמַח הַשָּׂדֶה נְתַתִּיךְ, וַתִּרְבִּי וַתִּגְדְּלִי, וַתָּבֹאִי בַּעֲדִי עֲדָיִים: שָׁדַיִם נָכֹנוּ וּשְׂעָרֵךְ צִמֵּחַ, וְאַתְּ עֵרֹם וְעֶרְיָה" )יחזקאל טז,ז).
וַיָּרֵעוּ אֹתָנוּ הַמִּצְרִים--כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "הָבָה נִתְחַכְּמָה, לוֹ: פֶּן-יִרְבֶּה, וְהָיָה כִּי-תִקְרֶאנָה מִלְחָמָה וְנוֹסַף גַּם-הוּא עַל-שֹׂנְאֵינוּ, וְנִלְחַם-בָּנוּ, וְעָלָה מִן-הָאָרֶץ" (שמות א,י).
וַיְעַנּוּנוּ--כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "וַיָּשִׂימוּ עָלָיו שָׂרֵי מִסִּים, לְמַעַן עַנֹּתוֹ בְּסִבְלֹתָם; וַיִּבֶן עָרֵי מִסְכְּנוֹת, לְפַרְעֹה--אֶת-פִּתֹם, וְאֶת-רַעַמְסֵס" (שמות א,יא).
וַיִּתְּנוּ עָלֵינוּ, עֲבֹדָה קָשָׁה--כְּמוֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמָר "וַיַּעֲבִדוּ מִצְרַיִם אֶת-בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל, בְּפָרֶךְ" (שמות א,יג).
Go out and learn what Lavan the Aramean sought to do to Jacob our father! Pharaoh the evil only decreed against the males, but Lavan sought to uproot everything, as it is written "A wandering Aramean was my father" [while this makes little sense in English, the free word order of Hebrew and ambiguity of the verb "'oved" can be stretched somewhat to mean that an Aramean Lavan tried to cause the loss of Jacob] "and he went down into Egypt, and sojourned there" (Deuteronomy 26,5). This teaches that he did not descend to live there permanently, but rather temporarily, "And they said unto Pharaoh: 'To sojourn in the land are we come; for there is no pasture for thy servants' flocks; for the famine is sore in the land of Canaan. Now therefore, we pray thee, let thy servants dwell in the land of Goshen'" (Genesis 47,4).
Few in number--as it is written "Thy fathers went down into Egypt with threescore and ten persons; and now the LORD thy God hath made thee as the stars of heaven for multitude" (Deuteronomy 10,22).
And he became there a nation--this teaches that Israel were distinguishable from others there. Great, powerful--"And the children of Israel were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them" (Exodus 1,7).
And populous--as it is written "I cause thee to increase, even as the growth of the field. And thou didst increase and grow up, and thou camest to excellent beauty: thy breasts were fashioned, and thy hair was grown; yet thou wast naked and bare" (Ezekiel 16,7).
And the Egyptians dealt ill with us--as it is written "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" (Exodus 1,10).
And afflicted us--as it is written "Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens. And they built for Pharaoh store-cities, Pithom and Raamses" (Exodus 1,11)
And laid upon us hard bondage--as it is written "And the Egyptians made the children of Israel to serve with rigour" (Exodus 1,13).
וַנִּצְעַק אֶל יי אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ, וַיִּשְׁמַע יי אֶת קֹלֵנוּ, וַיַּרְא אֶת עָנְיֵנוּ וְאֶת עֲמָלֵנוּ וְאֶת לַחֲצֵנוּ
וַנִּצְעַק אֶל יי אֱלֹהֵי אֲבֹתֵינוּ - כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיְהִי בַיָמִים הָרַבִּים הָהֵם וַיָּמָת מֶלֶךְ מִצְרַים , וַיֵאָנְחוּ בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מִן הָעֲבוֹדָה וַיִּזְעָקוּ, וַתַּעַל שַׁוְעָתָם אֶל הָאֱלֹהִים מִן הָעֲבֹדָה
וַיִּשְׁמַע יי אֶת קֹלֵנוּ - כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיִּשְׁמַע אֱלֹהִים אֶת נַאֲקָתָם, וַיִּזְכּוֹר אֱלֹהִים אֶת בְּרִיתוֹ אֶת אַבְרָהָם, אֶת יִצְחָק ואֶת יַעֲקֹב
וַיַּרְא אֶת עָנְיֵנוּ - זוֹ פְּרִישׁוּת דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיַרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת בְּני יִשְׂרָאֵל וַיֵּדַע אֱלֹהִים
וְאֶת עֲמָלֵנוּ - אֵלוּ הַבָּנִים. כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: כָּל הַבֵּן הַיִּלּוֹד הַיְאֹרָה תַּשְׁלִיכֻהוּ וְכָל הַבַּת תְּחַיּוּן
וְאֶת לַחֶצֵנוּ - זֶוֹ הַדְּחַק, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְגַם רָאִיתִי אֶת הַלַּחַץ אֲשֶׁר מִצְרַים לֹחֲצִים אֹתָם
Vanitzak el Adonai elohei avoteinu, vayishma Adonai et koleinu, vayar et onyeinu v’et amaleinu v’et lachatzeinu.
Vanitzak el Adonai elohei avoteinu – k’mah shene’emar: vayihi vayamim harabim hahem vayamot melech mitzrayim, vayeian’chu binei Yisrael min ha’avodah vayizaku, vata’al shavatam el haElohim min ha’avodah.
Vayishma Adonai et Koleinu – k’mah shene’emar: vayishma Elohim et na’akatam, vayizkor Elohim et brito et Avraham, et Yitchak v’et Ya’akov.
Vayar et an’yeinu – zo p’rishut derech eretz, k’mah shene’emar: vayar Elohim et binei Yisrael vayeida Elohim.
V’et amaleinu – eilu habanim. K’mah shene’emar: kol habein hayilod hay’orah tashlichuhu v’chol habit t’chayun.
V’et lachatzeinu – zeh had’chak, k’mah shene’emar: v’gam raiti et halachatz asher mitzrayim lochatzim otam.
“We cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers; the Lord heard our cry and saw our affliction, our toil, and our oppression.” (Dt. 26:6)
We cried to the Lord, the God of our fathers – as it is written: “It happened in the course of those many days that the king of Egypt died; the children of Israel sighed because of their labor and cried; their cry of servitude reached God.”
The Lord heard our cry – as it is written: “God heard their groaning; God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”
And saw our affliction – that is, the conjugal separation of husband and wife, as it is written: “God saw the children of Israel and God knew.”
Our toil – refers to the drowning of the sons, as it is written: “Every son that is born you shall cast into the river, but you shall let every daughter live.”
Our oppression – means the pressure used upon them, as it is written: “I have also seen how the Egyptians are oppressing them.”
וַיּוֹצִאֵנוּ יי מִמִצְרַים בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה, וּבְמֹרָא גָּדֹל, וּבְאֹתוֹת וּבְמֹפְתִים
וַיּוֹצִאֵנוּ יי מִמִצְרַים - לֹא עַל יְדֵי מַלְאָךְ, וְלֹא עַל יְדֵי שָׂרָף, וְלֹא עַל יְדֵי שָׁלִיחַ, אֶלָּא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא בִּכְבוֹדוֹ וּבְעַצְמוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְעָבַרְתִּי בְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַים בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה, וְהִכֵּיתִי כָּל בְּכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַים מֵאָדָם וְעַד בְּהֵמָה, וּבְכָל אֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַים אֶעֱשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים. אֲנִי יי
וְעָבַרְתִּי בְאֶרֶץ מִצְרַים בַּלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה - אֲנִי וְלֹא מַלְאָךְ. וְהִכֵּיתִי כָּל בְכוֹר בְּאֶרֶץ מִצְרַים - אֲנִי וְלֹא שָׂרָף. וּבְכָל אֱלֹהֵי מִצְרַים אֶעֱשֶׂה שְׁפָטִים - אֲנִי ולֹא הַשָּׁלִיחַ. אֲנִי יי - אֲנִי הוּא ולֹא אַחֵר
בְּיָד חֲזָקָה - זוֹ הַדֶּבֶר, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: הִנֵה יד יי הוֹיָה בְּמִקְנְךָ אֲשֶׁר בַּשָּׂדֶה, בַּסּוּסִים, בַּחֲמֹרִים, בַּגְּמַלִים, בַּבָּקָר וּבַצֹּאן, דֶבֶר כָּבֵד מְאֹד
וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה - זוֹ הַחֶרֶב, כְּמָה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְחַרְבּוֹ שְׁלוּפָה בְּיָדוֹ, נְטוּיָה עַל יְרוּשָלַיִם
וּבְמֹרָא גָּדֹל - זוֹ גִלּוּי שְׁכִינָה, כְּמָה ֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: אוֹ הֲנִסָּה אֱלֹהִים לָבֹא לָקַחַת לוֹ גוֹי מִקֶרֶב גּוֹי בְּמַסֹּת בְּאֹתֹת וּבְמוֹפְתִים, וּבְמִלְחָמָה וּבְיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה, וּבְמוֹרָאִים גְּדֹלִים, כְּכֹל אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה לָכֶם יי אֱלֹהֵיכֶם בְּמִצְרַים לְעֵינֶיךָ
וּבְאֹתוֹת - זֶה הַמַּטֶה, כְּמָה ֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְאֶת הַמַּטֶּה הַזֶּה תִּקַּח בְּיָדְךָ, אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶׂה בּוֹ אֶת הָאֹתֹת
וּבְמֹפְתִים - זֶה הַדָּם, כְּמָה ֹ שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְנָתַתִּי מוֹפְתִים בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ
Vayotzi’einu Adonai mimitzrayim, b’yad chazakah, Uvizro’a n’tuyah, uv’mora gadol, uv’otot uv’moftim.
Vayotzieinu Adonai mimitzrayim – lo al ydei malach, v’lo al y’dei saraf, v’lo al y’dei shaliach, ela hakadosh baruch hu bichvodo uv’atzmo, shene’emar: v’avarti v’eretz mitzrayim balaylah hazeh, v’hikeiti kol b’chor b’eretz mitzrayim meiadam v’ad b’heimah, uv’chol elohei mitzrayim e’eseh shifatim. Ani Adonai.
V’avarti v’eretz mitzrayim balaylah hazeh – ani v’lo malach
v’hikeiti cholb’chor b’eretz mitzrayim – ani v’lo saraf
uv’chol elohei mitzrayim e’eseh sh’fatim – ani v’lo hashaliach.
Ani Adonai – ani hu v’lo acheir.
B’yad chazakah – zo hadever, k’mah shene’emar: hiney yad Adonai hoyah b’mikn’cha asher basadeh, basusim, bachamorim, bag’malim, babakar uvatzon, dever kaveid m’od.
Uvizroa n’tuyah – zo hacherev, k’mah shene’emar: v’charbo sh’lufah b’yado, n’tuyah al Yerushalayim.
Uv’mora gadol. Zeh giluy sh’chinah, k’mah shene’emar: oh hanisah Elohim lavo lakachat lo goy mikerev goy, b’masot b’otot uv’moftim, uv’milchamah uv’yad chazakah uvizroa n’tuyah, uv’moraim g’dolim, k’chol asher asah lachem Adonai Eloheichem b’mitzrayim l’einecha.
Uv’otot – zeh hamateh, k’mo shene’emar: v’et hamateh hazeh tikach b’yadecha, asher ta’aseh bo et ha’otot.
U’vimoftim – zeh hadam, k’mo shene’emar: v’natati moftim bashamayim u’va’aretz.
“The Lord brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand and outstretched arm, with great awe, miraculous signs and wonders.” (Dt. 26:8)
The Lord brought us out of Egypt – not by an angel, not by a seraph, not by a messenger, but by the holy one, blessed be He, Himself, as it is written: “I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night; I will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt from man unto beast; on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments; I am the Lord.”
“I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night” – myself and not an angel; “I will smite all the firstborn in the land of Egypt” – myself and not a seraph; “on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments” – myself and not a messenger; “I am the Lord” – I and none other.
Mighty hand – refers to the disease among the cattle, as it is written: “Behold the hand of the Lord strikes your cattle which are in the field, the horses, the donkeys, the camels, the herds, and the flocks--a very severe pestilence.”
Outstretched arm – means the sword, as it is written: “His drawn sword in his hand, outstretched over Jerusalem.”
Great awe – alludes to the divine revelation, as it is written: “Has God ever attempted to take unto Himself, a nation from the midst of another nation by trials, miraculous signs and wonders, by war and with a mighty hand and outstretched arm and by awesome revelations, just as you saw the Lord your God do for you in Egypt, before your eyes?”
Miraculous signs – refers to the miracles performed with the staff of Moses, as it is written: “Take this staff in your hand, that you may perform the miraculous signs with it.”
During the Seder we say that a wise son should be taught the laws of Pesach, yet when the Haggadah gives us a glimpse of a Seder observed by the sages we see they stayed up all night discussing not the laws, but the Exodus itself. At the Seder in Bnai Brak attended by Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanus, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azaryah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarphon, we're told, "they were telling of the exodus all night, until their student came..."
Why did these five Sages concern themselves with the story and not the laws? The question becomes stronger when we consider another account of another Seder attended by other Sages where the laws, not the story, are the focus of the evening.
It happened that Rabban Gamliel and the elders were reclining in the house of Bitos ben Zunon in Lod and they were engaged in the laws of Passover all night until the cock crowed. (Tosefta, Pesahim 10:12)
Rabbi Benny Lau, in his series The Sages, offers the intriguing suggestion that R. Akiva, who hosted the Bnai Brak seder at his home, enforced his prerogative as host and imposed upon his guests to focus on the story, rather than the laws. He did this, Lau continues, because of his messianic tendencies and his pre-occupation with redemption. Later in life, this same R. Akiva acted on these tendencies by providing spiritual support and justification for a rebellion against Rome. In the Seder anecdote, however, he is still a younger man, a sage in training playing host to his masters Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrkanus and Rabbi Yehoshua, the leaders of the generation. But as Lau argues the attitude that later leads R. Akiva to break from his colleagues over the matter of Bar Kosiba can already be seen lurking beneath the surface of his arguments with the Sages about proper Passover behaviour.*
Just how strange was Rabbi Akiva's seder? The oddness of the event is driven home by a comment attributed to Rabbi Elazer b. Azaryah, and quoted by the Haggadah immediately following its account of the Bnai Brak Seder
Rabbi Elazar ben Azarya said: “Behold I am like seventy years old, and I never merited that the Exodus should be mentioned at night”, until Ben Zoma expounded [on the following verse]: "…in order that you remember the day you left Egypt all the days of your life" (Devarim 16:3) – "the days of your life" refers to the days, and "all the days of your life" refers to the nights. But the Sages said: "the days of your life" refers to this world, and "all the days of your life" refers to the Messianic era.
According to Lau, R. Elazaer b. Azaya is expressing polite surprise about the discussion in which he partook at the Seder we've just read about. At every previous Seder R. Elazaer b. Azarya has ever attended the table talk focused on the laws. Not until the Seder in Bnai Brak did he "merit" to discuss the story instead.
Why does Rabbi Elazar say he is "כְבֶן שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה" - "like 70 years" - rather than simply, "I am 70-years-old"?
One legend is that when Rabbi Elazar was appointed the head of the Sanhedrin as a young man, he aged overnight (or went grey overnight) in order to give the appearance of wisdom usually bestowed by old age.
But it would be simpler to translate his words as "I am around 70 years old". Rabbi Elazar is simply unsure exactly how old he is, knowing only that he is approximately 70. This uncertainty would be perfectly normal in an era before births were documented as a matter of routine.
מִתְּחִלָּה עוֹבְדֵי עֲבוֹדָה זָרָה הָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וְעַכְשָׁיו קֵרְבָנוּ הַמָּקוֹם לַעֲבֹדָתוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹאמֶר יְהוֹשֻעַ אֶל כָּל הָעָם, כֹּה אָמַר יי אֱלֹהֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל : בְּעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר יָשְׁבוּ אֲבוֹתֵיכֶם מֵעוֹלָם, תֶּרַח אֲבִי אַבְרָהָם וַאֲבִי נָחוֹר, וַיַּעַבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים. וָאֶקַח אֶת אֲבִיכֶם אֶת אַבְרָהָם מֵעֵבֶר הַנָּהָר וָאוֹלֵךְ אוֹתוֹ בְּכָל אֶרֶץ כְּנָעַן, וָאַרְבֶּה אֶת זַרְעוֹ וָאֶתֵּן לוֹ אֶת יִצְחָק, וָאֶתֵּן לְיִצְחָק אֶת יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת עֵשָׂיו. וָאֶתֵּן לְעֵשָׂו אֶת הַר שֵּׂעִיר לָרֶשֶׁת אֹתוֹ, וְיַעֲקֹב וּבָנָיו יָרְדוּ מִצְרָיִם.
בָּרוּךְ שׁוֹמֵר הַבְטָחָתוֹ לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. שֶׁהַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא חִשַּׁב אֶת הַקֵּץ, לַעֲשׂוֹת כְּמוֹ שֶּׁאָמַר לְאַבְרָהָם אָבִינוּ בִּבְרִית בֵּין הַבְּתָרִים, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹּאמֶר לְְאַבְרָם, יָדֹע תֵּדַע כִּי גֵר יִהְיֶה זַרְעֲךָ בְּאֶרֶץ לֹא לָהֶם, וַעֲבָדוּם וְעִנּוּ אֹתָם אַרְבַּע מֵאוֹת שנה. וְגם אֶת הַגּוֹי אֲשֶׁר יַעֲבֹדוּ דָּן אָנֹכִי וְאַחֲרֵי כֵן יֵצְאוּ בִּרְכֻשׁ גָּדוֹל.
אֵלּוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַים , וְאֵלוּ הֵן
Eilu eser makot sheheivi hakadosh baruch hu al hamitzrim b'mitzrayim, v'eilu hein:
These are the Plagues that the holy one, blessed be he, brought upon Egypt.
דָּם וָאֵשׁ וְתִימְרוֹת עָשָׁן
Dam V’eish V’tim’ro ashan
“Blood, and fire and pillars of smoke…”
“Before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, I will set wonders in the sky and on the earth… blood, fire and pillars of smoke: The sun shall turn to darkness and the moon into blood.” Joel 3:3
דָבָר אַחֵר: בְּיָד חֲזָקָה - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְמֹרָא גָּדֹל - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְאֹתוֹת - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְמֹפְתִים - שְׁתַּיִם
Davar acheir. B'yad chazakah sh'tayim. Uvizroa n'tuyah sh'tayim. Uv'mora gadol sh'tayim. Uv'otot sh'tayim. Uv'mof'tim sh'tayim.
(Another interpretation of Deuteronomy 26:8 is: “strong hand” indicates two plagues; “out-stretched arm” indicates two more plagues; “great awe” indicates two plagues; “signs” indicates two more plagues because it is plural; and “wonders” two more plagues because it is in the plural. This then is a total of Ten Plagues.)
:אֵלּוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַים , וְאֵלוּ הֵן
Eilu eser makot sheheivi hakadosh baruch hu al hamitzrim b'mitzrayim, v'eilu hein:
These are the Plagues that the holy one, blessed be he, brought upon Egypt.
Blood | Dom | דָּם
Frogs | Tzfardeyah | צְפֵרְדֵּע
Lice | Kinim | כִּנִים
Beasts | Arov | עָרוֹב
Cattle Plague | Dever | דֶּבֶר
Boils | Sh’chin | שְׁחִין
Hail | Barad | בָּרד
Locusts | Arbeh | אַרְבֶּה
Darkness | Choshech | חשֶׁךְ
Slaying of First Born | Makat Bechorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת
Since ancient versions varied as to the nature and number of the plagues, it is believed that Rabbi Jehudah instituted these three phrases or acronyms to confirm the version in Exodus. Accordingly we now remove another three drops of wine from our cup of joy.
:רַבִּי יְהוּדָה הָיָה נוֹתֵן בָּהֶם סִמָּנִים
Rabi Y'hudah hayah notein bahem simanim.
