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Introduction

Why a Family Haggadah?

Source: Jonathan Safran Foer

All my life, my parents have hosted the Seder on the first night of Passover. As our family expanded and as our definition of family expanded, we moved the ritual dinner from our dining room to our more spacious, mildewed basement. At each setting was a Haggadah that my parents had assembled by photocopying favorite passages from other Haggadot and, when the Foers finally got Internet access, by printing online sources. Why is this night different from all others? Because on this night copyright doesn’t apply.

Introduction

Elie Wiesel Preface to Mark Podwal Haggadah

Source: Elie Wiesel

Elie Wiesel was a Romanian-born American Jewish writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Laureate, and Holocaust survivor. He is remembered for, among other things, his Holocaust memoir, Night.

Introduction
Source : Diary of Anne Frank

I Still Believe

Source: Diary of Anne Frank

That’s the difficulty in these times: ideals, dreams, and cherished hopes rise within us, only to meet the horrible truth and be shattered.

It’s really a wonder that I haven’t dropped all my ideals, because they seem so absurd and impossible to carry out. Yet I keep them, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart. I simply can’t build up my hopes on a foundation consisting of confusion, misery, and death. I see the world gradually being turned into a wilderness. I hear the ever-approaching thunder, which will destroy us, too. I can feel the suffering of millions – and yet, if I look up to the heavens, I think it will come out all right, that this cruelty too will end, and that peace and tranquility will return again.

Introduction

PART TWO – THE LOGISTICS

Introduction

SEDER CHECKLIST

Holiday candles

Wine or grape juice

Cup for Elijah

Cup for Miriam

Three matzot, covered (and an extra "Matzah of Hope")

Roasted egg for the seder plate, hard-boiled eggs for participants-"Beitzah"

Parsley or celery-"Karpas"

Roasted bone (lamb, chicken, or beet)-"Zeroa"

Horseradish, bitter lettuce, or bitter vegetable for the bitter herb-"Maror"

Romaine or other bitter lettuce "Chazeret"

Charoset (mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and speces; some use dates, nuts, and wine)

Pillows for reclining

Salt water for dipping

Cup, basin, towel for washing

Haggadah for each person

Wine cup for each person

An orange as a symbol for inclusivity

A dish of olives as a symbol of peace

Empty plate to remember the homeless

Introduction
Introduction

The Seder Plate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Matzah

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

Elijah’s Cup

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

Miriam’s Cup

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

Introduction
Source : http://elmad.pardes.org/2016/04/the-pardes-companion-to-the-haggadah/
Pesach is a time of inclusion.

On seder night, there are two moments where we metaphorically open our doors and invite others in. One is at the opening of the Magid portion of the seder, when we say, “All who are hungry come and eat.” There is a beautiful message here: we were once slaves; poor and hungry, and we remember our redemption by sharing what we have with others.

The other, comes towards the end of the seder, when we have the custom of pouring a fifth cup of wine, which we claim is for Elijah the Prophet. This is a statement of faith, a statement that says that although we are a free people, our redemption is not yet complete, and we believe that it will come.

From the most downtrodden to the most celebrated, the message is clear: everyone is welcome and everyone is necessary. Why is it that we go out of our way to include all at our seder table? Perhaps it is because when we make room for others, we have the opportunity to make room for ourselves as well. In fact, the Mishnah (Pesahim 10:5) teaches us that:

בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they left Egypt

The seder presents us with the obligation of identifying with the generation that left Egypt and internalizing that experience. And through that internalization, we come to feel the redemption as if it was our own as well to - לראות את עצמו. Further, the reliving of the story of the Exodus affords us the opportunity see one’s true self. It is only when we are able to see ourselves clearly, that we are able to be redeemed. But perhaps the only way we are able to see ourselves, is when we are truly able to see those around us. This message of inclusion is Pardes’s message too, and our hope is that this Haggadah Companion which offers something for everyone, will add new meaning to your seder and help bring the Jewish people a little closer together.

Introduction

The first words in the creation of the universe out of the unformed, void and dark earth were God’s “Let there be light." Therein lies the hope and faith of Judaism and the obligation of our people: to make the light of justice, compassion, and knowledge penetrate the darkness of our time

The seder officially begins with a physical act: lighting the candles. In Jewish tradition, lighting candles and saying a blessing over them marks a time of transition, from the day that is ending to the one that is beginning, from ordinary time to sacred time. Lighting the candles is an important part of our Passover celebration because their flickering light reminds us of the importance of keeping the fragile flame of freedom alive in the world.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.

Blessed is the spirit of freedom in whose honor we kindle the lights of the holiday, Passsover, the season of Freedom.

As we light the festival candles, we acknowledge that as they brighten our Passover table, good thoughts, good words, and good deeds brighten our days.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel [Shabbat v'shel] Yom Tov.

We praise You, Adonai our God, ruler of the Universe,

Who makes us holy by your mitzvot and commands us to light the [Sabbath and ]Festival lights.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam, shehecheyanu v'kiy'manu v'higianu lazman hazeh.

We praise You, Adonai our God, ruler of the Universe, Who has kept us alive and well so that we can celebrate this special time.

Introduction

The seder officially begins with a physical act: lighting the candles.  In Jewish tradition, lighting candles and saying a blessing over them marks a time of transition, from the day that is ending to the one that is beginning, from ordinary time to sacred time.  Lighting the candles is an important part of our Passover celebration because their flickering light reminds us of the importance of keeping the fragile flame of freedom alive in the world.

Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha'olam asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu l'hadlik ner shel Yom Tov.

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with laws and commanded us to light the festival lights.

