This may take up to thirty seconds.
WHAT IS A HAGGADAH?
The Haggadah ('telling' in Hebrew), is the book that serves as a guide to the Seder. It comes in many ‘flavors’ to respond to different needs, historical circumstances and to many different people.
WHAT IS A SEDER?
The Passover Seder is one of the most important celebrations on the Jewish calendar. Seders also have a universal appeal because of the values being celebrated: freedom, striving against oppression, and the enhancing of liberty for all. These values are a source of inspiration for people fighting against their own oppression. There are 15 historical parts to the Seder, and many Seders are several hours long (don't worry, this one will not be!)
The parts of the Seder involve the use of certain symbolic foods.
P'RI HA-GAPHEN "the fruit of the vine" - wine or grape juice (4 glasses...but if you are driving 4 sips is fine!)
MATZAH: unleavened bread
MAROR: a bitter herb (horseradish, green onion, or romaine lettuce)
KARPAS: parsley or celery
Z'ROA: an animal bone or a beet [New tradition: Blood orange!]
BEITSAH: an egg, hard-boiled then roasted
HAROSET: a condiment made from fruits, nuts, spices, and wine
TAPPUZ: an orange is a recent addition to the traditional Seder and represents the inclusion of all in this faith and community.
There are fifteen steps in the Seder, described in the Haggadah. They are usually sung, to a special melody, at the beginning of the Seder and sometimes when beginning the next step in the process. The word “Seder” means “order” and we follow the steps one by one in the Haggadah.
1) Kadesh - קדש
Recite the Kiddush. We make a special Kiddush for the Festival of Passover. This is the first glass of wine (There are 4 glasses during the 15 steps).
2) Urchatz - ורחץ
Wash Hands. Since the next step in the Seder will be the eating of a vegetable dipped in salt water we wash our hands to be ritually clean.
3) Karpas - כרפס
Eat the green vegetable dipped in salt water. Salt water is symbolic of the tears shed by the Jewish People in Egypt during slavery and throughout our history.
4) Yachatz - יחץ
Break the middle matza and hide half for Afikoman. The smaller piece, represents the “bread of affliction,” is returned to the Pesach plate to be eaten later for the Mitzva of Matza. The larger piece, representing the Pesach Sacrifice, to be eaten at the end of the meal (Afikoman,”Desert”).
5) Maggid - מגיד
Tell the story of Passover. This is the part where the youngest child asks the four questions. We drink the second cup of wine. A new tradition of Miriam’s cup, which is filled with water, and the story of how she helped find water in the desert and how women have helped the Jewish people are told.
6) Rachtzah - רחצה
Wash hands before meal. This is the regular blessing recited before every meal in which bread is eaten, but during Passover we only eat Matza.
7) Motzi - מוציא
Say Hamotzi (The blessing for bread) while holding the remaining Matzot.
8) Matza - מצה
Special blessing for the matza. Everyone eats a part of the top and the middle matza.
9) Maror - מרור
Eat the bitter herb. Everyone eats lettuce leaves or stalks which are dipped into Charoset (a mix of nuts, apples, cinnamon, and sweet wine ).
10) Korech - כורך
Eat the bitter herb and matza together.
11) Shulchan Orech - שלחן עורך
Serve the festive meal. The term Shulchan Orech actually means “set table”.
12) Tzafun - צפון
Eat the Afikoman. The Afikoman, which symbolizes the Pesach Sacrifice, which was eaten at the end of the meal. Some traditions ransom it from the children who have “hidden” it. Other traditions put the Afikoman into a pillow case to symbolize that when we left Egypt we carried everything on our backs. The pillow case is passed around the table during the Seder.
13) Barech - ברך
Say the grace after meal. The Third Cup of Wine is Drunk. The Cup of Elijah the Prophet is filled.
14) Hallel - הלל
Recite Hallel. We recite the second part of Hallel, the selection of chapters of Psalms used as special praise for Hashem.
15) Nirtzah - נרצה
Conclude the Seder. We conclude with an additional prayer that we conduct the next Seder in Jerusalem.
קדש - Kadesh מרור - Maror
ורחץ - Urchatz כורך - Korech
כרפס - Karpas שולחן עורך - Shulchan Orech
יחץ - Yachatz צפון - Tzafun
מגיד - Magid ברך - Barech
רחצה - Rachtzah הלל - Hallel
מוציא - Motzi נרצה - Nirtzah
מצה - Matzah
The Seder Plate
We place a Seder Plate at our table as a reminder to discuss certain aspects of the Passover story. Each item has its own significance.
Maror – The bitter herb. This symbolizes the harshness of lives of the Jews in Egypt.
Charoset – A delicious mix of sweet wine, apples, cinnamon and nuts that resembles the mortar used as bricks of the many buildings the Jewish slaves built in Egypt
Chezelet – A green vegetable, usually parsley, is a reminder of the green sprouting up all around us during spring, and the bitterness of slavery, and is used to dip into the saltwater
Zeroah – A roasted lamb or shank bone symbolizing the sacrifice made at the great temple on Passover (The Paschal Lamb)
Beitzah – The egg symbolizes a different holiday offering that was brought to the temple. Since eggs are the first item offered to a mourner after a funeral, some say it also evokes a sense of mourning for the destruction of the temple.
Orange - The orange on the seder plate has come to symbolize full inclusion in modern day Judaism: not only for women, but also for people with disabilities, intermarried couples, and the LGBT Community.
Matzah is the unleavened bread we eat to remember that when the jews fled Egypt, they didn’t even have time to let the dough rise on their bread. We commemorate this by removing all bread and bread products from our home during Passover.
The fifth ceremonial cup of wine poured during the Seder. It is left untouched in honor of Elijah, who, according to tradition, will arrive one day as an unknown guest to herald the advent of the Messiah. During the Seder dinner, biblical verses are read while the door is briefly opened to welcome Elijah. In this way the Seder dinner not only commemorates the historical redemption from Egyptian bondage of the Jewish people but also calls to mind their future redemption when Elijah and the Messiah shall appear.
Another relatively new Passover tradition is that of Miriam’s cup. The cup is filled with water and placed next to Elijah’s cup. Miriam was the sister of Moses and a prophetess in her own right. After the exodus when the Israelites are wandering through the desert, just as Hashem gave them Manna to eat, legend says that a well of water followed Miriam and it was called ‘Miriam’s Well’. The tradition of Miriam’s cup is meant to honor Miriam’s role in the story of the Jewish people and the spirit of all women.