Rabbi Yehuda would assign the plagues three mnenomic signs:
דְּצַ״ךְ עַדַ״שׁ בְּאַחַ״ב
D’TZ”KH A-Da”SH B’AH”V
רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן אַתָּה אוֹמֵר שֶׁלָקוּ הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַים עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת ? בְּמִצְרַים מַה הוּא אוֹמֵר? וַיֹאמְרוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּים אֶל פַּרְעֹה: אֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים הִוא, וְעַל הַיָּם מה הוּא אוֹמֵר? וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַיָד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יי בְּמִצְרַים , וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת יי, וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּיי וּבְמשֶׁה עַבְדוֹ. כַּמָה לָקוּ בְאֶצְבַּע? עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת . אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה : בְּמִצְרַים לָקוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת
רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֲר אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל מַכָּה וּמַכָּה שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם הָיְתָה שֶׁל אַרְבַּע מַכּוֹת? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יְשַׁלַּח בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ, עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצָרָה, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים. עֶבְרָה - אַחַת, וָזַעַם - שְׁתַּיִם, וְִצָרָה - שָׁלשׁ, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים - אַרְבַּע. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה : בְּמִצְרַים לָקוּ אַרְבָּעִים מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ מָאתַיִם מַכּוֹת
רַבִּי עֲקִיבֶא אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל מַכָּה ומַכָּה שהֵביִא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא על הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַים הָיְתָה שֶׁל חָמֵשׁ מַכּוֹת ? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יְִשַׁלַּח בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ, עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצַָרָה, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים . חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ- אַחַת,, עֶבְרָה - שְׁתַּיִם, וָזַעַם - שָׁלושׁ, וְצָרָה - אַרְבַּע, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים - חָמֵשׁ. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה : בְּמִצְרַים לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם מַכּוֹת
Rabi Yosei hagalili omer: minayin atah omer shelaku hamitzrim bimitzrayim eser makot v’al hayam laku chamishim makot? Bamitzrayim ma hu omer? Vayomru hachartumim el paroh: etzba Elohim he, v’al hayam ma hu omer? Vayar Yisrael et hayad hagdolah asher asa Adonai bimitzrayim, vayiyru ha’am et Adonai, vaya’aminu b’Adonai uvMoshe avdo. Kamah laku b’etzba? Eser makot. Emor ma’atah: b’mitzrayim laku eser makot v’al hayam laku chamishim makot.
Rabi Eliezer omar: minayin shekol makah u’makah shehaivi hakadosh baruch hu al hamitzrim b’mitzrayim hayta shel arba’a makot? Shene’emar: yishlach bom charon apo, evrah vaza’am v’tzarah, mishlachat malachei ra’im. Evrah – echat, vaza’am – shtayim, v’tzarah – shalosh, mishlachat malachei ra’im – arba’a. Emor ma’atah: b’mitzrayim laku arba’im makot v’al hayam laku matayim makot.
Rabi akivah omer: minayin shekol makah u’makah shehaivi hakadosh baruch hu al hamitzrim b’mitzrayim hayta shel chamesh makot? Shene’emar: yishlach bom charon apo, evrah vaza’am v’tzarah, mishlachat malachei ra’im. Charon apo – echat, evrah – shtayim, vaza’am – shalosh, v’tzarah – arba’a, mishlachat malachei ra’im – chamesh. Emor ma’atah: b’mitzrayim laku chamishim makot v’al hayam laku chamishim u’matayim makot
Rabbi Yose the Galilean says: How does one derive that, after the ten plagues in Egypt, the Egyptians suffered fifty plagues at the Sea? Concerning the plagues in Egypt the Torah states that “the magicians said to Pharaoh, it is the finger of God.” However, at the Sea, the Torah relates that “Israel saw the great hand which the Lord laid upon the Egyptians, and the people revered the Lord and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.” It reasons that if they suffered ten plagues in Egypt, they must have been made to suffer fifty plagues at the Sea.
Rabbi Eliezer says: How does one derive that every plague that God inflicted upon the Egyptians in Egypt was equal in intensity to four plagues? It is written: “He sent upon them his fierce anger, wrath, fury and trouble, a band of evil messengers.” Since each plague was comprised of 1) wrath, 2) fury, 3) trouble and 4) a band of evil messengers, they must have suffered forty plagues in Egypt and two hundred at the Sea.
Rabbi Akiva says: How does one derive that every plague that God inflicted upon the Egyptians in Egypt was equal in intensity to five plagues? It is written: “He sent upon them his fierce anger, wrath, fury and trouble, a band of evil messengers.” Since each plague was comprised of 1) fierce anger 2) wrath 3) fury 4) trouble and 5) a band of evil messengers, they must have suffered fifty plagues in Egypt and two hundred and fifty at the Sea.
Every year, when we got to this point in the Haggadah, we would read the following excerpt from the Breslov Haggadah - and laugh about it. I have no idea what it has to do with the story of the Exodus, but tradition is tradition!
Trying to advance in Jewishness too far, too fast, can be disastrous. We take on modes of behaviour far beyond our inner nature. Then, we either delude ourselves and lose contact with our inner selves, or we break down when our souls rebel. Either way, we lose control of our minds. And sometimes, our sanity.
The royal prince had inexplicably lost his sanity. Thinking he was a turkey, he sat crouched and naked under the table, pecking at bones and crumbs. The royal physicians gave up all hope of curing him of this madness, and the king suffered tremendous grief. Then a sage came and offered to cure the prince.
The sage undressed and sat under the table. The prince now had company. "Who are you?" asked the prince. "What are you doing here?"
"And you?" replied the sage. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm a turkey," stated the prince.
"So am I!" the sage declared.
They sat together for quite some time, until they became good friends. Certain that he had won the prince's confidence, the sage signalled the king's servants to throw him two shirts. He said to the prince, "What makes you think that a turkey can't wear a shirt? You can wear a shirt and still be a turkey." So they put on shirts, still sitting under the table pecking at bones and crumbs.
After a while, the sage again signalled and two pairs of trousers were thrown under the table. Just as before, he said, "What makes you think that a turkey must go without trousers?"
The sage continued in this manner until they were both completely dressed. Then he signalled one more time, and they were given regular food from the table. Again the sage said, "What makes you think that a turkey is doomed to eat only crumbs and bones? You can eat whatever you want and still be a turkey!" They both ate the food.
Finally, the sage said, "What makes you think a turkey must sit under the table? Even a turkey can sit at the table."
... And we all know that if you can sit at a table, you're not a turkey . The sage continued in this manner until the prince was completely cured. (Rabbi Nachman's Stories no. 25)
We were overanxious. In search of instant Jewishness. Perhaps too proud to work on ourselves gradually, unable to accept our present difficulty. We did not know the rule of Gradual Progression.
We must listen to the sage who advises us to change slowly, but surely. The self image which we create in the process will then have the time to penetrate deeper and become our inner nature.
Perhaps the events in Egypt should have been different. God surely could have brought all the plagues at once. Or, He could have immediately subdued the Egyptians by smiting them with the final plague right at the outset. But the actual scenario was neither of these. And it shouldn't have been.
After each plague there was a respite ( Rashi, Exodus 7:25 ). A chance for Pharaoh to reconsider. A chance for the Jewish People to internalise the lesson. After all, it is the "Egyptian" within that the Jew needs to elevate (Sefer Baal Shem Tov, Va'era, 4). Each plague, each lesson, is a preliminary for the next. Each requires knowledge of the preceding. If the Egyptian would have been subdued otherwise, the Jew would not have learned his lesson.
This, then, is Rabbi Yehudah's message. He is nont merely telling us the obvious acronym for the plagues, grouping them according to their actual order of appearance (their order in Psalms 78 and 105 being different). No, Rabbi Yehudah wants to draw our attention to something more. Note the sequence of the lessons - their preciseness and progressiveness (Shiboley HaLeket, Orach Chaim no. 218 ). This is the rule of Gradual Progression - applied.
Maggid – Closing דַּיֵינוּ
כַּמָה מַעֲלוֹת טוֹבוֹת לַמָּקוֹם עָלֵינוּ!
אִלוּ הוֹצִיאָנוּ מִמִצְרַים, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בָּהֶם שְׁפָטִים, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ עָשָׂה בָּהֶם שְׁפָטִים, וְלֹא עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם, דַּיֵינו
אִלוּ עָשָׂה בֵאלֹהֵיהֶם, וְלֹא הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ הָרַג אֶת בְּכוֹרֵיהֶם, וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת מָמוֹנָם, וְלֹא קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ קָרַע לָנוּ אֶת הַיָּם, וְלֹא הֶעֱבֵירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ הֶעֱבֵירָנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ בֶּחָרָבָה, וְלֹא שְׁקַע צָרֵנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ שִׁקַע צָרֵנוּ בְּתוֹכוֹ, וְלֹא סִפֵּק צָרְכֵּנוּ בּמִדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ סִפֵּק צָרְכֵּנוּ בּמִדְבָּר אַרְבָּעִים שָׁנָה, וְלֹא הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ הֶאֱכִילָנוּ אֶת הַמָּן, וְלֹא נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַׁבָּת, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ נָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַשַׁבָּת, וְלֹא קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ קֵרְבָנוּ לִפְנֵי הַר סִינַי, וְלֹא נַָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ נַָתַן לָנוּ אֶת הַתּוֹרָה, וְלֹא הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, דַּיֵינוּ
אִלוּ הִכְנִיסָנוּ לְאֶרֶץ יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְלֹא בָנָה לָנוּ אֶת בֵּית הַבְּחִירָה, דַּיֵינוּ
Kama ma’a lot tovot lamakom aleinu.
Ilu hotzi’anu mimitzrayim, v’lo asah bahem shfatim, dayenu.
Ilu asah bahem shfatim, v’lo asah vailoheihem, dayenu.
Ilu asah vailoheihem, v’lo harag et bichoraihem, dayenu.
Ilu harag et bichoraihem, v’lo natan lanu mamonam, dayenu.
Ilu natan lanu mamonam, v’lo karah lanu et hayam, dayenu.
Ilu karah lanu et hayam, v’lo he’evairanu bitocho becheravah, dayenu.
Ilu he’evairanu bitocho becheravah, v’lo shikah tzareinu b’tocho, dayenu.
Ilu shikah tzareinu b’tocho, v’lo sifek tzarchainu bamidbar arba’im shana, dayneu.
Ilu sifek tzarchainu bamidbar arba’im shana, v’lo he’echilanu et haman, dayenu.
Ilu he’echilanu et haman, v’lo natan lanu et hashabbat, dayenu.
Ilu natan lanu et hashabbat, v’lo karvanu lifnei har Sinai, dayenu.
Ilu karvanu lifnei har Sinai, v’lo natan lanu et hatorah, dayenu.
Ilu natan lanu et hatorah, v’lo hichnisanu l’eretz Yisrael, dayenu.
Ilu hicnisanu l’eretz Yisrael, v’lo vana lanu et bait habchirah, dayenu.
God has bestowed many favors upon us.
Had He brought us out of Egypt, and not executed judgments against the Egyptians, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He executed judgments against the Egyptians, and not their gods, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He executed judgments against their gods and not put to death their firstborn, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He put to death their firstborn, and not given us their riches, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He given us their riches, and not split the Sea for us, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He split the Sea for us, and not led us through it on dry land, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He led us through it on dry land, and not sunk our foes in it, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He sunk our foes in it, and not satisfied our needs in the desert for forty years, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He satisfied our needs in the desert for forty years, and not fed us the manna, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He fed us the manna, and not given us the Sabbath, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He given us the Sabbath, and not brought us to Mount Sinai, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He brought us to Mount Sinai, and not given us the Torah, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He given us the Torah, and not brought us into Israel, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Had He brought us into Israel, and not built the Temple for us, It would have been enough – Dayyenu
Obligations of the Holiday
רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל הָיָה אוֹמֵר:כָּל שֶׁלֹּא אָמַר שְׁלשָׁה דְּבָרִים אֵלּוּ בַּפֶּסַח, לֹא יָצָא יְדֵי חוֹבָתוֹ, וְאֵלוּ הֵן
פֶּסַח, מַצָה, וּמָרוֹר
Rabban Gamlieil hayah omeir: kol shelo amar sh’loshah d’varim eilu bapesach, lo yatza y’dei chovato, v’eilu hein: Pesach, Matzah, Umaror.
Rabban Gamliel would teach that all those who had not spoken of three things on Passover had not fulfilled their obligation to tell the story, and these three things are:
Point to the shank bone.
פֶּסַח שֶׁהָיוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אוֹכְלִים בִּזְמַן שֶׁבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה קַיָם, עַל שׁוּם מָה? עַל שׁוּם שֶׁפֶָּסַח הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל בָּתֵּי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בְּמִצְרַים , שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַאֲמַרְתֶּם זֶבַח פֶּסַח הוּא לַיי, אֲשֶׁר פֶָּסַח עַל בָּתֵּי בְּני יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּמִצְרַים בְּנָגְפּוֹ אֶת מִצְרַים , וְאֶת בָּתֵּינוּ הִצִּיל? וַיִּקֹּד הָעָם וַיִּשְּׁתַּחווּ
Pesach shehayu avoteinu och’lim, bizman shebeit hamikdash hayah kayam, al shum mah? Al shum shepasach hakadosh baruch hu al batei avoteinu b’mitzrayim, shene’emar: va’amartem zevach pesach hu l’Adonai, asher pasach al batei v’nei Yisrael b’mitzrayim, b’nagpo et mitzrayim v’et bateinu hitzil, vayikod ha’am vayishtachavu.
The Pesah which our ancestors ate when the Second Temple stood: what is the reason for it? They ate the Pesah because the holy one, Blessed be He “passed over” the houses of our ancestors in Egypt, as it is written in the Torah: “And You shall say, ‘It is the Passover offering for Adonai, who passed over the houses of the Israelites saving us in Mitzrayim but struck the houses of the Egyptians.
Point to the matza.
מַצָּה זו שאנו אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מה? עַל שׁוּם שֶׁלֹא הִסְפִּיק בְּצֵקָם שֶׁל אֲבוֹתֵינוּ לְהַחֲמִיץ עַד שֶׁנִּגְלָה עֲלֵיהֶם מֶלֶךְ מַלְכֵי הַמְּלָכִים, הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, וּגְאָלָם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיֹּאפוּ אֶת הַבָּצֵק אֲשֶׁר הוֹצִיאוּ מִמִצְרַים עֻגֹת מַצּוֹת, כִּי לֹא חָמֵץ, כִּי גֹרְשׁוּ מִמִּצְרַים וְלֹא יָכְלוּ לְהִתְמַהְמֵהַּ, וְגַּם צֵדָה לֹא עָשׂו לָהֶם
Matzah zeh sheanu och’lim, al shum mah? Al shum shelo hispik b’tzeikam shel avoteinu l’hachamitz ad sheniglah aleihem melech malchei ham’lachim, hakadosh baruch hu, ug’alam, shene’emar: vayofu et habatzeik asher hotziu mimitzrayim ugot matzot, ki lo chameitz, ki gor’shu mimitzrayim v’lo yachlu l’hitmahmeiha, v’gam tzeidah lo asu lahem.
Matzah - what does it symbolize in the Seder? There was insufficient time for the dough of our ancestors to rise when the holy one, Blessed be He was revealed to us and redeemed us, as it is written in the Torah: “And they baked the dough which they brought forth out o Egypt into matzah – cakes of unleavened bread – which had not risen, for having been driven out of Egypt they could not tarry, and they had made no provisions for themselves.”
Point to the maror.
מָרוֹר זֶה שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מה? עַל שׁוּם שֶׁמֵּרְרוּ הַמִּצְרִים אֶת חַיֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בְּמִצְרַים , שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וַיְמָרֲרוּ אֶת חַיֵיהם בַּעֲבֹדָה קָשָה, בְּחֹמֶר וּבִלְבֵנִים וּבְכָל עֲבֹדָה בַּשָּׂדֶה אֶת כָּל עֲבֹדָתָם אֲשֶׁר עָבְדוּ בָהֶם בְּפָרֶך
Maror zeh sheanu och’lim, al shum mah? Al shum shemeir’ru hamitzrim et chayei avoteinu b’mitzrayim, shene’emar: vayamararu et chayeihem baavodah kashah, b’chomer uvilveinim uv’chol avodah basadeh et kol avodatam asher avdu vahem b’farech.
Why do we eat Maror? For the reason that the Egyptians embitter the lives of our ancestors in Mitzrayim, as the Torah states: “And they embittered their lives with servitude, with mortar and bricks without straw, with every form of slavery in the field and with great torment.”
בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת עַצְמוֹ כְּאִלוּ הוּא יֶָָצֶָא מִמִּצְרַָים , שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יי לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרַים . לֹא אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ בִּלְבָד גָּאַל הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא, אֶלָּא אַף אוֹתָנוּ גָּאַל עִמָּהֶם, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְאוֹתָנוּ הוֹצִיא מִשָׁם , לְמַעַן הָבִיא אֹתָנוּ, לָתֶת לָנוּ אֶת הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר נִשָׁבַּע לַאֲבֹתֵנוּ
B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et atzmo k’ilu hu yatza mimitzrayim, shene’emar: v’higadta l’vincha bayom hahu leimor, ba’avur zeh asah Adonai li b’tzeiti mimitzrayim. Lo et avoteinu bilvad ga’al hakadosh baruch hu, ela af otanu ga’al imahem, shene’emar: v’otanu hotzi misham, l’ma’an havi otanu, latet lanu et ha’aretz asher nishba la’avoteinu.
Therefore we are obligated, to thank, sing the Hallel, praise, glorify, exalt, honor, bless, elevate and raise our voices for joy to the holy one, Blessed be He, Who performed all these miracles for our ancestors and therefore for us! You brought us from human servitude to freedom, from sorrow to joy, for a time of mourning to a festive day, from deep darkness to great light and from slavery to redemption! In Your presence we renew our singing as in ancient days: Hallel-lu-yah Sing Hallel to God.
Cover the matza and raise the cup of wine until it is drunk at the end of Maggid.
לְפִיכָךְ אֲנַחְנוּ חַיָבִים לְהוֹדוֹת, לְהַלֵל, לְשַׁבֵּחַ, לְפָאֵר, לְרוֹמֵם, לְהַדֵּר, לְבָרֵךְ, לְעַלֵּה וּלְקַלֵּס לְמִי שֶׁעָשָׂה לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְלָנוּ אֶת כָּל הַנִסִּים הָאֵלוּ: הוֹצִיאָנוּ מֵעַבְדוּת לְחֵרוּת מִיָּגוֹן לְשִׂמְחָה, וּמֵאֵבֶל לְיוֹם טוֹב, וּמֵאֲפֵלָה לְאוֹר גָּדוֹל, וּמִשִּׁעְבּוּד לִגְאֻלָּה. וְנֹאמַר לְפָנָיו שִׁירָה חֲדָשָׁה: הַלְלוּיָהּ
L’fichach anachnu chayavim l’hodot, l’hallel, l’shabeiach, l’faeir, l’romeim, l’hadeir, l’vareich, l’aleih ul’kaleis, l’mi she’asah a’avoteinu v’lanu et kol hanisim haeilu: hotzianu meiavdut l’cheirut miyagon l’simchah, umei’eivel l’yom tov, umei’afeilah l’or gadol, umishibud ligulah. V’nomar l’fanav shirah chadashah: halleluyah.
Therefore it is our duty to thank and praise, pay tribute and glorify, exalt and honor, bless and acclaim the One who performed all these miracles for our fathers and for us. He took us out of slavery into freedom, out of grief into joy, out of mourning into a festival, out of darkness into a great light, out of slavery into redemption. We will recite a new song before Him! Halleluyah!
הַלְלוּיָהּ הַלְלוּ עַבְדֵי יי, הַלְלוּ אֶת שֵׁם יי. יְהִי שֵׁם יי מְבֹרָךְ מֵעַתָּה וְִעַד עוֹלָם. מִמִּזְרַח שֶׁמֶשׁ עַד מְבוֹאוֹ מְהֻלָּל שֵׁם יי. רָם עַל כָּל גּוֹיִם יי, עַל הַשָּׁמַיִם כְּבוֹדוֹ. מִי כַּיי אֱלֹהֵינוּ הַמַּגְבִּיהִי לָשָׁבֶת, הַמַּשְׁפִּילִי לִרְאוֹת בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ? מְקִימִי מֵעָפָר דָּל, מֵאַשְׁפֹּת יָרִים אֶבְיוֹן, לְהוֹשִׁיבִי עִם נְדִיבִים, עִם נְדִיבֵי עַמּוֹ. מוֹשִׁיבִי עֲקֶרֶת הַבַּיִת, אֵם הַבָּנִים שִׂמְחָה. הַלְלוּיָהּ
Halleluyah hal’lu avdei Adonai, hal’lu et sheim Adonai. Y’hi sheim Adonai m’vorach mei’atah v’ad olam. Mimizrach shemesh ad m’vo’o m’hulal sheim Adonai. Ram al kol goyim Adonai, al hashamayim k’vodo. Mi k’Adonai Eloheinu hamagbihi lashavet, hamashpili lirot bashamayim uva’aretz? M’kimi mei’afar dal, mei’ashpot yarim evyon, l’hoshivi im nidivim, im nidivei amo. Moshivi akeret habayit, eim habanim s’meichah. Halleluyah.
Praise the Lord! Praise, you servants of the Lord, praise the name of the Lord. Blessed be the name of the Lord from this time forth and forever. From the rising of the sun to its setting, the Lord’s name is to be praised. High above all nations is the Lord; above the heavens is His glory. Who is like the Lord our God, who though enthroned on high, looks down upon heaven and earth? He raises the poor man out of the dust and lifts the needy one out of the trash heap, to seat them with nobles, with the nobles of His people. He turns the barren wife into a happy mother of children. Halleluyah!