As we light the festival candles, we acknowledge that as they brighten our Passover table, good thoughts, good words, and good deeds brighten our days.

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

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drink the first glass of wine!

Kadesh

Wine symbolizes the "joy of life."  Tonight we drink wine four times during the seder, representing God's four promises to the Israelites of redemption from slavery, which are mentioned in the Book of Exodus (Chapter 13):

  1. "I will free you."
  2. "I will deliver you."
  3. "I will redeem you."
  4. "I will take you to be My people."
Kadesh
Source : Lily Kaplan

The Order of the Seder:

The word Seder means order. Tonight's ritual is performed in a specific order, as it has been for thousands of years. The steps represent the Shir Ha'ma’alos in Psalms - the fifteen songs of ascent. Our Seder follows a fifteen-step ascent.

The SEDER of the SEDER

Kadesh - We say the Kiddush - the first cup of wine

Ur'chatz - We wash our hands

Karpas - We dip a vegetable in salt water, and say a blessing

Yachatz - We break the middle matzah, and hide the larger half, the Afikomen

Maggid - We tell the story of Passover, including the four questions, and the second cup of wine

Rachtzah - We wash our hands with a blessing

Motzi - We say the blessing for bread

Matzah - We say the blessing for matzah

Maror - We dip bitter herbs in charoset, and say a blessing

Korech - We eat a sandwich of matzah and bitter herbs

Shulchan Orech - We eat the festive meal

Tzafoon - We eat the Afikomen

Barech - We say the blessings after the meal, say the blessing over the third cup of wine. We welcome Elijah, the prophet

Hallel - We sing songs of praise

Nirtzah - We complete our Seder, praying that god accepts our service

Kadesh
Source : The New American Haggadah

Two Interpretations of Order

Adapted from The New American Haggadah

Reading 1. The Passover seder is conducted in an orderly fashion, with each ritual performed at a certain time, in a certain way, according to thousands of years of tradition This is surprising, as the Jewish people do not have a history of being particularly well organized. Look around the table. Soon things will be spilled. You might be sitting with people you do not know very well or do not like very much, so your own emotional state is somewhat disordered. Nobody likes everything served at the Passover dinner, so there will be chaos within people’s plates, and the room is likely to be either too hot or too cold for someone, creating a chaos of discomfort. Perhaps there is someone who has not yet been seated, even as the seder is beginning, because they are “checking the food,” a phrase which here means sneaking a few bites when they’re supposed to be participating in the ceremony.

This is as it should be. Passover celebrates freedom, and while the evening will proceed in a certain order, it is the muddle and mess around the order that represent the freedom that everyone deserves. With that in mind,

  1. Feel free to let your hosts know ahead of time about anything – i.e., eggs in salt water, gefilte fish, matzo ball soup – that you definitely DO NOT want to eat. We don’t mind, and as Jews, we hate to waste food.

  2. Feel free to excuse yourself in an orderly fashion at some point in the ceremony to check on the food.

Reading 2. Judaism, particularly in its American expression, is not thought of as a law-and-order religion. But it very much is, if not in the string-‘em-up sense of the term  - punishment in Judaism is accompanied by the promise of mercy. We are, of course, a people of laws, and we are also a people of order, of seder. Our foundation story, in the book of Genesis, is a tightly organized account of the making of order out of chaos.

In Judaism, law is holy. But not all laws. The laws of man must be subjected to a vigorous test: whether or not they conform to moral law as set forth by God.

Passover is the most politically radical of all holidays in part because the book of Exodus contains the first known example in ancient literature of civil disobedience. In the Egypt of the Exodus, Pharaoh was the law, and he ordered the midwives Shifra and Puah to kill the sons of the Israelites. But the law was just. So these two heroic midwives broke an unjust law and most likely risked their lives to honor a higher law and allow the boys to live. Their bravery causes us to ask ourselves: Are there times when we should have resisted an unjust man-made law, and did not?

Kadesh

PART THREE – THE SERVICE

Kadesh
Source : Michael Rubiner

The Two-Minute Haggadah: A Passover Service for the Impatient

By Michael Rubiner

This will come in handy for many people and may someday replace this entire Haggadah. Maybe it will even happen tonight, depending on the host and the seder leader.

Opening prayers:

Thanks, God, for creating wine. (Drink wine.)

Thanks for creating produce. (Eat parsley.)

Overview: Once we were slaves in Egypt. Now we’re free. That’s why we’re doing this.

Four questions:

  1. What’s up with the matzah?

  2. What’s the deal with the horseradish?

  3. What’s with the dipping of the herbs?

  4. What’s this whole slouching at the table business?

Answers:

  1. When we left Egypt, we were in a hurry. There was no time for making decent bread. (At this point, Stephen of his proxy will discuss McDonald’s.)

  2. Life was bitter, like horseradish.

  3. It’s called symboslim.

  4. Free people get to slouch.

The four kinds of children and how to deal with them:

Wise child – explain Passover.

Simple child – explain Passover slowly.

Silent child – explain Passover loudly.

Wicked child – browbeat in front of the relatives.

Speaking of children: We hid some matzah. Whoever finds it gets five bucks.

The story of Passover: It’s a long time ago. We’re slaves in Egypt. Pharaoh is a nightmare. We cry out for help. God brings plagues upon the Egyptians. We escape, bake some matzo. God parts the Red Sea. We make it through; the Egyptians aren’t so lucky. We wander for 40 years in the desert, eat manna, get the Torah, wind up in Israel, get a new temple, enjoy several years without being persecuted again. (Let brisket cool now.)

The 10 Plagues: Blood, frogs, lice – you name it!

