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Introduction
Searching For the Chametz

Clearing Out the Chametz

In the Zohar the Rabbis liken levening in chametz to vanity or pride. Just like the only difference between bread and» matzah is how long you allow them to mix before baking so it goes with pride and the human. If you have too much pride you become gready self centered even unlikeable you get “puffed up” full of yourself. Without pride your are simple, passive undemanding, humble. Like Matzah a person without pride is unimpressive. In fact the word Matzah and Chametz have teh same letters in Hebrew just arranged differently מצה - הצמ. Just like flour and water can make both bread and Matzah. So on Passover apart from not owning any chametz we should take this time to rid ourselves of the pride which stands in the way of our humility and humanity.

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Say your Brachot with Kavanah

The story is told of the famous rabbi and the bus driver who arrive in heaven for Judgement at the same moment. The rabbi is asked to step aside to allow the bus driver to go right through the Pearly Gates to a luxurious abode. The rabbi asks the gate-keeper, "how can it be that l, a rabbi of reknown, must wait here while that simple bus driver is ushered straight into heaven?" The reply: "Rabbi, whenever you spoke in the synagogue, people would fall asleep; whenever he drove his bus, people would pray!"

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Introduction
Source : The Night That Unites
THE SIMANIM: THE STEPS OF THE SEDER IN ASCENDING ORDER

Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Maggid, Rachtzah, Motzie, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Beirach, Hallel, Nirtzah.

Sanctify, Wash, Appetizer, Break, Tell, Wash, Motzie, Eat Matzah, Bitter, Wrap, Set the Table, Hidden, Bless, Praise, Accepted.

There are fifteen parts to the Seder; a number which carries considerable significance. There were fifteen steps in the ancient Temple where the Levites sang daily before God. There are fifteen chapters of Psalms that begin with the words: “A Song of Ascent.” Every month, 15 days are required until the moon grows full, into a full moon. There are 15 generations from Moses to King Solomon and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem. The number 15 will appear again in the Seder,in the Dayeinu, describing the steps taken from leaving Egypt until building a life in the Land of Israel. We might suggest that the number 15 represents a spiritual movement upward — an ascent.

Rav Kook taught that these 15 steps, known as the Simanei ha—Seder are to be viewed not merely as a variety of rituals, but rather as guided steps that are built up, based upon each other, each upon the previous. These steps are the rungs in a ladder that are intended to move us toward a spiritual ascent as we follow the signposts throughout the Seder. If we consider the overall picture of the night, we open the night with Kadesh, a call to each of us to engage in sanctifying the night with the special actions and study of the Haggadah. When we reach the final step at the end of the night, Nz'rtzah, we are no longer called upon to follow a ritual or take a particular action. The word Nz'rtzah, which is in the passive form, suggests that we have attained a feeling of freedom and holiness. We feel uplifted. The 15 steps are meant to guide us so that we may grow spiritually from the Seder experience.

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Introduction
Source : The Night That Unites
Seder in Three Sections

Rabbi Soloveitchik taught that man is the only creature to experience time, to feel its passage and to sense its movement.God demands that we learn to master time, to have “time awareness.” By choosing how to use our moments properly, by investing those moments with quality and significance, we break our “servitude” to time and become its masters. Critical to this task, maintains Rabbi Soloveitchik, is the recognition of three dimensions of time, each of which is an aspect of the experience of time: RETROSPECTION refers to one’s ability to re-experience the past, to feel deeply that which is only a memory, and to transport an event from the distant past into a “creative living experience” in the present. ANTICIPATION is our projection of visions and aspirations into the future. Indeed, one’s present life is regulated in expectation of the fulfillment of these dreams. The present is shaped by our vision of the future. Retrospection and anticipation are significant only insofar as they transform the present. In every fraction of a second, Visions can be realized or destroyed. APPRECIATION embraces the present as a precious possession, as inherently worthy. The Haggadah incorporates all three elements of time into the Seder experience.

(A) RETROSPECTION - If there is no retrospection there can be no mitzvah of retelling the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Seder itself is a recreation and reliving of the past as a present reality.

(B) ANTICIPATION - In anticipation we move from reminiscing to expectation, from memories to vision. Anticipation gives us the impetus and the moral imperative to act in order to realize a vision for the future. The Haggadah opens with Avadim hayinu, “we were slaves” (retrospection), and it concludes with the Cup of Elijah and Nishmat kol chai, which expresses anticipation and our vision for our future.

(C) APPRECIATION - The third aspect compels us to value the present and appreciate the special gift of the moment. The Kiddush recited on the first cup of wine at the Seder declares the sanctity of the moment. The Shehecheyanu, the blessing we recite at the conclusion of Kiddush, thanks God for allowing us to reach this special time in our lives and to appreciate the moment.

By incorporating Retrospection, Anticipation, and Appreciation at the Seder we learn the lesson of merging past, present, and future within all of life’s moments.

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Introduction
Seder Plate

Shank bone (zeroa): This is a roasted bone with some meat on it. Although zeroa is often described as the shank bone of a lamb, the emphasis is on the commemoration of the Paschal sacrifice, which was the most important part of celebrating Passover in the time of the Temple. Unlike most of the symbols of seder night, this one is for looking at, not eating.

Egg (beitzah): The egg commemorates the Hagigah sacrifice that was eaten with the Paschal sacrifice on seder night during Temple times. One reason commonly suggested for using an egg to represent the sacrifice is that eggs – whose circularity is seen as representing the cycle of life – are a typical mourners food, and thus remind us that we are mourning the destruction of the Temple, as a result of which we cannot bring the Passover sacrifices.

Vegetable (karpas): Just about any vegetable may be used for karpas, as long as its not one that can be used for bitter herbs. Vegetables that are commonly used for karpas include parsley, celery and potatoes. During the seder, the karpas is dipped into salt water, reminiscent of the tears of the Israelite slaves, before eating.

Bitter herbs (maror and hazeret): Mar means bitter, and the maror is meant to remind us of the bitterness of slavery. The two main foods customarily used for maror are lettuce –especially Romaine lettuce (which eventually turns bitter and is commonly used as maror in Israel) – and grated horseradish, which is commonly used in many Jewish communities outside of Israel. Some seder plates have a spot for each of those items, and you can put horseradish in one of them and lettuce in the other. Hazeret, a plant that scholars identify as lettuce is the first of five plants listed in the Mishna as a food that can be used for maror.

Haroset: The word is thought to come from heres, meaning clay, and the sweet reddish or brownish paste is meant to symbolize the clay the Israelite slaves used to make the bricks and mortar for their Egyptian overlords. The sweetness also offsets the taste of the bitter herbs, much as our freedom offsets the taste of remembered slavery.

