This may take up to thirty seconds.
(On Shabbat begin here, and include the portions in parentheses:
“And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day. Now the heavens and all their host were completed; God finished the work of creation on the seventh day. God then blessed the seventh day, imbuing it with holiness because on that day God ceased creating.”)
Permit me, distinguished ones, my teachers and colleagues:
Praised are you, Adonai, our God, sovereign of the universe, who has created the fruit of the vine.
Praised are you, Adonai, our God, sovereign of the universe, Who chose us for a unique relationship, lifting us who know the language of creation above those who speak an ordinary language, enabling us to encounter holiness through Your mitzvot, lovingly giving us (Shabbat for rest and) holidays for joy, festivals and special times for celebration, particularly this (Shabbat and this) Passover, this time of freedom (given in love) this sacred gathering, this re-enactment of our going out from Mitzrayim. It is You who has chosen us, You who have shared Your holiness with us in a manner different than with other peoples. For with (Shabbat and) festive revelations of Your holiness, happiness and joy You have granted us (lovingly and willingly). Praised are you, Adonai, Who imbues with holiness (Shabbat,) Israel and the sacred moments of the year.
[On Saturday night include:
Praised are You Adonai our God Lord of the universe who created the lights of fire. Praised are you, Adonai, our God, sovereign of the universe, who distinguishes between the holy and profane, light and darkness, Israel and the people, Shabbat and the six weekdays, the holiness of Shabbat and the holiness of a Festival. You have imbued the Shabbat with greater holiness than the six weekdays and You have granted of Your holiness into Your people Israel. Praised are you, Adonai, who distinguishes between degrees of sanctity.]
(On Shabbat begin here, and include the portions in parentheses:
וַיְהִי עֶרֶב וַיְהִי בֹקֶר יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי. וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל צְבָאַָם. וַיְכַל אֱלֹקִים בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה. וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אוֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר בֶָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת.)
סַבְרִי מָרָנָן וְרַבָּנָן וְרַבּוֹתַי
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָפֶן.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר בָּחַר בָּנוּ מִכָּל עָם וְרוֹמְמָנוּ מִכָּל לָשׁוֹן וְקִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו. וַתִּתֶּן לָנוּ יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ בְּאַהֲבָה (שַׁבָּתוֹת לִמְנוּחָה וּ) מוֹעֲדִים לְשִׂמְחָה, חַגִּים וּזְמַנִּים לְשָׂשׂוֹן, אֶת יוֹם (הַשַׁבָּת הַזֶה וְאֶת יוֹם) חַג הַמַצוֹת הַזֶה, זְמַן חֵרוּתֵנוּ (בְּאַהֲבָה), מִקְרָא קֹדֶשׁ, זֵכֶר לִיצִיאַת מִצְרָיִם. כִּי בָנוּ בָחַרְתָּ וְאוֹתָנוּ קִדַּשְׁתָּ מִכָּל הָעַמִּים, (וְשַׁבָּת) וּמוֹעֲדֵי קָדְשֶךָ (בְּאַהֲבָה וּבְרָצוֹן,) בְּשִׂמְחָה וּבְשָׂשׂוֹן הִנְחַלְתָּנוּ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי, מְקַדֵּשׁ (הַשַׁבָּת וְ) יִשְׂרָאֵל וְהַזְּמַנִּים.
On Saturday night include:
[בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמַבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְחֹל, ין אוֹר לְחשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בֵּין קְדֻשַּׁת שַׁבָּת לִקְדֻשַּׁת יוֹם טוֹב הִבְדַּלְתָּ, וְאֶת יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִשֵּׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה קִדַּשְׁתָּ. הִבְדַּלְתָּ וְקִדַּשְׁתָּ אֶת עַמְּךָ יִשְׂרָאֵל בִּקְדֻשָּׁתֶךָ. ,בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹדֶשׁ לְקֹדֶשׁ.]
** By celebrating the earth and spring:
[Use a chant without words to keep energy focused as people pass around a basin to wash and dry the hands.]
Take pieces of parsley or mint, dip them in salt water, pass them around the table, and say:
Blessed are you, YHWH our God, Breathing Spirit of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.
Barukh atah YHWH elohenu ruakh ha-olam boray p'ri ha a-da-mah.
[Everyone then eats this piece of parsley. From here on, invite people to munch on carrots, celery, and other fruit or vegetables.]
[Someone speaks:] If we cannot take joy in the return of spring, how can we be happy in utopia? The Song of Songs brings us the springtime when flowers rise up against winter, the juices of love arise from the depths of depression, and the night-time of history gives way to the sunlight of Eden, the garden of delight:
Come with me, my love, come away,/For the long wet months are past,/The rains have fed the earth/And left it bright with blossoms./ Birds wing in the low sky,/Dove and songbird singing/In the open air above,/Earth nourishing tree and vine,/Green fig and tender grape,/Green and tender fragrance./Come with me, my love, come away.