בְּצֵאת יִשְׂרָאֵל מִמִמִּרַָים , בֵּית יַעֲקֹב מֵעַם לֹעֵז, הָיְתָה יְהוּדָּה לְקָדְשׁוֹ, יִשְׂרָאֵל מַמְשְׁלוֹתָיו. הַיָּם רָאָה וַיַָּנֹס, הַיַרְדֵּן יִסֹּב לְאָחוֹר. הֶהָרִים רָקְדוּ כְאֵילִים, גְּבַָעוֹת - כִּבְנֵי צֹאן. מַה לְּךָ הַיָּם כִּי תָנוּס, הַיַּרְדֵן - תִּסֹּב לְאָחוֹר, הֶהָרִים - תִּרְקְדוּ כְאֵילִים, גְּבַָעוֹת - כִּבְנֵי צֹאן. מִלְּפְנֵי אָדוֹן חוּלִי אָרֶץ, מִלְּפְנֵי אֱלוֹהַ יַעֲקֹב. הַהֹפְכִי הַצּוּר אֲגַם מָיִם, חַלָּמִיש - לְמַעְיְנוֹ מָיִם
B’tzeit Yisrael mimitzrayim, beit Ya’akov mei’am lo’eiz, haytah yihudah likodsho, Yisrael mamshilotav. Hayam ra’ah vayanos, hayardein yisov l’achor. Heharim rakedu che’eilim, giva’ot – kivnei tzon. Mah l’cha hayam ki tanus, hayardein – tisov l’achor, heharim tirkedu che’eilim, givaot – kivnei tzon. Milifnei adon chuli aretz, milifnei eloha Ya’akov. Hahofchi hatzur agam mayim, chalamish – lemayno mayim.
When Israel went out of Egypt, When the household of Jacob left a people with a strange tongue, Judah became the place from which God’s holiness went forth, Israel became the seat from which the world would know of Gods rule. The sea looked and fled, The Jordan reversed its curse. Mountains skipped like rams and the hills jumped about like young lambs. What is happening that you turn back, O sea, Jordan, why do you reverse your course? Mountains, why do you skip like rams And hills why do you jump like lambs? You are beholding the face of your Creator, Before God, before the God of Jacob, Turning rocks into swirling waters and stone into a flowing spring.
The Second Cup of Wine
בָּרוּךְ אתה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ העוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר גְּאָלָנוּ וְגָּאַל אֶת אֲבוֹתֵינוּ מִמִּצְרַים , וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה לֶאֱכָל בּוֹ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר. כֵּן יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ יַגִּיעֵנוּ לְמוֹעֲדִים וְלִרְגָלִים אֲחֵרִים הַבָּאִים לִקְרָאתֵנוּ לְשָׁלוֹם, שְׂמֵחִים בְּבִנְיַן עִירֶךָ וְשָׂשִׂים בַּעֲבוֹדָתֶךָ. וְנֹאכַל שָׁם מִן הַזְּבָחִים וּמִן הַפְּסָחִים אֲשֶׁר יַגִּיעַ דָּמָם עַל קִיר מִזְבַּחֲךָ לְרָצוֹן, וְנוֹדֶה לְךָ שִׁיר חָדָש עַל גְּאֻלָּתֵנוּ ועַל פְּדוּת נַפְשֵׁנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי גָּאַל יִשְׂרָאֵל
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher g’alanu v’ga’al et avoteinu mimitzrayim, v’higianu lalaylah hazeh le’echol bo matzah umaror. Kein Adonai Eloheinu vEilohei avoteinu yagi’einu l’mo’adim v’lirgalim acheirim haba’im likrateinu l’shalom, s’meichim b’vinyan irecha v’sasim ba’avodatecha. V’nochal sham min hazvachim umin hapsachim asher yagia damam al kir mizbachacha l’ratzon, v’nodeh l’cha shir chadash al g’ulateinu v’al p’dut nafsheinu. Baruch Atah Adonai, ga’al Yisrael.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, borei p’ri hagafen.
Praised are you, Adonai, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has redeemed us and our fathers from Egypt and enabled us to reach this night that we may eat matzo and marror. Lord our God and God of our fathers, enable us to reach also the forthcoming holidays and festivals in peace, rejoicing in the rebuilding of Zion your city, and joyful at your service. There we shall eat of the offerings and Passover sacrifices which will be acceptably placed upon your altar. We shall sing a new hymn of praise to you for our redemption and for our liberation. Praised are you, Adonai, who has redeemed Israel.
Praised are you, Adonai, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.
Dayenu is a 15-line poem recording the stages of redemption, from the exodus from Egypt through the giving of the Torah, to the building of the Temple. After each stage, we exclaim that had G-d stopped there, and not taken the Israelites any closer to their final destination, dayenu - that would have been enough for us.
The earliest full version of the poem appears in the 9th century, in the very first prayer book, compiled by Rav Amram Gaon in Babylonia. Perhaps it originated there amongst diaspora Jews. However, many people think it originated in Israel far earlier, possibly even 250+ years before the destruction of the second Temple, as its version of history seems to end on a triumphant note, with the Temple's construction. It seems hard to believe - some argue - that had the poem been written when the Temple was no longer in existence, it would make no reference to the tragedy or express the desire to see the Temple rebuilt.
Either way, the problem with the song is that is makes no sense. Would it really have been enough had God split the Red Sea, but not brought us through it? We would all have died! Would it really have been enough had God brought us before Mount Sinai, but not given us the Torah? There would be no meaning to Jewish life!
The best way to understand Dayenu is to look at its position in the Haggadah and its context. For Dayenu is not a stand-alone. Immediately following the poem comes a reiteration of its themes, this time in prose form rather than song (" al achat kama ve-chama "). We are obligated to God, this version reads, because he took us out of Egypt, punished the Egyptians, destroyed their Gods - and so on and so forth, through the same 15 stages of redemption, until the building of the Temple. In this version, there is no Dayenu - no implication that any of these deeds, by themselves, would have been "enough". The point is that we survived, physically and spiritually, and can recognise God's benevolence -- because he committed them all.
Traditionally, we read this second iteration as a continuation of Dayenu, an answer of sorts: If we are grateful for one act of God, how much more so for the whole package. But Daniel Goldschmidt, in his Haggadah Shlemah, offers an intriguing historical insight. It seems likely, he argues, that these two parts of Dayenu were originally not meant to be read together, but were rather different versions of the same song, edited differently. In fact, he says, the second shorter paragraph probably came first, as it is more concise and -- crucially -- it lacks the puzzling implication that we could have survived without crossing the Red Sea, entering the land of Israel etc (he stops just short of accusing whoever expanded the paragraph into a whole song of sloppiness). A later editor decided to present the two versions side-by-side, and perhaps even changed the introductory lines so that they continued on from each other.
At a stroke, Goldschmidt wipes out the central puzzle of Dayenu - that none of these things would have actually been "enough". That was never the intention of the original author.
But now that this is the text we have, how can we make sense of Dayenu after all?
Rabbi Menachem Leibtag offers a neat explanation that similarly looks to Dayenu's position in the Haggadah for its meaning.
Dayenu, he points out, comes at the very end of our telling of the story of the Exodus, following a discussion of the plagues, but before we say Hallel, the section of praise and thanksgiving following the meal. The Mishnah tells us that we must start the story with a derogatory comment, but end it with praise. Dayenu both fits the bill, and is transitional:
"The refrain of 'dayenu' has an implicit suffix... 'Dayenu' should not be translated simply as 'it would have been enough'; rather 'dayenu' means 'it would have been enough - to praise God', ie to say Hallel - even if God had only taken us out of Egypt, or only if He had split the sea, etc.
In this manner, the poem poetically summarises each significant stage of redemption... stating that each single act of God's kindness in that process obligates us to praise Him, eg:
-- Had He only taken us out of Egypt and not punished the Egyptians, it would have been reason enough to say Hallel
-- Had He split the sea, but not given us the 'manna', that alone would have been reason enough to say Hallel
... And so on.
With this background, the next paragraph of that poem makes perfect sense:
"`Al achat kama vekhama," - How much more so is it proper to thank God for performing ALL these acts of kindness, as He took us out of Egypt, and punished them, and split the sea, and gave us the manna etc."
This explanation fits in nicely with the line that introduces Dayenu: "How many good qualities God has, compared to us!" We are meant to read the subsequent couplets in light of this sentiment. None of God's deeds during the Exodus would have been enough alone to save us, physically or spiritually, but they would have been enough to recognise God's power and superiority.
Wash hands while reciting the traditional blessing for washing the hands:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu al n'tilat yadayim.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has taught us the way of holiness through commandments, commanding us to wash our hands.
Take the three matzot - the broken piece between the two whole ones – and hold them in your hand and recite the following blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who provides sustenance from the earth.
Before eating the matzah, put the bottom matzah back in its place and continue, reciting the following blessing while holding only the top and middle piece of matzah.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al achilat matzah.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has taught us the way of holiness through commandments, commanding us to eat matzah.
Break the top and middle matzot into pieces and distribute them everyone at the table to eat a while reclining to the left.
Now take a kezayit (the volume of one olive) of the maror. Dip it into the Charoset, but not so much that the bitter taste is neutralized. Recite the following blessing and then eat the maror (without reclining):
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מָרוֹר.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al achilat maror.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has taught us the way of holiness through commandments, commanding us to eat the bitter herb.
זֵכֶר לְמִקְדָּשׁ כְּהִלֵּל. כֵּן עָשָׂה הִלֵּל בִּזְמַן שבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה קַיָים: הָיָה כּוֹרֵךְ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר וְאוֹכֵל בְּיַחַד, לְקַיֵים מַה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: עַל מַצּוֹת וּמְרֹרִים יֹאכְלֻהוּ.
Zeicher l'mikdash k'hileil. Kein asah hileil bizman shebeit hamikdash hayah kayam. Hayah koreich pesach, matzah, u-maror v'ocheil b'yachad. L'kayeim mah shene-emar. “Al matzot um'rorim yochlu-hu.”
Eating matzah, maror and haroset this way reminds us of how, in the days of the Temple, Hillel would do so, making a sandwich of the Pashal lamb, matzah and maror, in order to observe the law “You shall eat it (the Pesach sacrifice) on matzah and maror.”
Legend has it that the first sandwich was created not by Lord Sandwich, but by Hillel, who ate his Paschal sacrifice together with marror and matzah.
Sadly, this really is just a legend.
How did he combine these three ingredients? It seems clear that he did not place the meat and marror between two sheets of matzah.
“Korech”, the words used to describe his method, means to wrap or to fold. He could only have wrapped or folded his matzah if it was soft – rather like a lafa, tortilla or pitta. This is why, in the Gemara, the fear is expressed that one might get confused between bread and matzah; they must have looked similar.
To this day, Iraqi and Yemenite Jews make soft matzah. However, it was ubiquitous in Europe as well until just 170-odd years ago (1840’s), when machine production of matzah took over. Several commentators discuss their matzahs being up to a finger-width thick.
It seems that soft matzahs finally disappeared from Ashkenaz communities by the beginning of the 20th century and today we have forgotten they ever existed.
The main difference between soft and hard matzahs is the ratio of water to flour. As a result, soft matzahs do not keep for very long, just like pittot (they are also less calorific!). In the past Yemenite Jews baked fresh matzahs every day, but Jews in other Arab lands were afraid of the possibility that their matzahs would start to rise, become chametz during the process of baking, and only ate soft matzahs on Seder night. During the rest of the festival, they ate hard matzahs that were prepared before Pesach.
This is why, when mass production began, producers opted for hard rather than soft matzahs. Without proper refrigeration technology, there was no way to keep soft matzahs fresh for long enough to market.
Nowadays, soft matzahs can be prepared ahead and frozen until needed.
Shulchan Orech שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ
Now is time to enjoy the festival meal and participate in lively discussion. It is permitted to drink wine between the second and third cups.
After the meal, take the Afikoman and divide it among all the guests at the Seder table.
It is forbidden to drink or eat anything (except the remaining two ritual cups of wine) after eating the Afikoman.
Pour the third cup of wine and recite Birkat Hamazon (Blessing after the Meal).
בְּשׁוּב יהוה אֶת־שִׁיבַת צִיּוֹן הָיִ֫ינוּ כְּחֹלְמִים. אָז יִמָּלֵא שְׂחוֹק פִּינוּ וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה, אָז יֹאמְרוּ בַגּוֹיִם, הִגְדִּיל יְיָ לַעֲשׂוֹת עִם אֵלֶּה. הִגְדִּיל יְיָ לַעֲשׂוֹת עִמָּנוּ, הָיִינוּ שְׂמֵחִים. שׁוּבָה יְיָ אֶת שְׁבִיתֵנוּ, כַּאֲפִיקִים בַּנֶּגֶב. הַזֹּרְעִים בְּדִמְעָה בְּרִנָּה יִקְצֹרוּ. הָלוֹךְ יֵלֵךְ וּבָכֹה נֹשֵׂא מֶשֶׁךְ הַזָּרַע, בֹּא יָבֹא בְרִנָּה נֹשֵׂא אֲלֻמֹּתָיו.
תְּהִלַּת יְיָ יְדַבֶּר פִּי, וִיבָרֵךְ כָּל בָּשָׂר שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. וַאֲנַחְנוּ נְבָרֵךְ יָהּ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם הַלְלוּיָהּ. הוֹדוּ לַייָ כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. מִי יְמַלֵּל גְּבוּרוֹת יְיָ יַשְׁמִיעַ כָּל תְּהִלָּתוֹ
Shir Hama’alot, b’shuv Adonai et shee-vat Tzion, ha-yeenu k’chol meem. Az y’ma-lei s’chok pee-nu u’l-sho-nei-nu reena, az yo-m’ru va-goyim, heeg-deel Adonai la-asot eem eleh. Heeg-deel Adonai la-asot eemanu, ha-yee-nu s’mei-cheem. Shuva Adonai et sh’vee-tei-nu, ka-afee-keem ba-negev. Ha-zor-eem b’deem-ah b’reena yeek-tzo-ru. Ha-loch yei-lech u-va-cho no-sei me-shech hazara, bo yavo v’reena, no-sei alu-mo-tav.
T’hilat Adonai y’daber pi, vivareich kol basar shem kod’sho l’olam va’ed. Va-anachnu n’varech ya, mei-ata v’ad olam, hal’luya. Hodu la-Adonai ki tov, ki l’olam chasdo. Mi y’maleil g’vurot Adonai, yashmi’a kol t’hilato.
When the Lord returns us from exile back to Zion, it will be as though in a dream. We will laugh and sing with joy. It shall be said around the world: “The Lord has done great things for them.” The Lord did great things for us, and we shall rejoice. God, restore our fortunes. We shall be like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. Though the farmer bears the measure of seed to the field in sadness, he shall come home with joy, bearing his sheaves.
Include parentheses when there is a minayn present.
Friends, let us say grace.
יְהִי שֵׁם יְיָ מְבֹרָךְ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם.
Y’hee sheim Adonai m’vo-rach mei-atah v’ad olam.
Praised be the name of the Lord now and forever.
יְהִי שֵׁם יְיָ מְבֹרָךְ מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. בִּרְשׁוּת מָרָנָן וְרַבָּנָן וְרַבּוֹתַי נְבָרֵך (אֱלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלוֹ.
Y’hee sheim Adonai m’vorach mei-atah v’ad olam. Beer-shut maranan v’rabanan v’rabotai, n’vareich (Eloheinu) she’achalnu mee-shelo.
Praised be the name of the Lord now and forever. With your permission, let us now bless (our God) whose food we have eaten.
בָּרוּךְ (אֱלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ חָיִּינוּ.
Baruch (Eloheinu) she’achalnu mishelo uv’tuvo chayinu.
Blessed be (our God) whose food we have eaten.
בָּרוּךְ (אֱלֹהֵינוּ) שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ מִשֶּׁלוֹ וּבְטוּבוֹ חָיִּינוּ.
Baruch (Eloheinu) she’achalnu mishelo uv’tuvo chayinu.
Blessed be (our God) whose food we have eaten.
בָּרוּךְ הוּא וּבָרוּך שְׁמוֹ.
Baruch hu u-varuch sh’mo.
Blessed be He and blessed be His name.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַזָּן אֶת הָעוֹלָם כֻּלּוֹ בְּטוּבוֹ בְּחֵן בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרַחֲמִים הוּא נוֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. וּבְטוּבוֹ הַגָּדוֹל תָּמִיד לֹא חָסַר לָנוּ וְאַל יֶחְסַר לָנוּ מָזוֹן לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. בַּעֲבוּר שְׁמוֹ הַגָּדוֹל כִּי הוּא אֵל זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס לַכֹּל וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וּמֵכִין מָזוֹן לְכָל בְּרִיּוֹתָיו אֲשֶׁר בָּרָא. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, הַזָּן אֶת הַכֹּל.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hazan et ha-olam kulo b’tuvo, b’chein b’chesed uv-rachamim, hu noten lechem l’chol basar, ki l’olam chasdo, uv-tuvo hagadol, tamid lo chasar lanu v’al yechsar lanu mazon l’olam va’ed. Ba-avur sh’mo hagadol, ki hu Eil zan um’farneis lakol, u-meitiv lakol u-meichin mazon l’chol-b’riyotav asher bara. Baruch atah Adonai, hazan et hakol.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who nourishes the whole world. Your kindness endures forever. May we never be in want of sustenance. God sustains us all, doing good to all, and providing food for all creation. Praised are you, Adonai, who sustains all.
נוֹדֶה לְךָ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל שֶׁהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה, וְעַל שֶׁהוֹצֵאתָנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם וּפְדִיתָנוּ מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים, וְעַל בְּרִיתְךָ שֶׁחָתַמְתָּ בִּבְשָׂרֵנוּ, וְעַל תּוֹרָתְךָ שֶׁלִמַּדְתָּנוּ, וְעַל חֻקֶּיךָ שֶׁהוֹדַעְתָּנוּ, וְעַל חַיִּים חֵן וָחֶסֶד שֶׁחוֹנַנְתָּנוּ, וְעַל אֲכִילַת מָזוֹן שָׁאַתָּה זָן וּמְפַרְנֵס אוֹתָנוּ תָּמִיד בְּכָל יוֹם וּבְכָל עֵת וּבְכָל שָׁעָה.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hazan et ha-olam kulo b’tuvo, b’chein b’chesed uv-rachamim, hu noten lechem l’chol basar, ki l’olam chasdo, uv-tuvo hagadol, tamid lo chasar lanu v’al yechsar lanu mazon l’olam va’ed. Ba-avur sh’mo hagadol, ki hu Eil zan um’farneis lakol, u-meitiv lakol u-meichin mazon l’chol-b’riyotav asher bara. Baruch atah Adonai, hazan et hakol.
We thank you, Adonai, Lord our God, for having given a beautiful, good, and spacious land; for having taken us out from the land of Egypt and redeemed us from the house of slavery; for Your covenant which You sealed in our flesh; for Your Torah which You taught us; for the life, grace and kindness You have granted us; and for the food with which You always sustain us.
וְעַל הַכֹּל יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֲנַחְנוּ מוֹדִים לָךְ וּמְבָרְכִים אוֹתָךְ יִתְבָּרַךְ שִׁמְךָ בְּפִי כָל חַי תָּמִיד לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. כַּכָּתוּב, וְאָכַלְתָּ וְשָׂבָעְתָּ וּבֵרַכְתָּ אֶת יְיָ אֱלֹהֶיךָ עַל הָאָרֶץ הַטֹּבָה אֲשֶׁר נָתַן לָךְ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל הַמָּזוֹן.
רַחֶם נָא יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירֶךָ וְעַל צִיּוֹן מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶךָ וְעַל מַלְכוּת בֵּית דָּוִד מְשִׁיחֶךָ וְעַל הַבַּיִת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ שֶׁנִּקְרָא שִׁמְךָ עָלָיו. אֱלֹהֵינוּ אָבִינוּ רְעֵנוּ זוּנֵנוּ פַּרְנְסֵנוּ וְכַלְכְּלֵנוּ וְהַרְוִיחֵנוּ וְהַרְוַח לָנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מְהֵרָה מִכָּל צָרוֹתֵינוּ. וְנָא אַל תַּצְרִיכֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לֹא לִידֵי מַתְּנַת בָּשָׂר וָדָם וְלֹא לִידֵי הַלְוָאָתָם, כִּי אִם לְיָדְךָ הַמְּלֵאָה הַפְּתוּחָה הַקְּדוֹשָׁה וְהָרְחָבָה, שֶׁלּא נֵבוֹשׁ וְלֹא נִכָּלֵם לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד.
V’al hakol Adonai Eloheinu anachnu modim lach um’varchim otach, yitbarach shimcha b’fi kol chai tamid l’olam va’ed. Kakatuv, v’achalta v’savata uveirachta et Adonai Elohecha al ha’aretz hatova asher natan lach. Baruch atah Adonai al ha-aretz v’al hamazon.
Racheim na Adonai Eloheinu al Yisrael amecha v’al Y’rushalayim irecha v’al Tzion mishkan k’vodecha v’al malchut beit David m’shichecha v’al habayit hagadol v’hakadosh shenikra shimcha alav. Eloheinu Avinu r’einu zuneinu parn’seinu v’chalk’lenu v’harvicheinu v’harvach’lanu Adonai Eloheinu m’heira mikol-tzaroteinu. V’na al tatz’richeinu Adonai Eloheinu, lo lidei matnat basar vadam v’lo lidei hal’va’atam, ki im l’yad’cha ham’lei’a hap’tucha hak’dosha v’har’chava, shelo neivosh v’lo nikaleim l’olam va’ed.
