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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.

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

Susannah Heschel has given permission for this article to be reprinted anywhere to help correct the story.

“In the early 1980s, the Hillel Foundation invited me to speak on a panel at Oberlin College. While on campus, I came across a Haggadah that had been written by some Oberlin students to express feminist concerns [several of whom later became part of the Havurat Shalom community in Boston]. One ritual they devised was placing a crust of bread on the Seder plate, as a sign of solidarity with Jewish lesbians (there’s as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of break on the Seder plate).

[The ritual in the original Oberlin Haggadah took the form of an old folktale, though set in modern Manhattan.  The lesbian matriarch who was the narrative voice had a orthodox rabbi saying to her, “there’s as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of break on the Seder plate,” and then being so proud of himself for coming up with the line that he called the newspaper to tell them the same thing.  The collective in the story, upon hearing the news, enters into a period of mourning, until one member comes up with the idea of doing exactly what the rabbi suggested.]

At the next Passover, I placed an orange on our family’s Seder plate. 

During the first part of the Seder, I asked everyone to take a segment of the orange, make the blessing over fruit, and eat it as a gesture of solidarity with Jewish lesbians and gay men, and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community (I mentioned widows in particular).

Bread on the Seder plate brings an end to Pesach - it renders everything chometz. And it suggests that being lesbian is being transgressive, violating Judaism. I felt that an orange was suggestive of something else: the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life. In addition, each orange segment had a few seeds that had to be spit out - a gesture of spitting out, repudiating the homophobia of Judaism.

When lecturing, I often mentioned my custom as one of many new feminist rituals that have been developed in the last twenty years. Somehow, though, the typical patriarchal maneuver occurred: My idea of an orange and my intention of affirming lesbians and gay men were transformed. Now the story circulates that a MAN said to me that a woman belongs on the bimah [that is, as a woman rabbi] as an orange on the Seder plate. A woman’s words are attributed to a man, and the affirmation of lesbians and gay men is simply erased.    

Isn’t that precisely what’s happened over the centuries to women’s ideas? 

Susannah Heschel
 

Introduction
Source : Original
Mindfulness Practices for Every Step of the Seder

For so many of us, the Seder is a ritual to ‘get through.’ There is someone rushing through the words, another person checking the clock, another drooling over the smells from the kitchen. What if as the seder unfolds, we knew we could look forward to an opportunity for pause and reflection? Using the prompts below, transform your seder table into a circle of balance.

Note: These exercises can either make up a complete ‘mindfulness seder’, or you can choose one or more to incorporate into a seder you are leading or attending.

Kadeish קדש – recital of Kiddush blessing and drinking of the first cup of wine
As you begin the seder, there is often a great deal of anticipation. Looking forward to that first sip of wine, taste of matza, warm soup…instead of counting how many pages to the next section, focus in on each step of this ritual. One method is to narrate (either out loud or in your mind) each step as objectively as possible: “I am holding the glass. I am opening the wine. I am pouring the wine. I am holding up the glass. [say blessing] I am sipping the wine. I am swallowing the wine.” Notice what arises in this practice - is it calm and presence, or more agitation or anticipation? Bonus: try it for each of the 4 cups and see how it changes.

Urchatz ורחץ – the washing of the hands
Water is life and our hands are purified by the waters. Instead of washing and then rushing to dry them off, hold your wet hands open on your lap or on the edge of the table. Sit in silence or quiet whispers as you watch and feel the water evaporating. Take bets on when they will be fully dry or have a contest who can go the longest without drying them on the closest napkin.

Karpas כרפס – dipping of the karpas in salt water
Reciting blessings over our food is a chance to slow down and connect to the source of our nourishment. Assemble platters of three or more vegetables for each guest, or invite each guest to assemble mini platters at their seat after passing around a tray of vegetables. Choosing one item at a time, hold it in the air with your focus on the vegetable. What’s did it look like while in the ground? (You may wish to provide photos - I’m especially fond of photos of potato plants!) Close your eyes and imagine the trip from the ground to the store to your plate. Then say the blessing.