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Introduction
Lighting the Candles

We rejoice in the warm light and rich blessings of this season. The celebration of Passover represents the perennial rebirth and survival of humanity and the world of nature. The light of these candles symbolizes a renewal of life and a reaffirmation of our freedom.

Let us appreciate the existence we share with all living things in this world, from the ground below to the sky above. Let us always try to enjoy the good that each year brings, and be thankful for each new day we have to experience the people we love and things we are able do in our daily lives.

Passover holiday candles are lit no later than 18 minutes before sundown. After kindling the candles, she waves her hands over the flames three times (as if welcoming in the holiday), and, covering her eyes with her hands (so as to not see the candles burning), says the following blessing (if Passover occurs on Shabbat, insert "Shabbat v'shel" before "yom tov"):

Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam, asher kideshanu bemitzvotav ve-tsivanu lehadlik ner shel (shabbat v'shel) yom tov.

Blessed is the force of the universe that gave us purpose and allows us to light the candles of (Shabbat and) the holiday. *

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Kadesh
Source : The Night That Unites
4 Cups, 4 Promises, 4 Mothers

The Four Cups of the Seder are structurally connected to the four verbal performances this evening:

(1) Kiddush, sanctifying the holiday
(2) Maggid, the storytelling
(3) Birkat HaMazon, completing the Pesach meal; and
(4) Hallel, completing the festival Psalms.

The Talmud connects the Four Cups to God's Four Promises to Israel: "Tell the children of Israel: I am Adonai! I will take them out... I will rescue them… I will redeem them… and I will marry them taking them as my people and I will be their God" (Exodus 6:6-7, Jerusalem Talmud Pesachim 10:1).

However, two 16th C. mystic rabbis identify the Four Cups with the Four Matriarchs of Israel. The Maharal of Prague (famous for the legend of Golem) and Rav Isaiah Horowitz of Tsfat explain:

(1) The Cup of Kiddush stands for Sarah who was the mother of a community of converts, believers by choice.

(2) The Cup of Maggid is for Rebecca who knew how to mother both Esav and Jacob, two opposed natures.

(3) The Cup of the Blessing after Eating represents Rachel whose son Joseph provided the whole family of Jacob with bread in a time of great famine.

(4) The Cup of Hallel (Praise) is for Leah who came to realize that the pursuit of the impossible, Jacob's love, must give way to appreciation of what one has. When her fourth child was born, Judah, she praised God: " This time I will thank God " (Genesis 29:35).

Kadesh
Kiddish and Cup #1: Cup of Sanctification

The first step of the Seder is Kadesh, in which we recite the Kiddush over wine (or grape juice), sanctifying the night and the holiday, and celebrating our freedom. The Hebrew word “Kiddush” means sanctification, but it is not the wine we sanctify. Instead, the wine is a symbol of the sanctity, the preciousness, and the sweetness of the Seder.

The four (or five, if you'd like) cups of wine used in the Seder symbolize the four blessings the Hebrews received in the story of Exodus.

Cup #1: The Cup of Sanctification
Cup #2: The Cup of Deliverance
Cup #3: The Cup of Redemption
Cup #4: The Cup of Restoration
Optional Cup #5: The Cup of Hope (Elijah's Cup)

For thousands of years, Jews have affirmed that by participating in the Passover Seder, we not only remember the Exodus, but actually relive it, bringing its transformative power into our own lives. We are gathered here tonight to affirm our continuity with the generations of Jews who kept alive the vision of freedom in the Passover story, as well as our dedication to help ensure the freedom of people from all walks of life.

Now, it's time for our first glass of wine! Have someone else fill your cup, and return them the favor. This way, we are all like nobility, whose cups are filled by someone else.

Before we drink, we give thanks for the force -- whether you believe it is God or nature or pure luck -- that keeps us alive, gives us food to eat and water to drink, and has brought us together to celebrate this moment. Below is the blessing over the wine for the festival of Passover (with parentheses when the Seder falls on Shabbat). The Shehecheyanu is recited after the kiddush, immediately before drinking the wine.

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Let us raise our glasses, recite the blessing and enjoy the first cup!

Leader: Va’yihi erev va’y’hi voker

Yom ha’shishi. Va’yihulu ha’shamayim v’haaretz v’hol tzva’am. Va’yihal Elohim ba’yom ha’shvi’i milahto asher asah, va’yishbot ba’yom ha’shvi’i mikolmlahto asher asah. Va’yivareh Elohim et yom ha’shvi’i va’yikadeish oto, ki vo shavat mikol milahto, asher bara Elohim la’asot.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech haolam, asher bachar banu mikol am v'rom'manu mikol lashon v'kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, b'ahavah Shabbatot lim'nuchah u moadim l'simchah chagim uz'manim l'sason et yom; et yom (haShabbat hazeh v'et) chag hamatzot hazeh z'man cheiruteinu b'ahavah mikra kodesh zeicher litziat Mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v'otanu kidashta mikol haamim v'Shabbat umoadei kodsh'cah b'ahavah uv'ratzon b'simchah uv'sason hinchaltanu. Baruch atah Adonai, m'kadeish haShabbat v'Yisrael v'hazmanim.

Blessed is the force of the universe that chose us from all peoples, exalting us and sanctifying us with commandments, giving us Sabbaths of rest, feasts of gladness and seasons of joy; (this Shabbat day and) this festival of matzot, season of our freedom, in love, a holy commemoration, a reminder of the Exodus from Egypt. You have chosen us from all peoples, consecrating us to your service, giving us the Sabbath, a sign of your love and favor and the Festivals, a time of gladness and joy. Blessed is the force that sanctifies Shabbat, our people Israel, and the Festivals.

Everyone: Baruch atah adonai, eloheinu melekh ha-olam, borei p'ri hagafen.

Blessed is the force that created the fruit of the vine.

(Shehecheyanu blessing) Baruch atah Adonai eloheinu melekh ha-olam, she-hecheyanu v'ki-yemanu v-higiany lazeman hazeh.

Blessed is the force of the universe that has kept us alive, sustained us and brought us to this special moment.

[Drink the first cup of wine and recline to the left.]

Why do we recline? Reclining at the Seder is an outward display of freedom. In ancient Egypt, royalty would often have special lounges upon which they would recline while eating their meals. On the night of the Seder, we project the feeling that a Jewish life is a royal life. Jewish law makes a point of saying that even a pauper is obligated to recline at the Seder. Often times people equate wealth with freedom, the assumption being that "the wealthier I become, the freer I will be." To this, the pauper's reclining at the Seder retorts, "It's not how much you have that determines your freedom, but what you do with what you have." No matter how numerous or how meager your possessions, when they are used to help others and to promote meaningful endeavors, they are instruments of freedom.

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Urchatz
Urchatz

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 stop to wash our hands twice during our Seder to prepare us for upcoming aspects of the evening: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later,with a blessing, preparing us for the meal that Judaism thinks of as a ritual in itself.

