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Introduction
Source : Original

Welcome to the Guzick Family Passover. Tonight we begin a new tradition with the telling of the Pesach story from The Guzick Family Haggadah.

The word Haggadah means the Telling and at this time of year it is all our responsibility and pleasure to gather family and friends to remember the freedom brought to us by God when he provided us an Exodus from slavery in Egypt and celebrate our continued freedom and blessings now. We also want to remember this evening to send prayers to those who do not enjoy the same blessings.

This night is full of symbols and in the telling of the story of Pesach these symbols will take on a greater meaning that will carry into your soul the collective history we all share.

So, come to the Sedar table, relax and fill your glass with wine as it is commanded we do this night, a night of freedom and celebration.

Introduction
Source : Rabbi Jill Jacobs

The Passover Haggadah demands that each person see him or herself as having personally come forth out of Egypt. Accordingly, the seder is one of the most sensory-heavy  rituals of the Jewish year. During the seder, we don't just tell the story of the Exodus, we see, smell, feel, and taste liberation.

Many of the elements of this sensory experience appear on the seder plate (k'arah), which serves as the centerpiece of the seder table. The seder plate traditionally holds five or six items, each of which symbolizes a part (or multiple parts) of the Passover story: 

Karpas--a green vegetable, most often parsley. Karpas represents the initial flourishing of the Israelites during the first years in Egypt. At the end of the biblical book of Genesis, Joseph moves his family to Egypt, where he becomes the second-in-command to Pharaoh. Protected by Joseph's exalted status, the family lives safely for several generations and proliferate greatly, becoming a great nation. The size of this growing population frightens the new Pharaoh, who enslaves the Israelites, lest they make war on Egypt. Even under slave conditions, the Israelites continue to reproduce, and Pharaoh eventually decrees that all baby boys be killed. In the course of the seder, we dip the karpasin salt water (Ashkenazi custom) or vinegar (Sephardi custom) in order to taste both the hope of new birth and the tears that the Israelite slaves shed over their condition.

Karpas also symbolizes the new spring. One of the names for Passover is Hag Ha-Aviv or the holiday of spring. Right around Passover the first buds emerge, and we look forward to the warmth and sense of possibility that accompany the beginning of spring.

Some Ashkenazi Jews use a potato for karpas, as green vegetables were not readily available in Eastern Europe.

Haroset--This mix of fruits, wine or honey, and nuts symbolizes the mortar that the Israelite slaves used to construct buildings for Pharaoh. The name itself comes from the Hebrew word cheres or clay. Ashkenazi Jews generally include apples in haroset, a nod to the midrashic tradition that the Israelite women would go into the fields and seduce their husbands under the apple trees, in defiance of the Egyptian attempts to prevent reproduction by separating men and women.

Sephardic recipes for haroset allude to this fertility symbolism by including fruits, such as dates and figs, mentioned in Song of Songs, the biblical book that is most infused with images of love and sexuality.

Maror--This bitter herb allows us to taste the bitterness of slavery. Today, most Jews use horseradish as maror. Originally, though, maror was probably a bitter lettuce, such as romaine, or a root, such as chicory. Like life in Egypt, these lettuces and roots taste sweet when one first bites into them, but then become bitter as one eats more. We dip maror into harosetin order to associate the bitterness of slavery with the work that caused so much of this bitterness.

Hazeret--A second bitter herb, used in korech or the Hillel sandwich, which consists of matzah and bitter herbs (some add haroset as well). Many Jews use horseradish for maror and romaine lettuce or another bitter green for hazeret. Others use the same vegetable for both parts of the seder, and do not include hazeret on the seder plate at all.

Z'roa--A roasted lamb shank bone that symbolizes the lamb that Jews sacrificed as the special Passover offering when the Temple stood in Jerusalem. The z'roa does not play an active role in the seder, but serves as a visual reminder of the sacrifice that the Israelites offered immediately before leaving Egypt and that Jews continued to offer until the destruction of the Temple. Vegetarians often substitute a roasted beet, both because the red of the beet resembles the blood of the sacrifice and because the Talmud mentions beets as one of the vegetables sometimes dipped during the seder.