Yachatz יחץ – breaking the middle matza
The breaking of the matza should be done in silence. As you prepare for the break, count three long breaths with eyes open and focus on the matza, held high for all to see. Listen closely to the sound of the matza breaking. At this moment, we hold the paradox of wholeness and brokenness; the matza is both the bread of our affliction and the bread of freedom. Take three more deep breaths. Optional: Share with someone next to you or the whole table - what paradoxes in your life are you sitting with today?

Maggid מגיד – retelling the Passover story, including the recital of "the four questions" and drinking of the second cup of wine
Dayeinu: What in our lives do we take for granted, but may actually be enough for us? Share with someone next to you or the entire table. After each person shares, respond: Dayeinu!

Rachtzah רחצה – second washing of the hands
So much of the seder is talking and listening. Finally, here’s a part that has almost no talking. After you say the hand washing blessing, choose a niggun (simple wordless melody) that you and your guests can carry until everyone has finished washing. Use eye contact and the raising of the matza for motzi to signal the end of the blessing.

Motzi Matza מוציא מצה – blessing before eating matzo
The first bit of matza is always the driest. One is truly meant to savor that bite and not mix with any other dips or spreads. As you begin to munch on the first bit, notice what thoughts, feelings, and sensations arise. Joy, dryness, satiation...what else? Allow these to come and go without judgement until your serving of matza is consumed.

Maror מרור – eating of the maror
The embodied practice of purposely consuming maror has deep symbolism. Dipping ¾ ounces of maror into charoset, which is sweet, brings healing and alignment as we approach the formal meal.

Koreich כורך – eating of a sandwich made of matzah and maror
Koreich is a memory sandwich. Since we no longer slaughter a lamb for the paschal sacrifice, there is only maror on our matzo sandwich. Though the pesach sacrifice is primarily represented with the zroa, shankbone, on the seder plate, our memory sandwich is the key moment of the seder to recall this sacrifice. Though we do not recite an additional blessing for this sandwich, as we chew, we recline and recall the communal rite of the shared roasted lamb.

The moment we consume this sandwich, we are simultaneous recalling the Pesach offering, both from Temple times and from our last night in Egypt. What makes this symbol so powerful is that we have the capacity to recall two moments in history simultaneously:

The word “Pesach” is literally the name of this sacrifice, which was done in memory of the one performed in Egypt on the night of the 10th plague when they put animal blood on the doorposts The Torah commandment to consume the offering on the Passover holiday comes from Exodus 12:8: “They shall eat the flesh that same night; they shall eat it roasted over the fire, with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs.” and then in verse 14: “This day shall be to you one of remembrance: you shall celebrate it as a festival…” (See Exodus 12:3-14 for the full section).

In Temple times, there were many key rituals regarding a sacrificed lamb or goat shared amongst family. In Exodus 12:3 we read “שֶׂ֥ה לַבָּֽיִת - a lamb per household.” One could not observe this ritual one their own - usually, families would combine with neighbors to afford a high quality lamb to share on the holiday.

Shulchan oreich שלחן עורך – lit. "set table"—the serving of the holiday meal
Many seder meals begin with a spherical object, such as an egg, gefilte fish, or matza ball. Take a moment to examine this round food item, with no beginning and no ending. You have made it to the midpoint of the seder; and yet, this round item reminds us there is no beginning and no end. We are fully redeemed and we are still waiting to be redeemed. Turn over the item again, then bring it to your mouth for the first bite.

Tzafun צפון – eating of the afikoman
Walking meditation: And opportunity to get out our seats and wander. Perform the search in silence. Take your steps slowly and carefully. Extra credit if you have time: as you walk, say to yourself “lifting, stepping, placing” for each movement of each foot.

Bareich ברך – blessing after the meal and drinking of the third cup of wine
Gratitude opportunity: Before or after saying the blessing after the meal, share one aspect of tonight’s seder that you are grateful for in this moment.

Hallel הלל – recital of the Hallel & drinking of the fourth cup of wine
Praise and song with nature: As we sing hallel and enjoy our 4th cup, imagine one sign of spring such as a tree bud or flower. Close your eyes and picture it celebrating the unfolding of warmth and light that comes with the new season.

