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Welcome to the First Ever family Passover Seder. Please enjoy your wine and grape juice. Thank you all for being here.
I wanted to create a seder that would be child friendly, and since most of us have not ever attended a real seder, I wanted to include the classical elements of a seder for the adults as well. I hope all of you enjoy the seder.
May Yahweh bless us all with Shalom.
Baruch ata Yahweh eloheinu melech ha olam borei pri ha gafen.
Blessed are you Yahweh King of the universe who brings forth the fruit from the vine.
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!)
We do this to represent the body, which comes from the dust, and we immerse it in salty tears. Salt is a cleanser, and tears are an expression of the soul. We cleanse our bodies with our soul’s tears. Freedom comes when we realize that the material world is like a ‘vegetable’ that needs to be dipped in spiritual “salt water.” Karpas reminds us that the body is only a means, not an end in itself. Like the vegetable dipped in salt water, the body’s purpose is to transcend the world it lives in, by connecting itself to the soul, and so elevating and freeing both the body and the soul.
The tears also remind us of our ancestors, who cried many tears while being slaves in Egypt. We dip in remembrance of their hardships under the yoke of slavery and their bravery in leaving when commanded.
Matzah symbolizes bittul, suspending oneself for a higher purpose. Its ingredients are water and flour; water represents the soul and the Torah, while flour represents the body. The antithesis of Matzah is Chametz (leavened bread) that is allowed to rise, representing the inflated ego, which is mostly “air.” Matzah on the other hand is the bare minimum of flour and water without any airs about it.
We eat the Matzo to remember our ancestors who left in such a rush in their hurry to escape from Egypt that they did not have time to let their bread rise, and so they ate it without leavening, as we do tonight.
Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either leavened bread or matza, but on this night we eat only matza?
We eat only matzah because our ancestors could not wait for their breads to rise when they were fleeing slavery in Egypt, and so they were flat when they came out of the oven.
Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but on this night we eat bitter herbs?
We eat only Maror, a bitter herb, to remind us of the bitterness of slavery that our ancestors endured while in Egypt.
Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip [our food] even once, but on this night we dip them twice?
The first dip, green vegetables in salt water, symbolizes the replacing of our tears with gratitude, and the second dip, Maror in Charoses, symbolizes the sweetening of our burden of bitterness and suffering.
Why is it that on all other nights we dine either sitting upright or reclining, but on this night we all recline?
We recline at the Seder table because in ancient times, a person who reclined at a meal was a free person, while slaves and servants stood.
Pay attention, children, because I want to tell you a true story about your ancient ancestors, our Hebrew god, and a little boy named Moshe. Moshe was a very special boy. Moshe was born to Hebrew slaves, and lived in Egypt, where there was an evil Pharoah. Pharoah declared all little boys must be killed! Moshe’s family did not want him to die! They made a little grass reed boat for him, and set him to float on the Nile River.
While they watched him float away, Pharoah’s daughter saw the little boat, and pulled Moshe out of the water and adopted him. She even asked Moshe’s mommy and sister Miriam to help take care of him.
When Moshe was an adult, he saw a Hebrew slave being beaten, and he killed the man who did it! Oh, no! He ran away! A long way’s away, all the way to the desert!
While he was there, he got used to the place. He took care of sheep, got married, and had children. One day while he was herding the sheep, he saw a burning bush, but the bush didn’t burn up! Wow! A voice came from the bush, and told Moshe to go to Pharoah and tell him to “Let my people go!”
Moshe asked the voice whom he should say was sending him. The voice in the bush told him, “Tell them that I am that I am sent you. Tell them that Yahweh the god of Isaac, the god of Jacob, and the god of Abraham sent you.”
Moshe went with his brother Aaron to Pharaoh and told him to let Yahweh’s people go. Pharaoh said, “No!”
So Yahweh sent 9 plagues.
First the water turned to blood! Second, frogs came up EVERYWHERE. Third all the people got LICE! In the fourth plague, wild animals and flies were everywhere. Number five, all the livestock got sick. Number 6, the people got horrible sores called boils. Eighth, locusts came and ate all the vegetation that was left. Finally, there was darkness for three days, and the sun did not shine in the sky at all.
Moshe went back to Pharoah, and said, “Let my people go!” Pharoah said, “No!” So Yahweh prepared his final plague against Egypt.
He told Moses to tell the people to sacrifice a perfect lamb, and to put the lamb’s blood on the doorposts and on the top of the door. Then they were to cook the lamb and eat their food ready to leave, for they would be delivered that next day!
That night, in every household where there was no blood on the door, the first born of every house died. The people cried and cried, but for the Hebrews, nobody died! The angel of the lord, the Malachi ha Yahweh in Hebrew, passed over the homes of the faithful Hebrews and they did not die.
Pharaoh was beaten. He told Moshe to take the people and GO! They had to leave so quickly that they didn’t have time to let their bread rise, and instead they grabbed everything they could and ran away. Stopping only to get Joseph’s bones, they travelled through the wilderness. Yahweh sent a cloud by day, and a pillar of fire by night. Finally, they reached the beach of Nuaba, on the Gulf of Aqaba at the Red Sea. But they realized Pharoah had chased them with his army and chariots and was going to kill them all!! Oh, no!
Yahweh told Moshe not to worry, but to lift up his staff. Yahweh blocked the entrance to the beach with the fiery pillar and then, when Moshe lifted his staff, the waters of the Red Sea split into two and the Hebrews rejoiced as they walked through the walls of water.