Beitzah--A roasted egg that symbolizes the hagigah sacrifice, which would be offered on every holiday (including Passover) when the Temple stood. The roundness of the egg also represents the cycle of life--even in the most painful of times, there is always hope for a new beginning.

Placement

There are a few traditions regarding the arrangement of items on the seder plate. Most commonly, the maror is placed in the middle of the plate. The hazeret is at the six o'clock position followed by, moving clockwise, karpas (seven o'clock), beitzah (11 o'clock), z'roa (one o'clock), and haroset (five o'clock).

On the Table

In addition to the items on the seder plate, the seder table should also have three pieces of matzah wrapped or covered in a cloth and a container of salt water or vinegar in which to dip the karpas. Some seder plates have a compartment for matzah underneath, or include space for salt water among the other symbols. In most cases, though, matzah and salt water or vinegar sit near, but not on, the seder plate.

Many contemporary Jews add additional items to the seder plate to symbolize modern liberation struggles. The most common new item is an orange, which honors the role of women and/or gays and lesbians in Jewish life. The orange symbolizes the fruitfulness that these previously marginalized communities bring to Jewish life. Some Jews place an olive on the seder plate to signal hope for eventual peace between Israelis and Palestinians.

One way to encourage participation in the seder is to ask each guest to bring one item that, for him or her, represents liberation. Participants might bring family heirlooms that remind them of their family's immigration story, newspaper stories about current liberation struggles, or other symbolic objects. Each guest should place this item near the seder plate and, at an appropriate time in the seder, explain its significance

Kadesh
Source : Foundation For Family Education, Inc

THE WOMAN'S PRAYER - AT THE LIGHTING OF THE CANDLES (LA ORASION DE LA MUJER)

Melody by Flory Jagoda, recorded by Susan Gaeta

Lyrics: Traditional

Melody: Flory Jagoda, Balkan Sephardic composer

An MP3 recording can be heard at http://www.ritualwell.org/holidays/passover/candlelighting/primaryobject.2005-07-22.0265355985

This traditional Sephardic blessing recited before candle-lighting, “La Orasion de la Mujer” (The Woman's Prayer), has been used by families since they were ousted from Spain around 1492. Along with being a beautiful prayer, the music is incredible – the Spanish matrix of the music and the overlay of the oriental/Balkan influence is enchanting.

LA ORASION DE LA MUJER

Kun estas kandelas

Arrogamos al Dio

El Dio de muestros padres

Avram, Isak i Yakov

Ke muz de vida saludoza

A todus miz keriduz

I al mundo intero

Kun estas kandelas

Arrogamos al Dio

El Dio de muestros madres

Sara, Rifka, Lea i Rachel

Ke muz de vida saludoza

A todus miz keriduz

I al mundo intero

THE WOMAN'S PRAYER

With these candles

We pray to God

The God of our fathers

Abraham, Isaac and Jacob

To grant us good life and health

To all my dear ones

And the whole world

With these candles

We pray to God

The God of our mothers

Sarah, Rebecca, Leah and Rachel

To grant us good life and health

To all my dear ones and the whole world

There are many more of these gorgeous prayers and benedictions, written in Ladino (Judeo-Spanish), and chanted from the soul.

Kadesh
Source : Multiple sources

Lighting of the Holiday Candles

May these candles, lighted on the Festival of Freedom, bring light into our hearts and minds. May they renew our courage to act for justice and freedom here and now. May they illumine the path to truth, justice and peace. And so we repeat the ancient blessing:

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם אשר קדשנו במצותיו וצונו להדליק נר של יום טוב

Baruch atah Adonai Elohaynoo melech ha-olam, asher keedshanoo b’meetzvotav v’tzeevanoo l’hadleek ner shel (Shabbat v’shel) yom tov.

Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe, Who has sanctified our lives through Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the Shabbat and festival lights.

 

ברוך אתה יי אלהינו מלך העולם שהחינו וקימנו והגיענו לזמן הזה

Baruch ata Adonai, Elohaynoo melech ha-olam, sheh’hech’eeyanoo v’keeyemanoo, v’heegeeanoo la-z’man ha-zeh.

Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe, Who has sanctified our lives through Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the festival lights.

 

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!

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.