The singing of “Dayenu”:

If God hadn’t gotten us out of Egypt and not punished our enemies it would have been enough. If He had punished our enemies and not parted the Red Sea, it would have been enough.

If He’d parted the Red Sea, it would have teen enough. (Remove gefilte fish from refrigerator now.)

Eat matzah. Drink more wine. Slouch.

Thanks again, God, for everything.

Kadesh

The Animated Haggadah

From SCOPUS Films. Available on YouTube. 34 minutes.

Highly recommended by the co-author and the Feder, Moskowitz and Adelstein adult children.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeCMdqFSuvw

Kadesh

Kadesh

We moved that up a few pages.

Urchatz

WE WASH OUR HANDS

Take a cup or pitcher of water in one hand and pour it over the other hand. Then do the same, reversing hands. This can be done at a sink, or with a cup and basin at the table. No blessing is recited.

Urchatz
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com
Water is refreshing, cleansing, and clear, so it’s easy to understand why so many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal, which Judaism thinks of as a ritual in itself. (The Jewish obsession with food is older than you thought!)

To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands. If the people around your table don’t want to get up to walk all the way over to the sink, you could pass a pitcher and a bowl around so everyone can wash at their seats… just be careful not to spill!

Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do.

Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. Go around the table and share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder.

Urchatz

Miriam’s cup

Miriam’s cup is filled from the same jar of water used to wash the hands, and placed on the table.

Miriam’s Cup rests on the table, welcoming Miriam the prophet, sister of Moses and Aaron. It is a symbol of the well of water that followed the people Israel through the wilderness. The well provided physical nourishment through water, but also
spiritual nourishment, as a constant reminder of the Divine presence within the community. It remains on our table throughout our seder, guiding us in our journey as we reenact the exodus from slavery to freedom tonight.  (From Haggadah Shir Geulah, 2015)

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

Passover, like many of our holidays, combines the celebration of an event from our Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.

We now take a vegetable, representing our joy at the dawning of spring after our long, cold winter. Most families use a green vegetable, such as parsley or celery, but some families from Eastern Europe have a tradition of using a boiled potato since greens were hard to come by at Passover time. Whatever symbol of spring and sustenance we’re using, we now dip it into salt water, a symbol of the tears our ancestors shed as slaves. Before we eat it, we recite a short blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

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

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

We look forward to spring and the reawakening of flowers and greenery. They haven’t been lost, just buried beneath the snow, getting ready for reappearance just when we most needed them.

-

We all have aspects of ourselves that sometimes get buried under the stresses of our busy lives. What has this winter taught us? What elements of our own lives do we hope to revive this spring?

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

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.

We eat matzah in memory of the quick flight of our ancestors from Egypt. As slaves, they had faced many false starts before finally being let go. So when the word of their freedom came, they took whatever dough they had and ran with it before it had the chance to rise, leaving it looking something like matzah.

Uncover and hold up the three pieces of matzah and say:

This is the bread of poverty which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate Passover with us. This year we are here; next year we will be in Israel. This year we are slaves; next year we will be free.

These days, matzah is a special food and we look forward to eating it on Passover. Imagine eating only matzah, or being one of the countless people around the world who don’t have enough to eat.

What does the symbol of matzah say to us about oppression in the world, both people literally enslaved and the many ways in which each of us is held down by forces beyond our control? How does this resonate with events happening now?

Yachatz
Source : CommonRoad

This is the Matzah of Hope. We are brothers and sisters in memory. We are brothers and sisters in sorrow. But most of all, we are brothers and sisters in hope. Wherever a Jew is still oppressed, wherever a Black is still put down, wherever we are cut off from our past, forbidden our future, there are our hearts, there is our hope. For let there be no doubt: As the waters of the sea once parted for our ancestors, so will they part, speedily and in our time, in cities in America where people are denied their civil rights, and in all places in the world overtaken by terror and tyranny.

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr said:

These deprivations are part of a person's emotional and intellectual life. They determine whether he is fulfilled as a human being...When you are written out of history as a people, when you are given no choice but to accept the "majority" culture, you are denied an aspect of your own identity...We must affirm that every human life is a reflex of divinity, and every act of injustice mars and defaces the image of God in man.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We don’t hear of Moses being found by the daughter of Pharaoh – actually, we don’t hear much of Moses at all. Instead, we get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Judy Feder

A Realization

By Judy Feder

While working on this Haggadah, I have come to realize that the Passover seder is much like a rock concert or a fundraising event or a beauty contest. You come for the “main event” – in this case, the story and the meal – but you must wait for an endless procession of opening acts or runners-up. For example, we read that “Maggid” means “telling the story”. But, before we can tell the story, we first have to ask Four Questions and answer them, and then answer them. And then we have to deal with the Four Children – known in more chauvinistic times as the Four Sons – and discuss the symbolism.

I guess that if there was one thing the Jews learned from wandering around in the desert for 40 years, it was to be patient. So, I guess we can be patient for another 40 minutes or so before eating.

But, have hope! The Passover Story is coming much sooner than 40 minutes from now, and it is well worth the wait. Drew gave it five stars.

And, who knows? Maybe your host and seder leader next year will choose the Two-Minute Seder.

-- Four Questions
Source : JewishBoston.com

The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. If everyone at your seder is around the same age, perhaps the person with the least seder experience can ask them – or everyone can sing them all together.

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות

Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה  

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah.
Tonight we only eat matzah.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables,
but tonight we eat bitter herbs.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים

Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.

On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time.
Tonight we do it twice.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין.  :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.

On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining.
Tonight we recline.