For everything, Adonai, our God, we thank and praise You. May your name be blessed by all forever, as it is written: “After you have eaten and are satisfied, you shall bless Adonai, our God for the good land he has given you.” Praised are you, Adonai, for the land and the food.
Have mercy, Adonai our God, on Israel your people, on Jerusalem your city, on Zion the abode of your glory, on the kingdom of the house of David your anointed one, and on the great and holy Temple that bears your name. Our God, our Father, tend and feed us; sustained and support us and relieve us. Speedily, Adonai our God, grant us relief from all our troubles. Lord our God, O make us not rely on the gifts and loans of men but rather on your full, open and generous hand, that we may never be put to shame and disgrace.Adonai Eloheinu, lo lidei matnat basar vadam v’lo lidei hal’va’atam, ki im l’yad’cha ham’lei’a hap’tucha hak’dosha v’har’chava, shelo neivosh v’lo nikaleim l’olam va’ed.
רְצֵה וְהַחֲלִיצֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּמִצְוֹתֶיךָ וּבְמִצְוַת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי הַשַׁבָּת הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָדוֹשׂ הַזֶּה. כִּי יוֹם זֶה גָּדוֹל וְקָדוֹשׁ הוּא לְפָנֶיךָ לִשְׁבָּת בּוֹ וְלָנוּחַ בּוֹ בְּאַהֲבָה כְּמִצְוַת רְצוֹנֶךָ. וּבִרְצוֹנְךָ הָנִיחַ לָנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁלֹּא תְהֵא צָרָה וְיָגוֹן וַאֲנָחָה בְּיוֹם מְנוּחָתֵנוּ. וְהַרְאֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּנֶחָמַת צִיּוֹן עִירֶךָ וּבְבִנְיַן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר קָדְשֶׁךָ כִּי אַתָּה הוּא בַּעַל הַיְשׁוּעוֹת וּבַעַל הַנֶּחָמוֹת.
R’tzei v’hachalitzeinu Adonai Eloheinu b’mitzvotecha, uv’mitvat yom hash’vi’i haShabbat hagadol v’hakadosh hazeh. Ki yom zeh gadol v’kadosh hu l’fanecha, lishbat bo v’lanuach bo b’ahavah k’miztvat r’tzonecha. U’birtzoncha hani’ach lanu Adonai Eloheinu, shelo t’hei tzara v’yagon va’anacha b’yom m’nuchateinu. V’har’einu Adonai Eloheinu b’nechamat Tzion irecha, uv’vinyan Yerushalayim ir kodshecha, ki atah hu ba’al ha’y’shuot u’va’al hanechamot.
Favor us and strengthen us, Lord our God, with your commandments – with the commandment concerning the seventh day, this great and holy Sabbath. This day is great and holy before you to abstain from work and rest on it in love according to your will. In your will, Lord our God, grant us rest so that there be nor sorrow and grief on our day of rest. Let us, Lord our God, live to see Zion your city comforted, Jerusalem your holy city rebuilt, for you art Master of all salvation and consolation.)
אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, יַעֲלֶה וְיָבֹא וְיַגִּיעַ וְיֵרָאֶה וְיֵרָצֶה וְיִשָּׁמַע וְיִפָּקֵד וְיִזָּכֵר זִכְרוֹנֵנוּ וּפִקְדּוֹנֵנוּ, וְזִכְרוֹן אֲבוֹתֵינוּ, וְזִכְרוֹן מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד עַבְדֶּךָ ,וְזִכְרוֹן יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר קָדְשֶׁךָ, וְזִכְרוֹן כָּל עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל לְפָנֶיךָ, לִפְלֵטָה לְטוֹבָה לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים, לְחַיִּים וּלְשָׁלוֹם בְּיוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה. זָכְרֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ בּוֹ לְטוֹבָה וּפָּקְדֵנוּ בוֹ לִבְרָכָה וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ בוֹ לְחַיִּים. וּבִדְבַר יְשׁוּעָה וְרַחֲמִים חוּס וְחָנֵּנוּ וְרַחֵם עָלֵינוּ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ, כִּי אֵלֶיךָ עֵינֵינוּ, כִּי אֵל מֶלֶךְ חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם אָתָּה
Eloheinu vEilohei avoteinu, yaleh v’yavo v’yagiah v’yeira’eh v’yeiratzeh v’yishma v’yipakeid, v’yizacheir zichroneinu ufikdoneinu, v’zichron avoteinu, v’zichron Mashiach ben David avdecha, v’zikhron Y’rushalayim ir kodshecha, v’zichron kol amkha beit Yisrael l’fanecha, lifleita l’tova l’chein ul’chesed ul’rachamim, l’chayim ul’shalom b’yom chag hamatzot hazeh zochreinu Adonai Eloheinu bo l’tova ufokdeinu vo livracha v’hoshieinu vo l’chayim. uv’dvar y’shuah v’rachamim chus v’chaneinu v’racheim aleinu v’hoshieinu ki eilecha eineinu, ki eil melech chanun vrachum ata.
Our God and God of our fathers, may the remembrance of us, of our fathers, of the anointed son of David your servant, of Jerusalem your holy city, and of all your people the house of Israel, ascend, come, appear, be heard, and be accepted before you for deliverance and good, for grace, kindness and mercy, for life and peace, on this day of the Festival of Matzot. Remember us this day, Lord our God, for goodness; consider us for blessing; save us for life. With a word of salvation and mercy spare us and favor us; have pity on us and save us, for we look to you, for you art a gracious and merciful God and King.
וּבְנֵה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר הַקֹּדֶשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, בּוֹנֵה בְרַחֲמָיו יְרוּשָׁלָיִם. אָמֵן.
Uv’nei Y’rushalayim ir hakodesh bimheira v’yameinu. Baruch atah Adonai, boneh v’rachamav Y’rushalayim. Amein.
Rebuild Jerusalem the holy city speedily in our days. Praised are you, Adonai, who will rebuild Jerusalem in mercy. Amen.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הָאֵל אָבִינוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ אַדִּירֵנוּ בּוֹרְאֵנוּ גֹּאֲלֵנוּ יוֹצְרֵנוּ קְדוֹשֵׁנוּ קְדוֹשׁ יַעֲקֹב, רוֹעֵנוּ רוֹעֵה יִשְׂרָאֵל הַמֶּלֶךְ הַטּוֹב וְהַמֵּטִיב לַכֹּל שֶׁבְּכָל יוֹם וָיוֹם הוּא הֵטִיב הוּא מֵטִיב הוּא יֵיטִיב לָנוּ. הוּא גְמָלָנוּ הוּא גוֹמְלֵנוּ הוּא יִגְמְלֵנוּ לָעַד לְחֵן וּלְחֶסֶד וּלְרַחֲמִים וּלְרֶוַח הַצָּלָה וְהַצְלָחָה בְּרָכָה וִישׁוּעָה נֶחָמָה פַּרְנָסָה וְכַלְכָּלָה וְרַחֲמִים וְחַיִּים וְשָׁלוֹם וְכָל טוֹב, וּמִכָּל טוּב לְעוֹלָם אַל יְחַסְּרֵנוּ.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, ha’Eil Avinu Malkeinu Adireinu Bor’einu Go’aleinu Yotz’reinu K’dosheinu k’dosh Ya’akov ro’einu ro’ei Yisrael Hamelech hatov v’hameitiv lakol sheb’chol yom vayom hu heitiv, hu meitiv, hu yeitiv lanu. Hu g’malanu hu gomleinu hu yig’m’leinu la’ad, l’chein ul’chesed ul’rachamim ul’revach hatzala v’hatzlacha, b’racha vi’shua nechama parnasa v’chalkala v’rachamim v’chayim v’shalom v’chol-tov, u’mikol tuv l’olam al y’chasreinu.
Praised are you, Adonai our God, Ruler of the universe. Adonai, you are our father, our king and sovereign, our creator, our redeemer, our maker, the holy one of Jacob, the shepherd of Israel, the good king who does good to all and has done good, is doing good, and will do good. You bestow favors on us constantly. You lavish on us kindness and mercy, relief and deliverance, success, blessing, salvation, comfort, sustenance, support mercy, life and peace and all goodness. May you never deprive us of any good thing.
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִמְלֹךְ עָלֵינוּ לְעוֹלָם וָעֶד. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִתְבָּרַךְ בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁתַּבַּח לְדוֹר דּוֹרִים וְיִתְפָּאַר בָּנוּ לָעַד וּלְנֵצַח נְצָחִים וְיִתְהַדַּר בָּנוּ לָעַד וּלְעוֹלְמֵי עוֹלָמִים. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְפַרְנְסֵנוּ בְּכָבוֹד. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁבּר עֻלֵנוּ מֵעַל צַוָּארֵנוּ וְהוּא יוֹלִיכֵנוּ קוֹמְמִיּוּת לְאַרְצֵנוּ. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁלַח לָנוּ בְּרָכָה מְרֻבָּה בַּבַּיִת הַזֶּה וְעַל שֻׁלְחָן זֶה שֶׁאָכַלְנוּ עָלָיו. הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יִשְׁלַח לָנוּ אֶת אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָּבִיא זָכוּר לַטּוֹב וִיבַשֶּׂר לָנוּ בְּשׂוֹרוֹת טוֹבוֹת יְשׁוּעוֹת וְנֶחָמוֹת.
Harachaman hu yimloch aleinu l’olam va’ed. Harachaman hu yitbarach bashamayim u’va’aretz. Harachaman hu yishtabach l’dor dorim, v’yitpa’ar banu la’ad u’l’neitzach n’tzachim, v’yit’hadar banu la’ad ul’olmei olamim. Harachaman hu y’far’n’seinu b’chavod. Harachaman hu yishbor uleinu mei’al tzavareinu, v’hu yolicheinu kom’miyut l’artzeinu. Harachaman hu yishlach lanu b’racha m’ruba babayit hazeh, v’al shulchan zeh she’achalnu alav. Harachaman hu yishlach lanu et Eliyahu Hanavi zachur latov, vivaser lanu b’sorot tovot y’shu’ot v’nechamot.
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; may He be glorified in us forever and ever; may He be honored in us to all eternity. May the Merciful One grant us an honorable livelihood. May the Merciful One break the yoke from our neck; may He lead us upstanding into our land. May the Merciful One send ample blessing into this house and upon this table at which we have eaten. May the Merciful One send us Elijah the prophet of blessed memory who will bring us good tidings of consolation and comfort.
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת
Harachaman hu y’vareich et
May the Merciful One bless
for one’s parents:
אָבִי מוֹרִי (בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה) וְאֶת אִמִּי מוֹרָתִי (בַּעֲלַת הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה), אוֹתָם וְאֶת בֵּיתָם וְאֶת זַרְעָם וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם,
avi mori (ba’al ha-bayit ha-zeh), v’et imi morati (ba’alat ha-bayit) ha-zeh, otam v’et beitam, v’et zar’am, v’et kol asher lahem,
(my revered father) the master of this house and (my revered mother) the mistress of this house, them, and their household, and their children, and everything that is theirs,
for one’s family:
אוֹתִי (וְאֶת אִשְׁתִּי/בַּעֲלִי/זַרְעִי וְאֶת) כָּל אֲשֶׁר לִי,
oti (v’et ishti / ba’ali / zar-i v’et) kol asher li,
me (and my wife/husband/children) and all that is mine
for one’s hosts:
בַּעַל הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה וְאֶת בַּעֲלַת הַבַּיִת הַזֶּה, אוֹתָם וְאֶת בֵּיתָם וְאֶת זַרְעָם וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לָהֶם,
ba’al ha-bayit ha-zeh, v’et ba-alat ha-bayit ha-zeh, otam v’et beitam, v’et zar’am, v’et kol asher lahem,
our host and our hostess, them, and their household, and their children, and everything that is theirs,
for all others:
וְאֶת כָּל הַמְסֻבִּין כַּאן,
v’et kol ham’subim kan,
and all who are seated here,
אוֹתָנוּ וְאֶת כָּל אֲשֶׁר לָנוּ, כְּמוֹ שֶׁנִּתְבָּרְכוּ אֲבוֹתֵינוּ אַבְרָהָם יִצְחָק וְיַעֲקֹב בַּכֹּל מִכֹּל כֹּל, כֵּן יְבָרֵךְ אוֹתָנוּ כֻּלָּנוּ יַחַד בִּבְרָכָה שְׁלֵמָה, וְנֹאמַר אָמֵן.
otanu v’et kol asher lanu, k’mo she’nitbarchu avoteinu Avraham Yitzchak v’Ya’akov bakol mikol kol, kein y’vareich otanu kulanu yachad bivracha sh’leima, v’nomar, Amein.
us all together and all our possessions just as He blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with every blessing. May He bless us all together with a perfect blessing, and let us say, Amen.
בַּמָּרוֹם יְלַמְּדוּ עֲלֵיהֶם וְעָלֵינוּ זְכוּת שֶׁתְּהֵא לְמִשְׁמֶרֶת שָׁלוֹם. וְנִשָּׂא בְרָכָה מֵאֵת יְיָ וּצְדָקָה מֵאֱלֹהֵי יִשְׁעֵנוּ. וְנִמְצָא חֵן וְשֵׂכֶל טוֹב בְּעֵינֵי אֱלֹהִים וְאָדָם.
Bamarom y’lamdu aleihem v’aleinu z’chut she’t’hei l’mishmeret shalom. V’nisa v’racha mei’eit Adonai, utz’daka mei’Elohei yisheinu, v’nimtza chein v’seichel tov b’einei Elohim v’adam.
May heaven find merit in us that we may enjoy a lasting peace. May we receive blessings from the Lord, justice from the God of our salvation, and may we find favor and good sense in the eyes of God and men.
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַנְחִילֵנוּ יוֹם שֶׁכֻּלוֹ שַׁבָּת וּמְנוּחָה לְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָמִים.)
Harachaman hu yanchileinu yom shekulo Shabbat u’minucha ul’chayei ha’olamim.
May the Merciful One cause us to inherit the day which will be all Sabbath and rest in the eternal life.)
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַנְחִילֵנוּ יוֹם שֶׁכֻּלוֹ טוֹב.
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת מְדִנַת יִשְׂרָאֵל.
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת חַיָּלֵי צְבָא הֲגַנָּה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל, וְיָגֵן עֲלֵיהֶם.
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְבָרֵךְ אֶת מְדִנַת הַזאֹתּ, וְאֶת חַיָּלֶיהָ, וְיָגֵן עֲלֵיהֶם.
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יַשְׁכְּין שָׁלוֹם בֵּין בְּנֵי יַעֲקֹב וּבְנֵי יִשְׁמָעֵאל
הָרַחֲמָן הוּא יְזַכֵּנוּ לִימוֹת הַמָּשִׁיחַ וּלְחַיֵּי הָעוֹלָם הַבָּא.
Harachaman hu yanchileinu yom shekulo tov.
Harachaman hu y’variech et M’dinat Yisrael.
Harachaman hu y’variech et chayalei Tz’va Hagana l’Yisrael, v’yagein aleihem.
Harachaman hu y’variech et m’dinat hazot, v’et chayaleiha, v’yagein aleihem.
Harachaman hu yashkiyn shalom Bayn binei Ya’akov u’vnei Yishma’ayl.
Harachaman hu y’zakeinu limot Hamashiach ul’chayei ha’olam haba.
May the Merciful One cause us to inherit the day of total goodness.
May the Merciful One bless the State of Israel.
May the Merciful One bless those who serve in the IDF and watch over them.
May the Merciful One bless this country, and its soldiers, and watch over them.
May the Merciful One enable us to live in the days of the Messiah and in the world to come.
מִגְדּוֹל יְשׁוּעוֹת מַלְכּוֹ וְעֹשֶׂה חֶסֶד לִמְשִׁיחוֹ לְדָוִד וּלְזַרְעוֹ עַד עוֹלָם. עֹשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם בִּמְרוֹמָיו הוּא יַעֲשֶׂה שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל יִשְׂרָאֵל, וְאִמְרוּ אָמֵן.
יְראוּ אֶת יְיָ קְדֹשָׁיו כִּי אֵין מַחְסוֹר לִירֵאָיו. כְּפִירִים רָשׁוּ וְרָעֵבוּ וְדֹרְשֵׁי יְיָ לֹא יַחְסְרוּ כָל טוֹב. הוֹדוּ לַייָ כִּי טוֹב כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ. פּוֹתֵחַ אֶת יָדֶךָ וּמַשְׂבִּיעַ לְכָל חַי רָצוֹן. בָּרוּךְ הַגֶּבֶר אֲשֶׁר יִבְטַח בַּייָ וְהָיָה יְיָ מִבְטַחוֹ. נַעַר הָיִיתִי גַם זָקַנְתִּי וְלֹא רָאִיתִי צַדִּיק נֶעֱזָב וְזַרְעוֹ מְבַקֶּשׁ לָחֶם. יְיָ עֹז לְעַמּוֹ יִתֵּן יְיָ יְבָרֵךְ אֶת עַמּוֹ בַשָּׁלוֹם.
Migdol y’shu’ot Malko v’oseh chesed limshicho l’David ul’zar’o ad olam. Oseh shalom bimromav, hu ya’aseh shalom aleinu v’al kol Yisrael v’imru, Amein.
Y’ru et Adonai k’doshav, ki ein machsor lirei’av. K’firim rashu v’ra’eivu, v’dorshei Adonai lo yach’s’ru chol tov. Hodu l’Adonai ki tov ki l’olam chasdo. Potei’ach et yadecha, u’masbia l’chol chai ratzon. Baruch hagever asher yivtach b’Adonai, V’haya Adonai mivtacho. Na’ar hayiti gam zakan’ti, v’lo ra’iti tzadik ne’ezav, v’zar’o m’vakesh lachem. Adonai oz l’amo yitein, Adonai y’vareich et amo vashalom.
God is our tower of salvation, showing kindness to his anointed, to David and his descendents forever. May he who creates peace in his heavenly heights, may he grant peace for us, all Israel; and and all humanity, and we can say, Amen.
Revere the Lord, you his holy ones for those who revere him suffer no want. Lions may be famishing and starving, but those who seek the Lord shall not lack any good thing. Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his kindness endures forever. You open your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing. Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is in the Lord. I have been young and now I am old, but never have I seen the righteous man forsaken, nor his children wanting bread. The Lord will give strength to his people; the Lord will bless His people with peace.
The Blessing after the Meal concludes by drinking the Third Cup of wine, while reclining to the left.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן.
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, borei p'ri hagafen.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.
Fill the Cup of Elijah on the table. Traditionally the youngest children open the door for Elijah. Everyone joins in singing "Eliyahu Ha-Navi" and then the door is closed.
Bim Heira B’yameinu Yavo eileinu
Eem mashiah ben David
Eem mashiah ben David
שְׁפֹךְ חֲמָתְךָ אֶל הַגּוֹיִם אֲשֶׁר לֹא יְדָעוּךָ וְעַל מַמְלָכוֹת אֲשֶׁר בְּשִׁמְךָ לֹא קָרָאוּ. כִּי אָכַל אֶת יַעֲקֹב וְאֶת נָוֵהוּ הֵשַׁמוּ. שְׁפֹךְ עֲלֵיהֶם זַעְמֶךָ וַחֲרוֹן אַפְּךָ יַשִׂיגֵם. תִּרְדֹף בְּאַף וְתַשְׁמִידֵם מִתַּחַת שְׁמֵי יי.
Shfoch chamatcha el hagoyim asher lo y’da’ucha v’al mamlachot asher b’shimcha lo kara’u. Ki achal et Ya’akov v’et naveihu heishamu. Shfoch Aleihem zamech vacharon apcha yasigaim. Tirdof b’af v’tashmidaim mitachat shmay Adonai.
“Pour out your fury on the nations that do not know you, upon the kingdoms that do not invoke your name, they have devoured Jacob and desolated his home.” (Ps. 79:6,7) “Pour out your wrath on them; may your blazing anger overtake them.” (Ps. 69.25) “Pursue them in wrath and destroy them from under the heavens of the Lord!” (Lam. 3:66)
Why do we open the door at this point for the Prophet Elijah?
Elijah is traditionally regarded as the precursor of the Messiah – an impression traced back to the third chapter of Malachi, which is read as the haftarah in shul on the Shabbat before Pesach. There, we are told, G-d “will send you Elijah the prophet, before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord,” the day of judgement.
We open the door at the end of the Seder to check whether Elijah has appeared, ushering in the messianic era. Seder night is considered particularly auspicious for his arrival; redemption from Egypt is the major theme and we allude throughout to the next and final redemption, when the Messiah comes and the Temple is rebuilt.
For Jews throughout history, who have been mistreated and downtrodden, this represented their only hope of a better future.
When we see that Elijah has not arrived, delivering a new age of peace, our immediate response is to urge G-d to pour his wrath upon the nations who have oppressed the Jews (“Shfoch Chamatcha”).