Karpas
Source : www.bangitout.com

An interesting remembrance of dipping twice is to recall our coming and going from Egypt. Recall the first Jew to Egypt, Yosef, was sold by his brothers. They masked the sale to their father by dipping his coat in blood to appear that he was killed. It’s fitting then that we left Egypt with a second dipping: the hyssop branch into blood to spread on our doorways before the final plague to the firstborn. 200 years of History in a Double Dip!

Speaking of Yosef’s Technicolor Dream Coat...

Rabbi Pesach Krohn highlights that Rashi when describing the material of colorful coat that Yaakov gave to Yosef,“ uses the words “KARPAS utecheiles." Weird! How is a coat, a Technicolor dream coat, like a vegetable?! In order to remember why/how we were leaving Egypt, we must first remember why/how we got there in the first instance. It all started with the “ktonet pasim” the colorful coat that Yosef's brothers dipped in blood to trick their father that his son, their brother Yosef, was dead, while his brothers instead sold him into slavery. Yosef ended up a slave in Egypt, and the story of the Jews in Egypt begins... [please insert a little speech here about loving one another.] This is why we start the seder with KARPAS, we are essentially going in timeline order -- first the prequel and then it all begins...

The Alexander Rebbe (Yismach Yisroel) notes that Veggies are usually served as a side dish, but tonight – they are our most exciting main starter. (Don’t pretend like you aren’t devouring tons of parsley right now) Symbolizing that things and people which are so often written off as secondary can be elevated, just like the slaves of Egypt (R Shlomo Einhorn, NYC)

Springtime for Karpas

Q. Why is Passover in the springtime? This was no coincidence; in fact it was a blessing. G-d could have taken us out of bondage in the cold of winter or the heat of summer, but instead G-d took us out in perfect weather, Spring! The color green of karpas reminds us of this small detail, and helps us recognize that G-d went “above and beyond” in every aspect of our redemption, even the weather forecast.

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 : Open Source Haggadah

Rheingold Family Haggadah

When the great founder of the modern Hasidim, Rabbi Israel Baal Shem Tov, saw misfortune threatening the Jews, it was his custom to go into a certain part of the forest to meditate. There he would light a fire, say a special prayer, and the miracle would be accomplished, and the misfortune or trouble averted.

Later, when his disciple, the celebrated Rabbi Maggid of Mezritch, had occasion, for the same reason, to intercede with heaven, he would go to the same place in the forest and say: "Master of the Universe, listen! I do not know how to light the fire, but I am still able to say the prayer." And again the miracle would be accomplished, disaster was averted and life continued with its ups and downs.

Still later, Rabbi Moshe-Leib of Sasov, in order to save his people once more (this time, from themselves) would go into the forest and say: "I do not know how to light the fire, I do not know the prayer, but I know the place and this must be sufficient." It was sufficient and the miracle of continued life was accomplished.

Then it fell to Rabbi Israel of Rizhyn to overcome misfortune. Sitting in his house, his head in his hands, he spoke to God: "I am unable to light the fire and I do not know the prayer; I cannot even find the the place in the forest. All I can do is to tell the story, and this must be sufficient." And it was sufficient.

So some people say God made men because He loves stories. And we tell the story of Passover every year before this holiday meal because this is the story of how we got to where we are. This is the story, as far back as we can remember, of our beginning.
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.

-- Four Questions
Source : Nicole

It’s tradition that the youngest person in the family asks the questions. 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?  

Mah nish-ta-nah ha-lai-lah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-lei-lot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

:שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה  

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin cha-meitz u-ma-tzah? Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, ku-lo ma-tzah?

Why on all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah, and tonight we only eat matzah?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר:

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin sh'ar y'ra -kot. Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh ma-ror?

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables, but tonight why do we only eat bitter herbs?

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

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot ein anu mat-bi-lin a-fi-lu pa-am, e-hat. Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, sh'tei f'a-mim?

On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables at all.  Why, tonight, do we do it twice?

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

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin bein yosh-vin o'vein m-subin. Ha-lai-lah na-zeh ku-la-nu m-su-bin?

On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining. Why do we sit reclining tonight?