To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup or pitcher to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands.

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. While we wash, let's pause to think about the story we will discuss during our evening together tonight -- the tale of slavery and the struggle for freedom -- and how even now we still see these issues play out in our modern lives. Just like the water freshens our hands, let us refresh our hearts and minds, and rededicate ourselves to ensuring freedom and liberty exist for people everywhere.

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Urchatz

The Haggadah instructs that each of us (“In every generation . . .”) is actually supposed to feel as though we had been slaves and made the transition to a new status. How can we do this–take ancient history and make it into my story and your story?

We who live in an open, democratic society tend to think of ourselves as free. But are we really, just because we are not physically bound to an overlord? What do being enslaved and unencumbered by oppression really mean? And are they mutually exclusive?

In Hebrew, Egypt is called Mitzrayim. According to the text on Jewish mysticism, the Zohar , the name is derived from m’tzarim, meaning “narrow straits” (mi, “from,” tzar, “narrow” or “tight”). When God took us out of Mitzrayim, He extricated us from the place of constricted opportunities, tight control, and narrow-mindedness, where movement was severely limited.

Each of us lives in his or her own mitzrayim, the external or physical narrow straits of financial or health constraints or, perhaps, personal tragedy; universally, the psychological burdens to which we subject ourselves. Like the duality in virtually all of Pesach’s symbols, they work in two ways: they turn us into both slaves and oppressors, of ourselves and others. Passover leads us to question the values and attitudes we hold and which hold us to those roles.

(Do we pursue, even worship, things like money and status for their own sake, rather than for how they can make our lives and the lives of those around us better? Do our own insecurities or overconfidence inhibit us from fully participating in life rather than getting the most out of relationships? Do our stereotyping, prejudice, or exploitation oppress other people by robbing them of their dignity rather than affording them the same opportunities we want for ourselves?)

As we get rid of leaven and replace it with matzah , we are supposed to confront whatever it is that we normally allow to persist in our lives but which should perhaps, like the leaven, be eliminated, and that which we suppress which should, like the back-to-basics unleavened bread, be admitted. (Do you work to live or live to work? Do you play for enjoyment or to avoid having to think? Are you unhappy in a situation but so entrenched in it that you have come to accept it as the norm–as acceptable? Does an addiction to food, alcohol, drugs, a pattern of behavior, or another person interfere with leading the life you really want for yourself? Do you allow others to take advantage of your time and resources?)

Karpas
KARPAS

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.

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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?

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Karpas
Source : Rav Kook
Karpas Hag Haviv

KARPAS Here we dip a vegetable in salt water. The vegetable is food, whereas the salt water is fluid. A significant difference between food and fluid is that food supplies us with nutrients, whereas the fluid enables those same nutrients to be transported within our bodies to all of the organs that need them. In this case food itself is important, but the fluid is a medium for something else.The fluid is a means to an end, whereas the food is an end in and of itself.

We tend to separate means and ends: we are delighted to finish first, but less enamored simply to take part; we like to arrive, but see the journey as an inevitable evil and bother; achieving becomes essential, while preparing and toiling cause distress and affliction.

This is not the way it should be. Rather we need to sanctify and revel in the getting there as much as in the being there. There is often as much merit in the journey as there is in the arrival, and so we must learn not to overlook the way.

This is the message of the Karpas. We fuse the food with the liquid, the end with the means, and consume them together.

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Yachatz
Yahatz: Halachma - This is the Bread of Affliction

When the Israelites left Egypt they did so in a hurry and had no time to wait for the bread they were baking to rise. The bread they baked was flat – matzah. Matzah is more than a commemorative food. It is called the ‘bread of affliction’ or a ‘poor man’s bread’. It remains flat symbolizing humility. Regular bread that rises symbolizes arrogance. On Passover we remove all leavened bread (and grain products) from our homes, eating only the matzah. We symbolize the removal of all arrogance and egotism turning instead to humility.

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The Passover story begins in a broken world, amidst slavery, oppression, and separation. The broken middle matzah therefore represents all those separated from their families or communities, from the Jews expelled from Jerusalem by the Romans to the Native Americans sent to reservations and enslaved, to the millions living in refugee camps around the world and the Palestinians removed from their homes.

The host will wrap up the larger 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, our younger guests will hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal. Tradition states that we cannot conclude the seder without the broken piece being found, as the broken piece is necessary for us to become whole again.

Uncover and hold up the three pieces of matzah;

let us all say together:

Ha lachma anya di achalu avahatana b'ara d'Mitzrayim. Kal dichfin yeitei v'yeichul. Kal ditzrich yeitei v'yifsach. Hashata hacha, l'shanah haba'ah b'ara d'Yisrael. Hashata avdei. L'shana haba'ah b'nei chorin.

This is the bread of poverty and persecution that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry, come and eat; let all who are in need, come and share the Pesach meal. This year we are still here; next year in the land of freedom. This year we are still slave; next year free people."

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Reb Shlomo Carlebach has an insight to offer us:

Why do we break the matzah at the beginning of the Seder? Why do the children. bring back the broken piece of matzah at the end of the Seder? The afikomen, the broken matzah represents the brokenness in the world. There are so many broken hearts . . . broken lives . . . so many tears. We live in a world of yachatz, of brokenness. The world is fractured and we need to know that in order to repair it. But do you know who will fix the world? Do you know who will bring wholeness to the world again?

Our children. Our children will bring back the broken piece to make the world whole again.

Yachatz
Source : The Night That Unites

Reb Shlomo Carlebach has an insight to offer us:

Why do we break the matzah at the beginning of the Seder? Why do the children. bring back the broken piece of matzah at the end of the Seder? The afikomen, the broken matzah represents the brokenness in the world. There are so many broken hearts . . . broken lives . . . so many tears. We live in a world of yachatz, of brokenness. The world is fractured and we need to know that in order to repair it. But do you know who will fix the world? Do you know who will bring wholeness to the world again?

Our children. Our children will bring back the broken piece to make the world whole again.

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Yachatz
Let Anyone who is Hungry: Share the Bread of Affliction?

by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks

Passover, the Jewish festival of freedom we begin celebrating on Monday night, is extraordinary testimony to the power of ritual to keep ideals and identity alive across the centuries. On it we relive the story of our people, sitting together at home as an extended family as if we were back in the Egypt of the pharaohs, on the night before we are about to go free after long exile and harsh enslavement.

We begin the drama by holding up a matzah, the dry unleavened bread that is one of the key symbols of the festivals, and saying, “This is the bread of affliction our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat.” A child, usually the youngest present, then asks a series of questions about “why this night is different from all other nights.”

The rest of the evening is largely dedicated to answering those questions, retelling the story of the exodus together with acts of eating and drinking that include the bitter herbs of suffering and the wine of freedom. It is history made memory by re-enactment. For most Jews it is the way we learned, when we were young, who we are and why.

