This may take up to thirty seconds.
On seder night, there are two moments where we metaphorically open our doors and invite others in. One is at the opening of the Magid portion of the seder, when we say, “All who are hungry come and eat.” There is a beautiful message here: we were once slaves; poor and hungry, and we remember our redemption by sharing what we have with others.
The other, comes towards the end of the seder, when we have the custom of pouring a fifth cup of wine, which we claim is for Elijah the Prophet. This is a statement of faith, a statement that says that although we are a free people, our redemption is not yet complete, and we believe that it will come.
From the most downtrodden to the most celebrated, the message is clear: everyone is welcome and everyone is necessary. Why is it that we go out of our way to include all at our seder table? Perhaps it is because when we make room for others, we have the opportunity to make room for ourselves as well. In fact, the Mishnah (Pesahim 10:5) teaches us that:
בכל דור ודור חייב אדם לראות את עצמו כאילו הוא יצא ממצרים In every generation a person is obligated to see themselves as if they left Egypt
The seder presents us with the obligation of identifying with the generation that left Egypt and internalizing that experience. And through that internalization, we come to feel the redemption as if it was our own as well to - לראות את עצמו. Further, the reliving of the story of the Exodus affords us the opportunity see one’s true self. It is only when we are able to see ourselves clearly, that we are able to be redeemed. But perhaps the only way we are able to see ourselves, is when we are truly able to see those around us. This message of inclusion is Pardes’s message too, and our hope is that this Haggadah Companion which offers something for everyone, will add new meaning to your seder and help bring the Jewish people a little closer together.
LEADER: We are about to begin the recitation of the ancient story of Israel's redemption from bondage in Egypt. The purpose of this Seder is to afford us the opportunity to recall the dramatic and miraculous events which led to the exodus from an ancient land of slavery. Young and old should gather on the eve of Passover, in order that we might relate to the children, and to all, this thrilling chapter in the history of our people.
LEADER: (Points to Seder Plate) We have before us the Seder Plate. On it we have placed the main symbols of this service.
PARTICIPANT: First, we have three matzot (מצה), commemorating the bread which our forefathers were compelled to eat during their hasty departure from Egypt. We use three matzot to represent the three religious groupings of the Jewish people: Kohen, Levi and Yisroayl. They are placed together to indicate the unity of the Jewish people. In unity, we find our strength and power to survive.
PARTICIPANT: The Roasted Shankbone, called zeroah (זרוֹע). While it does not play an active role in the service, it reminds us of the Paschal Lamb, a special animal sacrifice which our ancestors offered on the altar of the Great Temple in Jerusalem on the Passover. Alternatively, for the vegetarians, a beet may be used. It reminds us of the blood used to mark the doorposts so that the Angel of Death passed over the Israelites' homes on their final night in Egypt.
PARTICIPANT: The Roasted Egg, (ביצה) reminds us of the second offering brought to the Temple on Passover. It was known as the "Festival Offering," for it was brought on each of the three festivals - Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot. 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.
PARTICIPANT: The Marror (מָרוֹר), the bitter herbs, reminds us of the bitterness of slavery, which our ancestors were compelled to endure. We force ourselves to taste pain so that we more readily value pleasure. Scholars inform us that our ancestors ate bitter herbs at the time of the spring festival. The sharpness of the taste reawakened their senses and made them feel as one with the revival of nature. Marror is the stimulus of life reminding us that struggle is better than boredom.
PARTICIPANT: The Charoset (חֲרֽוֹסֶת), is made to resemble the mortar with which our forefathers made bricks for the building of Egyptian cities. The sweetness summons us never to forget the sweet taste of freedom. As we call to mind the sweetness in the shadow of bitterness, and pleasure in the shadow of pain, may we become more aware of the experience of opposites during our lifetime. Let us appreciate that life is full only when we experience the full range of human emotion.
PARTICIPANT: The Karpas (כַּרְפַּס), a green vegetable, is used to remind us that Pesach coincides with the arrival of Spring and the gathering of the Spring harvest. In ancient times, Passover was also an agricultural festival and an occasion on which our ancestors gave thanks for the Earth's rich bounties.