לֹא לָנוּ ,יי, לֹא לָנוּ, כִּי לְשִׁמְךָ תֵּן כָּבוֹד, עַל חַסְדְּךָ, עַל אֲמִתֶּךָ. לָמָּה יֹאמְרוּ הַגּוֹיִם, אַיֵּה נָא אֱלֹהֵיהֶם. ואֱלֹהֵינוּ בַּשָּׁמַיִם, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר חָפֵץ עָשָׂה. עֲצַבֵּיהֶם כֶּסֶף וְזָהָב מַעֲשֵׂה יְדֵי אָדָם. פֶּה לָהֶם וְלֹא יְדַבֵּרוּ, עֵינַיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִרְאוּ. אָזְנָיִם לָהֶם וְלֹא יִשְׁמָעוּ, אַף לָהֶם וְלֹא יְרִיחוּן. יְדֵיהֶם וְלֹא יְמִישׁוּן, רַגְלֵיהֶם וְלֹא יְהַלֵּכוּ, לֹא יֶהְגּוּ בִּגְרוֹנָם. כְּמוֹהֶם יִהְיוּ עֹשֵׂיהֶם, כֹּל אֲשֶׁר בֹּטֵחַ בָּהֶם. יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּטַח בַּיי, עֶזְרָם וּמַָגִנָּם הוּא. בֵּית אַהֲרֹן בִּטְחוּ בַּיי, עֶזְרָם וּמַָגִנָּם הוּא. יִרְאֵי יי בִּטְחוּ בַּיי, עֶזְרָם וּמַָגִנָּם הוּא.
Lo-lanu, Adonai, lo-lanu, ki l'shimcha tein kavod, al chasd'cha al amee-techa. Lamah yomru hagoyeem, ayeih na Eloheihem. Veiloheinu vashamayim, kol asher chafeitz asah. Atzabeihem kesef v'zahav, ma-aseih y'dei adam. Peh lahem v'lo y'dabeiru, einayeem lahem v'lo yiru. Oz'nayeem lahem v'lo yishma-u, af lahem v'lo y'richun. Y'deihem v'lo y'mishun, ragleihem v'lo y'haleichu, lo yehgu bigronam. K'mohem yihyu oseihem, kol asher botei-ach bahem. Yisra-el b'tach b’Adonai, ezram u-maginam hu. Beit aharon bitchu v'Adonai, ezram umageenam hu. Yirei Adonai bitchu v'Adonai, ezram u-mageenam hu.
Not for us, Lord, not for us, but for your name bring glory, for the sake of your kindness and your faithfulness. Let the nations say: "Where is their God?" Our God is in the heavens; all that He wills, He accomplishes. Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but cannot speak; they have eyes, but they cannot see; they have ears, but they cannot hear; they have a nose, but they cannot smell; they have hands, but they cannot feel; they have feet, but they cannot walk; they can utter no sound with their throats. Those who fashions them, whoever trusts them, shall become like them. Israel, trust in the Lord! God is your help and shield.
יי זְכָרָנוּ יְבָרֵךְ. יְבָרֵךְ אֶת בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל, יְבָרֵךְ אֶת בֵּית אַהֲרֹ. יְבָרֵךְ יִרְאֵי יי, הַקְּטַנִים עִם הַגְּדֹלִים. יֹסֵף יי עֲלֵיכֶם, עֲלֵיכֶם וְעַל בְּנֵיכֶם. בְּרוּכִים אַתֶּם לַיי, עֹשֵׂה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ. הַשָּׁמַיִם שָׁמַיִם לַיי,וְהָאָרֶץ נָתַן לִבְנֵי אָדָם. לֹא הַמֵּתִים יְהַלְלוּיָהּ ,וְלֹא כָּל יֹרדֵי דוּמָה. וַאֲנַחְנוּ נְבָרֵךְ יָהּ, מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם, הַלְלוּיָהּ.
Adonai z'charanu y'vareich, y'vareich et beit yisra-el, y'vareich et beit aharon. Y'vareich yirei Adonai, hak'tanim im hag'doleem. Yoseif Adonai aleichem, aleichem v'al b'neichem. B'rucheem atem l'Adonai, oseih shamayeem va-aretz. Hashamayeem shamayeem l'Adonai, v'ha-aretz natan livnei adam. Lo hameiteem y'hal'lu yah, v'lo kol yor'dei dumah. Va-anachnu n'vareich yah, mei-atah v'ad olam, hal'luyah.
The Lord is mindfull of us and will bless us; He will bless the house of Israel; He will bless the house of Aaron; He will bless those who fear the Lord, small and great. May the Lord bless you and increase you, you and your children. You are blessed by the Lord, Maker of heaven and earth. The heaven is the Lord's, but earth has been given to mankind. The dead cannot praise the Lord, nor can any who go down into silence. We will bless the Lord now and forever. Halleluyah.
אָהַבְתִּי כִּי יִשְׁמַע יי אֶת קוֹלִי, תַּחֲנוּנָי. כִּי הִטָּה אָזְנוֹ לִי וּבְיָמַי אֶקְרָא. אֲפָפוּנִי חֶבְלֵי מָוֶת, וּמְצָרֵי שְׁאוֹל מְצָאוּנִי, צָרָה וְיָגוֹן אֶמְצָא. וּבשֵׁם יי אֶקְרָא: אָנָּא יי מַלְּטָה נַפְשִׁי חַנוּן יי וְצַדִיק, וֵאֱלֹהֵינוּ מְרַחֵם. שֹׁמֵר פְּתָאִים יי, דַּלֹתִי וְלִי יְהוֹשִׁיעַ. שׁוּבִי נַפְשִׁי לִמְנוּחָיְכִי, כִּי יי גָּמַל עָלָיְכִי. כִּי חִלַּצְתָּ נַפְשִׁי מִמָּוֶת, אֶת עֵינִי מִן דִּמְעָה, אֶת רַגְלִי מִדֶּחִי. אֶתְהַלֵךְ לִפְנֵי יי, בְּאַרְצוֹת הַחַיִּים. הֶאֱמַנְתִּי כִּי אֲדַבֵּר, אֲנִי עָנִיתִי מְאֹד. אֲנִי אָמַרְתִּי בְחָפְזִי כָּל הָאָדָם כֹּזֵב.
Ahavti ki yishma Adonai, et koli tachanunay. Ki hitah oz'no li, uv'yamai ekra. Afafuni chevlei mavet, um'tzarei sh'ol m'tza-uni, tzarah v'yagon emtza. Uv'sheim Adonai ekra, anah Adonai maltah nafshi. Chanun Adonai v'tzadik, veiloheinu m'racheim. Shomeir p'ta-im Adonai, daloti v'li y'hoshi-a. Shuvi nafshi limnuchay'chi, ki Adonai gamal alay'chi. Ki chee-latzta nafshi mee-mavet, et eini min dee-mah, et ragli mee-dechi. Et-haleich leefnei Adonai, b'artzot hachayeem. He-emanti ki adabeir, anee aniti m'od. Anee amartee v'chof'zi, kol ha-adam kozeiv
I love that the Lord. He hears my pleas because he has inclined his ear to me whenever I call. The bonds of death encompassed me, the torments of the grave have overtaken me; I found trouble and sorrow. Then I called upon the name of the Lord: "O Lord, save my life!" The Lord is gracious and righteous and our God is merciful. The Lord protects the simple; I was brought low and God saved me. Be at rest, oh my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. You delivered me from death, my eyes from tears and my feet from stumbling. I shall walk before the Lord in the lands of the living. I trust in the Lord and have faith even when I speak out "All men are false."
מָה אָשִׁיב לַיי, כֹּל תַּגְמוּלוֹהִי עָלָי. כּוֹס יְשׁוּעוֹת אֶשָּׂא, וּבְשֵׁם יי אֶקְרָא. נְדָרַי לַיי אֲשַׁלֵּם, נֶגְדָה נָּא לְכָל עַמּוֹ. יָקָר בְּעֵינֵי יי הַמָּוְתָה לַחֲסִידָיו. אָנָא יי כִּי אֲנִי עַבְדֶּךָ, אֲנִי עַבְדְּךָ בֶּן אֲמָתֶךָ פִּתַּחְתָּ לְמוֹסֵרָי. לְךָ אֶזְבַּח זֶבַח תּוֹדָה וּבְשֵׁם יי אֶקְרָא. נְדָרַי לַיי אֲשַׁלֵם נֶגְדָה נָא לְכָל עַמוֹ. בְּחַצְרוֹת בֵּית יי, בְּתוֹכֵכִי יְרוּשָלַיִם, הַלְלוּיָהּ.
Mah asheev l'Adonai, kol tagmulohi alay. Kos y'shuot esa, uv'sheim Adonai ekra. N'darai l'Adonai ashaleim, negdah na l'chol amo. Yakar b'einei Adonai, hamav'tah lachasidav. Anah Adonai ki anee avdecha, anee avd'cha ben amatecha, pee-tachta l'moseiray. L'cha ezbach zevach todah, uv'sheim Adonai ekra. N'darai l'Adonai ashaleim, negdah na l'chol amo. B'chatzrot beit Adonai, b'tocheichi y'rushalayim, hal'luyah.
How can I repay the Lord for all His kindness to me? I raise the cup of deliverence, and call upon the name of the Lord. My vows to the Lord I pay in the presence of all His people. Greivous in the Lord’s sight is the death of His faithful followers. O Lord, I am your servant, your servant, the child of your maid-servent; You have undone what bounds me. I sacrifice a thank offering to You, and call upon the name of the Lord. I pay vows to the Lord in the presence of all God’s people,in the courts of the Lord's house, in the midst of Jerusalem. Halleluyah.
הַלְלוּ אֶת יי, כָּל גּוֹיִם, שַׁבְּחוּהוּ כָּל הָאֻמִּים. כִּי גָבַר עָלֵינוּ חַסְדוֹ, וֶאֱמֶת יי לְעוֹלָם, הַלְלוּיָהּ.
Hal'lu et Adonai, kol goyim, shab'chu-hu, kol ha-umeem. Ki gavar aleinu chasdo, ve-emet Adonai l'olam, hal'luyah.
Praise the Lord, all you nations; praise God, all you peoples, for His love to us is great, and the truth of the Lord is forever. Halleluyah.
הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ.
יֹאמַר נָא יִשְׂרָאֵל, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ.
יֹאמְרוּ נָא בֵית אַהֲרֹן, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ.
יֹאמְרוּ נָא יִרְאֵי יי, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ.
Hodu l'Adonai ki tov, ki l'olam chasdo.
Yomar na yisra-eil, ki l'olam chasdo.
Yomru na veit aharon, ki l'olam chasdo.
Yomru na yirei Adonai, ki l'olam chasdo.
Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good; His kindness endures forever. Let Israel declare, His kindness endures forever.’ Let the house of Aaron declare His kindness endures forever’ Let those who rfear the Lord say ‘His kindness endures forever.’
מִן הַמֵּצַר קָרָאתִי יָּהּ, עָנָּנִי בַמֶרְחַב יָהּ. יי לִי לֹא אִירָא ,- מַה יַּעֲשֶׂה לִי אָדָם. יי לִי בְּעֹזְרָי, וַאֲנִי אֶרְאֶה
בְשׂנְאָי. טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּיי,מִבְּטֹחַ בָּאָדָם. טוֹב לַחֲסוֹת בַּיי, מִבְּטֹחַ בִּנְדִיבִים. כָּל גּוֹיִם סְבָבוּנִי, בְּשֵׁם יי כִּי אֲמִילַם. סַבּוּנִי גַם סְבָבוּנִי, בְּשֵׁם יי כִּי אֲמִילַם. סַבּוּנִי כִדְּבֹרִים , דֹּעֲכוּ כְּאֵשׁ קוֹצִים, בְּשֵׁם יי כִּי אֲמִילַם. דָּחֹה דְּחִיתַנִי לִנְפֹּל, וַיי עֲזָרָנִי. עזִּי וְזִמְרָת יָהּ וַיְהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה. קוֹל רִנָּה וִישׁוּעָה בְּאָהֳלֵי צַדִּיקִים יְמִין יי עֹשֵׂה חָיִל. יְמִין יי רוֹמֵמָה, יְמִין יי עֹשֵׂה חָיִל. לֹא אָמוּת כִּי
אֶחְיֶה, וַאֲסַפֵּר מַעֲשֵׂי יָהּ. יַסֹּר יִסְּרַנִי יָּהּ, וְלַמָּוֶת לֹא נְתָנָנִי. פִּתְחוּ לִי שַׁעֲרֵי צֶדֶק, אָבֹא בָם, אוֹדֶה יָהּ. זֶה הַשַּׁעַר לַיי, צַדִּיקִים יָבֹאוּ בוֹ.
Min hameitzar karati yah, anani vamerchav yah. Adonai li lo ira, mah ya-aseh li adam. Adonai li b'oz'ray, va-ani ereh v'son'ay. Tov lachasot b’Adonai, mib'toach ba-adam. Tov lachasot b’Adonai, mib'toach bindivim. Kol goyim s'vavuni, b'sheim Adonai ki amilam. Sabuni gam s'vavuni, b'sheim Adonai ki amilam. Sabuni chidvorim do-achu k'eish kotzim, b'sheim Adonai ki amilam. Dachoh d'chitani linpol, v'Adonai azarani. Ozi v'zimrat yah, vay'hi li lishuah. Kol rinah vishuah b'aholei tzadikim, y'min Adonai osah chayil. Y'min Adonai romeimah, y'min Adonai osah chayil. Lo amut ki echyeh, va-asapeir ma-asei yah. Yasor yis'rani yah, v'lamavet lo n'tanani. Pitchu li sha-arei tzedek, avo vam odeh yah. Zeh hasha-ar l’Adonai, tzadikim yavo-u vo.
From the narrow I called to the Lord, God answered me in the great freedom of space. The Lord is with me, I have no fear, what can man do to me? The Lord is with me as my helper, I will see the defeat of all my foes. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in man. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in greatness. All nations have surrounded me; in the name of the Lord, I have cut them down. They have surrounded me, but in the name of the Lord, I cut them down. They swarmed like bees about me, but they were extinguished like a fire of thorns; but in the name of the Lord, I cut them down. You pushed me and I nearly fell, but the Lord helped me. The Lord is my strength and song; He has become my salvation. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is tents of the righteous resound, "The right hand of the Lord is triumphant! The right hand of the Lord is exalted! The right hand of the Lord triumphs!" I shall not die, but live to proclaim the works of the Lord. The Lord has severely punished me, but he has not handed me over to die. Open the gates of righteousness, that I may enter and praise the Lord. This is the gateway to the Lord, the righteous shall enter through it.
אוֹדְךָ כִּי עֲנִיתָנִי וַתְּהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה.
אוֹדְךָ כִּי עֲנִיתָנִי וַתְּהִי לִי לִישׁוּעָה.
אֶבֶן מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים הָיְתָה לְרֹאשׁ פִּנָּה.
אֶבֶן מָאֲסוּ הַבּוֹנִים הָיְתָה לְרֹאשׁ פִּנָּה.
מֵאֵת יי הָיְתָה זֹּאת הִיא נִפְלָאֹת בְּעֵינֵינוּ.
מֵאֵת יי הָיְתָה זֹּאת הִיא נִפְלָאֹת בְּעֵינֵינוּ.
Od'cha ki anitani, vat'hi li lishuah.
Od'cha ki anitani, vat'hi li lishuah.
Even ma-asu haboneem, hay'tah l'rosh pinah.
Even ma-asu habonim, hay'tah l'rosh pinah.
Mei-eit Adonai hay'tah zot, hi niflat b'eineinu.
Mei-eit Adonai hay'tah zot, hi niflat b'eineinu.
Zeh hayom asah Adonai, nagilah v’nism’chah vo.
Zeh hayom asah Adonai, nagilah v’nism’chah vo.
I thank You for You have answered me, and have become my salvation. The stone which the builders rejected has become the major cornerstone. This the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our sight. This is the day, which the Lord has made – let us be glad and rejoice on it.
אָנָא יי, הוֹשִיעָה נָּא
אָנָא יי, הוֹשִיעָה נָּא
אָנָא יי, הַצְלִיחָה נָא
אָנָא יי, הַצְלִיחָה נָא
Ana Adonai hoshi-ah na
Ana Adonai hoshi-ah na
Ana Adonai hatzlichah na
Ana Adonai hatzlichah na
O Lord, deliver us!
O Lord, deliver us!
O Lord, let us prosper!
O Lord, let us prosper!
בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם יי, בֵּרַכְנוּכֶם מִבֵּית יי
בָּרוּךְ הַבָּא בְּשֵׁם יי, בֵּרַכְנוּכֶם מִבֵּית יי
אֵל יי וַיָּאֶר לָנוּ , אִסְרוּ חַג בַּעֲבֹתִים עַד קַרְנוֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ
אֵל יי וַיָּאֶר לָנוּ , אִסְרוּ חַג בַּעֲבֹתִים עַד קַרְנוֹת הַמִּזְבֵּחַ
אֵלִי אַתָּה וְאוֹדֶךָּ, אֱלֹהַי אֲרוֹמְמֶךָּ
אֵלִי אַתָּה וְאוֹדֶךָּ ,אֱלֹהַי אֲרוֹמְמֶךָּ
הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
Baruch haba b'sheim Adonai, beirachnuchem mibeit Adonai
Baruch haba b'sheim Adonai, beirachnuchem mibeit Adonai
Eil Adonai vaya-er lanu, isru chag ba-avotim ad karnot hamizbei-ach
Eil Adonai vaya-er lanu, isru chag ba-avotim, ad karnot hamizbei-ach
Eili atah v'odeka, elohai arom'meka
Eili atah v'odeka, elohai arom'meka
Hodu l'Adonai ki tov, ki l'olam chasdo
Hodu l'Adonai ki tov, ki l'olam chasdo
Blessed be he who comes in the name of the Lord; we bless you from the House of the Lord. The Lord is God, Who has shown us light; bind the festival offering with cords, up to the altar-horns. You are my God, and I exalt you. Give thanks to the Lord, for God is good, His kindness endures forever.