-- Four Questions
Source : Nicole

The Four Answers

 Answer 1: We were slaves in Egypt. Our ancestor in flight from Egypt did not have time to let the dough rise. With not a moment to spare they snatched up the dough they had prepared and fled. But the hot sun beat as they carried the dough along with them and baked it into the flat unleavened bread we call matzah.

Answer 2: The first time we dip our greens to taste the brine of enslavement. We also dip to remind ourselves of all life and growth, of earth and sea, which gives us sustenance and comes to life again in the springtime.

Answer 3: The second time we dip the maror into the charoset. The charoset reminds us of the mortar that our ancestors mixed as slaves in Egypt. But our charoset is made of fruit and nuts, to show us that our ancestors were able to withstand the bitterness of slavery because it was sweetened by the hope of freedom.

Answer 4: Slaves were not allowed to rest, not even while they ate. Since our ancestors were freed from slavery, we recline to remind ourselves that we, like our ancestors, can overcome bondage in our own time. We also recline to remind ourselves that rest and rejuvenation are vital to continuing our struggles. We should take pleasure in reclining, even as we share our difficult history.

 

-- 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 : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

By a fitting answer to the questions of each of the four types of the sons of Israel, does the Torah explain the meaning of this night's celebration.

The wise son eager to learn asks earnestly: "What mean the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances, which the Lord our God hath commanded us?" To him thou shalt say: "This service is held in order to worship the Lord our God, that it may be well with us all the days of our life".

The wicked son
inquires in a mocking spirit: "What mean ye by this service?" As he says ye and not we, he excludes himself from the household of Israel. Therefore thou shouldst turn on him and say: "It is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt". For me and not for him, for had he been there, he would not have been found worthy of being redeemed.

The simple son indifferently asks: "What is this?" To him thou shalt say: "By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage".

And for the son who is unable to inquire, thou shalt explain the whole story of the Passover; as it is said: "And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying 'It is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt'".

-- Exodus Story
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

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

God had made a promise to Abraham that his family would become a great nation, but this promise came with a frightening vision of the troubles along the way: “Your descendants will dwell for a time in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and afflicted for four hundred years; however, I will punish the nation that enslaved them, and afterwards they shall leave with great wealth."

Raise the glass of wine and say:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְלָֽנוּ

V’hi she-amda l’avoteinu v’lanu.

This promise has sustained our ancestors and us.

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

The glass of wine is put down.

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

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

-- Exodus Story
Source : JQ International GLBT Haggadah

During the time when Pharaoh issued his decree to kill Israelite males, Moses, who later was to lead the Israelites out of slavery in Egypt to freedom, was an infant. His concerned mother, Jochebed placed him in a basket of reeds in the Nile River while Moses’ sister Miriam watched from a distance to see who would come to find him. The basket was found by the Pharaoh’s daughter, who decided to raise the infant as her own son and named him Moses. She unknowingly hired Jochebed as a nurse to care for him, and Jochebed secretly taught Moses his Israelite heritage. At age 40, on a visit to see his fellow Israelites, Moses saw an Egyptian taskmaster beating an Israelite slave and in his rage, killed the Egyptian. Fearing for his life, Moses fled Egypt. He fled across the desert, for the roads were watched by Egyptian soldiers, and took refuge in Midian, an area in present-day northwestern Saudi Arabia along the eastern shores of the Red Sea.

             

While in Midian, Moses met a Midianite priest named Jethro and became a shepherd for the next 40 years, eventually marrying one of Jethro’s daughters, Zipporah. Then, when Moses was about 80 years of age, God spoke to him from a burning bush and said that he and his brother Aaron were selected by God to lead the Israelites out of Egypt to freedom. At first, Moses hesitated to take on such a huge task, but eventually Moses and his brother Aaron set about returning to Egypt, commencing what was to be the spectacular and dramatic events that are told in the story of Passover. It is said that the Israelites entered Egypt as a group of tribes and left Egypt one nation. It has also been estimated that the Passover exodus population comprised about 3 million people, plus numerous flocks of sheep who all crossed over the border of Egypt to freedom in Canaan.