-- Four Questions

The matzot are uncovered.

This night is different from all other nights because of our unique celebration of freedom. We eat only matzah to highlight the tale of our hasty exodus from Egypt.

We eat bitter herbs so that we too may sample at least a taste of bitterness.

We dip our bitter herbs twice, once in salt water and once in sweet charoset, as we remember both the salty tears of our ancestors and the sweetness of their hope for freedom.

As a symbol of our comfort, we recline and eat as free men and women.

This night is different from all the other nights because once we were slaves to the Pharaoh in Egypt, but Adonai, our God, took us out with a mighty hand and outstretched arm. If Adonai had not brought our ancestors out of the Egypt, then we, and our children, and our children's children would still be slaves in the land of Egypt. Even if we know the story well and have told it many times, the more we tell it in great details, the more we are to be praised.

This night is also different because once we worshipped idols, but now we worship only Adonai, the One Who is Everywhere.

Baruch HaMakom, Baruch Hu.

Baruch shenaton Torah l'amo Yisrael, Baruch Hu.

Praised be God Who Is Everywhere. Praised be God.

Praised be God who gave the Torah to the people of Israel. Praised be God.

-- Four Children
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we tell the story, we think about it from all angles. Our tradition speaks of four different types of children who might react differently to the Passover seder. It is our job to make our story accessible to all the members of our community, so we think about how we might best reach each type of child:

What does the wise child say?

The wise child asks, What are the testimonies and laws which God commanded you?

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

What does the wicked child say?

The wicked child asks, What does this service mean to you?

To you and not to himself! Because he takes himself out of the community and misses the point, set this child’s teeth on edge and say to him: “It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.” Me, not him. Had that child been there, he would have been left behind.

What does the simple child say?

The simple child asks, What is this?

To this child, answer plainly: “With a strong hand God took us out of Egypt, where we were slaves.”

What about the child who doesn’t know how to ask a question?

Help this child ask.

Start telling the story:

“It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.”

-

Do you see yourself in any of these children? At times we all approach different situations like each of these children. How do we relate to each of them?

-- Four Children
Source : Eli Lebowicz, Lebowicz@gmail.com

The Four Sons as represented by the Bluth boys from Arrested Development.
-- Exodus Story
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Our story starts in ancient times, with Abraham, the first person to have the idea that maybe all those little statues his contemporaries worshiped as gods were just statues. The idea of one God, invisible and all-powerful, inspired him to leave his family and begin a new people in Canaan, the land that would one day bear his grandson Jacob’s adopted name, Israel.

God had made a promise to Abraham that his family would become a great nation, but this promise came with a frightening vision of the troubles along the way: “Your descendants will dwell for a time 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."

Raise the glass of wine and say:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְלָֽנוּ

V’hi she-amda l’avoteinu v’lanu.

This promise has sustained our ancestors and us.

For not only one enemy has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation there are those who rise against us. But God saves us from those who seek to harm us.

The glass of wine is put down.

In the years our ancestors lived in Egypt, our numbers grew, and soon the family of Jacob became the People of Israel. Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt grew alarmed by this great nation growing within their borders, so they enslaved us. We were forced to perform hard labor, perhaps even building pyramids. The Egyptians feared that even as slaves, the Israelites might grow strong and rebel. So Pharaoh decreed that Israelite baby boys should be drowned, to prevent the Israelites from overthrowing those who had enslaved them.

But God heard the cries of the Israelites. And God brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with great awe, miraculous signs and wonders. God brought us out not by angel or messenger, but through God’s own intervention. 

-- Exodus Story
Source : The New American Haggadah

Reading adapted from The New American Haggadah

Does liberation mean freedom? According to Exodus, when the Torah was given at Sinai, the Israelites accepted its commandments without first hearing what they would be. They declared, “Naaseh venishmah. We will do and we will hear.” But even the simple son of the Haggadah asks, “What is this?” when presented with the story of the Exodus.

Were the Israelites at Sinai so naïve that they were like the son who does not even know how to ask? Or did they knowingly decide to take a leap of faith and exchange the yoke of slavery in Egypt for what the rabbis call “the yoke of heaven” – no questions asked? And in so doing did they give up the freedom that they had just acquired in leaving Egypt?

The wicked son of the Haggadah believes in freedom, and so many of us are drawn to him. Freedom, for the wicked son, means denying that the laws of the Torah affirmed by the wise son apply to him. But that is not all. The wicked son also denies that he is a member of the Jewish community, what the rabbis call klal yisrael. By asserting his individual freedom, the Haggadah declares, the wicked son has exempted himself from the liberation of Egypt: “If he had been there, he would not have been redeemed.”

Here, it appears, we have freedom without liberation. But this also mean that Torah believes in liberation without freedom?

-- Exodus Story
Source : For This We Left Egypt? By Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach

The Passover Story (At Last!)

Source: For This We Left Egypt? By Dave Barry, Alan Zweibel and Adam Mansbach

The Passover story begins thousands of years ago in the land of Egypt, which is located in the Middle East, unfortunately. Egypt was ruled by a man called the Pharaoh, who was very powerful. Like one time he said, “I want a pyramid,” and although it took many years, a group of Egyptian workers actually built him a pyramid. When the Pharaoh saw it, he was very surprised, because what he actually wanted was some soup, which in ancient Egyptian sounds very similar to the word for pyramid. So everybody had a good laugh, and then Pharaoh had the workers executed, because that’s how embarrassed he was.