PARTICIPANT: Four times, at least, in the course of this Seder, we shall partake of the wine, a symbol of joy and thanksgiving. The four cups represent the four-fold promise to the Israelites in Egypt: "I will bring you forth;" "I will deliver you;" "I will redeem you;" "I will take you."
LEADER: These are the symbols of Passover — echoes of the past and reminders for the present. As we partake of them, may we remember the events that they recall, and may we embody their spirit in our present-day endeavors.
Kiddush (the blessing over wine) | kadeish | קַדֵּשׁ
PARTICIPANT: 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 the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
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 the Univers,
who has kept us alive, raised us up, and enabled us to reach this season.
Drink the first glass of wine!
LEADER: Let us be seated
urchatz | וּרְחַץ
LEADER: The second ceremony of the seder is known as Urchatz, "Washing of the Hands."
PARTICIPANT: Water is cleansing and clear which is why many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. We wash our hands two times during the seder: now, with no blessing, so we can get ready for the for the rituals; and then again later, we’ll wash with a blessing preparing for the meal.
LEADER: In our family we symbolicaly wash our hands.
(If you wish to go to the sink to wash your hands, you only need water for your hands not soap.)
Reflect: What shmutz (Yiddish for dirt) in your life would you like to be rid of?
Use hand sanitizer – feel purer.
LEADER: (Distributes pieces of green vegetable, such as parsley, to all assembled, and says:) The third ceremony is partaking of the Karpas. We now dip this green fruit of the earth into salt water. (While assembled take and pass dipped parsley:)
PARTICIPANT: The Karpas is a symbol of the Spring. It represents the reawakening of life and reminds us that beneath the snow, the earth is not dead, but dormant. It signifies the life-sustaining crops of our ancestors, and with this blessing, we make favorable their growth.
PARTICIPANT: The parsley is also historically symbolic of the biblical herb, ezov. It was this plant the Hebrews used to sprinkle the blood of the sacrifical lamb on their doorposts so that they would not be sticken by the 10th plague, the slaying of the first-born.
PARTICIPANT: We temper this symbol of hope and rebirth by dipping it in salt water, symbolic of the tears of our enslaved forefathers. For without sorrow, how can we know joy? Without struggle, how can we know strength of will? May our gratitude for the blessings that we enjoy help to soften the pain of sorrow, and convert tears to joy and appreciation.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri ha’adamah.
Blessed art Thou, our God, ruler of the universe, Who creates the fruit of the earth.
(The vegetable is eaten)
LEADER: (Places before him the three wrapped Matzos from the Seder Plate.) I now perform the ceremony of "Yachatz." I shall break the middle Matzoh in two, removing one half and setting it aside. This will become the "Afikomen," the dessert, to be eaten at the conclusion of our meal.
(Breaks middle Matzoh. Wraps half in napkin. Places it under pillow, or in any other convenient place. Children will later remove this piece of Matzoh, hide it, and request gifts for its return.)
Maggid: Ha Lachma Anya
הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְּאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם. כָּל דִכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכֹל, כָּל דִצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח. הָשַׁתָּא הָכָא, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּאַרְעָא דְיִשְׂרָאֵל. הָשַׁתָּא עַבְדֵי, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין.
Ha lachma anya dee achalu avhatana b'ara d'meetzrayeem.
LEADER (Raises up the three Matzos, then says:) LO! This is the bread of affliction, the humble and simple bread which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let anyone who is hungry join us at this Seder, and let them partake of what we have to share.
ASSEMBLED: With gratitude for the blessings that we have been given, we invite the less fortunate to share with us at this meal, and at other times as well.
LEADER: May people, wherever they are, those of them still deprived of total freedom, enjoy that liberty at this time.
ASSEMBLED: May humankind speedily attain freedom from fear and want, and be privileged to build a symbols of peace for all humanity.
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.
The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. If everyone at your seder is around the same age, perhaps the person with the least seder experience can ask them – or everyone can sing them all together.
מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות
Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה
Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.
On all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah.
Tonight we only eat matzah.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר
Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.
On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables,
but tonight we eat bitter herbs.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים
Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.
On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time.
Tonight we do it twice.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין. :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין
Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.
On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining.
Tonight we recline.