הוֹדוּ לַיי כִּי טוֹב, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
הוֹדוּ לֵאלֹהֵי הָאֱלֹהִים, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
הוֹדוּ לָאֲדֹנֵי הָאֲדֹנִים, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לעֹשֵׂה נִפְלָאוֹת גְדֹלוֹת לְבַדּוֹ, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לעֹשֵׂה הַשָּׁמַיִם בִּתְבוּנָה, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לְרוֹקַע הָאָרֶץ עַל הַמָּיְם, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לְעֹשֵׂה אוֹרִים גְּדֹלִים, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
אֶת הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת בַּיוֹם, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
אֶת הַיָּרֵחַ וְכוֹכָבִים לְמֶמְשְׁלוֹת בַּלַּיְלָה, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לְמַכֵּה מִצְרַים בִּבְכוֹרֵיהֶם, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וַיוֹצֵא יִשְׂרָאֵל מִתּוֹכָם, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
בְּיָד חֲזָקָה וּבִזְרוֹעַ נְטוּיָה, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לְגֹזֵר יַם סוּף לִגְזָרִים, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וְהֶעֱבִיר יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּתוֹכוֹ, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וְנִעֵר פַּרְעֹה וְחֵילוֹ בְיַם סוּף, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לְמוֹלִיךְ עַמּוֹ בַמִּדְבָּר, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לְמַכֵּה מְלָכִים גְּדֹלִים, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וַיָהֲרֹג מְלָכִים אַדִירִים, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
לְסִיחוֹן מֶלֶךְ הָאֱמֹרִי, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וּלְעוֹג מֶלֶךְ הַבָּשָׁן, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וָנָתַן אַרְצָם לְנַחֲלָה, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
נַחֲלָה לְיִשְׂרָאֵל עָבְדוּ, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
שֶׁבְִּשִׁפְלֵנוּ זָכַר לָנוּ, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
וַיִפְרְקֵנוּ מִצָּרֵינוּ, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
נֹתֵן לֶחֶם לְכָל בָּשָׂר, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
הוֹדוּ לְאֵל הַשָּׁמַיִם, כִּי לְעוֹלָם חַסְדּוֹ
O give thanks unto the Lord, for God is good, for His mercy endures forever
O give thanks unto the God of gods, for His mercy endures forever
O give thanks unto the Lord of lords, for His mercy endures forever
To Him who doeth great wonders, for His mercy endures forever
To Him who made the heavens with understanding, for His mercy endures forever
To Him that spread forth the earth above the waters, for His mercy endures forever
To Him who made great lights, for His mercy endures forever
The sun to reign by day, for His mercy endures forever
The moon and stars to reign by night, for His mercy endures forever
To Him that smote Egypt in their first-born, for His mercy endures forever
And took Israel out from among them, for His mercy endures forever
With a strong hand and an outstretched arm, for His mercy endures forever
To Him who parted the Red Sea, for His mercy endures forever
And made Israel to pass through it, for His mercy endures forever
And threw Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for His mercy endures forever
To Him who led His people through the wilderness, for His mercy endures forever
To Him who smote great kings; for His mercy endures forever
And slew mighty kings, for His mercy endures forever
Sihon, king of the Amorites, for His mercy endures forever
And Og, king of Bashan, for His mercy endures forever
And gave their land as an inheritance, for His mercy endures forever
Even an inheritance unto Israel His servant, for His mercy endures for ever
Who remembered us in our low state, for His mercy endures forever
And hath delivered us from our adversaries, for His mercy endures forever
Who gives food to all creatures, for His mercy endures forever
O give thanks unto the God of heaven, for His mercy endures forever
נִשְׁמַת כָּל חַי תְּבַרֵךְ אֶת שִׁמְךָ, יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ, וְרוּחַ כָּל בָּשָׂר תְּפָאֵר וּתְרוֹמֵם זִכְרְךָ, מַלְכֵּנוּ, תָּמִיד. מִן הָעוֹלָם וְעַד הָעוֹלָם אַתָּה אֵל, וּמִבַּלְעָדֶיךָ אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ גּוֹאֵל וּמוֹשִיעַ, פּוֹדֶה וּמַצִּיל וּמְפַרְנֵס וּמְרַחֵם בְּכָל עֵת צָרָה וְצוּקָה. אֵין לָנוּ מֶלֶךְ אֶלָּא אַתָּה. אֱלֹהֵי הָרִאשׁוֹנִים וְהָאַחֲרוֹנִים, אֱלוֹהַּ כָּל בְּרִיוֹת, אֲדוֹן כָּל תּוֹלָדוֹת, הַמְּהֻלָל בְּרֹב הַתִּשְׁבָּחוֹת, הַמְנַהֵג עוֹלָמוֹ בְּחֶסֶד וּבְרִיּוֹתָיו בְּרַחֲמִים. וַיי לֹא יָנוּם וְלא יִישָׁן - הַמְּעוֹרֵר יְשֵׁנִים וְהַמֵּקִיץ נִרְדָּמִים, וְהַמֵּשִׂיחַ אִלְּמִים וְהַמַּתִּיר אֲסוּרִים וְהַסּוֹמֵךְ נוֹפְלִים וְהַזּוֹקֵף כְּפוּפִים. לְךָ לְבַדְּךָ אֲנַחְנוּ מוֹדִים
אִלּוּ פִינוּ מָלֵא שִׁירָה כַּיָּם, וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה כֲּהַמוֹן גַּלָּיו, וְשִׂפְתוֹתֵינוּ שֶׁבַח כְּמֶרְחֲבֵי רָקִיעַ, וְעֵינֵינוּ מְאִירוֹת כַּשֶׁמֶשׁ וְכַיָּרֵחַ, וְיָדֵינוּ פְרוּשׂוֹת כְּנִשְׂרֵי שָׁמַיִם, וְרַגְלֵינוּ קַלּוֹת כָּאַיָּלוֹת - אֵין אֲנַחְנוּ מַסְפִּיקִים לְהוֹדוֹת לְךָ , יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ , וּלְבָרֵךְ, אֶת שִׁמְךָ עַל אַחַת, מֵאֶלֶף, אַלְפֵי אֲלָפִים וְרִבֵּי רְבָבוֹת פְּעָמִים, הַטּוֹבוֹת שֶׁעָשִׂיתָ עִם אֲבוֹתֵינוּ וְעִמָּנוּ. מִמִּצְרַים גְּאַלְתָּנוּ, יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ, וּמִבֵּית עֲבָדִים פְִּדִיתָנוּ, בְּרָעָב זַנְתָּנוּ וּבְשָׂבָע כִּלְכַּלְתָּנוּ, מֵחֶרֶב הִצַּלְתָּנוּ וּמִדֶּבֶר מִלַּטְתָּנוּ, וּמֵחָלָיִם רָעִים וְנֶאֱמָנִים דִּלִּיתָנוּ. עַד הֵנָּה עֲזָרוּנוּ רַחֲמֶיךָ וְלֹא עֲזָבוּנוּ חֲסָדֶיךָ, וְאַל תִּטְּשֵׁנוּ, יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ, לָנֶצַח. עַל כֵּן אֵבֶָרִים שֶׁפִּלַּגְתָּ בָּנוּ וְרוּחַ וּנְשָׁמָה שֶׁנָּפַחְתָּ בְּאַפֵּינוּ וְלָשׁוֹן אֲשֶׁר שַׂמְתָּ בְּפִינוּ - הֵן הֵם יוֹדוּ וִיבָרְכוּ וִישַׁבְּחוּ וִיפָאֲרוּ וִירוֹמְמוּ וְיַעֲרִיצוּ וְיַקְדִּישׁוּ וְיַמְלִיכוּ אֶת שִׁמְךָ מַלְכֵּנוּ. כִּי כָל פֶּה לְךָ יוֹדֶה, וְכָל לָשׁוֹן לְךָ תִּשָּׁבַע, וְכָל בֶּרֶךְ לְךָ תִכְרַע, וְכָל קוֹמָה לְפָנֶיךָ תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה, וְכָל לְבָבוֹת יִירָאוּךָ, וְכָל קֶרֶב וּכְלָיוֹת יְזַמֵּרוּ לִשְִׁמֶךָ, כַּדָבָר שֶׁכָּתוּב, כָּל עַצְמֹתַי תֹּאמַרְנָה: יי, מִי כָמוֹךָ מַצִּיל עָנִי מֵחָזָק מִמֶּנוּ וְעָנִי וְאֶבְיוֹן מִגֹּזְלוֹ. מִי יִדְמֶה לָּךְ וּמִי יִשְׁוֶה לָּךְ וּמִי יַעֲרֹךְ לַָךְ הָאֵל הַגָּדוֹל, הַגִּבּוֹר וְהַנּוֹרָא, אֵל עֶלְיוֹן, קֹנֵה שָׁמַיִם וָאָרֶץ. נְהַלֶּלְךָ וּנְשַׁבֵּחֲךָ וּנְפָאֶרְךָ וּנְבָרֵךְ אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשֶׁךָ, כָּאָמוּר: לְדָוִד, בָּרְכִי נַפְשִׁי אֶת יי וְכָל קְרָבַי אֶת שֵׁם קָדְשׁוֹ.
Nishmat kol chai t’vareich et shimcha, Adonai Eloheinu, v’ru’ach kol basar t’fa’er u’tromem zicharcha, malkeinu, tamid. Min ha’olam v’ad ha’olam atah El, u’mibaladecha ein lanu melech go’al u’moshia, podeh u’matzil u’m’farnes u’m’rachaem b’chol ait tzarah v’tzukah. Ein lanu melech ela atah. Elohei harishonim v’ha’achronim, Elohah kol bri’ot, Adon kol toldot, ha’m’hulal b’rov hatishbachot, ham’naheg olamo b’chesed u’v’riyotav b’rachamim. V’Adonai lo yanum v’lo yiyshan – ham’orer y’shanim v’hameikitz nidamim, v’hameisi’ach ilmim v’hamatir asurim v’hasomech noflim v’hazokef k’fufim. L’cha l’vadcha anachnu modim.
Eilu pinu malei shirah kayam, u’l’shonainu rinah kahamon galav, v’siftoteinu shevach k’merchavai rakia, v’eineinu m’eerot kashemesh v’chayareiach, v’yadeinu frusot k’nisrai shamayim, v’ragleinu kalot ka’ayalot – ein anachnu maspikim l’hodot lach, Adonai Eloheinu v’Elohei avoteinu, u’l’vareich, et shimcha al achat, mai’elef, alfei alafim v’ribai r’vavot p’amim, hatovot she’asita im avoteinu v’imanu, mimitzrayim g’altanu, Adonai Eloheinu, u’mibeit avadim p’ditanu, b’ra’av zantanu u’v’sava kilkaltanu, maicherev hitzaltanu u’midever milat’tanu, u’maichalim ra’im v’ne’emanim dilitanu. Ad heina azarunu rachamecha v’lo azavunu chasadecha, v’al titsheinu, Adonai Eloheinu, lanetzach. Al kein aivarim shepilagta banu v’ru’ach u’nishamah shenafachta b’apeinu v’lashon asher samta b’finu – hein haim yodu viyvarchu viyshabchu viyfa’aru viyrom’mu v’ya’aritzu v’yak’dishu v’yamlichu et shimcha malkeinu. Ki chol peh lach yodeh, v’chol lashon lach tishava, v’chol berech lach tichra, v’chol komah l’fanecha tishtachaveh, v’chol l’vavot yiyra’oocha, v’chol kerev u’chlayot y’zamru lishmecha, kadavar shekatuv, kol atzmotai toemarna: Adonai, mi chamocha matzil ani maichazak mimenu v’ani v’evyon migozlo. Mi yidmeh lach u’mi yishveh lach u’mi ya’aroch lach ha’El hagadol, hagibor v’hanora, El elyon, konai shamayim v’aretz. N’hallelcha u’n’shabaichacha u’n’fa’ercha u’n’vareich et shem kadshecha, k’amur: l’David, barchi nafshi et Adonai v’chol kravai et shem kadsho.
The soul of every living being shall bless your name, Lord our God the spirit of all flesh shall ever glorify and exalt your remembrance, our King. Throughout eternity Thou art God. Besides Thee we have no king who redeems and saves, ransoms and rescues, sustains and shows mercy in all times of trouble and distress. We have no King but Thee-God of the first and of the last, God of all creatures, Master of all generations, One acclaimed with a multitude of praises, He who guides His world with kindness and His creatures with mercy. The Lord neither slumbers nor sleeps; He rouses those who sleep and wakens those who slumber; He enables the speechless to speak and loosens the bonds of the captives; He supports those who are fallen and raises those who are bowed down. To Thee alone we give thanks.
Were our mouth filled with song as the ocean, and our tongue with joy as the endless waves; were our lips full of praise as the wide heavens, and our eyes shining like the sun or the moon; were our hands spread out in prayer as the eagles of the sky and our feet running as swiftly as the deer--we should still be unable to thank Thee and bless your name, Lord our God and God of our fathers, for one of the thousands and even myriads of favors which Thou hast bestowed on our fathers and on us. Thou hast liberated us from Egypt, Lord our God, and redeemed us from the house of slavery. Thou has fed us in famine and sustained us with plenty. Thou hast saved us from the sword, helped us to escape the plague, and spared us from severe and enduring diseases. Until now your mercy has helped us, and your kindness has not forsaken us; may Thou, Lord our God, never abandon us.
Therefore, the limbs which Thou has given us, the spirit and soul which Thou has breathed into our nostrils, and the tongue which Thou hast placed in our mouth, shall all thank and bless, praise and glorify, exalt and revere, sanctify and acclaim your name, our King. To Thee, every mouth shall offer thanks; every tongue shall vow allegiance; every knee shall bend, and all who stand erect shall bow. All hearts shall revere Thee, and men's inner beings shall sing to your name, as it is written: "all my bones shall say: O Lord, who is like Thee? Thou save the poor man from one that is stronger, the poor and needy from who would rob him." Who may be likened to Thee? Who is equal to Thee? Who can be compared to Thee? O Great, mighty and revered God, supreme God is the Master of heaven and earth. Let us praise, acclaim and glorify Thee and bless your holy name, as it is said: "A Psalm of David: Bless the Lord, O my soul, and let my whole inner being bless His holy name."
הָאֵל בְּתַעֲצֻמוֹת עֻזֶּךָ, הַגָּדוֹל בִּכְבוֹד שְׁמֶךָ, הַגִּבּוֹר לָנֶצַח וְהַנּוֹרָא בְּנוֹרְאוֹתֶיךָ, הַמֶּלֶךְ הַיּושֵׁב עַל כִּסֵּא רָם וְנִשִָּׂא
שׁוֹכֵן עַד מָּרוֹם וְקָּדוֹשׁ שְׁמוֹ. וְכָתוּב: רַנְּנוּ צַדִּיקִים בּ' '', לַיְשָׁרִים נָאוָה תְהִלָּה
בְּפִי יְשָׁרִים תִּתְהַלָּל, וּבְדִבְרֵי צַדִּיקִים תִּתְבַָּרַךְ, וּבִלְשׁוֹן חֲסִידִים תִּתְרוֹמָם, וּבְקֶרֶב קְדוֹשִׁים תִּתְקַדָּשׁ
וּבְמַקְהֲלוֹת רִבבְוֹת עַמְּךָ בֵּית יִשְׂרָאֵל בְּרִנָּה יִתְפָּאֵר שִׁמְךָ, מַלְכֵּנוּ, בְּכָל דּוֹר וָדוֹר, שֶׁכֵּן חוֹבַת כָּל הַיְצוּרִים
לְפָנֶיךָ, יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ , לְהוֹדוֹת לְהַלֵּל לְשַׁבֵּחַ, לְפָאֵר לְרוֹמֵם לְהַדֵּר לְבָרֵךְ, לְעַלֵּה וּלְקַלֵּס עַל כָּל דִּבְרֵי שִׁירוֹת וְתִשְׁבְּחוֹת דַָּוִד בֶּן יִשַׁי עַבְדְּךָ, מְשִׁיחֶךָ
יִשְׁתַּבַּח שִׁמְךָ לַָעַד מַלְכֵּנוּ, הָאֵל הַמֶלֶךְ הַגָּדוֹל וְהַקָּדוֹשׁ בַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבַָאָרֶץ, כִּי לְךָ נָאֶה, יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ וֵאלֹהֵי אֲבוֹתֵינוּ , שִׁיר וּשְׁבָחָה, הַלֵּל וְזִמְרָה, עֹז וּמֶמְשָׁלָה, נֶצַח, גְּדֻלָּה וּגְבוּרָה, תְּהִלָה וְתִפְאֶרֶת, קְדֻשָּׁה וּמַלְכוּת, בְּרָכוֹת וְהוֹדָאוֹת מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם
Ha’El b’ta’atzumot uzecha, hagadol bichvod sh’mecha, hagibor lanetzach v’hanora b’norotecha, hamelech hayoshev al kisei ram v’nisa.
Shochain ad marom v’kadosh sh’mo. V’katuv: ran’n’u tzadikim b’Adonai, laiysharim nava t’hilah.
B’fi y’sharim tithallal, u’v’divrei tzadikim titbarach, u’vilshon chasidim titromam, u’vkerev k’doshim titkadash.
Uv’makalot riv’vot amcha beit Yisrael b’rinah yitpa’er shimcha, malkeinu, b’chol dor vador. Shekein chovat kol hay’tzurim l’fanech, Adonai Eloheinu v’Elohei avoteinu, l’hodot l’hallel l’shabei’ach, l’pa’er l’romem l’hader l’vareich, l’alai u’l’kalais al kol divrei shirot v’tishbachot David ben Yishai avd’cha, mishichecha.
Yishtabach shimcha la’ad malkeinu, Ha’El hamelech hagadol v’hakadosh bashamayim u’va’aretz, ki l’cha na’eh, Adonai Eloheinu v’Elohei avoteinu, shir u’shvachah, hallel v’zimrah, oaz u’memshalah, netzach, g’dulah u’g’vurah, t’hilah v’tiferet, k’dushah u’malchut, brachot v’hoda’ot mai’atah v’ad olam.
O God in your mighty acts of power, great in the honor of your name, powerful forever and revered for your awe-inspiring acts, O King seated upon a high and lofty throne!
He who abidest forever, exalted and holy is His name. And it is written: "Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous; it is pleasant for the upright to give praise."
By the mouth of the upright you shall be praised; By the words of the righteous you shall be blessed;
By the tongue of the pious you shall be exalted; And in the midst of the holy you shall be sanctified.
In the assemblies of the multitudes of your people, the house of Israel, with song shall your name, our King, be glorified in every generation. For it is the duty of all creatures to thank, praise, laud, extol, exalt, adore, and bless Thee; even beyond the songs and praises of David the son of Jesse, your anointed servant.
Praise be your name forever, our King, who rules and is great and holy in heaven and on earth; for to Thee, Lord our God, it is fitting to render song and praise, hallel and psalms, power and dominion, victory, glory and might, praise and beauty, holiness and sovereignty, blessings and thanks, from now and forever.
The Fourth Cup of Wine
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, borei p’ri hagafen.
Praised are you, Adonai, Ruler of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.
Drink the wine, then recite the concluding blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ העוֹלָם, עַל הַגֶּפֶן וְעַל פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן ,וְעַל תְּנוּבַת הַשָּׂדֶה וְעַל אֶרֶץ חֶמְדָּה טוֹבָה וּרְחָבָה שֶׁרָצִיתָ וְהִנְחַלְתָּ לַאֲבוֹתֵינוּ לֶאֱכֹל מִפִּרְיָהּ וְלִשְׂבֹּעַ מִטּוּבָהּ רַחֶם נָא יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ עַל יִשְׂרָאֵל עַמֶּךָ וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִירֶךָ וְעַל צִיּוֹן מִשְׁכַּן כְּבוֹדֶךָ וְעַל מִזְבְּחֶךָ וְעַל הֵיכָלֶךָ וּבְנֵה יְרוּשָׁלַיִם עִיר הַקֹדֶשׁ בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵינוּ וְהַעֲלֵנוּ לְתוֹכָהּ וְשַׂמְחֵנוּ בְּבִנְיָנָהּ וְנֹאכַל מִפִּרְיָהּ וְנִשְׂבַּע מִטּוּבָהּ וּנְבָרֶכְךָ עָלֶיהָ בִּקְדֻשָׁה וּבְטָהֳרָה (בשבת: וּרְצֵה וְהַחֲלִיצֵנוּ בְּיוֹם הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶּה) וְשַׂמְחֵנוּ בְּיוֹם חַג הַמַּצּוֹת הַזֶּה , כִּי אַתָּה יי טוֹב וּמֵטִיב לַכֹּל וְנוֹדֶה לְּךָ עַל הָאָרֶץ וְעַל פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי עַל הַגֶּפֶן וְעַל פְּרִי הַגֶּפֶן.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, al ha-gafen v’al p’ri ha-gafen, al t’nuvat hasadeh v’al aretz chemdah tovah u’r’chavah sheratzita v’hinchalta la’avoteinu le’echol mipiryah v’lisboa mituvah racheim na Adonai Eloheinu al Yisrael amecha v’al Yerushalayim irecha v’al tzion mishkan k’vodecha v’al mizbecha v’al haichalecha u’vnei Yerushalayim ir hakodesh bimheirah b’yamenu v’ha’aleinu l’tochah v’samcheinu b’vinyanah v’nochal mipriyah v’nisba mituvah u’nivarechecha aleha bikdushah u’vtaharah (u’rtzei v’hachalitzeinu b’yom haShabbat hazeh) v’samcheinu b’yom chag hamatzot hazeh, ki Atah Adonai tov u’maitiv lakol v’nodeh l’cha al ha’aretz v’al p’ri hagefen. Baruch Atah Adonai, al ha-gafen v’al p’ri ha-gafen.
Praised are you, Adonai, Ruler of the universe, for the vine and the fruit, and for produce of the field, for the beautiful and spacious land, which you gave to our ancestors as a heritage. Have mercy, Adonai our God, on Israel your people, on Jerusalem your city. Rebuild Jerusalem, the holy city, speedily in our days. Bring us there and cheer us with its restoration; may we eat Israel’s produce and enjoy its goodness; we praise you for Jerusalem’s centrality in our lives. (On Shabbat add: Favor us and strengthen us on this Sabbath day) and grant us happiness on this Feast of Matzot, For you, Adonai are good and beneficent to all, and we thank you for the land and the fruit of the vine. Praised are you, Adonai, for the land and the fruit of the vine.
After all the singing is concluded we rise and recite together the traditional formula, the Seder is concluded .
חֲסַל סִדּוּר פֶּסַח כְּהִלְכָתוֹ, כְּכָל מִשְׁפָּטוֹ וְחֻקָתוֹ. כַּאֲשֶׁר זָכִינוּ לְסַדֵּר אוֹתוֹ. כֵּן נִזְכֶּה לַעֲשׂוֹתוֹ. זָךְ שׁוֹכֵן מְעוֹנָה, קוֹמֵם קְהַל עֲדַת מִי מָנָה. בְּקָרוֹב נַהֵל נִטְעֵי כַנָּה. פְּדוּיִם לְצִיוֹן בְּרִנָּה.
Chasal sidur pesach k'hilchato, k'chol mishpato v'chukato. Ka-asher zachinu l'sadeir oto, kein nizkeh la-asoto. Zach shochein m'onah, komeim k'hal adat mi manah. B'karov naheil nitei chanah, p'duyim l'tzion b'rinah.
The Passover Seder is concluded, according to each traditional detail with all its laws and customs. As we have been privileged to celebrate this Seder, so may we one day celebrate it in Jerusalem. Pure One who dwells in the high places, support your People countless in number. May you soon redeem all your People joyfully in Zion.
At the conclusion of the Seder, everyone joins in singing:
לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשַָׁלָיִם
L'shana Haba'ah b'Y’rushalayim
Next Year in Jerusalem!
Chasal Siddur Pesach was written in 11th-century Germany by Yosef Tov Elem. We often understand it as meaning, “The Seder is completed appropriately, with all its laws and practices. . . . ”. However, this is mistaken.
The poem was originally intended to be recited on the Shabbat prior to Passover, when it is customary to learn about the holiday and become familiar with its laws and practices. Therefore, it is not the Seder which we have finished - but studying the siddur of Pesach, that is, the order of the proceedings (from the same root as Seder, of course), before the event itself.