We sanctify the name of God and proclaim the holiness of this festival of Passover. With a blessing over wine, we lift our wine, our symbol of joy; let us welcome the festival of Passover.
In unison, we say…
Our God and God of our ancestors, we thank You for enabling us to gather in friendship, to observe the Festival of Freedom. Just as for many centuries the Passover Seder has brought together families and friends to retell the events that led to our freedom, so may we be at one with Jews everywhere who perform this ancient ritual linking us with our historic past. As we relive each event in our people’s ancient struggle, and celebrate their emergence from slavery to freedom, we pray that all of us may keep alive in our hearts the love of liberty. May we dedicate our lives to the abolition of all forms of tyranny and injustice.
Reclining on our left side demonstrates our freedom from slavery. We hold our first cup of wine and we recite:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheynu Melech Ha’Olam Borey P’ree Hagafen.
Blessed are You, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the vine.
There are two points during the Seder when we wash our hands. This first washing, Urchatz, is a symbolic and ritual washing, done by one person and with no blessing. The second washing, Rachtzah, is a washing used to prepare all of us for the meal and is said with a blessing.
As we wash our hands for the first time this evening, we remember that we have the freedom to access resources that many do not.
The first hand-washing of the Seder is unusual. The rabbis point out that even a child would wonder at least two things: why do we wash without a blessing and why do we bother to wash when we will not be eating our meal for some time. They suggest that we wash our hands here in order to raise questions. Questions, both of wonder and of despair, are crucial to our time at the Seder and, really, our growth as human beings. We have permission to ask questions, even of God, when we see and experience suffering.
Now one person will symbolically wash their hands for all of us seated here.
Take less than a kezayit (the volume of one olive) of the karpas, dip it into salt-water, and recite the following blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri ha’adamah.
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.
יחץ literary means to divide, but on Pesach it represents the breaking of the Matza, the middle one to be specific, into two parts. The smallest is to be kept between the other two matzot and the larger part goes rolled into a napkin representing the Afikomen. We may say that it has a great importance since the Afikomen is known to entertain the children and to keep the next generation awake and active at the seder. But we can also find a deeper meaning to Yachatz and the Afikomen. It is said that the stealing of the biggest part of the broken matza represents the stolen blessing Yaakov received from his father Yitzhak. Yachatz also may be compared to how the poor conserve a part of the food for their next meal, breaking the matza and keeping a piece for later. The breaking of the matza represents a very important step in our beautiful tradition reminding us of our past and what our ancestors went through a long time ago.
I have known fear and I have known comfort
And here, in this moment
My eyes are wide open
My heart is wide open
With each step, my heart pounds
And I can feel my lips stretching into a smile
The sounds of the sea are all around
And the sounds of children
You are here
Between me and this miracle
In my heart
In the winged ones above us
And in the spray of the sea that cools my face
This journey has been so long
I have been so tired
And I have been so afraid
But here, in this moment
Between the certainty of death and loss
And the wonder of an open way ahead that seems to go on forever
Between the sea and the sea
Here I am
And here You are
You are a gift
I can see with my feet on this muddy earth
With the tips of my fingers
Tracing wet lines through the walls of water that hold me in
Hold me up
Hold me close to You
You are here
Pulling me to safety
To Your side
One mud-soaked step at a time.
Maggid – Four Questions
?מַה נִּשְּׁתַּנָה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת
Mah nish-ta-na ha-lai-lah ha-zeh mikol ha-lei-lot?
Why is this night of Passover different from all other nights of the year?
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה - כּוּלוֹ מַצָּה
She-b'chol ha-lei-lot anu och'lin cha-meitz u-matzah. Ha-laylah hazeh kulo matzah.
On all other nights, we eat either leavened or unleavened bread, why on this night do we eat only matzah?
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר
Sheb'chol ha-lei-lot anu och'lin sh'ar y'rakot. Ha-lai-lah h-azeh maror.
On all other nights, we eat vegetables of all kinds, why on this night must we eat bitter herbs?
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אֶנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים
Sheb'chol ha-lei-lot ein anu mat-beelin afee-lu pa-am echat.Ha-lai-lah hazeh sh'tei p'ameem.
On all other nights, we do not dip vegetables even once,
why on this night do we dip greens into salt water and bitter herbs into sweet haroset?
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָנו מְסֻ
Sheb’khol ha-lei-lot anu och-leem bein yo-shveen u-vein m’su-been, ha-lailah hazeh kulanu m’subeen.
On all other nights, everyone sits up straight at the table, why on this night do we recline and eat at leisure?
"As Jews, we remember and we cannot let injustice happen again in this country. This is our moment to bend the moral arc and to move racial justice work forward through advocacy, activism, and engagement." -- Tiffany Harris
"Our relative safety in American has allowed many of us to consider the fight for racial justice as struggle we can opt in and out of. But then are we fully honoring our traditional teaching of 'If I am only for myself, what am I?' Now is the moment for us to stand against injustice not only for ourselves, but for the most vulnerable among us." -- Chava Shervington
"Because those in the grips of Pharoah's institutional oppression have been given a platform to see their greatness and be seen as great. Because the Passover seder tells us to remember and protect them, as it says: 'The night of (worthy) protection for all future generations... (Exodus, 12:42)'" -- Isaiah Rothstein
"Maybe it isn't different and you're just treating it that way. Or maybe it is. But you're insisting that it doesn't need to be treated differently." -- MaNishtana
Download the PDF Pyramid Cut Out for your seder table at http://rpr.world/passover-pyramid
To be read following the chanting of the Four Questions.
1. The Torah demands, “Justice, justice shall you pursue!” (Deut 16:20). What are the obstacles to fulfilling this commandment in the context of criminal justice?
2. The Sage Hillel taught: “That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow” (BT Shabbat 31a). At the heart of our Passover story is the remembrance of being slaves in Egypt. How do we internalize this narrative of “imprisonment” and express it in our own public lives?
3. In Genesis we read that God created human beings, “b’tzelem Elohim, in God’s image.” How does institutionalized racism undermine this teaching? Do you feel obliged to assign this teaching to all human beings, including those who have committed heinous crimes?
4. The Talmud teaches, “The person who destroys one life, it is as though that person has destroyed the whole world; and the person who saves one life, it is as though that person has saved the whole world” (JT Sanhedrin 4:1). It is naive to overlook the societal necessity of a working criminal justice system. Imagine a criminal justice system that fulfills the supreme Jewish value of saving lives: What does it “look like”?