Nirtzah נירצה – say "Next Year in Jerusalem!"
Turn to someone next to you or share with the entire group farewell blessings for their journey home or a sweet night’s rest.

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
Source : Rabbi Alex Israel for http://elmad.pardes.org/2016/04/the-pardes-companion-to-the-haggadah/
The seder opens with kiddush (the sanctification over wine). This is certainly unremarkable after all, kiddush is the opening act of every shabbat and holiday meal. But kiddush – a ritual .sanctification of time – has an intimate and unique connection to Pesach’s central theme: freedom. How so?

As Israel was about to be released from slavery, God instituted a new calendar: “This month shall (mark for you the beginning of months; the first of the months of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:2) Why is this the first mitzva (commandment) communicated to a free nation?

A slave’s time is not his own. He is at the beck and call of his master. Even when the slave has a pressing personal engagement, his taskmaster’s needs will take priority. In contrast, freedom is the control of our time. We determine what we do when we wake up in the morning; we prioritize our day. This is true for an individual, but also for a nation. God commands Israel to create a Jewish calendar because, as an independent nation, Israel should not march any more to an Egyptian rhythm, celebrating Egyptian months and holidays. Instead Israel must forge a Jewish calendar, with unique days of rest, celebration and memory. Controlling and crafting our time is the critical first act of freedom.

Kiddush says this out loud. We sanctify the day and define its meaning! We proclaim this day as significant, holy and meaningful. We fashion time, claim ownership of it, and fashion it as a potent .contact point with God, peoplehood and tradition. This is a quintessential act of Jewish freedom.

Today, we often feel short of time; that time controls us. Kadesh reminds us that true freedom and self-respect is to master and control time for ourselves, to shape our life in accordance with our values.

Rabbi Alex Israel teaches Bible and is the Director of the Pardes Community Education Program and the Pardes Summer Program

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
Source : chabad.org

O ur hands are the primary tools to interact with our environment. They generally obey our emotions: Love, fear, compassion, the urge to win, to be appreciated, to express ourselves, to dominate. Our emotions, in turn, reflect our mental state.

But, too often, each faculty of our psyche sits in its cell, exiled from one another. The mind sees one way, the heart feels another and our interface with the world ends up one messy tzimmes.

Water represents the healing power of wisdom. Water flows downward, carrying its essential simplicity to each thing. It brings them together as a single living, growing whole. We pour water over our hands as an expression of wisdom pouring downward passing through our heart and from there to our interaction with the world around us.

Urchatz
Source : Esther D. Kustanowitz
Water and Chaos Theory in Jurassic Park and the Exodus Story

As I was preparing for the sedarim (that's plural of "seder!") this year, I read a source about hand washing from Chabad.com here on Haggadot.com - it said that water represents the healing power of wisdom. Thinking about that, and the two hand-washings that are part of the Seder order, one cinematic image popped into my mind: the scene from Jurassic Park in which Jeff Goldblum explains - or maybe today we'd call it "mansplains" - chaos theory to Laura Dern by applying drops of water to her hand and trying to predict which way the water will run. He explains that chaos theory reveals the unpredictability of complex systems, also referring to it as the butterfly effect. (If you need a refresher, the clip is here.)

And I started thinking about unpredictability as it relates to Passover. In times of Egyptian slavery, life was predictable: each day as a slave is the same because you have no choices to make. No one would have predicted that Prince Moses would have killed an Egyptian taskmaster for oppressing a slave, forcing Moses to flee. No one would have predicted that Moses would return to Egypt to demand freedom from his people because a burning bush told him to. Every one of the ten plagues subverted predictions and expectations. And water, too behaves unpredictably: the Nile turns to blood, and the Red Sea - chaotically and unpredictably - parts.

In our Seder, we have one hand washing without a blessing, and one with a blessing. As we know from movies and from life, sometimes droplets run in one direction, and sometimes in the other. And when we encounter something unpredictable, it helps to know that it's part of a larger context, whether you call it a narrative, a belief system, a theory or a Seder.

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?