             

Under the reign of Pharaoh Thutmose III in Egypt in 1476 BCE, the Israelite leader Moses (“Moshe” in Hebrew) – guided by God – led his people out of Egypt after a series of 10 plagues that were created by God and initiated by Moses. Prior to most of the plagues, Moses had warned the Pharaoh about each plague and that it would devastate his people, if he refused to let the Israelites go. After the first two plagues, the Pharaoh refused to let them go because his court magicians were able to re-create the same miracles, and so the Pharaoh thought: “This proves that the Israelite God is not stronger than I.” But when the third plague occurred, the Pharaoh’s magicians were not able to duplicate this miracle; however, that still did not change the Pharaoh’s mind about letting the Israelites leave Egypt. After each subsequent plague, the Pharaoh agreed to let the Israelites go, but the Pharaoh soon changed his mind and continued to hold the Israelites as slaves. Finally, after the 10th plague, the Pharaoh let the Israelites go for good.


With your finger tip, remove one drop of wine from your cup and wipe it on your plate, as each plague is mentioned…

The Second Cup – The 10 Plagues

 

Blood – דָּם

Frogs – צְפֵרְדֵּעַ

Lice – כִּנִים

Wild Beasts – עָרוֹב

Blight – דֶּבֶר

Boils שְׁחִין

Hail – בָּרַד

Locusts – אַרְבֶּה

Darkness – חשֶׁךְ

Slaying of the First-Born – מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

 

When the Pharaoh finally agreed to free the Israelite slaves, they left their homes so quickly that there wasn’t even time to bake their breads. So they packed the raw dough to take with them on their journey. As they fled through the desert they would quickly bake the dough in the hot sun into hard crackers called matzah. Today to commemorate this event, Jews eat matzah in place of bread during Passover.

 

Though the Israelites were now free, their liberation was incomplete. The Pharaoh’s army chased them through the desert towards the Red Sea. When the Israelites reached the sea they were trapped, since the sea blocked their escape. When the Israelites saw the Egyptian army fast approaching toward them, they called out in despair to Moses. Fortunately, God intervened and commanded Moses to strike his staff on the waters of the Red Sea, creating a rift of land between the waves, enabling the Israelites to cross through the Red Sea to safety on the other side. Once the Israelites were safely across, God then commanded Moses to strike the waters of the Red Sea with his staff again, just as the Egyptian army followed them through the parted Red Sea. The waters came together again, drowning the entire Egyptian army and the Israelites were saved.

-- 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 : Multiple sources

How many levels of favors has the Omnipresent One bestowed upon us:

If He had brought us out from Egypt, and had not carried out judgments against them Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had carried out judgments against them, and not against their idols Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had destroyed their idols, and had not smitten their first-born Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had smitten their first-born, and had not given us their wealth Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had given us their wealth, and had not split the sea for us Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had split the sea for us, and had not taken us through it on dry land Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had taken us through the sea on dry land, and had not drowned our oppressors in it Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had drowned our oppressors in it, and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and had not fed us the manna Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had fed us the manna, and had not given us the Shabbat Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had given us the Shabbat, and had not brought us before Mount Sinai Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had brought us before Mount Sinai, and had not given us the Torah Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had given us the Torah, and had not brought us into the land of Israel Dayenu, it would have been enough!

If He had brought us into the land of Israel, and had not built for us the Beit Habechirah (Chosen House; the Beit Hamikdash) Dayenu, it would have been enough!

Thus how much more so should we be grateful to the Omnipresent One for the doubled and redoubled goodness that He has bestowed upon us; for He has brought us out of Egypt, and carried out judgments against them, and against their idols, and smote their first-born, and gave us their wealth, and split the sea for us, and took us through it on dry land, and drowned our oppressors in it, and supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, and fed us the manna, and gave us the Shabbat, and brought us before Mount Sinai, and gave us the Torah, and brought us into the land of Israel and built for us the Beit Habechirah to atone for all our sins.

Dayenu-song

Ilu hotzi, hotzi anu

Hotzi anu mi mitzrayim

hotzi anu Mi mitzrayim, Dayenu!

 Refrain:

Da-dayenu, da-dayenu, da-dayenu

Dayenu, dayenu, dayenu

Da-dayenu, da-dayenu, da-dayenu

Dayenu, dayenuIlu

 Ilu natan, natan lanu

Natan lanu et ha torah  

Natan lanu et ha torah  Dayenu!