What is a feminist?
We’ve heard the word before. Feminist. But the meaning of the word seems…controversial. Is a feminist someone who hates men? To be a feminist, do you have to burn your bra and not shave your armpits? Is Lena Dunham really a feminist?
Simply put, being a feminist means you believe in the social, political and economic equality of women. So why is it such a dirty word? What makes this such a “hot topic”?
Ask around the table: What does it mean to you to be a feminist? Do you identify as a feminist? Why or why not?
Why is it essential that feminism be intersectional?
The term “intersectional,” coined by scholar and activist Kimberlé Crenshaw, is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole; in order to fully understand someone’s identity, we must think of each separate identity as linked to all the others. As an example, a white Jewish woman is all three parts of her identity; she cannot simply separate her race, religion and gender when these identities intersect and interplay with one another constantly.
So why is this important in relation to feminism? Because if our concept of equality doesn’t include the liberation of women of color, queer women, disabled women, then what are we fighting for? If we don’t name these identities explicitly in our struggle, we leave out the essential experience and strength they bring.
Do you think your feminism is intersectional? Do you think it’s important that feminism be intersectional? Have you thought about intersectional feminism before?
How can we better include trans women in our fight for gender equality?
Speaking of intersectionality, as trans issues have come into the media spotlight over the past few years, it’s essential we think about how we can improve our inclusion of trans women in feminism. When we consider the wage gap, are we talking about anyone besides white cisgender (i.e. non-transgender) women? When we fight for health care, are we accounting for the needs of trans women within that system? When we talk about reproductive justice, do we conflate being a woman with having a uterus? Do our women’s events have space for trans women to feel comfortable using the restroom? Jewish women’s spaces often center on bat mitzvah or Rosh Chodesh; can we expand these rituals and events to meaningfully include trans women?
How do you think we can better include trans women in our fight for gender justice? And beyond the fight for women’s rights, how is your Jewish community inclusive of the trans community?
What are some concrete ways we can fight for gender equality?
It’s easy to be theoretical when we talk about the struggle for justice. While it’s great to use our brains and hearts sometimes, we must use our hands as well. Not every act of rebellion needs to be a huge march or protest. Not everyone can call or march, not everyone can strike or boycott, not everyone is safe enough to speak up; however, everyone can take some action.
Go around the table and share one way you will fight against the patriarchy this year. Make a public commitment to those at your seder table and tell everyone about how you can make a difference.
With gratitude and love to Gracie Bulleit, Annie Kee, Andrea Krakovsky, Jordyn Rozensky and Joanna Ware for their input and help.
Why should we be conscious of the people who we consider strangers?
Why are human beings treated as if they are disposable based on their living circumstances?
Why is it important to reach out to individuals who don’t have the same rights as us?
Despite what we hear about the working conditions, why do we still support the industries?
At Seder meal, the ritual has the youngest child ask four questions. This is just a start to get the conversation rolling so its not just an empty ritual. This discourse is traditiontal: The Seder in fact is modeled after a ritual format of the Greek Symposium...a meal with a dialog: socratic questioning, inquiry, mind experiments, etc.
Here is a start of a few questions you can ask at your seder to get the pump primed about issues of the day...
1. What is “Freedom” ? (after Isaiah Berlin’s essay on positive and negative freedom).
Is freedom only Negative—freedom from Coercion from others….independence. i.e. resisting pharaohs who pressed so hard we could not stand…. OR
Could Freedom involve others…a commitment to being part of a community with its obligation, rules and understandings? “let my people go so they may SERVE me…
2. What does it mean to live in a Free County? What are Liberty..and responsibilities it might entail?
3. Are Liberty and Unity in opposition? Is commitment to a group help or hinder freedom? When must you stand with your people/movement and quell your differences...and when must you speak up and dissent? What are limits to dissent and opting out?
4. Is being safe part of freedom…or does being kept safe and "protected" by authority/culture norms reduce our freedom?
By starting the seder with a set of questions, we are creating a lens through which to think about the Passover theme of liberation. This Seder focuses on our personal journeys from slavery to liberation, and so we begin with four questions to consider as we travel on our paths toward freedom. These four questions do not have simple or universal answers, as we recognize that the act of questioning is itself a sign of freedom and a key step in the process of liberating ourselves from our own oppressions.
Think of a situation that feels constricting, that feels like a "narrow place" in your life and consider the following:
1. How do I feel limited by external forces?
2. What are my rights?
3. How can I take a stand for myself?
4. In what ways am I co-creating a community that's liberatory?
These questions are meant to be pondered tonight and throughout the year ahead. Take a moment to sit quietly with these questions. After reflecting, feel free to share your thoughts with the group.
Some say that The Four Children is a metaphor for four different attitudes toward tradition, toward belonging and toward being active or passive in the face of injustice. Some say it is about stages of life, from childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood (and, potentially, back again toward old age).
In the spirit of telling the story of Exodus and different attitudes that one might take to one's communal and global responsibilities, think about your relationship to your tradition, the people from whom or the place from which you come and the events taking place there.
- Do you understand what is going on?
- Do you feel any obligation to do anything about it?
- What would you do if you could?
- What should you tell your children about it?
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.
Here is a kid and adult friendly alternative to for the Maggid section (the Passover story section) of the Haggadah. This short play is in the style of "sedra scenes" -- a contemporary take which makes the story current but stays true to the Exodus narrative. I've written it for large crowds -- so there are 13 parts, but if you have a smaller gathering you can easily double up.
LET MY PEOPLE GO!
A short play for the seder
CAST: NARRATOR, JOSEPH, BENJAMIN, PHAROAH, ADVISOR, HEBREW 1, HEBREW 2, HEBREW 3, BOSS, BAT PHAROAH, MOSES, GOD, AARON (13 parts)
NARRATOR: Our story begins in the land of Egypt where Joseph, once a prisoner, is now the Pharaoh’s chief advisor.
JOSEPH: So how are things back in Israel?
BENJAMIN: Oy! Terrible. Our gardens and crops are dying. There is no rain this year. That is why we had to come down to Egypt!
JOSEPH: Well, don’t worry..life in Egypt is fantastic. Playstation 3 in every house, High Definition Television, Lincoln Navigators in the driveway, This is the most powerful nation on the planet!
BENJAMIN: Did you have rain this year? Are the gardens and crops doing well?