Chasal Siddur Pesach really means, “We have completed an appropriate preparation (i.e., knowing everything’s order) of the laws and practices of Passover,” but not the actual execution of the laws and practices themselves. This is why the poem ends with, “Just as we have merited to order it, so too shall we merit to execute it,” bringing together our ordering intent with practice -- when it was originally sung, the Seder was still ahead.
During Passover, some vegetarians use a broiled beet instead of a lamb bone on their seder plate. The beet, blood-red in colour, serves as a reminder of the Paschal sacrifice. Others use an avocado pit instead of a lamb bone on their seder plate.
According to tradition, Miriam gave water from her well to sustain the Israelites in the desert. Some people honour Miriam by placing a cup for her at the seder table and pouring water from their glasses into her cup.
In the mid 1930s, Maxwell House in America started giving out Haggadot to clarify that coffee beans are kosher for Passover, and thus prevent a dip in coffee sales. Distributed nearly every year since, there are now more than 50 million copies in print.
During the Civil War, despite the divide, Union and Confederate Jews bonded together during Passover, even inviting their adversaries to family seders.
Jewish Civil War soldiers without ingredients for charoset put a real brick on their seder plate. In 18th-century Salonika, Greece, people added chopped stone to their charoset, and some Moroccans included grated rock.
Many Jews were in synagogue for Passover when Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. The American Jewish Historical Society notes that synagogue bimahs "were quickly draped in black and, instead of Passover melodies, the congregations chanted Yom Kippur hymns."
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the world’s largest matzah ball was unveiled in Tucson, Arizona, in 2010. Weighing in at 488 pounds, this giant matzah ball was made from more than 1,000 eggs and 125 pounds of matzah meal.
In the British territory of Gibraltar, Jews actually mix the dust of bricks into their charoset, a symbol of the mortar used to hold together the brick walls the Jews built in Egypt.
Coca-Cola makes a special batch of kosher-for-Passover Coke with real sugar instead of high-fructose corn syrup, because corn products are forbidden during the holiday. Look for the bottles with yellow caps.
In Vilna, Poland, during World War I, it was very difficult to find kosher wine. Rabbinical authorities made a special announcement to allow sweet tea to be substituted for the traditional four cups of wine during the seder.
Centuries ago during Passover, Jewish people living in the Sahara abandoned their fortified villages and marched into the desert, in memory of the first Passover.
Manischewitz alone sells more than 1.5 million jars of gefilte fish in the US and internationally — that’s almost one jar for every 10 Jews in the world.Persian Jews distribute green onions during the song Dayenu and hit each other with the stalks when the ninth stanza begins.
Samantha and Samara, and Rachel and Reut, and some of the other girls in the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Community Hebrew Academy high school choir swear to me that the Passover music they will be performing later that night at the Richmond Hill Centre for Performing Arts is “cool,” “awesome,” and “enthralling.”
Mostly, though, it is old. Extremely old, and rare — as in Medieval old and Medieval rare. Johannes Rittangel, an obscure 17th-century Christian scholar with a fascination for Judaism had a particular fascination with the Haggadah — the liturgy of the Passover night Seder meal.
He translated it into Latin, a rare enough feat, but even rarer, in historical terms, was his decision to include the musical notation to the traditional Passover songs — a musical artifact that promptly got lost for 400 years until it popped up on a website devoted to Jewish historical curiosities in January.
It was spotted there by Paul Shaviv, a Jew, a history nut and the head of the Tanenbaum academy. He had a wild idea: why not feature two pieces of music that have not been heard since 1644 at the suburban Toronto school’s 2012 Sounds of Spring Concert?
“As far as the school has been able to find these songs have not been sung for 400 years, and it has been suggested to us that when they were written down they were already old, and may even date from the 13th or 14th century,” Mr. Shaviv says.
“The people that performed this, who actually wrote it down, did so before there was a Canada. And if you look at it from their point of view, could they ever imagine Canadian kids in sweatpants and sneakers singing it?”
Short answer: probably not.
It is rehearsal time. Tuesday night is the big night. Kids are asking questions, moving music stands, checking to see if the piano is tuned, straightening chairs and straightening their yarmulkes.
“We want you to sing so Rittangel can hear you,” Mr. Shaviv says. “Remember: Rittangel has been dead for 400 years.”
Jacklyn Klimitz, a music teacher, is the conductor.
“I want a quick posture check,” she says. “Hands behind your backs. Backs straight. Sing to the back of the wall.”
And … they sing, a pair of tunes in tremulous, teenage voices that gather strength and confidence on a second take. The words to the songs are familiar to the singers, and to any Jew who celebrates the Passover Seder. The actual words have not changed, not in a few thousand years.
But the music has evolved through the centuries. And the music filling the theatre is a definite throwback.
“It is not exactly what I would describe as jaunty,” says Zev Steinfeld, a Jewish Studies teacher. “It is more of a dirge than a toe-tapper, but it is an interesting way to look at our peoples’ history, to engage with it, rather than just read about it in a book.”
The songs, to the ears of a non-practising Catholic, are not destined for the Top 40. They are something else: something old, and pious sounding, and something that would not sound out of place around the Medieval supper table.
Rittangel, the man who wrote them down, was a Lutheran-Protestant. There is speculation among some scholars that he had a Jewish mother. At the time of his writing Europe, beyond some Jewish ghettoes in Italy, and Amsterdam, which was the hub of European religious freedom, was a landscape devoid of Jews.
They were banished from England in the 13th century and persecuted and expelled from every place else.
“Rittangel would have regarded the Old Testament as kind of the New Testament in disguise,” says Philip Beitchman, a retired lecturer at St. John’s University in New York who is familiar with Rittangel’s work. “What he would have been trying to do was convert Jews — the argument being that the early Christians were in fact the true Jews.”
Rittangel’s campaign of conversion was, of course, unsuccessful. What has lasted, however, and resurfaced amid a 21st-century high school choir at a Jewish private school in Toronto is powerful stuff: the sound of Passover’s past.
The Medieval Haggadah is a musical relic and a reminder that, while the music might change, the songs — and the faith — endure.
And so, too, will Johannes Rittangel and the 2012 Sounds of Spring Concert. A videographer from the school is taping the performance.
The plan is to put it on Youtube.
* National Post article: http://bit.ly/GVruMH
* Youtube video of the songs being performed in rehearsal: http://bit.ly/GXh3XA
* Original On the Main Line article: http://bit.ly/HfBQVh and follow-up: http://bit.ly/HXKgb5
The Haggadah has a long and distinguished history. And, in a wide spectrum of times and climes, it has been a book lavishly illustrated. Can one, after all conceive of a ritual moment more central to the Jewish experience as a whole than the Seder experience? Can one conceive of the Seder without the haggadah? And although they tend to be taken for granted can one conceive of the haggadah without the illustrations that accompany it?
Why the illustrations? Well, most discerning and aesthetically minded people tend to implicitly understand that the mandate to "expand upon the recounting of the Exodus" is not limited to text. A beautiful book with engaging, even mysterious illustrations can enhance the experience of putting oneself in the very shoes of those who hastily traversed the borders of the Land of Egypt on the night of the Exodus, fleeing the bondage of Egypt’s Pharaoh for the service of Sinai’s God.
Moreover, on the Seder night, one obligated to view oneself as if he or she had personally come out of Egypt. And Jews did so, graphically, in their illustrated haggadot, putting themselves into the picture, making the persons and places of the haggadah’s narrative their own.
The haggadah is a book for all seasons, for every individual. And in this sense, each haggadah from the most ancient to the most au courant and avant-garde is a “contemporary” haggadah. But lets be honest: There ARE some core values exemplified by contemporary haggadot that we tend to understand as characteristically postmodern and very exciting.
These include reflexivity and self-referentiality, meaning the ability not only to see ourselves in the story, but to see the story as applying to our particular individual circumstances. The story becomes our story, the tears of struggle become the tears of our struggle, the exhilaration of freedom becomes the exhilaration of our freedom, and the story becomes one about race, gender, oppression, homophobia, etc. etc.
As postmodern people, we also pride ourselves on the fact that our haggadot give us the critical distance to appraise and critique established religious, social and political norms.
The contemporary haggadah is a highly specialized affair, there are thousands out there, each aimed at a very particular constituency: There are vegetarian haggadot, secular haggadot, queer, feminist, gay and lesbian haggadot, hippy haggadot, historical haggadot, Holocaust Haggadot, hipster haggadot. This highly individuated approach, in which every haggadah is the haggadah of a particular constituency is a highly contemporary, postmodern approach.
This is somewhat ironic for me as a medievalist, of course, since all these contemporary haggadot are mass-produced, whereas each medieval manuscript haggadah was lovingly illuminated by hand for an individual person or family. The problem is that we cant tell very much about the intimate context of medieval haggadot, particularly those for which there is no provenance information (information about the origins of the manuscripts). What they may have meant to the individuals and families who commissioned them—the very information so crucial to us as contemporary viewers—seems to be irretrievably lost.
Even worse—it has long been the opinion of scholars of renown that medieval haggadot reflect the taste of the “Christian masters of the Jews,” and that many were likely illuminated by non-Jews, the whole project of determining what such a manuscript meant to the people who commissioned, viewed and treasured it seems doomed to failure. What, really, is there to say about such a work that will appeal to contemporary viewers, hungry as they are for haggadot that reflect particular, individual, intimate concerns? How much is there to appeal to them in what they might imagine to be highly conservative, stiff and stuffy, enigmatically impenetrable medieval book?
The fact is, there is a great deal to see and to learn. In my new book, The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination, (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0300156669/) which has recently, I am pleased to report, sold out its first Yale University Press run after a stunning and humbling review as one of the “Best Books of 2011” in the London Times Literary Supplement, http://tinyurl.com/EpsteinTLS) I explore four magnificent and enigmatic illuminated haggadot with an eye, specifically, to the issues that most intrigue contemporary audiences.
I discuss the earliest known illuminated haggadah, the so-called Birds’ Head Haggadah, made in the Rhineland Valley around 1300, now in the collection of the Israel Museum in Jerusalem. I attempt to get to the bottom of the mystery of the fact that in this book many of the faces on the human figures depicted throughout are replaced with those of birds. I discuss the ways in which Jews saw and projected themselves by means of these images.
Then, there are the Rylands Haggadah (now in Manchester) and its so-called Brother (in the British Library), both illuminated in Barcelona in the mid-14th century, and previously noted for their “nearly identical iconography.” Contrarian that I am, I examine their differences and learn a great deal from them about the nuances. It turns out that one of these “twins” is stridently political, socially critical, and religiously somewhat radical, while the other is much more conservative and quietistic. Clearly, although they were produced in nearly the same place and time, they emerge from entirely different socio-political contexts in spite of their apparent similarities.
But it is the most beautiful example, the Golden Haggadah, the one that appears on the cover of the book, that I enjoyed writing about most. Much of the scholarly attention focused upon this magnificent manuscript (made in Spain, probably Barcelona, around 1320, and now in the British Library’s collection) in fact accrues to it by virtue of its high style. In fact, the Golden Haggadah has often received the high compliment of being described as being devoid of all but the most superficial distinctive elements marking it as intended for a Jewish audience. “Funny —in other words—you don’t look Jewish.” Non-Jewish taste, most likely non-Jewish artists. Is there even a Jewish story here?
Part of my detective work in The Medieval Haggadah has been to demonstrate the inherent Jewishness of this work in spite of its manifestly non- or un-Jewish appearance. It may have been created by Jews or by non-Jews working for Jews. We don’t know. But one thing we do know is that this manuscript, which was very expensive, was created by whoever created it Jew or Gentile under the very direct guidance of Jews, some quite learned. The Golden Haggadah was the equivalent—both in price and in patron-generated input—of a postmodern architect-designed house! And the patrons were definitely Jews, so we are indisputably looking at a collaboration—a close one between—the designers and those who executed the design.
My book demonstrates how deeply the Golden Haggadah’s illustrations are informed by Jewish exegesis and rabbinic midrash, and how the “authorship” (the patrons and their rabbinic advisors) went beyond the mere literal illustration of scripture and midrash to add their own “special something” to the illustrations in the way of indigenous, contemporary political and social and even theological commentary. In this sense, the art becomes commentary, which, in many cases responds to or even subverts traditional literary commentaries.
In fact, I’m even able to show how even the very structure of the manuscript how the details of the illuminations are physically oriented in space is evidence of a concerted, detailed and Jewishly sophisticated plan.
I also discuss the ways in which the authorship of this manuscript adopts and adapts motifs from the wider culture, which certainly makes sense if you think about it, since the style of Jewish art tends to reflect the style of contemporary art in all times and places. But what happens when Jews and Christians use nearly identical images to tell very different stories? When Moses’ flight from Midian to Egypt is garbed in the same clothes—so to speak—as the image of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus’ so-called “Flight into Egypt”?
As Catalan Jews of the 1320s, the authorship of the Golden Haggadah were indistinguishable in many aspects of their external appearance and material culture from their Christian neighbors. In all their stylistic externals, they appeared not as distinctively Jewish, but as members of the wider society. But what they DO with the art is very different, and, as I argue in the case of this image, sometimes comes as a direct response or a challenge to the way the oh-so-similar image is employed in Christian culture.
Now that’s all very nice. But I’ll tell you a secret: I may study medieval haggadot, but I am a contemporary Jew. So I’m less interested in art or even in the haggadah than I am in people—Jews, specifically—and the individual, particular, and intimate concerns of those Jews. Who were the Jews who commissioned this manuscript? What were their lives like? Why was the manuscript made, and for whom?
The Golden Haggadah is an orphan manuscript. That is to say that we totally lack external information about who commissioned the manuscript and for what purpose, so no scholar has ventured to say more. But when I look at the manuscript, I see things and I cant keep silent.
In the book I go out on a limb beyond the normal bonds of documentary evidence into the realm of speculation (although the speculation is grounded in over three hundred contextualizing footnotes). But my research resembles nothing more than it does a detective story in the truest sense. It has all the proper elements—fortuitous discovery, a trail of clues, a speculation. True, it lacks real resolution, but give me a break— we’re dealing with a case that by any contemporary standard is “cold.” In another decade, the protagonists will have been gone 800 years.
Here’s the case: In looking over the structure of the manuscript, I began to notice something strange about the iconography. The Golden Haggadah is replete with no less than forty-six prominent depictions of women, and the biblical sequence culminates with a depiction of seven women in the illustration of the Song of Miriam and women and girls prominently involved in the scenes of Passover preparation. Scholars have placed no particular emphasis to the number of women or their prominence in these depictions. They have simply assumed that the women depicted in the Golden Haggadah simply represent “unremarkable actors necessarily demanded by the narratives depicted.”
Or were they?
My thesis in The Medieval Haggadah is that the Golden Haggadah was made for Catalan Jewish woman of around 1320, a woman who had experienced a particularly trying personal circumstance. My evidence? The internal iconography of the book, its pictorial preoccupations, a later ownership inscription, themes that appear again and again, even the representation of a particular woman. Can I “prove” this with certainty? Of course not. Does that bother me? Not at all. All I aim to achieve in this book is to come somewhat closer to what you and I—contemporary viewers that we are—crave to know about the intimate (in this case very intimate) context of the creation of this manuscript and the others I lovingly describe in the book.
Our haggadot are feminist, emotionally and spiritually questing, concerned with ethics, with loss, with restoration, with relevance. So when I discover forty-six women—hitherto unrecognized and unacknowledged in both their pain and their joy—calling out to me from the pages of a magnificent medieval book I cannot simply be silent about them in the face of a lack of conclusive external proof. Ought I go to my grave without ever sharing with you what I think they are trying to tell us?
You know, for years, the way the history of Jewish art was written was by scholars keeping their cards very close to their chests, controlling access to the manuscripts in libraries and museums, only showing the public what they wanted them to see. My new book bursts all this open —it provides complete facsimiles of all the manuscripts I discuss, in full color and in full size—so that the reader does not merely receive sound bites. My hope is that the boldness of my speculations and my openness with the material will urge other scholars and, even more importantly, perhaps— readers like you—to add their own voices to the discussion, and to be able to glimpse the lives of the people who made these wonderful and amazing books.
About Marc Michael
Marc Michael Epstein is Professor of Religion at Vassar College, where he has been teaching for over two decades. A graduate of Oberlin College, Epstein received the MA, MPhil, and PhD at Yale University, and did much of his graduate research at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He has written on various topics in visual and material culture produced by, for, and about Jews. His most recent book,The Medieval Haggadah: Art, Narrative, and Religious Imagination (Yale, 2011) was selected by the London Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of 2011. During the 80s, Epstein was Director of the Hebrew Books and Manuscripts division of Sotheby's Judaica department, and continues to serve as consultant to various libraries, auction houses, museums and private collectors throughout the world, among them the Herbert C. and Eileen Bernard Museum at Temple Emanu-El in New York City, for which he curated the inaugural exhibition
More often than not, the history of the Jews is one of upheaval rather than stability. It is the story of migration, change, renewal--and more change. And yet, through it all, one phenomenon has endured and held its own for millennia: a very humble food product fashioned from wheat, water, and salt which we know as matzah.
Think about it. Matzah, the unleavened bread which the Israelites ate as they hurriedly prepared to leave Egypt for the Promised Land, continues, thousands of years after the fact, to be consumed at the Passover seder by their latter-day descendants, contemporary Jews who call the suburbs, rather than Canaan, their home. What's more, come Passover-time, the shelves of supermarkets throughout the length and breadth of North America are crowded with box after box containing identically shaped, neatly perforated sheets of matzah. How many ritual foodstuffs do you know that go back that far and are mass-produced today?
Matzah's longevity is even more remarkable given our fickle palates and nationwide penchant for indulging in and then discarding one gastronomic trend after another. Add to the mix the availability of whole-wheat matzahs, salt-free matzahs, tea matzahs, and self-styled artisanal matzahs that sell for well over $20 a pound, and the staying power of this food is nothing short of breathtaking.
Scholars of the ancient Near East are quick to point out that the matzah we eat in 2005 is probably not quite the same unleavened bread our ancestors consumed way back when. For one thing, the type of grain the Israelites used was undoubtedly a different species than what's produced in the US today; for another, the size and overall appearance of matzah in the ancient world was a far cry from ours: much larger, more disc-shaped (the Bible, for instance, refers to "cakes" of matzah), and far more roughhewn around the edges than our own.
But then, our contemporary notion of what constitutes authentic matzah is itself a relatively recent invention, an artifact of modernity, as the research of Professor Jonathan Sarna of Brandeis University makes clear. Well into the 19th century, matzah was made by hand, in dark and unheated basements to prevent the dough from rising; the shape of the matzah was irregular, at best; and packaging came in the form of newspapers rather than sanitary boxes.
More to the point, the very idea of industrializing and standardizing matzah production was anathematized by leading rabbinical authorities of the time. Although by 1838 a device capable of kneading matzah mechanically had been invented, Europe's rabbis expressed grave reservations about it, in some quarters even going so far as to pronounce its use as treif. Some feared that mechanization would destroy the livelihood of those who had traditionally earned their modest keep from the kneading and rolling of the matzah dough; others worried that, with the new technology, stray contaminants might work their way into the matzah, rendering it unfit for ritual consumption. And still others were simply unready to come to grips with the manifold challenges modernity posed to the traditional, time-honored way of doing things.
Attempts at convincing the rabbinate, and with it, traditional elements of both European and American Jewish society, that the mechanization of matzah might well be a boon rather than a drawback took some doing. That responsibility fell to Dov Behr Manischewitz, the creator of America's very first matzah factory, which opened in Cincinnati, Ohio in the 1880s.
A rabbi as well as an astute businessman, Manischewitz took great pains to secure the approval of the leading Torah sages of Jerusalem, whose consent he succeeded in winning by trading on his own yichus (pedigree), cultivating close ties with the rabbinical establishment of the Holy Land, and demonstrating his religious rectitude and noble intentions by establishing a yeshiva in Jerusalem that bore his good name. He would subsequently display their endorsement--"There is none more faithful to be found"--in both English and Hebrew on the exterior of his mass-produced matzah boxes.
At the Manischewitz plant in Cincinnati, where, it was said, "no human hand touches these matzahs," or at the factories of its competitors such as Horowitz Bros. & Margareten, whose owners boasted that, when it came to making matzah, they followed "carefully computed formulae," much was made of the felicitous union between modernity and tradition.
Much was also made of hygiene. In an effort to persuade Jewish consumers to relinquish their tried-and-true ways of doing things (e.g., purchasing old-fashioned, irregularly shaped matzah, loosely wrapped in newsprint), modern-day matzah manufacturers appealed to what, earlier in the 20th century, had already become an issue of great concern: the fear of germs. Drawing on what was then called "antiseptic-consciousness," they spoke lyrically of their sun-flooded factories and of the "sanitary and painstaking conditions" under which modern-day matzah was made.