It also has hidden depths. I always used to be puzzled by two features of the evening. The first is the conflict between the two explanations of the unleavened bread. At the beginning of the story we call it the bread of affliction. Later on in the evening, though, we speak of it as the bread of freedom they ate as they were leaving Egypt in such a hurry that they could not wait for the dough to rise. Which is it, I used to wonder: a symbol of oppression or liberty? Surely it could not be both.

The other element I found strange was the invitation to others to join us in eating the bread of affliction. What kind of hospitality is that, I thought, to ask others to share our suffering?

Unexpectedly, I discovered the answer in Primo Levi’s great book, If this is a Man, the harrowing account of his experiences in Auschwitz during the Holocaust. According to Levi, the worst time was when the Nazis left in January1945, fearing the Russian advance. All prisoners who could walk were taken on the brutal ‘death marches.’ The only people left in the camp were those too ill to move.

For ten days they were left alone with only scraps of food and fuel. Levi describes how he worked to light a fire and

bring some warmth to his fellow prisoners, many of them dying. He then writes:

‘When the broken window was repaired and the stove began to spread its heat, something seemed to relax in everyone, and at that moment Towarowski (a Franco-Pole of twenty-three, with typhus) proposed to the others that each of them offer a slice of bread to us three who had been working. And so it was agreed. ’Only a day before, says Levi, this would have been inconceivable. The law of the camp said: “Eat your own bread, and if you can, that of your neighbour.” To do otherwise would have been suicidal. The offer of sharing bread “was the first human gesture that occurred among us. I believe that that moment can be dated as the beginning of the change by which we who had not died slowly changed from Haftlinge [prisoners] to men again.”

Sharing food is the first act through which slaves become free human beings. One who fears tomorrow does not offer his bread to others. But one who is willing to divide his food with a stranger has already shown himself capable of fellowship and faith, the two things from which hope is born. That is why we begin the seder by inviting others to join us. That is how we turn affliction into freedom.

It sometimes seems to me that, having created the most individualistic society in history, we today risk losing the logic of liberty. Freedom is not simply the ability to choose to do whatever we like so long as we do not harm others.It is born in the sense of solidarity that leads those who have more than they need to share with those who have less. Giving help to the needy and companionship to those who are alone, we bring freedom into the world, and with freedom, God.

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Maggid - Beginning

THINKING about postwar Iraq, I found myself recalling the story that used to be told when I was an undergraduate. An American tourist, impressed by the lawns in the College quadrangles, asked the porter how you get grass togrow like that. “Well,” he said, “first you prepare the soil, then you plant the seeds, then you water the ground — andthen you wait a thousand years!” It takes time to grow a lawn. It takes time to build a free society.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Kosovo — the pattern is tragically familiar: the attempts to find a diplomatic solution, then military action, and then the moment of victory. There are scenes of jubilation. People in the streets feel the dawn of a new age. Then comes the loss of order. Homes and offices are looted. Old scores are settled. There are murders. People begin to wonder whether the cure might be as bad as the disease. Meanwhile, the cameras have moved on, theworld’s attention shifts, and the local population feel abandoned. Those are the dangerous moments, and the Iraqi people are experiencing them now. Liberation can come quickly. Liberty — the rule of law, the administration of justice, the honouring of human rights — never does. We are currently in the midst of one of the least understood periods of the Jewish calendar. It is called “the counting of the omer”, the 49 days between Passover and Pentecost. It is our custom to make a special blessing on each of these days. In seasonal terms, this was the time of the grain harvests, of which an offering was brought to the Temple.

But the Jewish festivals are not only about the seasons. They are also about history. From this perspective the counting of the omer represents the journey between the Exodus (Passover) and the revelation of the Ten Commandments at Mount Sinai seven weeks later. It is, in other words, a reminder of the journey from liberation to the constitution of liberty. Freedom, the Bible is suggesting, is never won overnight. As the Jewish folk saying has it: it took one day to get the Israelites out of Egypt. It took much longer to get Egypt out of the Israelites. That involved law, discipline, self-restraint. It required a massive effort of education. To this day, Moses’s words on the subject resonate with pristine power: “These commandments that I give you today must be in your heart. Teach them repeatedly to your children. Talk about them when you sit at home or walk on the way, when you lie down and when you rise.” A free society can only be built by people educated into the responsibilities of freedom. Without this, liberty becomes lawlessness, which in turn leads to a new tyranny as people turn to a strong leader who promises order even at the cost of freedom. Thus history repeats itself and the new dawn turns out to be no more than a prelude to the return of old, dark night.

There is no short cut from liberation to liberty. That is the symbolic significance of “counting the days” between Passover and Pentecost. Freedom is a journey, not a sudden achievement. I wonder whether we have yet learnt the biblical lesson of the long walk to freedom, which is that what a nation teaches its children is as significant as the arsenal of weapons it holds. It’s when the war on the battlefield is over that the task of education begins

Maggid - Beginning

Reb Shlomo Carlebach taught:

There is a saying that everything in the world is here for the service of God. Somebody once came to the Hasidic master Reb Alexander, and asked him, how can one possibly serve God by being an atheist? Reb Alexander answered that you have to be an atheist when someone asks a favor of you. If you believe in God, then you’ll think, I’ll pray for you, l’ll bless you, but I don’t have to do anything, because God will do it. Reb Shlomo continued, “So when someone asks a favor of you, my most beautiful friends, you have to be a complete atheist, as if God won’t do anything, for him. You’ve got to do it, there’s no one else!"

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Maggid - Beginning
Go Down Moses

This song is considered an African American Spiritual song which has been sung by every great gospel and blues artist you can think of, most notably Louis Armstrong. This song established the bond between the Jewish slavery Experience and the African Slave experience as this song was written communally and sung by slaves in the South who felt a kinship between their plight and that of the Jewish Slaves in Egypt. “Go Down, Moses” is said to have been sung by abolitionists to signal escape or rebellion. The lyrics use biblical imagery expressing the desire for a release from bondage. The song is marked by its strong tone of determination in the struggle for freedom. To this day, “Go Down, Moses” has remained popular and is performed by gospel singers throughout the world.

Let My People Go!

Go down Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell all pharaoes to
Let my people go!

When Israel was in Egypt land
Let my people go!

Oppressed so hard they could not stand
Let my people go!

So the God said: go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell all pharaoes to
Let my people go!

So moses went to Egypt land
Let my people go!

He made all pharaoes understand
Let my people go!


Yes the lord said: go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell all pharaoes to
Let my people go!

Thus spoke the lord, bold Moses said:
-let my people go!


if not I'll smite, your firstborn's dead
-let my people go!

God-the lord said : go down, Moses
Way down in Egypt land
Tell all pharaoes to
Let my people go!