JOSEPH: We don’t have to worry about that. I’ve stored away tons of food in giant warehouses. The Pharaoh will be able to feed the people for three years at least, even if we get no rain.
BENJAMIN: What does the Pharaoh think of us Hebrews?
JOSEPH: He loves me. He welcomes the Hebrews into his land. Bring the entire family, we’ll make a great life here.
Narrator: The Hebrews all moved to Egypt and had many children and lived a successful life. But after many years, after Joseph and his brothers had died, a new Pharaoh rose to power.
PHAROAH: Advisor, bring me the latest census report. I want to know all the people who I rule over!
ADVISOR: Yes, you’re Royal Highness. I have the numbers here.
PHAROAH: Let’s see..Nubians, Midians, yes, very good. Are there really that many Hebrews?
ADVISOR: Oh yes, your highness. They are growing in number. They are very strong workers.
PHAROAH: Do you think that might be a danger? Perhaps they will challenge my rule – make demands. You know how these workers are always complaining about the size of the rocks for the new Pyramids. I am worried that they will use their strength in numbers to rise up against me!
ADVISOR: Yes, you are right, we must do something to break their spirits.
PHAROAH: First, let us begin with something small. We’ll get them to make more bricks each day. If that doesn’t work, we’ll eliminate the fifteen-minute breaks. If that doesn’t break them, then maybe we’ll turn to harsher measures.
Narrator: The Hebrew workers struggled to keep up with Pharaoh’s demands.
HEBREW 1: My hands are killing me. And my back, oy! I can’t take this pace.
HEBREW 2: We can make a thousand bricks a day—but two thousand? No team can work that hard! We’ll fall over!
HEBREW 3: Get back to work, the boss is coming!
BOSS: Efficiency, people! We have got to make 900 more bricks by sundown! Come on, let’s work faster!
HEBREW 1: We are working as fast as we can, boss.
BOSS: Listen, smart aleck, I’ve got a lot of pressure on my shoulders. If Pharaoh doesn’t get his bricks, I’m out of a job. I got a family to feed, too, you know. So get back down in the pit and start working!
HEBREW 2: We haven’t had a break all day!
BOSS: And you are not going to get one! Work!
HEBREW 3: You know what, boss; you have become a real pain in the backside!
BOSS: What’d you say?
HEBREW 3: You heard me.
[The BOSS walks over and pushes Hebrew 3 to the ground]
BOSS: Now get back to work before I get really angry!
Narrator: Meanwhile, Pharaoh’s daughter adopted a young Hebrew child. The child, Moses, was raised with the finest Egypt had to offer.
BAT PHAROAH: Here, sweetheart, eat your honey cakes before your flute lesson.
MOSES: I’m so excited about the party this evening.
BAT PHAROAH: Your new robe looks lovely, dear. I just hope that the Pyramid is finished. Your grandfather has the workers working double time just to get the place finished before the great assembly.
MOSES: I heard that the Hebrews were complaining.
BAT PHAROAH: Complaining? Don’t worry about that. We take care of the needs of all our workers, dear. They are fed, given homes, and we give them a new pair of shoes each year. We are very generous. The only problem is that there are simply too many Hebrews. For that reason, we are cutting down their number. I know that it is sad that we have to kill off their baby boys, but we are really doing it for their own good.
MOSES: I know so little about the world. Someday I’d like to go out of the palace and see how they live.
BAT PHAROAH: They are not clean like us, dear. Especially the Hebrews. They throw garbage on the streets, and the smells are truly horrible.
Narrator: One day Moses decides to sneak out of the palace, and see for himself the plight of the Hebrews.
HEBREW 1: I can’t work, today, I’m sick! And I hurt my arm yesterday lifting stones!
BOSS: I don’t want to hear excuses. This pyramid has got to be finished by Thursday! Today is Wednesday! So get moving!
HEBREW 1: I can’t work. Please, listen to me, have some compassion!
HEBREW 2: Give him a break, boss!
BOSS: Shut up!
HEBREW 3: Don’t get involved!
HEBREW 2: I’m tired of this, boss! My cousin there is hurt. He can’t work today. And he’s not working. So go tell Pharaoh that he’ll have to hire some more workers or this isn’t getting done!
BOSS: Shut up!
[Boss pushes Hebrew 2 to the ground.]
HEBREW 1: Stop it!
BOSS: I’m going to hurt you bad, you whiny Hebrew!
HEBREW 3: Stop! One of Pharaoh’s princes is coming!
MOSES: What is happening?
BOSS: I am going to give this man the beating he deserves, your honor! Watch this!
[Moses hits the Boss, who falls to the ground]
HEBREW 3: Oh no! What did you do to the boss? We’ll be blamed for this! We’ll be punished!
MOSES: What have I done? What have I done?
Narrator: Moses ran away, far off into the wilderness. Where he is taken in by Yitro, and marries one of Yitro’s daughter’s Zipporah. One day, as Moses is taking care of yitro’s sheep, he stumbles across a burning bush.
GOD: Moses, Moses!
MOSES: Who is that? What is going on? What is happening?
GOD: It is me, the God of your ancestors, Abraham, Issac, and Jacob.
MOSES: You must have the wrong number.
GOD: This is no time for jokes. You must go back to Egypt and stand up to Pharaoh! Then you will lead the people back to their homeland!
MOSES: How will I do that? The people do not know me! I have no power now that I have run away!
GOD: I will be with you. Go to your sister, Miriam, and brother, Aaron, and stand up to Pharaoh!
Narrator: Moses returns to Egypt, with his wife and son, Gershom. Aaron and Moses approach Pharaoh.
PHAROAH: What do you want?
AARON: Our people need a three-day vacation. We need to go outside of the city so that we can pray to God in our own way.
PHAROAH: Why can’t you wait for the festival of the pyramids? Then your people will have a chance to celebrate with everyone.
MOSES: We do not wish to pray to your gods. We have one God, who is mightier than all of your gods.
PHAROAH: You must be joking. The gods have made Egypt a great nation. What has your God done for you?
MOSES: You’ll see what our God can do! And then you’ll give in to our demands!
PHAROAH: Don’t count on it, Hebrew!
Narrator: Pharaoh was a stubborn man. Even after plagues of blood, frogs, lice, disease, hail, and darkness, he would not let the Hebrews take a day off. It wasn’t until a disease struck and killed the first born of every Egyptian, that the Pharaoh changed his mind.
PHAROAH: Don’t you understand what is happening?