So anyway, around this time, a nice Jewish boy named Joseph arrived in Egypt, and he came to be an advisor to the Pharaoh because he had a degree in management. He advised the Pharaoh to build storehouses to store the grain, which Pharaoh thought was a tremendous idea, because up to that point he had been sorting the grain in the bathroom and it was disgusting. The Pharaoh was so pleased that he invited Joseph to stay in Egypt and bring his relatives to hang out also. They became known as the Israelites, and they multiplied and prospered in various fields, although generally not team sports.

Years passed, and eventually the Pharaoh died. (He was buried in the pyramid, which by then the Egyptians jokingly referred to as “the Big Stone Soup.”) A new Pharaoh took over, and he turned out to be a real schmuck. He was afraid that the Israelites would become too  powerful, so he made them into slaves.

Slavery totally sucked. The Pharaoh made the Israelites work from sunrise to sunset with no days off, not even Labor Day. The Israelites were forced to hard work, such as hewing stones, which as you would know if you ever hewed a stone, is no picnic. But the Israelites continued to multiply, so Pharaoh Schmuck decreed that every male baby born to an Israelite woman had to be cast into the River Nile, where they ran a risk of, at minimum, getting a cramp, particularly if they were cast too soon after eating a heavy meal.

There was an Israelite couple named Amram and Yocheved, who had a male baby, but they didn’t want him to be cast into the Nile. So instead, they hid him for three months. Then they put him into a basket and put the basket into the Nile. But it was OK because they ysed an ancient Egyptian car seat. Their daughter, Miriam, hid in the reeds and watched to see what happened next, which you will find out in the next paragraph.

As it happened, at that moment, Pharaoh’s beautiful daughter was bathing in the Nile, which she preferred because the Pharaoh’s bathroom still smelled faintly of grain. She noticed this baby floating past in a basket and she said, “I shall keep this baby, as apparently it does not belong to anybody!” Yes, she was beautiful, but dumber than a brick.

Miriam stepped out from behind the reeds and offered to raise baby and have her mom (who of course was Yocheved, the baby’s real mother) be the nurse. The Pharaoh’s daughter was like, “Sure!” So, bottom line, this woman went to take a bath and came home with a baby and two new domestic employees. We can only imagine what she would have done with a credit card. She decided to name the baby Moses, which was an ancient Egyptian word meaning either drawn from water or soup.

Moses grew up. He lived a life of luxury as the prince of Egypt in the Pharaoh’s palace, but he was upset about the treatment of the Israelites. One day, he saw an Egyptian beating a slave, so Moses killed him (the Egyptian) and had to flee from Egypt, making his escape by riding off on a speedy young sheep, which is where we get the expression, “on the lamb.”

Moses went to the land of Midian, where he became a professional shepherd, which was a living. One day, he was shepherding on Mount Horeb when he saw a bush that was on fire and speaking in a voice that sounded kind of like Morgan Freeman’s. This turned out to be God, who told Moses that he was going to rescue the Israelites from slavery and take them to a land flowing with milk and honey. This raised several questions in Moses’s mind, such as:

  1. Were the milk and honey flowing separately, or mixed together?

  2. Were they flowing right on the ground?

  3. Wouldn’t that attract insects?

But this did not seem like a good time to interrupt.

God told Moses that he should go back to Egypt and tell the Pharaoh to let the Israelites go or God would bring plagues down upon the Egyptians. Moses said “OK” because when a divine, all-powerful, flaming shrubbery tells you to do something, you do it.

Discussion questions:

  1. Would you store grain in a bathroom? Why or why not?

  2. According to scripture, Moses had a speech impediment. Some scholars believe that Adonai (God) chose a leader with a handicap to prove that he does not require perfection. Others argue that all the other Israelites had even worse speech impediments. And still others hold that Moses just had a slight lisp you could barely notice and it was no big deal. Which group of scholars do you think is the most fun at parties?

-- Ten Plagues
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom was hard-earned. We regret that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering, for we are all human beings made in the image of God. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them.

Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.

These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya |  צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

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

The Egyptians needed ten plagues because after each one they were able to come up with excuses and explanations rather than change their behavior. Could we be making the same mistakes? Make up your own list. What are the plagues in your life? What are the plagues in our world today? What behaviors do we need to change to fix them? 

-- Ten Plagues
Source : For This We Left Egypt?

The Ten Plagues

Source: For This We Left Egypt?

Moses asked the Pharaoh to free the Israelites, but the Pharaoh refused because he was a schmuck. So God brought ten plagues upon Egypt, and each time, the Pharaoh got scared and promised to free the Israelites. But, he did not, because in addition to being a schmuck, he had the IQ of a glazed doughnut. It was only after the tenth and scariest plague that it finally dawned on his tiny Pharaoh brain that unless he wanted God to turn the entire Egyptian population into sea urchins or something, he’d better let the Israelites go.

We fill our cups with a meh wine that we do not mind spilling to remember how happy we were when this happened. But, we are not totally happy, because we are Jewish, and thus we can never be truly happy except when the Knicks win the title. Also we feel a little bad for the Egyptians, because it’s not like they had a democracy and said, “Hey, let’s elect a moron to be the Pharaoh!” So instead of drinking all the wine or even a nice martini right now, we dip our fingers into our cups and spatter wine droplets all over a perfectly good tablecloth, which will have to be dry-cleaned – but go ahead, it’s fine – as we say the names of the plagues: Blood, locusts, frogs, lice, boils, humidity, nervousness, Jerry Lewis, gluten, constipation.

[Commentary from Judy Feder. In the election of 2016, the people of the United States, who lived – at least at that time – in a democracy, elected an evil moron to be president. But, not all of them elected him; in fact, not even half of the people voted for him. We feel bad for the people who didn’t vote for the evil, moron president, so now as then, we do not drink all the wine or enjoy a nice martini, or pina colada, or whatever.]