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
by Sara
Remember the days of old:consider the years of many generations (Deut. 32:7)

Every year, hundreds of giant sea turtles swim hundreds of miles from their homes near Brazil to a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean in order to find their mates.  For years, scientists tried to understand how the turtles could find their way every time, from so far away. It was a tiny island, and even airplanes sometimes had trouble finding it.  What do you think it was??  Once upon a time, a very, very long time ago, when the dinosaurs lived, that little island was closer to Brazil, and it used to be a short swim from where the turtles lived. It is in their memory to know where to go, even though they themselves don't remember, they have a memory together of the way that it used to be, and they heard stories from their turtle parents about that special place. Each year, they go there together to remind themselves of the trip that their ancestors used to take. Tonight, we are just like those turtles. 

-- 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
Source : Original, by Esther D. Kustanowitz
Nephew Gil and The Case of the Missing Challah

When my nephew Gil was 3, the first night of Passover fell on a Saturday night. This meant that the house had to be free of all leavened bread before we lit Shabbat candles on Friday night, even though it was - technically - not yet Passover. If you think this is complicated for adults, you should try explaining it to a 3-year-old.

"Is this Shabbat?" he asked. Yes, we told him. Friday night would be Shabbat, and then Pesach would start Saturday night - then we'd have the seders and he would sing the Mah Nishtanah, the Four Questions, as he'd been preparing to do. Friday night = Shabbat. Saturday and Sunday night = Pesach. We thought it was clear.

Come Friday night, there were candles, over which we said blessings. Then the family gathered around the table, and there was kiddush, the prayer said over the wine. We washed our hands before saying Hamotzi, and pulled back the "challah cover" to reveal...two flat boards of egg matzah, the not-really-bread, not-really-matzah product that's considered OK by some people for this specific calendar situation.

My nephew looked puzzled, and before we could even utter "Hamotzi," he asked "Why is that not challah?"

Why indeed, is that not challah? 

That's exactly what all of us - missing the chewy, delicious bread that's worth going off Atkins or South Beach for - wanted to know. It was a reinterpretation of that first of the Four Questions - "On other nights we eat challah or matzah, and today, even though it's Shabbat and not yet Pesach, why are we not eating challah?" 

But on a deeper level, "why is that not challah?" is a reflection of the lens we're all supposed to be applying throughout the seder (or seders, if you're doing two) - noting the differences, the things that aren't quite the way they usually are, remarking about them, and pondering their significance. 

Sometimes it's something as stark as finding something you didn't expect under what is traditionally a challah cover, and sometimes the difference is subtle - we still say "Hamotzi" over matzah, but add another blessing special for matzah. So it's all the same, even as it's markedly different. 

It's the same lesson you might learn looking around the seder table at members of your own family: the genetic connection is there, and we remember just by looking at our relatives that we are all individuals, but still share a context, a heritage and a legacy.

-- 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

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. 

-- 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? 

-- 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 : 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!

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : original, by Esther D. Kustanowitz
Dayenu: Behind the Music (A Fictional Origins Story)

This is the fictional story of a song that everyone seems to know, whether or not they want to. To describe this song to you in a sentence would have been enough. But this song isn't known for its subtlety or its brevity. It's known for its repetition, its words that don't quite fit into the tune, it's barely-there-musical-tune reminiscent of the Pac-Man theme, and, of course, its repetition. So here's the previously untold story behind the music.

One Passover, before all of you were alive, a group of rabbis gathered in Bnei Brak. Rabbis were always gathering in Bnei Brak. In fact, you couldn't stop rabbis from gathering in Bnei Brak - it was like their version of Vegas, except whatever happened in Bnei Brak - instead of staying in Bnei Brak - ended up well-documented in the Haggadah.

But this is not the story of things that ended up well-documented in the Haggadah. And it's also not the story of how contemporary Bnei Brak became the home not just to one of Israel's most ultra-Orthodox communities but also the Coca-Cola factory. (That's got to be its own story, because, seriously?) It's the story of a plucky rabbi with a song in his heart who - like so many rabbis and non-rabbis before and after him - ignored his wife's plea to stay and help with Passover and instead went road tripping on a path of personal destiny.