It took a while, but every last Hebrew man, woman, child, and the mixed multitude who came with them had crossed the Red Sea.
Behind them, the army of Pharaoh followed them into the water, but Yahweh knocked the wheels off their chariots to slow them and only then did Yahweh let the walls of the sea come down, trapping the whole army of Pharaoh and drowning them in an instant. The Hebrew slaves were FREE!!!
From Wiki: There is a Rabbinic requirement that four cups of wine are to be drunk during the seder meal. This applies to both men and women. The Mishnah says (Pes. 10:1) that even the poorest man in Israel has an obligation to drink. Each cup is connected to a different part of the seder: the first cup is for Kiddush, the second cup is connected with the recounting of the Exodus, the drinking of the third cup concludes Birkat Hamazon and the fourth cup is associated with Hallel.
Baruch Atah Adonai (small letters Kavenah see below) Elohainu Melech HaOlam Asher Kidshanu BeMitzvotav Vetzivanu All Natilat Yadayim
The first five steps were to take us out of the mindset of slaves and into the mindset of free people. We live in a material world, and for freedom to be complete it needs to be expressed in a tangible way. The physical is changed to become a vehicle for our spirituality. By washing our hands, we move cleanly into the life of freedom more actively.
Baruch ata Yahweh eloheinu melech ha olam, hamotzi lechem min ha’aretz, Amen. Blessed are you, Yahweh, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth, and gives us the true bread of life, Yeshua messiah.
Matzah - Blessing of the Matzah – Baruch atta Ado-noy Elo-hai-nu Melech ha'olam asher kid-e-sha-nu b'mitz-vo-tav v'tzi-vanu al achilat Matzah. Blessed are you, Yahweh, King of the Universe who sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to eat Matzah.
Following the matzah we eat the bitter maror, freeing us from the need to have to experience any more serious form of bitterness. The bitter maror also teaches us the process of growth. An olive does not produce oil until it is pressed. So too, maror hardens our mettle – the setbacks and pain in life strengthen us.
The maror is dipped into charoses (a sweet combination of ground apples, pears, nuts and wine), sweetening it a bit (but not eliminating its bitterness). This demonstrates that even when we need to feel bitterness, its purpose and objective is not bitter, but to reach a greater freedom. As in Egypt – “The more they were oppressed, the more they proliferated and grew.” And today, 3316 years later, millions Jewish descendants sit around Seder tables around the world celebrating freedom.
Let us pause a moment to consider the character of Hillel, a central and formative personality within the pantheon of Rabbinic figures, and to consider why, perhaps, the haggadah asks us to spend a moment recreating Hillel’s personal practice of eating the Pesach sacrifice.
Hillel, founder of the great and influential Beit Hillel, is well known for his personal qualities of tolerance, humility and pursuit of peace. Many of the tales of Hillel and his teachings reflect this characterization. This is expressed in famous citations such as: “Hillel says: Be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving your fellow creatures and drawing them near to the law.” The quality of being a rodef shalom (pursuer of peace) requires the ability to recognize the value of different perspectives and the skill of unifying conflicting truths into a harmonious whole. It requires the recognition that single individuals perceive only a portion of the complete truth. Hillel says: “If I am not for myself, who is for me? And when I am for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?"
The Rabbis of the Talmudic world joined Hillel in this understanding, promoting this view and ruling that Halakha (Jewish law) should follow Beit Hillel as “…they were kindly and modest, they studied their own rulings and those of Beit Shammai (Hillel’s halakhic opponent), and were even “...so [humble] as to mention the actions of Beit Shammai before their own." Appropriately, the haggadah depicts Hillel as requiring the consumption of the Pesach sacrifice the food of redemption, through an act of combining − the korekh. Only the harmonious merging of a variety of components produces the true redemptive experience
Leah Rosenthal teaches Talmud
Time to enjoy the Pashach meal.
Baruch ata Yahweh eloheinu melech ha olam, borei meinei mozenot.
The idea of the afikoman, a ritual that was never ordered by the Bible, is an amazing type and shadow of our messiah. He was broken, and then his body was hidden in a tomb, wrapped in linen. After the Passover was complete, he was brought out and presented to the father and to the people. Yeshua called himself the bread of life. So we eat this bread in remembrance of him, as he commanded us to do. Keep in mind that the Jews and Israeli's did this ritual for more than 1500 years before Messiah was born.
Blessed are you, Yahweh eloheinu, king of the universe, who nourishes the whole world in goodness, with grace, kindness, and compassion. He gives bread to all flesh, for his mercy endures forever. And through his great goodness we have never lacked, nor will we lack food forever, for the sake of his great name. For he is Yahweh, who nourishes and sustains all, and does good to all, and prepares food for all His creatures which he created. Blessed are you, Yahweh, who nourishes all.
Child, open the door for Elijah.
1Praise Yah! Praise Ěl in His set-apart place; Praise Him in His mighty expanse!
2Praise Him for His mighty acts; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
3Praise Him with the blowing of the ram’s horn; Praise Him with the harp and lyre!
4Praise Him with tambourine and dance; Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
5Praise Him with sounding cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals!
6Let all that have breath praise Yah. Praise Yah!
Leshanah haba'ah be-yerushalaym!
Next Year in Jerushalem!