-- Ten Plagues
Source : The New American Haggadah

The Price of Freedom

Source: The New American Haggadah

Our impulse is to run from this moment, to pretend that our merciful God has not transformed into a God who snuffs out the lives of children. But this story exists for a reason, and perhaps not the one often assumed. The plagues suffered by the Egyptians are meant not merely to serve as expedient metaphors. This is a political story, yes, but one with a harsh and morally problematical lesson about the price of freedom.

There is no such thing as immaculate liberation. From time to time, such as in the Velvet Revolution of the former Czechoslovakia, liberation has been achieved without the shedding of blood. But it’s naïve to think that the defeat of evil comes without cost.

The Exodus story ends in freedom for Jews; the Civil War ended with freedom for African-Americans; World War II ended with fascism vanquished and the death camps liberated. Can we say that the ends don’t justify the means?


 

-- Ten Plagues
Source : or This We Left Egypt?

Meanwhile, Back at the Red Sea

Source: For This We Left Egypt?

Shortly after letting the Israelites leave Egypt, the Pharaoh realized he had made a terrible mistake. Sure, killer angels had just slaughtered a large percentage of his people’s children, and the streets were a disgusting stew of blood, frogs, and locusts, and it was hailing and dark, and everyone had lice and boils. But on the other hand, the Pharaoh had just lost his free labor force, to say nothing of what the Israelites’ departure was going to do to the Egyptian entertainment industry. Also, the Pharaoh was a huge fan of gefilte fish, which his Egyptian chefs couldn’t seem to get right no matter hard he had them flogged.

So Pharaoh sent his army to bring the Israelites back. His soldiers caught up with them on the banks of the Sea of Reeds. When they saw the Egyptian army, the Israelites were afraid and cried out, “Oh crap! Boy, are we royally screwed now? No pun intended!”

But they were wrong, for at that moment, Adonai told Moses to lift his rod. Moses was briefly uncomfortable with this command, but then he remembered that he was carrying a walking stick. He raised it, and a strong east wind parted the waters of the sea, leaving space for the Israelites to cross over dry land and also pick up an array of interesting seashells.

The Egyptian army, none of whom apparently had been paying the slightest attention to anything happening in Egypt over the previous couple of weeks, decided it would be a good idea to follow them.

Moses lifted his rod again, and the waters rushed back and covered the Eqyptian soldiers.

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Judy Feder

Synopsis of the Remainder of the Story

So Moses and the Israelites wandered around in the desert. Moses went up to get the Ten Commandments. But, he was gone for 40 days and 40 nights, and during this time the Israelites got antsy and made a golden calf and worshipped it. When Moses finally came down and saw that his people were worshipping an idol, which pretty much negated what Judaism was all about, he got really ticked off and threw the tablets on the ground and broke them.

As you might imagine, God, too, was none too happy with the Israelites. Instead of letting them go directly to the Promised Land, he decided to let them ponder what they had done while wandering in the desert for 40 years.

Finally, they reached the Promised Land, which Moses wasn’t allowed to enter on account of having long ago murdered an Egyptian who was beating a slave.

But, the rest of the Israelites entered. And the rest, as they say, is history.



 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As all good term papers do, we start with the main idea:

ּעֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין  

Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. Now we are free.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and God took us from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. Had God not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, then even today we and our children and our grandchildren would still be slaves. Even if we were all wise, knowledgeable scholars and Torah experts, we would still be obligated to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

The plagues and our subsequent redemption from Egypt are but one example of the care God has shown for us in our history. Had God but done any one of these kindnesses, it would have been enough – dayeinu.

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu hotzi- hotzianu, Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim, Dayeinu

If God had only taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough!

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et ha-Torah, Natan lanu et ha-Torah , Dayeinu

If God had only given us the Torah, that would have been enough.

 The complete lyrics to Dayeinu tell the entire story of the Exodus from Egypt as a series of miracles God performed for us. (See the Additional Readings if you want to read or sing them all.)

Dayeinu also reminds us that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large. 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Judy Feder

In traditional haggadot, we express our gratitude for all that was done for our people from the time we fled Egypt until the Temple was built in Israel. Each of these blessings alone “would have been sufficient” (dayeinu). However, it is a sign of powerlessness typical of oppressed people to resign ourselves after each fateful experience by saying, “It could have been worse.” It is important for us not only to be grateful for all the good things that have happened, but also to not settle for less than our full due as human beings.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

We have now told the story of Passover…but wait! We’re not quite done. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet. Rabban Gamliel would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice.

The shank bone represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. It is called the pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors.

The matzah reminds us that when our ancestors were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. Our ancestors grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled.

The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָֽיִם

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et-atzmo, k’ilu hu yatzav mimitzrayim.

In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.

The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors whom God redeemed; God redeemed us too along with them. That’s why the Torah says “God brought us out from there in order to lead us to and give us the land promised to our ancestors.”

---

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs. May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the second glass of wine!

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

As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again wash our hands to prepare ourselves. In Judaism, a good meal together with friends and family is itself a sacred act, so we prepare for it just as we prepared for our holiday ritual, recalling the way ancient priests once prepared for service in the Temple.

Some people distinguish between washing to prepare for prayer and washing to prepare for food by changing the way they pour water on their hands. For washing before food, pour water three times on your right hand and then three times on your left hand.

After you have poured the water over your hands, recite this short blessing.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ  עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to wash our hands.