Rabbi Dai Kvar was not the most popular rabbi in the village, but he had a way with those around him, always pointing out the obvious in a way that, though sometimes irksome, sometimes actually put things in perspective. It was this slavish adherence to the chain of events that led up to other events that would turn out to be his most annoying - and most enduring - quality.

One morning, Rabbi Dai Kvar awakened with a start. "If God had taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough!"

"What ARE you talking about, Dai Kvar?" his wife asked, annoyed for what was decidedly not the first time during their marriage.

"I've got an idea, no, it's THE idea. This is the one, Bina, I'm telling you! I've got to take this to the Bnei Brak boys immediately!" And with that, Dai Kvar jumped out of bed, threw a few of his portable Talmud volumes into a bag with some toothpaste, dental floss and two rocks, one to use for deodorant and the other one to use to light a fire.

"Be careful not to mix those two up," Bina shouted at her husband as he ran out the door. "He always leaves right before Passover," she said, shaking her head.

Later, Dai Kvar found himself in the synagogue in Bnei Brak, its major feature was an ark to end all arks - attached to a one-hundred-percent-electricity-free system of pulleys, the ark most resembled a giant slot machine. If you were to pull the lever on the left, it would spit out a Torah rolled up to that week's Torah portion.

The head of the Talmudic Council, Rabbi Dave, spoke first. "I now officially call all the Daves of the Talmudic council to order."

"I thought that was my job," said Second Rabbi Dave.

"Nope, that's me," Rabbi Dave the Third chimed in.

"Dave 3 is right, it's his job," said Just Another Rabbi Dave, which was also his JDate handle. "Here. Take this gavel. I got it from my JD program at Pumpeditha University."

"You went to PumpU?" Rabbi Dave could barely believe his ears. "I went to U of Sura! They're both in the Big Two of State Schools...." ​

"Small world," said all of the Daves in unison.

"First order of business," said Rabbi Dave (the one who was the head of the Talmudic Council, that is). "Rabbi Dai Kvar brings us a proposal for a new song."

Once he was in front of his boys from Brak, Dai Kvar was more excited than he'd ever been. "Gentlemen, I have a new song that traces our steps from the desert and toward a land that forged our peoplehood. My new song idea is so money that it doesn't even know how money it is."

"That's great, Dai Kvar, but how money is it, exactly? Is it more than two zuzim? Because I've got that number in my brain for some reason," said Reb Dave Gadya.

"Do you have a tune?" asked Just Another Rabbi Dave. "Who knows one?"

"It's got to be epic," said Rabbi Dave 3. "It should be grandiose, melodic and hauntingly beautiful as it helps us recall our years of oppression and subsequent redemption!"

"No," said Second Rabbi Dave. "It should be a still small voice, like God's in the wilderness."

"It should be intricate and unwieldy, but irresistible, maybe featuring lots of animals," said Reb Dave Gadya.

"Always the animals with you, Reb Gadya," Dai Kvar noted.

Reb Gadya shrugged and smiled. "I never had pets," he said. "But I always wanted one. Even just a worm to play with."

"A worm! That's it!" Dai Kvar exclaimed. The Daves stared at him, puzzled. "My friends," Dai Kvar explained, "we all know the story of the shamir, the giant worm that had the power to cut through stone, iron and diamond and which King Solomon is said to have used in the building of the First Temple in Jerusalem? Is there such a thing as a shamir that can live inside the skull, cutting through the noise and annoying someone but not actually harming them in any way?"

"Wait just a minute...are you talking about an ear worm?" one of the Daves asked. Dai Kvar thought about it. That was exactly what he was talking about, and he nodded vigorously.

"With the agreement of the Council, I'd like to create an ear shamir. I have just the chord progression," said one of the Rabbi Daves, but by this point, even Dai Kvar wasn't sure which one.

"Thank you for stepping forward, Rabbi Dave. So how many verses will be enough for this ear worm?" Rabbi Dave (the head of the Council one) asked.

"Well, musically, only one verse is necessary," said Rabbi Dai Kvar. "But one verse is super-boring and only children will get a kick out of learning and performing a long song, so let's compromise and say...14 different lines. And that we'll sing 'da-dai-yenu' after every line to make sure the song lasts as long as possible."