 (Refrain) 

 Ilu natan, natan lanu 

Natan lanu et ha Shabbat 

Natan lanu Et ha Shabbat, Dayenu!

(Refrain)

-- 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 : A Growing Haggadah

Rabbi Meir ben Tzipporah v’Nechemia haLevi was often asked about the meaning of the roasted egg. It remains on the Seder Plate, yet never discussed. The egg reminds us of many things. Its presence on the Seder Plate represents the holiday sacrifice our ancestors made when the Temple stood. But, as with any good symbol it is rich with meaning. The egg itself is symbolic of life and reminds us of the blossoming world around us. The egg’s roundness reminds us of the unending nature of life. But why is it roasted? Some tell us that, like the roasted egg, the Jewish people gets harder and stronger the more they are tested.

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

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

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

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

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

---

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the second glass of wine!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motzi-Matzah
Source : JewishBoston.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maror
Source : JewishBoston.com

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror  |מָרוֹר   

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

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

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

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

Koreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

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

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

Shulchan Oreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

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

Tzafun
Source : JewishBoston.com

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

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

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

Refill everyone’s wine glass.

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

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

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

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

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

The Third Glass of Wine

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the third glass of wine!

Bareich
Source : JConnect Seattle's Liberal Seder

Shir Hama-a-lot, b’shuv Adonai et- shivat Tzion hayinu k’cholmim.
Az y’malei s’chok pinu ul-shoneinu rina, az yomru vagoyim:
“Higdil Adonai la-a-sot im eileh.”
Higdil Adonai la-asot imanu,
hayinu s’meichim. Shuva Adonai
et sh’viteinu ka-afikim banegev. 
Hazor’im b’dima b’rina yik-tzoru.
Haloch yeileich uvacho, nosei meshech hazara. 

A song of ascents. When Adonai brought the exiles back to Zion it was like a dream. Then our mouths were filled with laughter and our tongues with song. Then was it said among the nations: “Adonai has done great things for them.” Truly Adonai has done great things for us, and we rejoiced. Bring us from exile, Adonai, as the streams return to the Negev; those who sow in tears shall reap in joy. Those who go out weeping, bearing sacks of seeds, shall return with joy, bearing their sheaves.

(LEADER)  Chaveirai n’vareich.

(GROUP) Y’hi sheim Adonai
m’vorach mei-atah v’ad olam.

(LEADER)  Y’hi sheim Adonai
m’vorach mei-atah v’ad olam.
Birshut chaveirai n’vareich
Eloheinu she-achalnu mishelo.

(GROUP) Baruch Eloheinu sheachalnu
mishelo uv-tuvo chayinu.

(LEADER) Baruch Eloheinu sheachalnu
mishelo uv-tuvo chayinu.

(ALL) Baruch hu u-varuch sh’mo. 
Let us thank God. Blessed is the name of God now and forever. With your permission, let us thank God whose food we have eaten. Blessed is God whose food we have eaten and through whose goodness we live. Blessed is God and Blessed is God’s name.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hazan et ha-olam kulo b’tuvo b’chein b’chesed uv-rachamim, hu notein lechem l’chol-basar, ki l’olam chasdo, uv-tuvo hagadol tamid lo chasar lanu v’al yechsar lanu mazon l’olam va-ed. Ba-avur sh’mo hagadol, ki hu Eil zan um-farneis lakol, u-meitiv lakol hazan et hakol.

 Blessed is Adonai our God, Sovereign of the universe, who sustains the entire world with goodness, kindness and mercy. God gives food to all creatures, for God’s mercy is everlasting. Through God’s abundant goodness we have not lacked sustenance, and may we not lack sustenance forever, for the sake of God’s great name. God sustains all, does good to all, and provides food for all the creatures whom God has created. Blessed is Adonai, who provides food for all.

V’al hakol Adonai Eloheinu anachnu modim lach um-varchim otach yitbarach shimcha b’fi chol chai tamid l’olam va-ed, kakatuv: “V’achalta v’savata uveirachta et-Adonai Elohecha al ha-aretz hatova asher natan lach.” Baruch Atah Adonai, al ha-aretz v’al hamazon.
For all these blessings we thank Adonai our God with praise. May God’s name be praised by every living being forever, as it is written: “When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to Adonai your God for the good land which God has given you.” Blessed is Adonai for the land and its produce.