Tell all pharaoes
To let my people go

-- Four Questions
Ask good question ?

Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life, and the formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The rabbis who created the format for the Seder gave us these questions to help break the ice:

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות

Ma Neeshtana ha-laila ha-zeh meekol ha-laylot?

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

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה

Sheh-bichol ha-laylot anoo ochleem chametz oo-matzoh. Halailah hazeh chametz oomatz?

On all other nights, we eat either leavened or unleavened bread. Why on this night do we eat only matzoh?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Sheh-bi'chol ha-laylot anoo ochleem sheh-ar yerakot. Ha-lailah hazeh maror?

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

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

Sheh-bi'chol ha-laylot ayn anoo mat-bee- leen afeeloo pa-am echad. Ha-laila hazeh sh'tay pi-ameem?

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

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

Sheh- bi'chol ha-laylot anoo ochleem bayn yoshveen oo-bayn misoobeen. Ha-laila hazeh koolanoo misooveen?

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

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-- Four Questions
Source : PM Magazine / UCSD Archives
Dr. Seuss Anti-Hitler Cartoon

Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904-1991) was a life-long cartoonist. Because of the fame of his children's books (and because we often misunderstand these books) and because his political cartoons have remained largely unknown, we do not think of Dr. Seuss as a political cartoonist. But for two years, 1941 - 1943, he was the chief editorial cartoonist for the New York newspaper PM, and for that journal, he drew over 400 editorial cartoons. 

 October 1, 1941, Dr. Seuss Political Cartoons, PM Magazine. Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library

-- Four Questions
Avadim Hayenu

At our Passover Seder, we celebrate the story of Moses and the people he led out of slavery 3,000 years ago.

ּעֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין

Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

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

Had our ancestors not escaped the chains of bondage, then even today we and our children and our grandchildren might still be slaves.

Let us remember that the thirst for freedom exists in all people. Throughout the centuries, the story of Moses and the exodus from Egypt has inspired Jews and non-Jews in times of persecution and hardship. Long after the legendary time of Moses, African people were brought to America as slaves. These slaves longed for freedom, and they were inspired by the story of Moses and the ancient Israelites. When the slaves in America sang "Go Down Moses," they were thinking of their own leaders who were working to end slavery.

Centuries after the time of Moses' tale, most Jews lived in Europe, where they were often persecuted and their lives were filled with terror and despair, until many Jewish families learned of a place called America, a place where persecuted people from all over the world could live without fear. By the thousands, and then by the millions, year after year, they left all they had ever known to embark on a dangerous voyage for the shores of America in search of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

The freedom we celebrate tonight is not only freedom from slavery; it is also the freedom to live in peace, with dignity and hope for a bright future. This enduring vision of freedom has inspired the Jewish people since the ancient times when the Bible was written, and helps us understand the struggle of all people to be free. Even now in the 21st century, the struggle for freedom continues for others. This evening, as we celebrate our own liberation, let us take notice of the on-going struggles toward liberty here and in many other parts of the world. Let us remember that the thirst for freedom exists in all people.

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-- Four Children
Four Types of Jews

This is a modern interpretation of an ancient standard, which is part and parcel of the Seder: the Four Children. By reading and discussing the Four Children, and then responding to it through modern themes, we can come to an understanding of who we are and our relation to the our Children. The source of this section are four verses from the Tanakh which briefly mention children asking, or being told about, the Exodus from Egypt. Using these very general verses, the Rabbis created four prototypes which are given to show us that we must teach a child according to the child's level. At the time the Haggadah was created, it was safe for the rabbis to assume that most Jewish adults had the knowledge available to teach their children about the Exodus. At that time, perhaps, all adults did know about the Exodus from Egypt and the Jews' struggle against Pharaoh. However, in subsequent generations, not all adults are familiar with the story told in the Haggadah, with the people of Israel, with their history. It isn't only the children that need to be taught, but their parents as well. To complicate matters, each Jew is coming from a different orientation with regard to his or her Judaism.

In today's world, Jews may identify themselves in a variety of ways. One may be ritually, culturally, or intellectually orientedor unconnected. And yet, however modified one's Judaism may be, there is still some level of concern about the Jewish people that causes Jews to at least ask the questions about the Exodus from Egypt. If they weren't interested, they wouldn't ask. We must answer them, and enable them to teach their children.

The ritual Jew asks: "What are the laws that God commanded us? " This Jew defines herself by the rituals, the laws and guidelines of Pesach. We call on her to seek the meaning that underlies all of these acts, so that they have relevance for all of us today.

The unconnected Jew asks: "What does this ritual mean to you?" This Jew feels alienated from the Jewish community and finds it difficult to identify with the rituals, perhaps because of his upbringing or experiences. Yet we recognize that he is still interested, if only because he asks these questions, and we call on him to see these rituals as a way of affirming the universal beliefs that gave rise to them.

The cultural Jew asks: "What is this all about?" She shows little concern with the ritual or psychological ramifications of the Exodus, even while embracing this reenactment of our ancestors; flight from Egypt. We call on her to recognize that it was a deep sense of faith that enabled these rituals to transcend the generations. It was belief in a vision of future freedom that caused us to celebrate our first Exodus and hear the echo of the prophets' call: "Let all people go!"

The intellectual Jew refrains from asking direct questions because he doesn't lean in any direction, preferring instead to let the text speak for itself. We call on him to understand that true freedom can only be obtained when we question authority and challenge power, even if that power be God Himself. It is our responsibility to question not only the text but the status quo too, and share this message of freedom with all people everywhere.

-- Exodus Story
Source : Oliver Krulak

The torah portion for my bar mitzvah is parshat bo. This parsha consists of the last three plagues of 10 which are the locusts, the darkness and the death of the first born. In this parsha, Pharaoh continues to resist and not let the Israelites go until finally he lets them go after the tenth plague where his first born is killed. At this point, Pharaoh demanded that Moses leave with all the Jews.

One of the commonly discussed parts of this torah portion is when God hardens Pharaoh's heart. There are three different ways that the torah talks about Pharaoh’s heart being hardened. The first time, the torah just says that Pharaoh's heart was hardened as if nobody directly made this happen. Rashi, the great French rabbi from the 11th century, understands this to mean that he was unimpressed by the plagues and therefore had no reason to let the Israelites go. The second time, it says that Pharaoh’s heart was hardened by himself meaning he hardened his own heart.

Rashbam, Rashi’s grandson believes this means that Pharaoh had to choose not to let the Israelites go, because his logical response would have been to give up and free the slaves. The third time that the Torah mentions

Pharaoh’s heart being hardened appears in my Torah portion where in this case, it says that it was God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart. Which brings up a very important question, “Why would God harden Pharaoh’s heart?” Practically speaking, if his heart is hardened, he will resist more. Why would God stiffen Pharaoh’s heart when he could soften it?. Because, if God had softened Pharaoh’s heart, the Israelites would have likely been freed before all ten plagues occurred.