If health concerns were not reason enough to switch, matzah manufacturers drew on an additional source of persuasion: the radio jingle. "Manischewitz Matzo, buy, buy, buy" went one jaunty B. Manischewitz Co. commercial. Another radio ad put it this way: "When you hear the word 'sterling,' what comes to mind? Silver. When you hear the word 'matzah,' what comes to mind? Why, Manischewitz." The handiwork of lyricist and Yiddish lexicographer Nahum Stutchkoff, these pitches, along with dozens of others like them, endowed Manischewitz matzah with attributes worthy of Mother Nature herself: "burnished," "pearl-like," and "bright as the rising sun."
If neither health nor peppy jingles did the trick, there was always the recipe. Sometime during the interwar years and peaking in postwar America, test kitchen cooks and Jewish cookbook authors joined forces in a concerted attempt to broaden matzah use beyond the boundaries of the seder, and to avoid "matzah monotony" by adapting this ancient foodstuff to modern tastes. Appealing to what one food writer of the 1930s called the "unusual recipe-consciousness" of America's Jews, they crafted imaginative uses for it, from making spaghetti out of matzah meal to fashioning farfeloons, an exotic, macaroon-like concoction, from matzah farfel.
So pliant, so versatile was matzah, the organizers of the 1939-1940 World's Fair invited Horowitz Bros. & Margareten to showcase a model matzah factory on the grounds of an international exposition devoted to "Building the World of Tomorrow." For some reason, the exhibit did not materialize (historians aren't quite sure why), but the very idea of displaying a matzah factory at the World's Fair underscored the possibility that tradition could make its peace with the modern era.
Industrialized, standardized, advertised, sung about, and otherwise reimagined, millennial matzah lent itself admirably to adaptation. Under these circumstances, is it any wonder that so many American Jews found it difficult to resist what one of their number, in 1911, described as the "call of the matzah"? Then, as now, there's something in that ancient amalgam of water, wheat, and salt that speaks of hope.
Jenna Weissman Joselit is a cultural historian of American Jewish life and the author of The Wonders of America: Reinventing Jewish Culture.
"How Matzah Became Square: Manishewitz and the Development of Machine-Made Matzah in the United States," Jonathan D. Sarna. Sixth Annual Lecture of the Victor J. Selmanowitz Chair of Jewish History, 2005. In 1888, after several years as a shohet ubodek and part-time peddler, Behr Manischewitz opened a matzah factory in Cincinnati. This was a common profession for Jewish immigrants, especially those trained in shehitah, for matzah too as a Jewish food strictly regulated by Jewish law and requiring supervision. Moreover, demand for matzah was rising steadily in the United States, keeping pace with the growth of America's Jewish population, and the industry as a whole was in the midst of a great transformation. Through the mid-19th century, most matzah had been baked by synagogues. . .With the collapse of the synagogue community and the subsequent proliferation of synagogues in all major American Jewish communities, the now functionally delimited synagogues spun off many of their old communal functions (including responsibility for communal welfare, the mikvah, and kosher meat), and it was at this time, at mid-century, that independent matzah bakers developed (2).
At the time that Manischewitz entered the matzah business, the industry was in a state of considerable flux. Much of the world's matzah was still made totally by hand (3).
In the 19th century, with the rise of industrialization, processes like this began to be mechanized, and in 1838 an Alsatian Jew named Isaac Singer produced the first known machine for rolling matzah dough (4). Subsequently, the matzah machine became embroiled in a sharp and very significant halakhic controversy (along with social justice issues of preserving work for poor people as well as issues concerning modernity and Judaism) (4-5).
Manischewitz introduced a series of improvements and inventions that revolutionized the process of matzah baking the world over. . By 1903, he was using at least three different machines as part of the matzah making process. Jacob Uriah Manischewitz, who succeeded his father as president of the Manischewitz company upon the former's untimely passing in 1914, is credited with more than fifty patents including an electric eye which automatically counted the number of matzos in a box at a rate of 600 a minute, as well an innovations in packaging, and a special "matsos machine" introduced in 1920, which could produce 1.25 million matzohs every day (6).
The result was nothing less than a revolution in the matzah business characterized by three major transformations: First, where before most matzah had been round, irregular or oval shaped now, largely because of the demands of technology and packing, it became square. Second, where before each matzah was unique and distinctive in terms of shape, texture, and overall appearance--no two were identical as it true of shmurah matzah to this day-- now every matzah in the box came out looking, feeling, and tasting the same. Matzah thus underwent the same process of rationalization, standardization, and mechanization that we associate with the American management revolution wrought by Frederick Winslow Taylor. Finally, where before matzah was a quintessentially local product on an as-needed basis in every Jewish community and not shipped vast distances for fear of breakage, now it became a national and then an international product (7).
For American Jewry during the Civil War, the Passover story was especially powerful. Northern soldiers saw clear parallels between the Union freeing the South's slaves and Moses leading the ancient Hebrews out of Egypt. However, creating a seder during in a war zone requires flexibility and creativity.
In 1862, the Jewish Messenger published an account by J. A. Joel of the 23rd Ohio Volunteer Regiment of a seder celebrated by Union soldiers in Fayette, West Virginia. Joel and 20 other Jewish soldiers were granted leave to observe Passover. A soldier home on leave in Cincinnati shipped matzot and hagaddot to his colleagues. Joel wrote:
We . . . sen[t] parties to forage in the country [for Passover food] while a party stayed to build a log hut for the services. . . We obtained two kegs of cider, a lamb, several chickens and some eggs. Horseradish or parsley we could not obtain, but in lieu we found a weed whose bitterness, I apprehend, exceeded anything our forefathers 'enjoyed.'
We had the lamb, but did not know what part was to represent it at the table; but Yankee ingenuity prevailed, and it was decided to cook the whole and put it on the table, then we could dine off it, and be sure we got the right part.
The necessaries for the choroutzes we could not obtain, so we got a brick which, rather hard to digest, reminded us, by looking at it, for what purpose it was intended.
Yankee ingenuity indeed! Historian Bertram Korn observes, "It must have been quite a sight: these twenty men gathered together in a crude and hastily-built log hut, their weapons at their side, prepared as in Egypt-land for all manner of danger, singing the words of praise and faith in the ancient language of Israel." The seder proceeded smoothly until the eating of the bitter herbs. Joel recounted:
We all had a large portion of the herb ready to eat at the moment I said the blessing; each [ate] his portion, when horrors! What a scene ensued . . . The herb was very bitter and very fiery like Cayenne pepper, and excited our thirst to such a degree that we forgot the law authorizing us to drink only four cups, and . . . we drank up all the cider. Those that drank more freely became excited and one thought he was Moses, another Aaron, and one had the audacity to call himself a Pharaoh. The consequence was a skirmish, with nobody hurt, only Moses, Aaron and Pharaoh had to be carried to the camp, and there left in the arms of Morpheus.
More problematic was the situation of Union soldiers who, unable to form their own seders, were forced to "fraternize" with local Jews. Myer Levy of Philadelphia, for example, was in a Virginia town one Passover late in the war when he saw a young boy sitting on his front steps eating a piece of matzo. According to Korn, when Levy "asked the boy for a piece, the child fled indoors, shouting at the top of his lungs, "Mother, there's a damn Yankee Jew outside!" The boy's mother invited Levy to seder that night. One wonders how the Virginian family and the Yankee soldier each interpreted the haggadah portions describing the evils of bondage.
On the eve of the fifth day of Passover (April 14), 1865, Abraham Lincoln was shot and died of his wounds in the early morning of April 15th, which had already been scheduled as a national day of prayer to mark the end of the Civil War. Jews across the land were gathering in synagogues to give thanks. When news of Lincoln's death arrived, Korn notes, the synagogue altars were quickly draped in black and, instead of Passover melodies, the congregations chanted Yom Kippur hymns. Rabbis set aside their sermons and wept openly at their pulpits, as did their congregants. Lincoln had been protective of American Jewry, overturning General Grant's infamous General Order #11 expelling Jews from the Department of the Tennessee and supporting legislation allowing Jewish chaplains to serve in the military. The Jewish Record drew the analogy between Lincoln not having lived to see the reconciliation of North and South and Moses dying on Mount Pisgah before he saw the Israelites enter the Promised Land.
When no American armed forces are in combat anywhere in the world, it is easy to forget how difficult it can be for Jewish soldiers to serve their country while maintaining the traditions that beautify Judaism. Nevertheless, for Jewish Union soldiers fighting between 1861 and 1865 to free others from slavery, the Passover parallels must have made each seder particularly sweet and meaningful.
Images of a multi-generational family seated around a Seder table are a dime a dozen. Adorning the exterior of a haggadah or the label of one kosher-for-Passover food item after another, they’re so widespread our eyes glaze over at the sight of them.
But one image of a Seder — a grainy photograph — stops me dead in my tracks every time: that of the American Expeditionary Forces in Paris in 1919. Now a part of the holdings of the National Archives, it was recently featured to great effect in an exhibition at the archives called “What’s Cooking, Uncle Sam?,” which explored the relationship between the government and American food practices.
The photograph captures what appear to be hundreds upon hundreds of Jewish servicemen in full military regalia seated at tables so long they extend beyond the picture plane. Amid the sea of faces, some wear the rimless spectacles then à la mode, others sport mustaches. Everyone has his head covered but here, too, variety prevails — a reflection of military hierarchy. Some soldiers wear a soft cap; others a peaked cap with a shiny, hard brim, and still others a broad-brimmed felt hat that is close kin to a Stetson.
This vast army of men is leavened, and lightened, by the presence of a few women. You have to look hard to find them, but they’re here and there, sprinkled throughout.
The photographer, making use of a large format or “banquet” camera, captures the Seder at midpoint or, as the lofty language of one haggadah from that period would have it, “post-prandial.” Half-empty bottles of wine line the tables; knives rest casually across the surface of white plates, their work done; shards of matzo accumulate. Up above, chandeliers glisten, giving off a warm glow, while heavy draperies shut out the cruel and ugly outside world.
Everyone at this Seder looks directly at the camera. Some of the celebrants, perhaps having imbibed too much wine, flash big, boyish grins. Others bear rather somber expressions, either sensitive to the importance of the occasion or, one imagines, longing for home and the consolations of a real family Seder.
A moment in time, a respite from the horrors of war, this very public Seder was organized by the Jewish Welfare Board, then an organization in the first flush of infancy. Today we take for granted, as a matter of course and as official government policy, that the ritual needs of Jewish servicemen and women will be tended to. But back in 1919, that was not the case. Jewish soldiers and sailors had to fend for themselves, scrambling to find matzo in war-torn Europe, let alone mount a Seder.
The Jewish Welfare Board came to the rescue, distributing the ritual bread, holding religious services on board transport ships and arranging a Seder for the 50,000 American Jewish soldiers estimated to be in France that year. As Chester Jacob Teller, the Jewish Welfare Board’s executive director (explained in a detailed article in the American Jewish Year Book of 1918-1919), its purpose was “to help America win the war” by sustaining the morale of the troops.
Teller’s language, as he introduces American Jewry to the work of his organization, is worth quoting in full:
“With a breadth of view and a degree of foresight perhaps never before equaled by a war administration of any other country, the United States Government set itself to thinking out the war problems not only in terms of ships, guns, munitions, and supplies, but also in health, decency, personal improvement of the men, contentment, esprit. In short, all those elements that go to make up the concept of morale in its broadest implications.”
Religion happened to be among those elements, prompting a wide array of Jewish organizations from the Agudath ha-Rabbonim (the Federation of Orthodox Rabbis) to the National Federation of Temple Sisterhoods to join together under the umbrella of the Jewish Welfare Board to help service the religious and cultural needs of soldiers and sailors of the Jewish faith.
The task wasn’t easy, Teller publicly acknowledged. Given the variegated nature of American Jewish life, how could it be? “We have been criticized now for being too Jewish, and again for not being Jewish enough; for advocating what has been called ‘segregation,’ and again for being exponents of what has been called the melting-pot theory…. Fault is found with us for permitting Yiddish books to be circulated in the [army] camps, and again we are blamed for not providing enough of this literature.”
Letting off steam, the Jewish Welfare Board’s chief executive gave voice to the frustrations which, then, as now, attended every attempt to unify the fragmented American Jewish community. But he didn’t end there. Instead, Teller concluded by hailing the Jewish Welfare Board as a “unique opportunity” for American Jews of all stripes to transcend their differences and to celebrate the notion of community.
I suppose that’s what makes this photograph of a wartime Seder in Paris so very meaningful to me. Everything about it, from its scale and composition to its subject and timing, makes the case for community.
The Seder night when the ceiling collapsed….
We were having seder night at Auntie Kit's (136 Hendon Way) circa 1974…and in the usual Cohen tradition, the men were at one end of the table, the women at the other. (No one will admit it but this was because the women liked to natter, rather than follow the seder service.)
Melissa, then about 3, was sitting next to me. As the seder service progressed and the usual discussions ensued as to when you lift the cup of wine, when you uncover the matzot etc according to the different haggadot, Melissa whispered to me, "Mum, the ceiling's falling down". She said this two or three times. "Yes dear," I probably said, seeing the Cohen/Schneider creativity moving to the next generation.
I think we were up to the egg and salt water when, as if the waters of the Red Sea had parted, the ceiling did indeed collapse – on to the seder table… bringing with it a deluge of water.
The cause – a burst pipe in the central heating system in the bedroom above!
Pesach at Powis Gardens
Every year my Booba made two seder nights for the whole family (22 people). She would not accept any help from anyone and she made two delicious meals with no modern appliances – no electric mixers, food processors, blenders etc etc. I can still visualize her hacking the chopped liver with an antique chopper.
Preparations for pesach began several weeks before when she started to make her famous raisin wine in a wooden barrel in the backyard (Don't ask about the hygiene – but we all lived to tell the tale, even the year it was attacked by worms!). The second barrel was for pickling cucumbers – nothing tasted better than dipping your hand in the slimy pickling liquid and coming out with a big fat cucumber…
Grandpa sat at the top of the table in a white kittel and supported by two enormous cushions, and conducted the seder service. Uncle Ron sat on one side of him and one of the sons-in-law on the other side. The men sat at the top of the table, with the grandchildren (9 until Barry came along to make it 10) scattered along and the women at the far end. Booba always sat on the piano stool with her magnifying glass reading her own book (I don't know if it was even a haggada – she was in her own world). She would jump up when someone would call out, "Mum, time for the meal!" There were the usual discussions on which order we should eat the maror, the charoset (of course she made it herself as well) and the matzot.
We grandchildren were all very close in age so when we were old enough to do the Ma Nishtana, we all took a turn to great applause, standing on our chair. Finally, it was left to Kenny (the youngest) and he was thrilled when Barry was born – and couldn't wait until Barry could take over from him.
There was usually family gossip around the table with the sisters usually criticizing 'sister-in-law' (Paul will translate). Dooks was always a little 'on the side' (mainly because the Fentons lived in Streatham) but my mum, Jean and Kit were a formidable and inseparable trio! I do remember – and I think it was the same night as the ceiling falling in – that Jean and Mum were muttering about Kit serving the chopped liver on what they thought were milchig plates…
Some years we did not attend both nights, as we went to the 'other side of the family' – which meant schlepping down to Stamford Hill – usually to the Grossmans.
Just a word about the songs….some were sung two or three times as the 'sons in law' had different tunes – or we did each verse in another tune. There were various traditions – Cousin Peter always did a strong rendering of Had Gadya and Cousin Barbara punctuated various songs with appropriate animal noises.
One other thing I remember (for now) when we came to the part of the service with all those 'As it was said"….She'ne'emar…my father would always say that in a loud voice, to emphasise – that was tradition!
After Booba died Ron, Jean, Kit and Mum took it in turns to make two the sedarim every year.
BARRY ADDS: My memory of the ceiling story is that Melissa was tired and had gone to lie down on the settee in the lounge. It was there she saw the bulge in the ceiling and when said she cd see drips of water, we thought she was imagining it through over tiredness. It then cascaded in the lounge after uncle Nat thought it would be sensible to prick the bulge!
PAUL ADDS: I cannot remember EVER going to Stamford Hill for Seder... inconceivable that we would not go to the "family" ( = the Cohens!) in Powis Gardens.
אַדִּיר הוּא, יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה, בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה,
בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
בָּחוּר הוּא, גָּדוֹל הוּא, דָּגוּל הוּא, יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה,בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
הָדוּר הוּא, וָתִיק הוּא, זַכַּאי הוּא, חָסִיד הוּא, יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה,בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
טָהוֹר הוּא, יָחִיד הוּא, כַּבִּיר הוּא, לָמוּד הוּא, מֶלֶךְ הוּא, יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה,בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
נוֹרָא הוּא, סַגִּיב הוּא, עִזּוּז הוּא, פּוֹדֶה הוּא, צַדִיק הוּא, יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה,בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
קָּדוֹשׁ הוּא, רַחוּם הוּא, שַׁדַּי הוּא, תַּקִּיף הוּא יִבְנֶה בֵּיתוֹ בְּקָרוֹב. בִּמְהֵרָה,בִּמְהֵרָה, בְּיָמֵינוּ בְּקָרוֹב. אֵל בְּנֵה, אֵל בְּנֵה, בְּנֵה בֵּיתְךָ בְּקָרוֹב.
Adir hu, yivei baito b’karov. Bimheirah, bimheirah, b’yamainu b’karov. El b’nai, El b’nai, b’nai baitcha b’karov.
Bachur hu, gadol hu, dagul hu, yivei baito b’karov. Bimheirah, bimheirah, b’yamainu b’karov. El b’nai, El b’nai, b’nai baitcha b’karov.
Hadur hu, vatik hu, zakai hu, chasid hu, yivei baito b’karov. Bimheirah, bimheirah, b’yamainu b’karov. El b’nai, El b’nai, b’nai baitcha b’karov.
Tahor hu, yachid hu, kabir hu, lamud hu, melech hu yivei baito b’karov. Bimheirah, bimheirah, b’yamainu b’karov. El b’nai, El b’nai, b’nai baitcha b’karov.
Nora hu, sagiv hu, izuz hu, podeh hu, tzadik hu, yivei baito b’karov. Bimheirah, bimheirah, b’yamainu b’karov. El b’nai, El b’nai, b’nai baitcha b’karov.
Kadosh hu, rachum hu, shadai hu, takif hu yivei baito b’karov. Bimheirah, bimheirah, b’yamainu b’karov. El b’nai, El b’nai, b’nai baitcha b’karov.
אֶחָד מִי יוֹדֵעַ
אֶחָד מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אֶחָד אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁנַיִם מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁנַיִם אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ. שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁלשָׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁלשָׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
אַרְבַּע מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אַרְבַּע אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
חֲמִשָׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? חֲמִשָׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
שִׁשָּׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שִׁשָּׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
שִׁבְעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שִׁבְעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁמוֹנָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁמוֹנָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁמוֹנָ
יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
תִּשְׁעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? תִּשְׁעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
עֲשָׂרָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? עֲשָׂרָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא, תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
אַחַד עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אַחַד עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא, עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא, תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטַיָא, אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא, עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא, תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
שְׁלשָׁה עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁלשָׁה עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁלשָׁה עָשָׂר מִדַּיָא, שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטַיָא, אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא, עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא, תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה, שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה, שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבָּתָא, שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה, חֲמִשָׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה, אַרְבַּע אִמָהוֹת, שְׁלשָׁה אָבוֹת, שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַים וּבָאָרֶץ.
Echad mi yode’a? Echad ani yode’a: echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Shnayim mi yode’a? Shnayim ani yode’a: shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Shloshah mi yode’a? Shloshah ani yode’a: shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Arba mi yode’a? Arba ani yode’a: arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Chamishah mi yode’a? Chamishah ani yode’a: chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Shishah mi yode’a? Shishah ani yode’a: shishah sidrei mishnah, chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Shiv’ah mi yode’a? Shiv’ah ani yode’a: shiv’ah yimei shabbata, shishah sidrei mishnah, chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Shmonah mi yode’a? Shmonah ani yode’a: shmonah yimei milah, shiv’ah yimei shabbata, shishah sidrei mishnah, chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnailuchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Tishah mi yode’a? Tishah ani yode’a: tishah yarchai laidah, shmonah yimei milah, shiv’ah yimei shabbata, shishah sidrei mishnah, chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Asarah mi yode’a? Asarah ani yode’a: asarah dibraiya, tishah yarchai laidah, shmonah yimei milah, shiv’ah yimei shabbata, shishah sidrei mishnah, chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Echad asar mi yode’a? Echad asar ani yode’a: echad asar kochvaya, asarah dibraiya, tishah yarchai laidah, shmonah yimei milah, shiv’ah yimei shabbata, shishah sidrei mishnah, chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Shnaim asar mi yode’a? Shnaim asar ani yode’a: shnaim asar shivtaiya, echad asar kochvaya, asarah dibraiya, tishah yarchai laidah, shmonah yimei milah, shiv’ah yimei shabbata, shishah sidrei mishnah, chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.
Shloshah asar mi yode’a? Shloshah asar ani yode’a: shloshah asar midaiya, shnaim asar shivtaiya, echad asar kochvaya, asarah dibraiya, tishah yarchai laidah, shmonah yimei milah, shiv’ah yimei shabbata, shishah sidrei mishnah, chamishah chumshei Torah, arba imahot, shloshah avot, shnai luchot habrit, echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.