LEADER: We shall now answer the four basic questions concerning Passover, which you have asked:
ASSEMBLED: Once we were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord, in goodness and mercy, brought us forth from that land, with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
LEADER: Had we not been rescued us from the hand of the despot, surely we and our children would still be enslaved, deprived of liberty and human dignity.
ASSEMBLED: We, therefore, gather year after year, to retell this ancient story. For, in reality, it is not ancient, but eternal in its message, and its spirit. It proclaims our burning desire to preserve liberty and justice for all.
LEADER: The first question asked concerns the use of Matzoh. We eat these unleavened cakes to remember that our ancestors, in their haste to leave Egypt, could not wait for breads to rise, and so removed them from the ovens while still flat.
ASSEMBLED: We partake of the Moror on this night that we might taste of some bitterness, to remind ourselves how bitter is the lot of one caught in the grip of slavery.
LEADER: We dip twice in the course of this Service, greens in salt water and Moror in Charoses, once to replace tears with gratefulness, and once to sweeten bitterness and suffering.
ASSEMBLED: The fourth question asks why, on this night, we eat in a reclining position. To recline at mealtimes in ancient days was the sign of a free person. On this night of Passover, we demonstrate our sense of complete freedom by reclining and/or slouching during our repast.
LEADER: Of four children did the Torah speak, describing four types of Jews:
ASSEMBLED: The wise one, the wicked one , the simple one and the young one, who does not know enough to inquire.
LEADER: The wise child asks: What mean these customs in which we engage, which the Lord commanded to observe?
ASSEMBLED: This child is regarded as wise, since they include themselves among those obligated to observe the traditions of Passover.
LEADER: The wicked child asks: What does this service mean to you?
ASSEMBLED: This child is regarded as wicked, since they exclude themselves from the obligated group, assuming that Jewish duties are meant for others.
LEADER: The simple one, regarded as simple because of their indifference asks: What is all this?
ASSEMBLED: To this child you shall respond: With a strong hand God took us out of Egypt, where we were slaves. It is incumbent upon us to remember and to observe.
LEADER: The young one, not yet able to inquire, is to be told the story of Passover, in accordance with the biblical command:
ASSEMBLED: “And thou shalt tell thy child in that day saying: It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.”
LEADER: It is incumbent upon us to emulate the wise child by remembering our duties to our people and our faith. We must share in the obligations to advance the Jewish way of life. To remove ourselves from these endeavors, looking to others to carry the burdens, is to fail in our responsibility. The wise one, the wise Jew, understands the importance of their personal participation in all efforts for the betterment of humanity.
LEADER: God made a promise to Abraham that his family would become a great nation
ASSEMBLED: but God also foretold the events of Israel’s bondage; years of service on foreign soil, tormented by a strange and hostile people.
LEADER: God did also promise to rescue and redeem them, in justice, bringing judgment on the cruel oppressor
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.
LEADER: 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’s help and guidance has assured our survival.
The glass of wine is put down.
PARTICIPANT: Scripture tells that in the land of Canaan, at the time of a famine, our Patriarch, Jacob, sent his sons to Egypt to purchase food. They also sought permission from Pharaoh to allow their flocks to graze, for the pasture lands in Canaan were barren. It was not their intention to settle in Egypt; merely to visit and find relief from want.
PARTICIPANT: There were but seventy people who arrived in Egypt, but, in time, their number increased. Soon they grew in strength and became a mighty people. The Egyptians came to fear them for, they reasoned, in time of war they might join with enemy nations and become a threatening force. They, therefore, decided to subdue them with forced labor, and to reduce their numbers by casting male children into the river. Task masters were placed over the Hebrews, who whipped and tortured them, compelling them to make bricks and build great cities for Pharaoh.
PARTICIPANT: The task was inhumane and too great to bear. The Jewish people cried out. God called to Moses, charging him to appear before Pharaoh and to demand that the people be released. Pharaoh was obstinate and would not heed the word of God. It was then foretold the punishment which the Almighty would bring upon Pharaoh and the Egyptians: Plagues would come to the land of Egypt and many would perish.