On a moral level, God hardening Pharaoh’s heart may have led to unnecessary suffering. How can a moral God do something that makes people suffer unnecessarily?

Leading up to this point, all of the plagues were to show Pharaoh that God wanted the Israelites to be freed. Now, God has made the plagues more intense, and appears to be trying to achieve something different. Because, if God left Pharaoh’s heart alone, Pharaoh would have already changed his mind, and the Israelites would be free already.

So what might God’s new goal be?

According to Ibn Ezra the Spanish rabbi from the 12th century, God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to try and convince Israel that God is God, rather than trying to convince Pharaoh to let Israel go. Even though the plagues were against the egyptians, the audience at this point were the

Israelites. Nachmanides, the Spanish rabbi from the 13th century somewhat agrees with Ibn Ezra, but he thinks that the audience wasn’t just Israel, but the whole world. Even though the whole world wasn’t there in Egypt to see the plagues, the stories would be passed down through generations and spread so that eventually everyone would hear about it.

A neuroscientist named Paul McLean’s model of the brain has three parts. The first part, the brainstem, controls all your vital functions that help you survive- also known as the reptilian complex. The paleomammalian complex, or the limbic system, is mainly responsible for vivid emotions.

Both the reptilian complex and the limbic system are referred to as the old brain because they determine your most automatic reactions. The third part of the brain is the cerebral cortex and it is referred to as the “new brain”. It makes us conscious, alert and aware of our surroundings. It is also the part that makes decisions, thinks, observes. plans, anticipates, responds, creates ideas, and organizes information. So, Pharaoh’s natural response after the first few plagues from his old brain would be to free the people because there’s this God that’s hurting his people but, his new brain is angry and reacts differently and makes the decision to be pertinacious and not let the Israelites go.

As I first thought about this, I had interpreted it as not a direct hardening of Pharaoh’s heart from God but an effect that happened because of what God did to pharaoh’s people regarding the plagues. I think the reason Pharaoh’s heart was hardened because of God was that the plagues began to make Pharaoh angry, so the more upset Pharaoh became the stiffer his heart became. Pharaoh continued to build up this inner resentment to God and eventually he reached his breaking point after the tenth plague where he just gave up and let the Israelites free. I can relate to this because I’ve had many many many fights with my sister and some of which she’s been right. Even when she is right I am occasionally stubborn about it and I won’t admit if she’s right even though I know she is. The more she keeps saying she’s right the more I deny the fact that she is because I am unwilling to admit that she’s right. I don’t want her to win, more importantly I don’t want to lose. The inability to think logically using your new brain can cause people to think irrationally. As many of are aware there have been many terrible terrorist attacks recently occurring all around the world. Also, the presidential campaign is going on and one of candidates is Donald Trump. Donald Trump made a statement saying that

muslims should not be allowed in the United States which was a decision Trump made using his old brain because he was angry that this was happening to people. So, he blamed the muslims because the people who were responsible for these attacks were muslim. To take in perspective how illogical this would be, if someone were to try to keep all muslims out of the US there would be no way to tell if someone was or was not muslim because it doesn’t say on their birth certificate or passport or anything like that. Like Pharaoh, we can all be stubborn but what we have to learn is not to be pig-headed and be able to just admit it when you’re wrong because it slows the process of everything down when you do. What we should take away from this is that we all are stubborn and we all let our old brain make bad decisions, but we need to learn to not let the old brain take over

because then it leads to a suffering to all.

-- Exodus Story
Guided Visualization Passover

Allow your eyes to close. Inhale and exhale. Listen to the sound of your breath. Do you not hear the distant sound of an ancient sea? Listen to your breath from that part of your heart that remembers being there at the time of the Exodus from Mitzrayim.

Inhale and exhale and hear the moving of the waters echoing in your innermost ear as you inhale and exhale.

Keeping your eyes closed, look up as if you were looking at the top of the pillar of cloud that is guiding us out of Egypt. Observe the form and color of the cloud and feel the hope and promise that this pillar of cloud represents. Feel its pull on your soul drawing you toward freedom.

Now allow your eyes to slowly slide down the length of the cloud, down and down, until your eyes reach the horizon. Notice the mass of people moving with you.

Feel yourself moving toward the Sea in that ocean of Israelites. Are you leading children by the hand? Or are you a child yourself, moving quickly to keep up with the big people. Wondering that there is no work to be done today. No bricks to be made, no taskmasters with whips.

Listen! In the distance you can hear the dim clatter of spears and shields, horses’ hooves and the rumble of chariot wheels. The whinny of a horse, a muffled command barked by one of the charioteers or Egyptian Captains. The rumbling of the chariots. Pharaoh’s great army is coming behind us.

We are approaching the sea. Inhale the tangy salty, watery smell of the sea. Feel the sand sift through your toes in your sandals. Listen! Perhaps you can hear the bleating of sheep. And the children saying “Mommy, Daddy, where are we going?” “What will happen to us?”

The familiar, the known, is behind. The sea lies ahead, and the wheels of Pharaoh’s chariots are rumbling - coming closer. The wind is picking up. A strong wind from the East. A persistent, steady, seemingly purposeful wind. A wind that could change everything.

Your hair is flying and there are white caps on the sea. And then - Look!! Moshe is holding out his hands - - MY God - the sea is beginning to split. It is a miracle! The sea has parted and there is a path on dry land before us. There is a huge, quivering wall of water on the left and a wall of water on the right.

What is in your heart at this moment? Will you rush into the sea with a trusting heart, running toward freedom, praising God ...OR.... do you hang back - afraid of the unknown, afraid the walls of water will close and drown you - afraid of being caught - afraid of change. (Pause) This is not an illusion.

Both choosing and being propelled by the crowd. Almost numb with fear, curiosity, hope, and awe you are moving forward into the sea. Even the children and animals fall eerily silent as you walk between the towering walls of water.

You can see the intense blue green of the sea on either side. Perhaps a dolphin cavorts along side you in the wall of water. What do you see in the wall of water? Light filters through the waters and casts dancing blue shadows on everyone.

Now we’re half-way across. The wall of water on the left and right stretch as far as you can see in front and as far as you can see behind. Incredible ! We are walking on dry land in the midst of the sea.

What an exhilarating moment - she-he-khe-yanu, to be alive at this time to experience this . Even if we drown or Pharaoh’s army overtakes us - dayenu. This would have been enough.

The chariots sound different now - their wheels scraping and groaning against the sea floor. You are beginning to hear the suggestion of a melody (pause...if you happen to have an instrument begin playing a version of mikha mokha off-key and grating...) beckoning in the distance as you move toward the opposite shore. Could it be animals? No, voices? Singing?