ADVISOR: No, your highness, I don’t know why our gods are not protecting us.
PHAROAH: Everything we did to the Hebrews is now happening to us!!!
ADVISOR: Maybe their God is powerful!
PHAROAH: Tell the police that are surrounding their neighborhood to let them go.
Narrator: That night, Moses, spoke to the people.
MOSES: Put on your sandals, we will not have time to bake the bread for tomorrow! Tonight we will leave Egypt, and set out for a new land! Our children, and our children’s children will remember this night! They will tell the story of how we stood up to Pharaoh, and how God helped us to be free!
AARON: Let all who are hungry come and eat!
Narrator: And thus ends our little play.
אֵלּוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַים , וְאֵלוּ הֵן
Eilu eser makot sheheivi hakadosh baruch hu al hamitzrim b'mitzrayim, v'eilu hein:
These are the Plagues that the holy one, blessed be he, brought upon Egypt.
דָּם וָאֵשׁ וְתִימְרוֹת עָשָׁן
Dam V’eish V’tim’ro ashan
“Blood, and fire and pillars of smoke…”
“Before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes, I will set wonders in the sky and on the earth… blood, fire and pillars of smoke: The sun shall turn to darkness and the moon into blood.” Joel 3:3
דָבָר אַחֵר: בְּיָד חֲזָקָה - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבִזְרֹעַ נְטוּיָה - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְמֹרָא גָּדֹל - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְאֹתוֹת - שְׁתַּיִם, וּבְמֹפְתִים - שְׁתַּיִם
Davar acheir. B'yad chazakah sh'tayim. Uvizroa n'tuyah sh'tayim. Uv'mora gadol sh'tayim. Uv'otot sh'tayim. Uv'mof'tim sh'tayim.
(Another interpretation of Deuteronomy 26:8 is: “strong hand” indicates two plagues; “out-stretched arm” indicates two more plagues; “great awe” indicates two plagues; “signs” indicates two more plagues because it is plural; and “wonders” two more plagues because it is in the plural. This then is a total of Ten Plagues.)
:אֵלּוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַים , וְאֵלוּ הֵן
Eilu eser makot sheheivi hakadosh baruch hu al hamitzrim b'mitzrayim, v'eilu hein:
These are the Plagues that the holy one, blessed be he, brought upon Egypt.
Blood | Dom | דָּם
Frogs | Tzfardeyah | צְפֵרְדֵּע
Lice | Kinim | כִּנִים
Beasts | Arov | עָרוֹב
Cattle Plague | Dever | דֶּבֶר
Boils | Sh’chin | שְׁחִין
Hail | Barad | בָּרד
Locusts | Arbeh | אַרְבֶּה
Darkness | Choshech | חשֶׁךְ
Slaying of First Born | Makat Bechorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת
Since ancient versions varied as to the nature and number of the plagues, it is believed that Rabbi Jehudah instituted these three phrases or acronyms to confirm the version in Exodus. Accordingly we now remove another three drops of wine from our cup of joy.
:רַבִּי יְהוּדָה הָיָה נוֹתֵן בָּהֶם סִמָּנִים
Rabi Y'hudah hayah notein bahem simanim.
Rabbi Yehuda would assign the plagues three mnenomic signs:
דְּצַ״ךְ עַדַ״שׁ בְּאַחַ״ב
D’TZ”KH A-Da”SH B’AH”V
רַבִּי יוֹסֵי הַגְּלִילִי אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן אַתָּה אוֹמֵר שֶׁלָקוּ הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַים עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת ? בְּמִצְרַים מַה הוּא אוֹמֵר? וַיֹאמְרוּ הַחַרְטֻמִּים אֶל פַּרְעֹה: אֶצְבַּע אֱלֹהִים הִוא, וְעַל הַיָּם מה הוּא אוֹמֵר? וַיַּרְא יִשְׂרָאֵל אֶת הַיָד הַגְּדֹלָה אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה יי בְּמִצְרַים , וַיִּירְאוּ הָעָם אֶת יי, וַיַּאֲמִינוּ בַּיי וּבְמשֶׁה עַבְדוֹ. כַּמָה לָקוּ בְאֶצְבַּע? עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת . אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה : בְּמִצְרַים לָקוּ עֶשֶׂר מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת
רַבִּי אֱלִיעֶזֲר אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל מַכָּה וּמַכָּה שֶׁהֵבִיא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא עַל הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַיִם הָיְתָה שֶׁל אַרְבַּע מַכּוֹת? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יְשַׁלַּח בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ, עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצָרָה, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים. עֶבְרָה - אַחַת, וָזַעַם - שְׁתַּיִם, וְִצָרָה - שָׁלשׁ, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים - אַרְבַּע. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה : בְּמִצְרַים לָקוּ אַרְבָּעִים מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ מָאתַיִם מַכּוֹת
רַבִּי עֲקִיבֶא אוֹמֵר: מִנַּיִן שֶׁכָּל מַכָּה ומַכָּה שהֵביִא הַקָּדוֹשׁ בָּרוּךְ הוּא על הַמִּצְרִים בְּמִצְרַים הָיְתָה שֶׁל חָמֵשׁ מַכּוֹת ? שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: יְִשַׁלַּח בָּם חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ, עֶבְרָה וָזַעַם וְצַָרָה, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים . חֲרוֹן אַפּוֹ- אַחַת,, עֶבְרָה - שְׁתַּיִם, וָזַעַם - שָׁלושׁ, וְצָרָה - אַרְבַּע, מִשְׁלַחַת מַלְאֲכֵי רָעִים - חָמֵשׁ. אֱמוֹר מֵעַתָּה : בְּמִצְרַים לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים מַכּוֹת וְעַל הַיָּם לָקוּ חֲמִשִּׁים וּמָאתַיִם מַכּוֹת
Rabi Yosei hagalili omer: minayin atah omer shelaku hamitzrim bimitzrayim eser makot v’al hayam laku chamishim makot? Bamitzrayim ma hu omer? Vayomru hachartumim el paroh: etzba Elohim he, v’al hayam ma hu omer? Vayar Yisrael et hayad hagdolah asher asa Adonai bimitzrayim, vayiyru ha’am et Adonai, vaya’aminu b’Adonai uvMoshe avdo. Kamah laku b’etzba? Eser makot. Emor ma’atah: b’mitzrayim laku eser makot v’al hayam laku chamishim makot.