PARTICIPANT: Pharaoh defied God and placed his trust in his own powers. In the face of all pleas, he refused to free the Jewish people. In consequence the plagues descended upon Egypt. Many perished and the suffering was great. Pharaoh, nonetheless, remained obstinate; he would not yield. When the tenth plague visited upon them, the death of first-born sons of Egypt, a great cry went up throughout Egypt, and when Pharaoh’s son perished he finally ordered Moses to take his people out of the land.
LEADER: God’s law aims for the welfare and happiness of all people. Those that deny God’s Law and to do evil, bring pain and suffering upon themselves.
PARTICIPANT: When Pharaoh defied the command of God to release the Jewish people, he invited adversity upon himself and his own people.
PARTICIPANT: Though the plagues were the result of their own evil, we do not rejoice in the downfall or defeat of the Egyptians.
LEADER: Judaism regards all people as the children of God, even enemies who seek to destroy our people.
ASSEMBLED: We mourn their loss and express sorrow over their destruction.
LEADER: A full cup is the symbol of complete joy. Though we celebrate our triumph and our freedom, our happiness is not complete so long as others had to be sacrificed for its sake. We pour out a drop of wine as an expression of sorrow for each of the plagues as we recite them.
(Dip a finger your wine glass and drip into saucer for each plague)
ASSEMBLED: (in Hebrew or English)
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
LEADER: In the same spirit, our celebration today is also shadowed by our awareness of continuing sorrow and oppression in all parts of the world. Ancient plagues are mirrored in modern tragedies.
PARTICIPANT: We are a world people, living in many lands and among many nations. We are all victims together of enormous social problems. We share in their effects and in the responsibility to overcome them.
PARTICIPANT: As the pain of others diminishes our joys, let us once more diminish the wine of our festival as we repeat the names of these modern plagues:
Indifference to Suffering
"The opposite of love is not hate, it's indifference." Elie Wiesel
LEADER: The plagues and our subsequent redemption from Egypt are but one example of the care God has shown for us in our history. Had God but done any one of these kindnesses, it would have been enough – dayeinu. For each of them we offer thanks and humble gratitude.
ASSEMBLED: (one or more versus of Dayenu can be sung)
אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ
Ilu hotzi- hotzianu, Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim, Dayeinu
If God had only taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough!
אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ
Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et ha-Torah, Natan lanu et ha-Torah , Dayeinu
If God had only given us the Torah, that would have been enough.
The complete lyrics to Dayeinu tell the entire story of the Exodus from Egypt as a series of miracles God performed for us.
Dayeinu also reminds us that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large.
LEADER: 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.
PARTICIPANT: 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.
PARTICIPANT: 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.
PARTICIPANT: The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt.
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.
ASSEMBLED: In every generation, each person must look upon themselves as though they, personally, was among those who went forth from Egypt.
LEADER: The struggle for freedom is a continuous struggle, For never does a person reach total liberty and opportunity.
ASSEMBLED: In every age, some new freedom is won and established, adding to the advancement of human happiness and security.
LEADER: Yet, each age uncovers a formerly unrecognized servitude, requiring new liberation to set the soul free.
ASSEMBLED: In every age, the concept of freedom grows broader, widening the horizons for finer and more ethical living.
LEADER: Each generation is duty-bound to contribute to this growth, else humanity's ideals become stagnant and stationary.
ASSEMBLED: The events in Egypt were but the begining of a force in history which will forever continue.
LEADER: In this spirit, we see ourselves as participants in the Exodus, for we must dedicate our energies to the cause there begun.
ASSEMBLED: In our day, we shall defend the heritage of liberty, taught by the Torah and preserved by democracies.
(All raise their cups.)
As inheritors of the priceless heritage of liberty, we join now in glorifying God's Name. For the miracles of the past, and also in our day, we offer God our thankfulness: We were delivered us from slavery to freedom, from sorrow to happiness, from mourning to rejoicing, from ignorance to enlightenment; In gratitude for these manifold blessings we shall sing songs of praise.
(The cups are put down and refilled.)
ASSEMBLED: We praise God, 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 from second glass of wine!)
LEADER: As we prepare to partake of, the meal, we shall wash our hands (symbolically), this time reciting the prescribed 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.
(Upper matzoh and the remainder of the middle matzoh are broken into smaller pieces, which are distributed to everyone. )
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.