[The reader passes a blossom from the flowers on the table — if possible on a living plant — to everyone. All sniff and look carefully at their flowers. All sing either verses in Hebrew from the Song of Songs, or the English song "Morning has Broken"]
(Chorus) Do-di li va-a-ni lo Ha-ro-eh ba-sho-sha-nim (Repeat)
Mi zot olah Min hamidbar Mi zat olah M'kituret mor Mor u-livonah Mor u-livonah
Uri tzafon u-vo-i teyman Uri tzafon u-vo-i teyman
Morning Has Broken
Morning has broken like the first morning; Blackbird has spoken like the first bird. Praise for the singing! Praise for the morning! Praise for them springing fresh from the Word.
Sweet the rain's new fall sunlit from heaven, Like the first dew fall on the first grass. Praise for the sweetness of the wet garden, Sprung in completeness where Your feet pass.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה.
We are about to take the middle matzah and divide it in half. This matzah which we break and set aside is a symbol of our unity with Jews throughout the world. We will not conclude our Seder until the missing piece (the Afikomen) is found and spiritually reunited. This is a reminder of the indestructible link which infuses us as a world family.
In unison we say…
We cannot forget those who remain behind in any land of persecution, fearful of a growing public anti-Semitism or bigotry. To those still seeking liberty of life, to those striving courageously to build a better Jewish life in the country of their choice and to those of all humankind that strive to live a free and equal existence with all people of the world regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity and religion, we pledge our continued vigilance, support, and solidarity.
Later, we will search for the hidden piece of matzah. In much the same way, we seek to reconnect with our neighbors throughout the world. Once having found the missing half, we will be able to continue our Seder. So, too, will the continued bonding of Diaspora Jewry with our homeland allow Israel to grow and blossom as the eternal core of our collective Jewish identity.
In unison, we say…
We pray that they may live in peace, in a land at peace, with a world knowing war no more. We pray that the characteristics that make each human unique will be celebrated everywhere, with a world embracing diversity and knowing prejudice no more.
For the daily meal, there is one loaf of bread; but on the Sabbath there are two loaves as a reminder of the double portion of manna which fell on Friday for the Children of Israel as they traveled in the wilderness. (Exodus 16:22) In honor of Passover, a third matzah was added specifically for the Passover Seder experience.
We break the middle matzah in half and place the larger piece of matzah, the Afikomen, in a napkin and hide it.
The door is opened as a sign of hospitality.
The matzot are uncovered and held up.
Behold the matzah, bread of infliction, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate the Passover with us.
The Introduction to Magid, telling the story
RAISING THE MATZOT, ALL RECITE:
This is the bread of affliction that our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
Let all who are hungry come and eat.
Let all who are needy come and celebrate the Passover.
Now we are here; next year in Israel.
Now we are slaves; next year free people.
We begin the central sectionof the Haggadah, Magid (‘telling’), by combining action with words—raising the matzot for all to see and declaring what this flat bread
represents. Telling our story must lead to action.
The Haggadah borrows a phrase from the Bible.“…For seven days…you shall eat
unleavened bread, bread of affliction” (Deut. 16:3, lechem oni or lach’ma an’ya here in Aramaic). The Haggadah instantly connects memory with empathy. Remembering the bread of our affliction—bread of poverty, as some render it—compels us to care for the needy. Rav Huna, a third century sage from Babylonia,
seems to have inspired this invitation to the hungry. Impoverished in his early life, Rav Huna never forgot the poor when he became wealthy.
According to the Talmud, “when he had a meal he would open the door wide and declare, ‘Let all who are in need come and eat.’” Why the expectation that “next year” so much will change? Because in the Talmud Rabbi Joshua taught, “In Nisan[the month when Passover falls] they were redeemed: and in Nisan they will be redeemed.” But we live now, in the unredeemed present—between the epic past and a messianic future—and today our world will become what we make of it. Maybe that’s why this introduction to the Passover story focuses on us, and doesn’t mention God.
[The youngest person present asks:]
Why is this night different from all other nights? On all the other nights we may eat either leavened or unleavened bread, but on this night only unleavened bread; on all the other nights we may eat any species of herbs, but on this night only bitter herbs; on all the other nights we do not dip even once, but on this night twice; on all the other nights we eat and drink either tense or relaxed, but on this night we all relax.
Mah nishtanah ha-lai-lah hazeh mi-kol ha-le-lot? She-b'khol ha-le-lot anu okh-lin chametz u-ma-tzah, ha-lai-lah ha-zeh kulo ma-tzah. She-b'khol ha-le-lot a-nu okh-lin sh'ar y'ra-kot, halai-lah ha-zeh ma-ror. She-b'khol ha-le-lot eyn anu mat-bilin a-fi-lu p-am a-chat, ha-lai-lah ha-zeh sh'tay f'a-mim. She-b 'khol ha-le-lot a-nu okh-lin beyn yosh-vin u-veyn m'su-bin, ha-lai-lah hazeh ku-la-nu m'su-bin.
מַה נִּשְּׁתַּנָה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה,
-הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כּוּלוֹ מַצָּה.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת,
- הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אֶנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת,
- הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים.