Rabi Eliezer omar: minayin shekol makah u’makah shehaivi hakadosh baruch hu al hamitzrim b’mitzrayim hayta shel arba’a makot? Shene’emar: yishlach bom charon apo, evrah vaza’am v’tzarah, mishlachat malachei ra’im. Evrah – echat, vaza’am – shtayim, v’tzarah – shalosh, mishlachat malachei ra’im – arba’a. Emor ma’atah: b’mitzrayim laku arba’im makot v’al hayam laku matayim makot.
Rabi akivah omer: minayin shekol makah u’makah shehaivi hakadosh baruch hu al hamitzrim b’mitzrayim hayta shel chamesh makot? Shene’emar: yishlach bom charon apo, evrah vaza’am v’tzarah, mishlachat malachei ra’im. Charon apo – echat, evrah – shtayim, vaza’am – shalosh, v’tzarah – arba’a, mishlachat malachei ra’im – chamesh. Emor ma’atah: b’mitzrayim laku chamishim makot v’al hayam laku chamishim u’matayim makot
Rabbi Yose the Galilean says: How does one derive that, after the ten plagues in Egypt, the Egyptians suffered fifty plagues at the Sea? Concerning the plagues in Egypt the Torah states that “the magicians said to Pharaoh, it is the finger of God.” However, at the Sea, the Torah relates that “Israel saw the great hand which the Lord laid upon the Egyptians, and the people revered the Lord and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.” It reasons that if they suffered ten plagues in Egypt, they must have been made to suffer fifty plagues at the Sea.
Rabbi Eliezer says: How does one derive that every plague that God inflicted upon the Egyptians in Egypt was equal in intensity to four plagues? It is written: “He sent upon them his fierce anger, wrath, fury and trouble, a band of evil messengers.” Since each plague was comprised of 1) wrath, 2) fury, 3) trouble and 4) a band of evil messengers, they must have suffered forty plagues in Egypt and two hundred at the Sea.
Rabbi Akiva says: How does one derive that every plague that God inflicted upon the Egyptians in Egypt was equal in intensity to five plagues? It is written: “He sent upon them his fierce anger, wrath, fury and trouble, a band of evil messengers.” Since each plague was comprised of 1) fierce anger 2) wrath 3) fury 4) trouble and 5) a band of evil messengers, they must have suffered fifty plagues in Egypt and two hundred and fifty at the Sea.
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.
As we read the 10 plagues, we spill drops of wine from our cups, mourning the suffering the Egyptians endured so that we could be free. This year, as these drops spread across our plates, let us turn our hearts toward the millions of people around the world suffering today’s plagues of hatred, prejudice, baseless violence and war.
Dayeinu is a highly counter-intuitive hymn.
Among its fourteen stanzas it proclaims that:
Had God taken our ancestors out of Egypt, but not rescued them at the Red Sea, it would have been sufficient.
And had God rescued them at the Red Sea, but not nourished them in the dessert, it would have been sufficient.
And had God brought them to Sinai, but not given them the Torah, it would have been sufficient.
These statements make no sense. If God liberated our ancestors from Egypt only to allow them to drown in the Red Sea, would that really have been cause for celebration? And what would have been the point of leading them out to the dessert, only have them starve? Or to bring them all the way to Sinai, only to withhold the Torah? Are any of these elements on their own really sufficient? Is the hymn just hyperbole?
Perhaps not. The reason it seems senseless to us is because we know how the story ends. We know that our ancestors have to end up in the Promised Land where they build God’s Temple. And so anything short of that is a failure.
But imagine if we didn’t know how the story was going to end. Then each separate episode would have been cause for thanksgiving. The Exodus would be a cause for celebration, because the Red Sea had yet to present itself as a terrifying obstacle. The overwhelming relief of being rescued from the Red Sea would be sufficient, because the harsh dessert was not yet a reality. And coming to Sinai is a blessing in itself, for who could possible anticipate the Giving of the Torah?
Dayeinu is an ingenious hymn because, by placing us squarely in the story, it allows us to experience what our ancestor’s would have felt as the events unfolded in real time.
It does for liturgy what Faulkner, Joyce, and Wolf did for literature.
Dayeinu invites us to be grateful for the blessings in our lives, as and when they unfold. We have no way of knowing how our story is going to end, much less what next year, or even tomorrow, will look like. All we have is here and now. Dayeinu teaches us to live in the moment by cherishing each of life's blessings as we experience them.
by Joshua Ratner, Rabbis Without Borders
One of my favorite parts of the Passover seder is the singing that takes place after we finish eating. There are so many great, fun songs, from “Ehad Mi Yodeah” to "Chad Gadya."Perhaps my favorite song is “Dayenu.” The words are fairly easy to sing in Hebrew, and the chorus is so catchy that even those who don’t know Hebrew can easily join in. But beyond its functionality, the content of Dayenu (literally “it would have been enough”) also carries a deep amount of wisdom.
Dayenu consists of 15 stanzas referencing different historical contexts the Israelites experienced, from slavery in Egypt to the building of the Temple in Israel. After each stanza, we sing the chorus, signifying that if this was the total of God’s miraculous intervention into the lives of the Israelites, it would have been sufficient.
One of the primary purposes of the Passover seder is to make us feel as if we personally experienced the exodus from Egypt and the redemption from slavery to freedom. This is no less true for the way we understand the Dayenu song. Dayenu provides a powerful contemporary hashkafah (outlook on life), a call to mindfulness about the way we currently lead our lives. We live in an era when capitalism is our state (and increasingly global) religion. Consumption is unfettered by any internal sense of restraint, from the amount of soda we can drink to how much money Wall Street executives can make. We live in a world where it is okay that the richest 85 people in the world have total wealth equal to that of the poorest 3.5 billion people on the planet!
Dayenu reminds us that there is another way. Judaism offers an outlook on wealth, consumption, and sufficiency (sova) that is very counter-cultural. InPirkei Avot(Ethics of our Fathers) 4:1, Ben Zoma teaches: “Who is rich? The one who is content with what one has.” Even more austere, the Talmud instructs: “An individual who can eat barley bread but eats wheat bread is guilty of transgressing the law of bal tashchit (unlawful waste). Rabbi Papa states: one who can drink beer but drinks wine instead is guilty of transgressing the law of bal tashchit.” (Babylonian Talmud, Shabbat 140b). Judaism is not, to be sure, an ascetic religion. We are encouraged to carve out occasions for excess, for enjoying the finer parts of living—on Shabbat, holidays, and other joyous occasions. But the wisdom of Judaism is that, if we want to experience delight on these special occasions, we also need moments of restraint. It is the juxtaposition of restraint and largess that creates a life of meaning.