Motzi-Matzah
Source : JewishBoston.com

The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה

The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maror
Source : JewishBoston.com

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror  |מָרוֹר   

  In creating a holiday about the joy of freedom, we turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset. We don’t totally eradicate the taste of the bitter with the taste of the sweet… but doesn’t the sweet mean more when it’s layered over the bitterness?

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר

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

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

Koreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

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

When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.

Shulchan Oreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

Enjoy! But don’t forget when you’re done we’ve got a little more seder to go, including the final two cups of wine!

Tzafun
Source : JewishBoston.com

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

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

Tzafun
Source : Jewish Boston and Elie Wiesel

Tzafun The Afikomen

Sources: Jewish Boston and Elie Wiesel

The playfulness of finding the afikomen reminds us that we balance our solemn memories of slavery with a joyous celebration of freedom.

Since we no longer eat the paschal lamb, for the Temple has been destroyed, it is the taste of the afikomen which must remain with us for the rest of the evening. But first we must buy it back from our children.

As we eat the afikomen, we are grateful for moments of silliness and happiness in our lives.

Long ago, it was the custom after leaving the table to go elsewhere for more festivities. Sometimes the religious celebration degenerated into noisy revelry. To avoid this, it was decreed that after the afikomen, there would be no more eating. But there could be more drinking. And so, please fill your third cup.

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

Refill everyone’s wine glass.

We now say grace after the meal, thanking God for the food we’ve eaten. On Passover, this becomes something like an extended toast to God, culminating with drinking our third glass of wine for the evening:

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, whose goodness sustains the world. You are the origin of love and compassion, the source of bread for all. Thanks to You, we need never lack for food; You provide food enough for everyone. We praise God, source of food for everyone.

As it says in the Torah: When you have eaten and are satisfied, give praise to your God who has given you this good earth. We praise God for the earth and for its sustenance.

Renew our spiritual center in our time. We praise God, who centers us.

May the source of peace grant peace to us, to the Jewish people, and to the entire world. Amen.

The Third Glass of Wine

The blessing over the meal is immediately followed by another blessing over the wine:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the third glass of wine!

Bareich
Source : For This We Left Egypt?

An alternate translation for the prayer over the third cup of wine. [Source: For This We Left Egypt?]

We praise you, Adonai our God, ruler of the universe, commander of the cosmos, capo di tutti capi, Lord of the Rings, queen of the prom who creates the fruit of the vine and all the varietals thereof, including (but not limited to) your merlots, your cabernet sauvignons, your zinfandels, and, for the dessert course, your sauternes; and who, more importantly, created fermentation, without which we would never get through the entire Seder without stabbing ourselves in the eyeball with a fork.

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

Singing songs that praise God | hallel | הַלֵּל

This is the time set aside for singing. Some of us might sing traditional prayers from the Book of Psalms. Others take this moment for favorites like Chad Gadya & Who Knows One, which you can find in the appendix. To celebrate the theme of freedom, we might sing songs from the civil rights movement. Or perhaps your crazy Uncle Frank has some parody lyrics about Passover to the tunes from a musical. We’re at least three glasses of wine into the night, so just roll with it.

Fourth Glass of Wine

As we come to the end of the seder, we drink one more glass of wine. With this final cup, we give thanks for the experience of celebrating Passover together, for the traditions that help inform our daily lives and guide our actions and aspirations.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the fourth and final glass of wine! 

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

The Cup of Elijah

We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.

In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of God to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven. Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover seder.

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

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

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

Hallel
Source : Elie Wiesel

From Ani Maamin (I Believe), a Poem by Elie Wiesel

A camp.

An inmate.

A creature without a name,

A man without a face,

Without a destiny.

It is night.

The first night of Passover.

The camp is asleep,

He alone is awake.

He talks to himself

Soundlessly.

I hear his words,

I capture his silence.

To himself, to me,

He is saying:

I have not partaken of matzot,

Nor of maror.

I have not emptied the four cups,

Symbols of the four deliverances.

I did not invite

The hungry

To share my repast –

Or even my hunger.

No longer have I a son

To ask me

The four questions –

No longer have I the strength

To answer …

The parable of Chad Gadya is misleading:

God will not come

To slay the slaughterer.

The innocent victims

Will go unavenged.

The ancient wish –

Leshana habaa bi-Yerushalaim

Will not be granted.

I shall not be in Jerusalem

Next year.

Or anywhere else.

I shall not be.

And then,

How do I know

That Jerusalem is there,

Far away,

That Jerusalem is not here?

Still, I recite the Haggadah

As though I believe in it.

And I await the prophet

  Elijah,

As I did long ago.

I open my heart to him

And say:

Welcome, prophet of the promise,

Welcome, herald of redemption.

Come, share in my story,

Come, rejoice with the dead

That we are.

Empty the cup

That bears your name.

Come to us,

Come to us on the Passover night:

We are in Egypt

And we are the ones

To suffer God’s plagues

Come, friend of the poor,

Defender of the oppressed,

Come.

I shall wait for you.

And even if you disappoint me

I shall go on waiting,

Ani Maamin.

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

Nirtzah  marks the conclusion of the seder. Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories and sung songs, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with  Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.

Though it comes at the end of the seder, this moment also marks a beginning. We are beginning the next season with a renewed awareness of the freedoms we enjoy and the obstacles we must still confront. We are looking forward to the time that we gather together again. Having retold stories of the Jewish people, recalled historic movements of liberation, and reflected on the struggles people still face for freedom and equality, we are ready to embark on a year that we hope will bring positive change in the world and freedom to people everywhere.

In  The Leader's Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, Rabbi David Hartman writes: “Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become.”

What can  we  do to fulfill our reckless dreams? What will be our legacy for future generations?