Despite exhaustion, growing elation lightens our footsteps. (Modulate...move onto key if using instrument, or else humming could work) Your heartbeat quickens. The pace of everyone increases, surges.....soon you are running, flying.......... eager to reach the opposite side.

A woman is singing.......you join her.....(burst into full melody with instrument, do not break the sacred trance....allow everyone to experience the fullness of their vision.) (After a while ask people to notice their breath, to place their vision into their sacred memory chest and return to active awareness.)

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-- Ten Plagues
-- Ten Plagues
Ten Plagues

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, and so we remove a little bit of wine from our cups for each of the plagues as we recite them.

When saying the ten plagues, do not remove wine by dipping a finger, but with a spoon. The wine in the spoon symbolizes an aspect of anger and indignation, and we should remove that anger from our cup of joy. Additionally, a drop is the smallest amount we could possibly take from the cup, and we should not limit our empathy for others, even the Egyptians, because they have suffered.

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

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[Everyone: Remove a small amount of wine using your spoon, saying each plague as you pour the wine on your plate.]

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

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Deyenu

Scallions Aren’t Just For Eating: There is a Persian custom of hitting each other with scallions during Dayenu. The scallions represent the whips of our oppressors. Although this may seem a little morbid, young and old alike have a wonderful time violating social norms and slamming each other with green onions. - Rachel Kobrin, My JewishLearning.com

Singing "Dayenu" is a much-loved tradition at the Passover Seder. We recognize all the things that God gave the Israelites throughout their exodus and journey in the desert, and respond with the phrase "Dayenu," meaning "it would have been enough." But even those who don't believe in a supernatural God can still sing "Dayenu" honestly.

"Dayenu" is a song all about appreciating what we have and what we’ve been given. It is easy to get lost in the great lists of things we don’t have and the demands we are always fighting for. However, we should take stock of what we do have and appreciate those gifts, because it's possible we could have much less or nothing at all.

If I had only one pair of shoes and not two, dayenu!
If I had a tiny apartment and not a house, dayenu!
If I had a only two meals a day to eat and not three, dayenu!

The traditional "Dayenu" recounts everything the Israelites were thankful for as they left Egypt. The message is that just one of these events that led to their freedom, "it would have been enough." We'll only sing a few of the verses, but you can read the translated text of the full song below.

Dayenu

Ilu ho-tsi, ho-tsi-a-nu,
Ho-tsi-anu mi-Mitz-ra-yim
Ho-tsi-anu mi-Mitz-ra-yim
Da-ye-nu!
(Had we not been taken out of Egypt, it would've been enough!)

Chorus:
Da-da-ye-nu,
Da-da-ye-nu,
Da-da-ye-nu,
Da-da-ye-nu,
Da-ye-nu Da-ye-nu

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Da-ye-nu!
(Had we not been given the Sabbath, it would have been enough!)

(Chorus)

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Da-ye-nu!
(Had we not been sent the Torah, it would have been enough!)

(Chorus)

Had we been taken out of Egypt and not had judgment executed upon the Egyptians, it would've been enough.
Had judgment been executed upon the Egyptians and not upon their idols, it would've been enough.
Had judgment been executed upon their idols, and not their firstborn, it would've been enough.
Had judgment been executed upon their firstborn, and we had not received their wealth, it would've been enough.
Had we received their wealth, and not had the sea split for us, it would've been enough.
Had the sea been split the sea for us, and we had not been led through it to dry land, it would've been enough.
Had we been led to dry land, and our enemies not drowned in the sea behind us, it would've been enough for us.
Had our enemies drowned, and our needs not have been provided for in the desert for 40 years, it would've been enough.
Had we been supported in the desert and not been given bread, it would have been enough.
Had we been given bread and not been given the Sabbath, it would have been enough.
Had we been given the Sabbath and not been brought to Mount Sinai, it would have been enough.
Had we been brought to Mount Sinai and not been sent the Torah, it would have been enough.
Had we been sent the Torah and not been brought to Israel, it would have been enough.
Had we been brought to Israel and not been built the Holy Temple, it would have been enough.

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Rachtzah
Rachatz - Hand Washing with Prayer

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, do not speak. Once you return to the table, we will recite this short blessing together:

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 the force that blesses us with the ritual to wash our hands.

Motzi-Matzah
More Matzo?

The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzoh instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah. The matzoh is salted as a reminder that all the sacrifices brought into the Temple were salted before being burned at the altar.

[Leader: Distribute and the top and half of the middle matzoh for everyone to eat. Everyone: Salt the two pieces, then recite the blessing.]

Leader: Barukh ata adonai, eloheinu melekh ha-olam, ha-motzi lechem meen ha-aretz.

Group: Blessed is the force that brings forth bread from the earth.

Leader: Barukh ata adonai, eloheinu melekh ha-olam, asher kid d’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzeevanu al akheelat matzah.

Group: Blessed is the force that has sanctified us with the commandment to eat unleavened bread.

[Everyone: Eat the matzoh while reclining to the left.]

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Maror
Maror - Bitter Herb

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?

Why do we eat maror? Maror represents the bitterness of bondage. Why do we eat haroset? It symbolizes the mortar for the bricks our ancestors laid in Egypt. Though it represents slave labor, charoset is sweet, reminding us that sometimes constriction or enslavement can be masked in familiar sweetness.

Eating the two together, we remind ourselves to be mindful of life with all its sweetness and bitterness, and to seek balance between the two.

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

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

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

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Koreich
Hillel Sandwich

During this part of the Seder, we create a sandwich made of Matzah, Maror and Charoset.

This tradition comes from the description in Shemot that tells us to eat the Pascal Lamb Offering. Today as we do not sacrifice animals, we create this sandwich instead. We are supposed to eat starting from the bitter side and ending to the sweet, to remind us that slavery was bitter yet the outcome of freedom is sweet.

Hillel believed that the Matzah and Maror should be eaten together, while other sages believed that they should be eaten separately. This part of the Seder fixes that disagreement: they are eaten separately beforehand and then are together during Korech.

We now take some maror and charoset and put them between two pieces of matzah and give the sandwich to the person on our left.

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If I am not for myself, who will be for me?

But if I am for myself only, what am I?

And if not now, when?

-- Hillel

And if not with others, how? -- Adrienne Rich

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Shulchan Oreich
Shulchan Oreich

Shulchan in Hebrew Means Table. One of the primary resources for Jewish Observance of laws is a book written by Rabbi Joseph Karo is called the Shulchan Arukh "well set table". This book is often considered the ultimate resource for Jewish Law. LET"S EAT!