Beyond the individual experience, we also are becoming increasingly aware of the global consequences of championing unbridled materialism over a sense of sufficiency. From income inequality to climate change, our refusal to entertain limits on what we do and how much we consume are wreaking destructive consequences. By returning to a sense of Dayenu, of thinking deeply about what is enough, we have the potential to change ourselves and our world. May we be blessed, on this Pesah and beyond, to replace the idolatry of consumption with an embrace of all that we have.
One of Passover’s lessons is learned to distinguish between more and enough. Dayenu means “it would have been enough for us.” Often, enjoying more wealth and comfort stimulates our desire for more – more attention, more comforts, more money, more, and more, and more. Passover and the Haggadah teach us to be mindful of what our real needs are, of what constitutes “enough.”
What constitutes enough for you? What material objects or consumptive activities could you do without?
Make up your own verses to the Dayenu tune, stating what would be enough and what can be done without.
For example: If we had enough clothes for comfort and we didn’t have such full closets – Dayenu If we ate meat only on special occasions and we ate vegetarian most of the time – Dayenu If we biked or walked to our daily destinations and we didn’t own private automobiles – Dayenu If we purchased from bulk containers and we didn’t have disposable packaging – Dayenu If our stuff was built to last and we rarely threw anything away – Dayenu And your own verses...
The Second Cup: Climate Change Adaption
Our climate is changing at an accelerating rate. As global sea levels, temperatures, and the frequency of extreme weather events rise, our national and international community must join together to help the international community adapt. Adapting means recognizing that our disrupted climate has impacts on daily life for people around the world. Our second cup of wine is our second promise: We will provide the communities most vulnerable to the effects of climate change with the information and resources necessary to adapt. Forests are natural buffers for climate change, so protecting forests are an important component of adaptation.
Together, we recite:
ָבּרוּךְ ַא ָתה יי, ֱאל ֵהינוּ ֶמ ֶלךְ ָהעו ָלם, בּו ֵרא ְפ ִרי ַה ֶג ֶפן.
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, borei p’ri hagafen Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.
Wash hands while reciting the traditional blessing for washing the hands:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם.
Baruch atah Adonai Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav, v'tzivanu al n'tilat yadayim.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has taught us the way of holiness through commandments, commanding us to wash our hands.
Take the three matzot - the broken piece between the two whole ones – and hold them in your hand and recite the following blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who provides sustenance from the earth.
Before eating the matzah, put the bottom matzah back in its place and continue, reciting the following blessing while holding only the top and middle piece of matzah.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה
Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam, asher kid'shanu b'mitzvotav v'tzivanu al achilat matzah.
Praised are you, Adonai, Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, who has taught us the way of holiness through commandments, commanding us to eat matzah.
Break the top and middle matzot into pieces and distribute them everyone at the table to eat a while reclining to the left.
We now dip our food for a second time. Each of us will take a bit of the maror, the bitter herb, and dip it into the haroset — a mixture of chopped apples, nuts, wines and spices. We acknowledge that life is bittersweet. The sweet taste of haroset symbolizes that no matter how bitter and dark the pres- ent appears, we should look forward to better days. As we remember our ancestors, this is a time to be appreciative of everything we have; a time to be grateful for all the gifts we have been given.
All recite the following together:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kidshanu b'mitzvo-tav, v'tzivanu al a-chilat maror.
We praise God who hallows our lives with commandments, and enjoins us to eat the bitter herbs.
Each participant eats the bitter herbs along with the sweet haroset
This laden history has often contributed to some of our families' inability to accept the idea of intermarriage. We acknowledge that Jewish people have struggled and been enslaved in the past and we stretch to transform this defeated posture. We also know that sometimes our own enslavement or emotional bondage prevents us from being open to hearing each other in our marriage. Loyalties to families of origin need to be honored, unless they prevent us from creating true intimacy. Bitter places are stuck places, and we commit ourselves tonight to moving beyond our own positions to find new points of intersection and connection.
Tonight we dip our bitterness in the sweetness of charoset. Charoset, the sweet mixture of fruits and nuts, symbolizes the mortar of the bricks of the Israelites. It is also the mortar of commitment and interdependence that enabled the Jewish community to survive through those centuries of oppression. It is the building blocks of hope and tradition, which are sweet. We take our maror of fear, and by dipping it into the sweetness we create a new model that honors the fear and suffering yet holds out hope for the future.
By blending our maror and charoset, we acknowledge the blending of faiths and traditions that sit around this table here tonight. We know it is not always sweet and it is not always bitter, but that life is a mixture of both. Just as our taste buds are designed for sweet, salty, sour and bitter, so we taste the range of textures of our relationships. By our dipping tonight we bring together the bitter and the sweet for something new to emerge.
זֵכֶר לְמִקְדָּשׁ כְּהִלֵּל. כֵּן עָשָׂה הִלֵּל בִּזְמַן שבֵּית הַמִּקְדָּשׁ הָיָה קַיָים: הָיָה כּוֹרֵךְ מַצָּה וּמָרוֹר וְאוֹכֵל בְּיַחַד, לְקַיֵים מַה שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: עַל מַצּוֹת וּמְרֹרִים יֹאכְלֻהוּ.
Zeicher l'mikdash k'hileil. Kein asah hileil bizman shebeit hamikdash hayah kayam. Hayah koreich pesach, matzah, u-maror v'ocheil b'yachad. L'kayeim mah shene-emar. “Al matzot um'rorim yochlu-hu.”
Eating matzah, maror and haroset this way reminds us of how, in the days of the Temple, Hillel would do so, making a sandwich of the Pashal lamb, matzah and maror, in order to observe the law “You shall eat it (the Pesach sacrifice) on matzah and maror.”
Each person receives some bitter herbs and ḥaroses, which he places between two pieces of matzo. The leader then reads:
This was the practice of Hillel, at the time the Temple was still in existence. He combined the unleavened bread and the bitter herbs and ate them together, to carry out the injunction concerning the Passover sacrifice: "With unleavened bread and with bitter herbs, they shall eat it."
All read in unison:
BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM ASHER KIDD’SHONU B’MITZVOSOV V’TZIVONU AL ACHILAS MOROR.
Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us by Thy commandments, and ordained that we should eat bitter herbs.