Our seder is over, according to Jewish tradition and law. As we had the pleasure to gather for a seder this year, we hope to once again have the opportunity in the years to come. We pray that God brings health and healing to Israel and all the people of the world, especially those impacted by natural tragedy and war. As we say…

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!

Conclusion

Think freely. Smile often.

Tell those you love that you do.

Rediscover old friends. Make new ones.

Hope. Grow. Give. Give in.

Pick some daisies. Share them.

Keep a promise.

Laugh heartily.

Reach out. Let someone in.

Hug a kid. Slow down.

See a sunrise. Listen to rain. Trust life.

Have faith. Enjoy. Make some mistakes.

Learn from them. Explore the unknown.

Celebrate life!

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com

Chad Gadya

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Dizabin abah bitrei zuzei

Chad gadya, chad gadya.

One little goat, one little goat:

Which my father brought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The cat came and ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The dog came and bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The stick came and beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The fire came and burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The water came and extinguished the

Fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The ox came and drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The butcher came and killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The angle of death came and slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The Holy One, Blessed Be He came and

Smote the angle of death who slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com
Who knows one?

At some seders, people go around the table reading a question and the answers in one breath. Thirteen is hard!

Who knows one?

I know one.

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows four?

I know four.

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows five?

I know five.

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows six?

I know six.

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows seven?

I know seven.

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eight?

I know eight.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows nine?

I know nine.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows ten?

I know ten.

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows twelve?

I know twelve.

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows thirteen?

I know thirteen

Thirteen are the attributes of God

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Songs

Who Knows One?

A cumulative song that enumerates thirteen Jewish motifs and ideas. Each verse is to be recited without taking a breath.

I know One.

One is our God, in heaven and on earth.

Who knows two?

I know two.

Two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows three?

I know three.

Three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows four?

I know four.

Four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows five?

I know five.

Five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows six?

I know six.

Six are the sections of the Mishnah; five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows seven?

I know seven.

Seven are the days of the week; six are the sections of the Mishnah; five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows eight?

I know eight.

Eight are the days until circumcision; Seven are the days of the week; six are the sections of the Mishnah; five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows nine?

I know nine.

Nine are the month of pregnancy; eight are the days until circumcision; Seven are the days of the week; six are the sections of the Mishnah; five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows ten?

I know ten.

Ten are the commandments; nine are the month of pregnancy; eight are the days until circumcision; Seven are the days of the week; six are the sections of the Mishnah; five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream; ten are the commandments; nine are the month of pregnancy; eight are the days until circumcision; Seven are the days of the week; six are the sections of the Mishnah; five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows twelve?

I know twelve.

Twelve are the tribes of Isreal; eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream; ten are the commandments; nine are the month of pregnancy; eight are the days until circumcision; Seven are the days of the week; six are the sections of the Mishnah; five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Who knows thirteen?

I know thirteen.

Thirteen are the attributes of God; twelve are the tribes of Israel; eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream; ten are the commandments; nine are the month of pregnancy; eight are the days until circumcision; Seven are the days of the week; six are the sections of the Mishnah; five are the books of the Torah; four are the matriarchs; three are the patriarchs; two are the tablets of the covenant; one is our God in heaven and on earth.

Songs

An Alternate Version of Who Knows One

Source: For This We Left Egypt?

Who knows one?

I know one. One is our God who is heaven and on earth

Or rather on earth, since that is the proper preposition

To modify earth

Though these rules are rather subjective

And only God knows why you are on Manhattan or in Brooklyn

Especially with the rents these days

You might as well move to Queens

Am I right?

Who knows two?

Two is the number of fingers in the peace sign

Which we display in photos

To remind us of the fallacy of wr

Or to make air quotes

If we are douche bags

Who knows three?

Three is the holy trinity

Of delicatessen fish options

Whitefish, lox and sable

Although an argument for kippers

Could also be made

Who knows 3.28?

3.28 is Wade Boggs’ lifetime batting average

I have no idea why I know that

But I will take it to my grave

Who knows four?

Four are the acceptable types of bagels:

Sesame, poppy, onion, and everything

Get out of here with your blueberry bagel

Your asiago cheese bagel

Your Saint-John’s-wort bagel

And all the rest of these

Fugazy bagels

Who knows five?

I know five

Five are the books of the Torah

And the boroughs of New York City

But none among us

Has the wisdom to say

Which book is Staten Island

Who knows six? I know six

Six are the books of Mishnah

Which is the most Jewish book ever

Even more Jewish than Portnoy’s Complaint

Because it is basically one long argument

Who knows seven?

Seven are the days of the week

For it was Adonai our God who gave us

The weekend to chill and created

Labor unions to enforce it

Who knows eight? I know eight

Eight is the punch line to that counting joke

That doesn’t really make any sense because

Who sevens a tree? What does that even mean?

Who knows nine? I know nine

Nine are the months of pregnancy

Which is how we make more Jews

Because going door to door is for schmucks

Who knows ten?

Ten are the commandments

Which Adonai our God gave Moses

At the rate of one commandment every days

Because chiseling stone is difficult

And presumably they also took breaks

To just hang out

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven

But I’ll be damned

If I tell you

Who knows twelve? I know twelve

Twelve are the tribes of Israel

Whom we honor by being

Unable to name more than like two

Who knows thirteen? I know thirteen

Thirteen is bar or bat mitzvah

When a Jewish child becomes an adult

Which maybe made sense when

The average lifespan was twenty-nine, but

Seriously, have you spoken

To a thirteen-year-old lately?