Uv-nei Y’rushalayim ir hakodesh bimheira v’yameinu.

May God rebuild Jerusalem, the holy city, speedily in our lifetime. 

Blessed is Adonai, who restores Jerusalem with mercy. Amen.

Harachaman, hu yishlach b’racha m’ruba babayit hazeh v’al shulchan zeh she-achainu alav.
Harachaman, hu y’variech et kol acheinu b’nei Yisrael han’tunim betzarah, v’yotzi-eim mei-afeilah l’orah.

May the Merciful One send abundant blessing upon this dwelling and the table at which we have eaten. May the Merciful One bless all of the children of Israel who are now oppressed and bring them from darkness into light. May the Merciful One grant us a day that shall be altogether good.

Oseh shalom bimromav hu ya-aseh shalom aleinu v’alkol-Yisrael, v’imru: Amein.

May the One who makes peace in the heavens let peace descend on all us and all of Israel, and let us say: Amen.

Adonai oz l’amo yitein Adonai

May Adonai give strength to our people; may Adonai bless our people with peace.

Third Cup of Wine

The third cup of wine is raised and the blessing is chanted. Afterwards, we drink the wine while reclining to the left.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri hagafen.

We praise You, Eternal God, Sovereign of the universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

        

Bareich
Source : Telling the Story: A Passover Haggadah Explained

Fill the third cup of wine

Together we take up the third cup of wine, now recalling the third divine promise to the people of Israel: “And I will redeem you with an outstretched arm.”

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p'ri ha-gafen.

We now drink the third cup of wine

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

The Cup of Elijah

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

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

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

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

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

Hallel
Source : National Center for Jewish Healing, A Personal Passover Journal for memory and Contemplation

Open door and sing:

Eliyahu ha-navee, Eliyahu ha-Tish-bee Eliyahu, eliyahu, Eliyahu ha-Giladee Beem-hei-ra b'ya-mei-nu Yavo ei-leinu Eem ma-shee-ach ben David Eem ma-shee-ach ben David

Death and loss often lead to a sense of isolation. The doors to the heart and the doors to community and love seem to be closed. What are the beliefs and the hopes you have which can help you to open the door again?

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!

Commentary / Readings
Source : www.bechollashon.org

By Rabbi Alana Suskin

During the Passover season, we revisit the story of how the people of Israel, in a reversal of humans searching for the Divine, are pursued and rescued by God. During the process, what has been a family and a tribal story becomes a national story. It is in our leaving Egypt that Israel becomes the Jewish people.

One of the key points to our national identity though, happens before we leave Egypt. In the very first chapter of Shemot,  Pharaoh orders the Hebrew midwives, Shifra and Puah, to kill all the male children. Who are these women? The Hebrew is ambiguous – like the English, it could mean either “Hebrew women who are midwives” or “Midwives to the Hebrews.”

The rabbis also are divided on this. Rashi declares them the former, but Abrabanel and Samuel David Luzzatto are firmly in the camp of the latter. Luzzatto reasons that this is because it would have been unreasonable for Pharaoh to think that Hebrew women would have murdered their own people. Chief Rabbi of England Jonathan Sacks comments, “The Torah's ambiguity on this point is deliberate. We do not know to which people they belonged because their particular form of moral courage transcends nationality and race. In essence, they were being asked to commit a 'crime against humanity,' and they refused to do so.”

Nevertheless, it is probable that Shifrah and Puah were Egyptian women. This meaning actually fits better with the sense of the narrative, since it is unlikely that the exchange between Pharaoh and the midwives would make much sense if the midwives were Hebrew women – they would not have been able to feign ignorance and surprise at the way that Hebrew women bore children. It also makes more sense that after the midwives disobeyed Pharaoh, he then charges all his people to destroy all the male children.

What is fascinating about this small glimpse is how commonplace it actually must have been. Although it is the first instance of civil disobedience that we know of historically, it seems that the Egyptian women were not terribly different than other Egyptians were. After all, Pharaoh may have ordered all the Egyptians to ensure the killing of the Hebrew sons, but his own daughter – and all her maidservants who were with her that morning when she saw Moshe floating around in the box- disobeyed him.