Eat the Moror.
بالهنا و الشفاء
If you’ve eaten and been satisﬁed, thank God for all that we have been given
Sing together the blessing over the third cup of wine.
Pour the third cup of wine.
שִׁיר הַמַּעֲלוֹת: בְּשׁוּב יהוה אֶת־שִׁיבַת צִיּוֹן הָיִ֫ינוּ כְּחֹלְמִים. אָז יִמָּלֵא שְׂחוֹק פִּינוּ וּלְשׁוֹנֵנוּ רִנָּה, אָז יֹאמְרוּ בַגּוֹיִם, הִגְדִּיל יְיָ לַעֲשׂוֹת עִם אֵלֶּה. הִגְדִּיל יְיָ לַעֲשׂוֹת עִמָּנוּ, הָיִינוּ שְׂמֵחִים. שׁוּבָה יְיָ אֶת שְׁבִיתֵנוּ, כַּאֲפִיקִים בַּנֶּגֶב. הַזֹּרְעִים בְּדִמְעָה בְּרִנָּה יִקְצֹרוּ. הָלוֹךְ יֵלֵךְ וּבָכֹה נֹשֵׂא מֶשֶׁךְ הַזָּרַע, בֹּא יָבֹא בְרִנָּה נֹשֵׂא אֲלֻמֹּתָיו
Shir Hama’alot, b’shuv Adonai et shee-vat Tzion, ha-yeenu k’chol meem. Az y’ma-lei s’chok pee-nu u’l-sho-nei-nu reena, az yo-m’ru va-goyim, heeg-deel Adonai la-asot eem eleh. Heeg-deel Adonai la-asot eemanu, ha-yee-nu s’mei-cheem. Shuva Adonai et sh’vee-tei-nu, ka-afee-keem ba-negev. Ha-zor-eem b’deem-ah b’reena yeek-tzo-ru. Ha-loch yei-lech u-va-cho no-sei me-shech hazara, bo yavo v’reena, no-sei alu-mo-tav.
A song of ascending:When the Eternal returns usto Zion, we will be like dreamers. Then, our mouths will be filled with laughter, and our tongues with song. Then shall it be said around the world, the Eternal has done great things for them! For the eternal has done great things for us - and we are joyful.God, restore us as springs in the desert. Those who sow in tears shall reap in son. The one who goes out weeping will surely come back singing, bringing sheaves.
בריך רחמנא מלכא דעלמא מריה דהאי פיתא
Brich rachamana malka d'alma ma'arey d'hai pita
Blessed is the compassionate One, sovereign of the world, creator of this bread.
Dayenu means "it would have been enough." And not in a kvetchy/sarcastic way! Dayenu is a sincere expression of gratitude, of the Jewish people's cup overfloweth.
There are many any verses in the Hebrew proclaiming how it would have been enough just to be brought out from slavery in Egpyt, to get the Torah, to be gifted Shabbat, etc...
In this version, you may sing some, all or none of the traditional verses, but then open it up so Dayenu can become a participatory song where everyone offers their own "dayenu" for the year. As in: It would have been enough if________, but also ______! Dayenu! Day-day-enu...etc...
For example:It would have been enough if I graduated high school this year, but I also got accepted to my top choice for college! Dayenu! (And everyone sings the chorus!)
This an be done at the Dayenu moment in the Seder or introduced earlier and then whenever someone is moved throughout the Seder to share their Dayenu moment, they can. Depends on the enthusiasm of the crowd.
There is a word in Hebrew — Teshuvah — that means return. It is an acknowledgement that there is always a chance for forgiveness, redemption and change. Our traditions teach that Passover is open to all. Everyone is welcome at this table. There is always room. Because no one is ever turned away, there is always an opportunity for a rebirth of spirit.
As a sign of hospitality to all, we open the door to our homes and symbolically invite anyone who wants to join us to come inside.
At this point, the children open the door.
A Prayer for Peace
May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease, when a great peace will embrace the whole world. Then nation will not threaten nation, and mankind will not again know war. For all who live on earth shall realize we have not come into being to hate or to destroy. We have come into being to praise, to labor, to love. Compassionate God, bless the leaders of all nations with the power of compassion. Fulfill the promise conveyed in scripture; I will bring peace to the land, and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you. I wll rid the land of vicious beasts and it shall not be ravaged by war. Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream. Let peace fill the earth as waters fill the sea. And let us say: Amen.
Tonight we welcome two prophets: not only Elijah, but also Miriam, sister of Moses. Elijah is a symbol of messianic redemption at the end of time; Miriam, of redemption in our present lives.
Please rise and sing as you are able as we open the doors of Hillel to welcome the prophets.
אֵלִיָּהוּ הַנָּבִיא אֵלִיָּהוּ הַתִשְׁבִּי
במְהֵרָה בְיָמֵנוּ יָבוא אֵלֵינוּ
עִם מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָוִד, עִם מָשִׁיחַ בֶּן דָוִד
Eliyahu ha-navi, Eliyahu ha-Tishbi,
Eliyahu (3x) ha-Giladi.
Bimheirah v'yameinu, yavo ei-leinu
im Mashiach ben David (2x)
Elijah, the prophet; Elijiah, the Tishbite; Elijah, of Gilead! Come quickly in our days with the Messiah from the line of David.
In this spirit, consider symbolically setting aside a table setting or opening the door to the 60 million refugees and displaced people around the world still waiting to be free — for all those who deserve to be welcomed in not as strangers but as fellow human beings.
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...
One chapter in my life has concluded, but my life journey continues. What do I look forward to in the coming year...
...for myself? ...for family and friends?
...for my community? ...for my world?
La-shana ha-ba-a bee-yeru-sha-layeem! NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!
Now that the Seder is officially, over, we wanted to have a time of open discussion. Feel free to ask any questions you still have about Passover, talk about parts of the Seder that stood out to you, or even just tell stories about Passover from your own life. It's completely up to you!
We were slaves in Egypt, now we are free. Let’s have a Seder! What’s on the Seder plate? Egg, herbs, bone, greens, charoset Let’s drink some wine. Why is this night different? Why is this child different? Ten plagues on the Egyptians. Enough already – Dayeinu! Drink wine again. Matzah, Maror, Hillel sandwich, let’s eat! Where’s the Afikoman? Thanks for the food! Drink some more Wine. Open the door for Elijah! Drink some wine – last one. Thanking and singing. Next year in Jerusalem!