Tzafun
Source : Chabbad
Tzafun

Tzafun is the last morsel of food eaten by participants at the Seder. According to the english translation of the Haggadah, “after the meal, take the Afikoman and divide it among all the members of the household, by giving everyone a kezayit (the volume of one olive). Take care not to eat or drink (only water allowed, but not recommended) after the Afikoman. It is to be eaten in the reclining position and this ought to be done before midnight.” After having read the translation of the Haggadah in english, something I found interesting was that we are not allowed to eat anything after eating the afikoman, and that was my question; does eating the afikoman symbolize anything? Is that why we are not allowed to eat anything after we eat our afikoman? The answer I came up with was that the afikoman should be eaten last to finish our Seder with a matzah. This symbolizes how the Jews survived in Egypt, and therefore we’ll always sense that lasting feeling of survival.

According to the body, “with the first matzah, we fulfilled our obligation to eat matzah. This one is in place of the Pesach lamb (which can only be brought in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem) that is meant to be eaten on a full stomach.” 

According to the soul, “In the Kabbalah, it is explained that there is something deeper than the soul. There is the body, the spirit, and then there is the essence. If the soul is light, then that essence is the source of light. If it is energy, then the essence is the dynamo. It is called "tzafun," meaning hidden, buried, locked away and out of reach.

On Passover night, we have the power to be inspired and touch the inner core. But only after all the steps before: Destroying our personal chametz, preparing our homes for liberation, the eleven steps of the Seder until now. Then, when we are satiated with all we can handle, connecting every facet of ourselves to the Divine, that’s when that power comes to us. Whether we sense it or not, tasteless as it may seem, the matzah we eat now reaches deep into our core and transforms our very being.”

In general, the things one finds inspiring and nice may take them a step forward.But if you want to effect real change, you need to do something totally beyond your personal bounds.

Bareich
Kavannah for opening the door for Elijah

Gathered around the Seder table, we pour four cups, remembering the gift of freedom that our ancestors received centuries ago. We delight in our liberation from Pharaoh’s oppression.

We drink four cups for four promises fulfilled.

The first cup as God said, “I will free you from the labors of the Egyptians.”

The second as God said, “And I will deliver you from their bondage.”

The third as God said, “I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments.”

The fourth because God said, “I will take you to be My People.”

We know, though, that all are not yet free. As we welcome Elijah the Prophet into our homes, we offer a fifth cup, a cup not yet consumed.

A fifth cup for the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world still waiting to be free from the refugee camps in Chad to the cities and towns of Ukraine, for the Syrian refugees still waiting to be delivered from the hands of tyrants, for the thousands of asylum seekers in the United States still waiting in detention for redemption to come, for all those who yearn to be taken in not as strangers but as fellow human beings.

This Passover, let us walk in the footsteps of the One who delivered us from bondage. When we rise from our Seder tables, may we be emboldened to take action on behalf of the world’s refugees, hastening Elijah’s arrival as we speak out on behalf of those who are not yet free.

אֵלִיָהוּ הַנָבִיא, אֵלִיָהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּי, אֵלִיָהוּ הַגִלְעָדִי בִּמְהֵרָה יָבוֹא אֵלֵינוּ עִם מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָוִד 

Eliyahu Hanavie, Eliyahu Hatishbi, Elyahu Hagiladi, Bimherah Yavo Elenu Im Mashiach Ben David. 

Elijah the Prophet, Elijah the Tishbite, Elijah the Giladite, May he soon come to us...

Bareich
Third Cup: Cup of Redemption

I will redeem you... ...

Emboldened to welcome refugees into our communities, may we remember that true welcome is not completed upon a person’s safe arrival in our country but in all the ways we help people to rebuild their lives. As God provided for our needs on the long journey from slavery to the Promised Land, let us give the refugees in our communities the tools they need not just to survive but to thrive: safe homes to settle into, quality education for their children, English language tutoring, access to jobs, and all of the things we would want for ourselves and our families. Blessed are You, Adonai our God, who gives us the opportunity to be your partner in ongoing redemption.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

Blessed are You, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

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Hallel
Hallel Blessing Praise

To the tune of Leaonard Cohen’s Haleluya

Halelu-El b'kadsho,
Haleluhu birki'a uzo
Haleluhu vig'vurotav,
Haleluhu k'rov gudlo.
Haleluhu b'teka shofar,
Haleluhu b'nevel v'chinor
Haleluya Haleluya Haleluya Haleluooooya

Haleluhu b'tof umachol,
Haleluhu b'minim v'ugav
Kol han'shama t'halel Yah
Dai dai dai dai dai dai
Da dai dai dai dai dai
Da dai dai dai da dai Haleluya
Haleluya Haleluya Haleluya Haleluooooya

Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in the firmament of His power. Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His abundant greatness. Praise Him with the blast of the shofar;
Praise Him with harp and lyre.
Praise Him with timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments
and the pipe.

Let All Souls praise God

הללוי-ה הללו א-ל בקדשו הללוהו ברקיע עזו הללוהו בגבורתיו הללוהו כרב גדלו. הללוהו בתקע שופר הללוהו בנבל וכינור. הללוהו בתף ומחול הללוהו במינם ועגו. הללוהו בצלצלי שמע הללוהו בצלצלי תרועה. כל הנשמה תהלל י-ה הללוי-ה

Nirtzah
Nirtzah - Next Year In Jerusalem

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.”

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. As we say…

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim

Next year in Jerusalem!

Songs
Echad Mi Yodea

(Echad/shnayim/shlosha/arba/chamisha/shisha/shiv'ah/shmonah/tisha/asara/echad asar/ shnaim asar/shlosha asar) mi yodea?

(Echad/shnayim/shlosha/arba/chamisha/shisha/shiv'ah/shmonah/tisha/asara/echad asar/ shnaim asar/shlosha asar) ani yodea!

13: Shloshah asar midaiya,

12: shnaim asar shivtaiya,

11: echad asar kochvaya,

10: asarah dibraiya,

9: tishah yarchai laidah,

8: shmonah yimei milah,

7: shiv’ah yimei shabbata,

6: shishah sidrei mishnah,

5: chamishah chumshei Torah,

4: arba imahot,

3: shloshah avot,

2: shnai luchot habrit,

1: echad Eloheinu shebashamayim u’va’aretz.

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Songs
Source : traditional song
Chad Gadya

One little goat, one little goat.

That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya....

Then came a cat that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya....

Then came a dog that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya..

Then came a stick and beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya..

Then came fire and burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya..

Then came water and quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya...

Then came the ox and drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya...

Then came the slaughterer and slaughtered the ox, that drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya....

Then came the Angel of Death and killed the slaughterer, that slaughtered the ox, that drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim, 

Chad gadya...chad gadya....

Then came the Holy One, Blessed be He and slew the the Angel of Death, that killed the slaughterer, that slaughtered the ox, that drank the water, that quenched the fire, that burnt the stick, that beat the dog, that bit the cat, that ate the goat, That Father bought for two zuzim,

Chad gadya...chad gadya...