Shifra and Puah were indeed extraordinary women – it is of course, difficult to disobey your ruler, especially if your ruler was considered to be a God-  thus God rewarded Shifrah and Puah by making them houses – in other words, for saving all those Hebrew boys, their own families were increased and made numerous. It was they who laid the groundwork for the Jewish people to be a people who “feared God and did not do as the king commanded them.”

I wonder if perhaps there is one more ambiguity to resolve. Where exactly were the houses that God made for Shifra and Puah? When Israel finally succeeded in leaving Egypt, they went out as 600,000, but the Torah adds (Shemot 12:38) that a “mixed multitude went with them.”

Israel has never been a racial category. Although we began with Abraham as one family,  right away, that was undermined as Abraham and Sarah took all the souls they had made  from Haran (Beresheit 12:5)- which the midrash understands as converts from the local tribes. Then, at the moment of our becoming a nation – our release from Egypt, again, we did not go alone, but went together with those who chose to take our journey with us, and so became part of us, and stood with us at Sinai, and became Israel.

Even the very existence of what we (wrongly) think of as a “regular” Jewish face - Ashkenazim - are actually evidence of the reverse. Semites, who came up from the middle east, assuredly did not then look like what we think of Ashkenazi Jews looking like any more than they do today! The very fact that we think of Ashkenazim as “Jewish-looking” at all is  actually funny – and proof that we have always welcomed in people of all colors, every tribe – anyone who seeks to join us on our mission of serving God. I like to think that even though Shifrah and Puah weren’t Hebrew women, that ambiguity was purposeful because  when the time came for the Israelites to leave Egypt, they came with us to stand at Sinai, that they stood there, living examples of what it means to fear God, that among us, their descendants, their houses, still stand.

Commentary / Readings
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

Leader:
When Israel came forth out of Egypt,
The house of Jacob from a people of strange language;

Company:
Judah became His sanctuary,
Israel His dominion.

Leader:
The sea saw it, and fled;
The Jordan turned backward.

Company:
The mountains skipped like rams,
The hills like young sheep,

Leader:
What aileth thee, O thou sea, that thou fleest?
Thou Jordan, that thou turnest backward?

Company:
Ye mountains that ye skip like rams;
Ye hills, like young sheep?

Leader:
Tremble, thou earth, at the presence of the Lord,
At the presence of the God of Jacob;

Company:
Who turned the rock into a pool of water,
The flint into a fountain of waters.

 

Commentary / Readings
Source : The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis, at sacred-texts.com

Leader:
HALLELUJAH.
Praise, O ye servants of the Lord,
Praise the name of the Lord.

Company:
Blessed be the name of the LordFrom this time forth and for ever.

Leader:
From the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof
The Lord's name is to be praised.

Company:
The Lord is high above all nations,
His glory is above the heavens.

Leader:
Who is like unto the Lord our God,
That is enthroned on high,

Company:
That looketh down low
Upon heaven and upon earth?

Leader:
Who raiseth up the poor out of the dust,
And lifteth up the needy out of the dunghill;

Company:
That He may set him with princes,
Even with the princes of His people.

Leader:
Who maketh the barren woman to dwell in her house
As a joyful mother of children.

Company:
Hallelujah.
 

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com
Who knows one?

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

Who knows one?

I know one.

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows four?

I know four.

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows five?

I know five.

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows six?

I know six.

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows seven?

I know seven.

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eight?

I know eight.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows nine?

I know nine.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows ten?

I know ten.

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows twelve?

I know twelve.

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows thirteen?

I know thirteen

Thirteen are the attributes of God

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com

Chad Gadya

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Dizabin abah bitrei zuzei

Chad gadya, chad gadya.

One little goat, one little goat:

Which my father brought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The cat came and ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The dog came and bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The stick came and beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The fire came and burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The water came and extinguished the

Fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The ox came and drank the water

That extinguished the fire

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

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The butcher came and killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

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

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The angle of death came and slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

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

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The Holy One, Blessed Be He came and

Smote the angle of death who slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

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

Which my father bought for two zuzim.