(The piece of Matzoh is eaten)
(Leader breaks the bottom matzoh, adds the maror and charoses, and distributes to all)
Leader: We shall now partake of the maror combined with the Charoset. Thus we remember how bitter is slavery, and how it can be sweetened by God's redemption. We recite together:
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.
(Maror and Charoset are eaten)
It's almost time to eat! Before we chow down, let's fill that third glass of wine and give thanks for the meal we're about to consume.
On Passover, this becomes something like an extended toast to the forces that brought us together:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.
Group says: We praise force of the world, that created the fruit of the vine, that sustains the world.
[Everyone: Drink the third glass of wine.]
Now, LET'S EAT!
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.
We are going to conclude our dinner tonight with a celebratory toast - a l’chaim.
Rather than filling our own cup tonight, though, and focusing on us as individuals, let’s fill someone else’s cup and recognize that, as a family and group of friends, we have the resources to help each other and those in our community if we are willing to share our resources and collaborate – whether those resources are time, money, skills, or any of the other gifts we bring to one another.
Many of us around the table may already share our resources in different ways - volunteering in our communities, providing pro bono services, donating to charities, or by advocating or lobbying officials. For others we may still be exploring the ways we’re hoping to share our resources and are looking for outlets to do so.
We are now going to fill our 4th cup of wine and I want to invite you to fill someone else’s cup instead of your own. As you fill someone else’s cup, let’s share with each other our answer to the following:
How can I help in changing the world?
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!
Scene 1: In the Desert Moses is galloping (skipping on foot while clopping coconuts together to sound like hoofbeats) across the desert. He comes to a burning bush.
Bush: Halt! Who goes there!
Moses: A shrubbery! A talking shrubbery! One that looks nice, but is not too expensive. It is a good shrubbery. I like the laurels particularly.
Bush: Moses! Moses, Leader of the Israelites!
(Moses looks stunned, drops to his knees in awe and bows his head to the ground in front of the burning bush.)
Bush: Oh, don't grovel! If there's one thing I can't stand, it's people groveling.
Bush: And don't apologize. Every time I try to talk to someone, it's "sorry this" and "forgive me that" and "I'm not worthy". What are you doing now!?
Moses: I'm averting my eyes, oh Lord.
Bush: Well, don't. It's like those miserable Psalms -- they're so depressing. Now knock it off.
Moses: Yes, Lord.
Bush: Right! Moses, leader of the Israelites your people shall have a task to make them an example in these dark times.
Moses: Good idea, Lord!
Bush: Of course it's a good idea! Behold! This is your task to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt.
Moses: A blessing! But are you sure I shouldn't deliver a pizza instead
Scene 2: In Egypt
Moses: I never wanted to do this job of deliverance in the first place. At least delivering pizzas pays good tips! I wanted to be a lumberjack, even though its a bit hard doing that in the desert.
(Israelites sing) Oh, we're Egyptian slaves. It's not OK. We work all night and we work all day. We quarry blocks and make mud bricks And want to run away!
Scene 3: Asking Pharaoh to leave
Moses approaches Pharaoh and his advisors to ask for permission for the Israelites to leave Egypt.
Pharaoh and his advisors say, "Ni! We are the keepers of the sacred words: Ni, Ping, and Neeee-wommmm! We want a shrubbery!!!"
Moses says, "I already found a shrubbery in the desert. It told me it was God, and told me to deliver the Israelites from bondage in Egypt."
When Pharaoh asks for proof that Moses speaks for God, he shows Pharaoh the holy hand grenade and Aaron pulls the holy pin, making mincemeat of half the advisors.
Scene 4: The Ten Plagues
The Spanish Inquisition.
Plague six. There IS no plague six!
The killing of the first born.
The morning after the final plague, the Egyptian garbage collectors roam the streets calling, "Bring out your dead!" People bring corpses of plague victims to the dead cart.
When they start to pick up one body, one of the collectors says, "Wait a bit. He's not dead. He's just resting." A lightning bolt comes out of the sky, hitting the body and killing it. The collectors smile and heave it onto the cart.