And the Daves took a vote, and it was a unanimous decision, except for Reb Gadya, who suffered from a hanging Chad and subsequently had to move to Florida to vote in the 2000 US Presidential Election.

And so it came to pass.

And that's why when you sing Dayenu, it's not just a song acknowledging the significant milestones that the Jewish people reached on their journey out of Egypt and to the Holy Land, but a summary of how that song makes you feel.

That is why it always feels like one verse would have been enough.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Rachel Kann

had you-i been given but seconds
in this unreal reality,
and the ten-thousand things not made themselves
known to me-you, daiyenu,

had the ten-thousand things made themselves
known to me-you, and your-my blood not thudded
circuitously, stubbornly, daiyenu,

had your-my blood thudded
circuitously, stubbornly,
and these atoms not stayed gathered
into matter as me-you, daiyenu,

had these atoms stayed gathered into matter
as me-you, and you-i not been born
earthly entity, daiyenu,

had you-i been born earthly entity, and these lungs
not breathed me-you, daiyenu,

had these lungs breathed me-you,
and you-i not strengthened
from struggling, daiyenu,

had you-i strengthened from struggling, and the
time-space web not caught me-you, daiyenu,

had the time-space web caught me-you,
and you-i not made manifest
believed-in possibility, daiyenu,

had you-i made manifest
believed-in possibility, and never felt faith
inside me-you, daiyenu,

had you-i felt faith inside me-you,
and not lost ego-identity, daiyenu,

had you-i lost ego-identity, and not detached from a
conceptually separate me-you, daiyenu,

had you-i detached from a
conceptually separate me-you,
and never found inner tranquility, daiyenu,

had you-i found inner tranquility, and never let
angel-death tongue-kiss me-you, daiyenu,

had you-i let angel-death tongue-kiss me-you, and
not answered with reciprocity, daiyenu,

had you-i answered with reciprocity,
and not still vibrated energy for eternity,
had you-i been given but seconds in this unreal
reality, had it all been arbitrary,
had it all been but a word,

a breath,
a blink,
a touch,
a grace,
a pulse,
a truth,
daiyenu,
daiyenu,
Daiyenu.

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.

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!

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.

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!

Nirtzah
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

In every generation, we all should feel as though we ourselves had gone forth from Egypt, as it is written: “And you shall explain to your child on that day, it is because of what God did for me when, I, myself, went forth from Egypt.” (Exodus 13:8)

We end our Passover Seder by saying in unison:

May slavery give way to freedom.
May hate give way to love.
May ignorance give way to wisdom.
May despair give way to hope.
Next year, at this time, may everyone, everywhere, be free!

Next year in Jerusalem!

!לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשַָׁלָיִם

L’Shanah HaBa’ah B’Yerushalayim! 

Commentary / Readings
Source : Original by Warren Hoffman
I'm in hour three of cleaning my kitchen and there's still no end in sight.

Crouching on my kitchen floor, refrigerator door open, food stuffs spoiling around me, I wonder

Is this what the Israelites did? 

Did they throw out their moldy jars of pasta sauce and shriveled vegetables, so rotten I'm not sure what some of the things once were?

I have taken my kitchen apart in a rather manic fashion.  Pots to scour sit on the countertops, cabinet doors are open, their shelves needing to be wiped, chametz begs to be discarded.

I thought the Israelites were in a hurry to get away.  Did they let their "Easy-Off" sit overnight in their ovens as the can recommends? 

I try not to think about the hours of cooking that still lie ahead, and the house that needs to be cleaned before guests arrive, and all the other “ands” that are making my head spin.

I could say this is "slavery" that I'm experiencing, what my ancestors went through, but that would be insulting to them. 

How am I supposed to connect to this holiday that seems more like one long advertisement for Soft Scrub and Clorox than a spiritual journey?

Another 18 minutes passes, enough time to bake matzo, and I haven’t done a thing, lost in some foggy cleaning stupor.  The refrigerator door is still open, energy just spilling out.  My kitchen looks like something out of Hoarders and I start to panic that if I don’t get out of there soon, I'll be buried alive amidst the half-eaten burrito and pots and pans and dirty paper towels that surround me. 

I crawl through the debris of the kitchen on my hands and knees, pushing months of old food away from me, and make my way to the dining room where bags of overpriced Passover goods sit.  I'm already regretting the impulse buy of the kosher for Passover pizza that I know will taste like a soggy shoe that someone left in the gutter. 

On my dining room table sits a megapack of matzo.  More boxes then I'll ever need, but hey, I know a deal when I see one and the megapack, stuffed with enough cardboard-like crackers to ensure that my bowels need not visit my bathroom for the next 8 days, is truly a bargain.

I rip open the plastic packaging and take out a box and hold it in my hands.  The Israelites, with the Egyptians fast on their heels, made matzo because they didn't have time to let the dough rise. 

But no one is chasing me now, the clock quietly ticking, the house deathly still.  And yet, suddenly, I feel the need to run too.  To get out of my house, away from my kitchen with the petrified vegetables and moldy salad dressing and stale burrito. 

To feel something, anything , that will connect me to this ancient holiday that we’re supposed to experience at seder as if we were there.  As if we were slaves ourselves, sitting at our Williams-Sonoma place settings, eating overpriced kosher meat made with our Cuisinart appliances. 

We are meant to feel, to empathize.

But I feel nothing and for once I want to feel something.  Even a little bit.

And so I take a single box of matzo from the megapack and open my front door. 

The kids of my Mexican neighbors are playing out front.  A trash truck is slowly turning down my street like a lumbering elephant. 

I’m lucky, I know.  What a great time to be living.  I step outside onto my stoop, leaving the front door ajar, no bloody marks telling the Angel of Death to stay away, and holding my box of matzo, like my Israelite ancestors, I start to run and I don’t look back.

Songs
Source : Original: Esther D. Kustanowitz
The Plot of Wonder Woman Meets Chad Gadya

Origin Story: Someone I know kept saying "Gal Gadot," the name of the Israeli actress who plays "Wonder W oman" in the DC Movie Universe. The more she said it, the more my brain kept singing her name to "Chad Gadya," the Aramaic song about the one little goat. And so, this parody version was born, celebrating the narrative spirit of the traditional Passover song with all the plot spoilers of the 2017 film, Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot.

While this version of the Chad Gadya has no goats - and really, very little relation to the song Chad Gadya - it can provide a pop culture chuckle at the end of a long seder. Or maybe in the middle, depending on how big your four cups of wine are. Enjoy!

- Esther D. Kustanowitz

Gal Gadot (to the tune of Chad Gadya

Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

1. Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

2. Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

3. Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

4. She discovers babies, love and ice cream, Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

5. Diana leaves her mom to go to London, she discovers babies, love and ice cream, Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

6. Steve Trevor brought war to Themyscira, Diana leaves her mom to go to London, she discovers babies, love and ice cream, Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

7. David Thewlis is obviously the villain, Steve Trevor brought war to Themyscira, Diana leaves her mom to go to London, she discovers babies, love and ice cream, Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

8. Antiope's her aunt who didn't make it, David Thewlis is obviously the villain, Steve Trevor brought war to Themyscira, Diana leaves her mom to go to London, she discovers babies, love and ice cream, Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

9. Diana's made of clay just like a dreidel, Antiope's her aunt who didn't make it, David Thewlis is obviously the villain, Steve Trevor brought war to Themyscira, Diana leaves her mom to go to London, she discovers babies, love and ice cream, Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

10. Amazons are warriors on an island, Diana's made of clay just like a dreidel, Antiope's her aunt who didn't make it, David Thewlis is obviously the villain, Steve Trevor brought war to Themyscira, Diana leaves her mom to go to London, she discovers babies, love and ice cream, Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!

11. Themyscira is a place of power, Amazons are warriors on an island, Diana's made of clay just like a dreidel, Antiope's her aunt who didn't make it, David Thewlis is obviously the villain, Steve Trevor brought war to Themyscira, Diana leaves her mom to go to London, she discovers babies, love and ice cream, Patty Jenkins is a great director, Justice League left a lot to be desired, Wonder Woman was really exciting, Gal Gadoooot, Gal Gadot!!!