Scene 5: The Exodus
Aaron (addressing the assembled Israelite multitude): We need to sneak out of Egypt quickly without Pharaoh's army noticing. In this demonstration, we hope to show how to leave Egypt without being seen. This is Miriam of the Tribe of Levi. She can not be seen. Now I am going to ask her to stand up. Sister Miriam, will you stand up please?
In the distance Miriam stands up. There is a clap of thunder and Miriam crumples to the ground.
Aaron: This demonstrates the value of not being seen
Stop! This is getting too silly!
Scene 6: Arriving at the Red Sea.
The Red Sea guard challenges the fleeing Israelites as they arrive, saying, "None shall pass."
Guard: What is your name?
Guard: What is your quest?
Moses: To reach the Promised Land.
Guard: What are your favorite colors?
Moses: Blue and white.
Guard: You may pass.
The Israelites pass through the Red Sea. Now Pharaoh's army approaches, led by Rameses.
Guard: What is your name? Rameses: Rameses, Pharaoh of Egypt Guard: What is your quest? Rameses: To bring back the fleeing Israelite slaves.
Guard: What is the capital of modern-day Abyssinia
Rameses: I don't know that.
The guard unleashes a flood of water onto Rameses and the army, drowning them all.
Aaron watches awestruck, then asks Moses how he was able to answer the questions so well. Moses says, "You have to know these sorts of things when youre a leader of the Israelites, you know."
Narrator: Forty years later, after wandering around in the desert searching for the Holy Grail, Moses and Joshua stumble across a dragon ship and sail across the river Jordan to swelling music, but just as everything looks like there will be a happy ending ....
Moses: No afikomen here. Let's head back.
And now for something completely different.
Scene 7: The seder plate
To help us remember the story of the first Passover, we have assembled various symbolic foods on a Seder plate. There's egg and spam; shankbone and spam; greens and spam, bitter herbs and spam, charoses and spam, and spam, and spam spam egg and spam; spam spam spam matzoh and spam; spam spam spam spam spam spam baked beans spam spam spam... Spam! Lovely spam! Lovely spam!
But I can't eat spam, it's not kosher!
I'll eat yours, dear. I'm Reform
Scene 8: The Four Questions
Setting: A dusty street in an small Egyptian city. Moses: It's time to ask the five questions. Aaron: Four, sir! It's FOUR questions. Moses: Right. Thou shalt ask four. No more. No less. Four shall be the number thou shalt ask, and the number of the asking shall be four. Five shalt thou not ask, nor either ask thou three, excepting that thou then proceed to four.
Enter King Arthur and the Black Knight. King Arthur fights the Black Knight. First King Arthur cuts off the Black Knight's right arm, but he keeps on fighting. Then Arthur cuts off the Black Knight's left arm, followed by his right leg, and then finally cuts off his left leg. The Black Knight keeps fighting. King Arthur turns toward the camera with a puzzled look and asks, "Why is this knight different from all other knights?"
Pause. Let the audience groan. Then continue. Yes, we know that's only one question, but who's counting?
Scene 9: Dinner
It's time to eat dinner before finishing the rest of the Haggadah. While eating dinner, make sure to defend yourself against the possibility that the person to your right will attack you with a banana.
Scene 10: The Afikomen
The children are sent out of the room to find the Afikomen. They return, shouting:
Children: An afikomen! An afikomen! An afikomen! We've got an afikomen!: We have found an afikomen, may we eat it?
Father: Eat it! Eat!
Mother: How do you know it is an afikomen?
Children: It looks like one. It has warts on it. And it turned me into a newt!
Scene 11: Elijah's Cup
Well, it's just after eight o'clock, and time for to open the door for Elijah's penguin. (Participant opens the door and in comes a penguin. The penguin explodes.
Scene 12: Conclusion Narrator: We conclude tonight's program with the question, 'Is there life after death?'. And here to discuss this question are three dead people. The late Pharaoh Ramses, former ruler of the kingdom of Egypt, circa 1400 BCE; the late Moshe ben Amram, tribal spokesperson and record holder for longest road trip across the wilderness; and putting forward the view of the Powers that Be, the prophet Elijah the Gileadite. Gentlemen, is there life after death or not? (Prolonged silence)
Well there we have it! Three say "No". On next week's program we'll be discussing the question 'Does the state of France have a right to exist?. And until then, goodnight.