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין,
- הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָנו מְסֻבִּין
By a fitting answer to the questions of each of the four types of the sons of Israel, does the Torah explain the meaning of this night's celebration.
The wise son eager to learn asks earnestly: "What mean the testimonies and the statutes and the ordinances, which the Lord our God hath commanded us?" To him thou shalt say: "This service is held in order to worship the Lord our God, that it may be well with us all the days of our life".
The wicked son inquires in a mocking spirit: "What mean ye by this service?" As he says ye and not we, he excludes himself from the household of Israel. Therefore thou shouldst turn on him and say: "It is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt". For me and not for him, for had he been there, he would not have been found worthy of being redeemed.
The simple son indifferently asks: "What is this?" To him thou shalt say: "By strength of hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage".
And for the son who is unable to inquire, thou shalt explain the whole story of the Passover; as it is said: "And thou shalt tell thy son in that day, saying 'It is because of that which the Lord did for me when I came forth out of Egypt'".
The Ten Plagues
As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom was hard-earned. We regret that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering, for we are all human beings made in the image of God. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them.
Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.
These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:
דָּם Blood | dam |
צְפַרְדֵּֽעַFrogs | tzfardeiya |
כִּנִּים Lice | kinim |
עָרוֹב Beasts | arov |
דֶּֽבֶר Cattle disease | dever |
שְׁחִין Boils | sh’chin |
בָּרָד Hail | barad |
אַרְבֶּה Locusts | arbeh |
חֹֽשֶׁךְ Darkness | choshech |
מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot |
The Egyptians needed ten plagues because after each one they were able to come up with excuses and explanations rather than change their behavior. Could we be making the same mistakes? Make up your own list. What are the plagues in your life? What are the plagues in our world today? What behaviors do we need to change to fix them?
Ilu hotzi hotzianu hotzianu mimitzrayim, hotzianu mimitzrayim, DAYENU.
Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et hashabat, natan lanu et hashabat, DAYENU.
Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et hatorah, natan lanu et hatorah, DAYENU.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם הַמּוֹצִיא לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, hamotzei lechem min ha’aretz.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מָרוֹר.
Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu bimitzvotav vitzivanu al achilat maror.
This way of eating matzah, maror and haroset reminds us of how Hillel would do so when the Second Temple still existed, making a sandwich of the Pashal lamb, matzah and maror, fulfilling the Torah injunction: “with matzot and maror they shall eat the Pashal lamb.”
A Jew took his Passover lunch to eat outside in the park. He sat down on a bench and began eating. Shortly thereafter a blind man came by and sat down next to him.
Feeling neighborly, the Jew offered a sheet of matzoh to the blind man.
The blind man ran his fingers over the matzoh for a minute, and exclaimed, "Who wrote this?"
It seems a group of leading medical people have published data that indicates that seder participants should NOT partake of both chopped liver and charoses. It is indicated that this combination can lead to Charoses of the Liver.
At our seder, we had whole wheat and bran matzoth, fortified with Metamucil. The brand name, of course, is "Let My People Go."
Q: What do you call steaks ordered by 10 Jews?
A: Filet minyan
Q: If a doctor carries a black bag and a plumber carries a tool box, what does a mohel carry?
A: A Bris-kit!
From Shouts and Murmurs in the New Yorker, 4-14-11:
YOUNGEST CHILD: How is this night different from all other nights?
FATHER: Because on this night we tell the story of our escape from Egypt.
YOUNGEST CHILD: How is this night different from Easter?
FATHER: It is worse.
YOUNGEST CHILD: Why do we go through the motions of this ritual year after year, even though some of us doubt God’s existence?
FATHER: Because your grandmother is still alive.
YOUNGEST CHILD: Why on this night does the mother-in-law say that the brisket her son’s wife cooked is dry when it is fine?
FATHER: Because she resents the fact that she cannot legally marry her son, the doctor.
YOUNGEST CHILD: Why, if Israel is so great, have we never gone there?
FATHER: It is not great. We are scared to go there.
OLDEST DAUGHTER: When can I get a nose job?
FATHER: Ninety days before college. That is how long it takes for the bandages to come off.
FATHER: Has everyone here seen “Blazing Saddles”?
ALL: Yes, we have seen it.
FATHER: Do you remember the beans scene? That is the greatest scene.
ALL: Yes, we remember it.
FATHER: Does it get any better than Billy Joel?
YOUNGEST CHILD: Why do we subscribe to the Forward?
FATHER: We do not subscribe. They found us.
YOUNGEST CHILD: Can we please just eat already?
Find the Aﬁkomen, symbolizing part of you that was split off and must be reintegrated into your full being to be a whole and free person.
According to tradition, Elijah (Eliyahu) is the prophet who will return as a harbinger of the coming of the Messiah. He is therefore invited as a guest to every Seder.
The fourth cup of wine is poured, as well as Elijah’s Cup.The front door is opened for Elijah while the following paragraph is recited:
Pour Your wrath upon the heathen nations who do not recognize You and upon the sinful kingdoms that do not invoke Your Name. For they have devoured Jacob and destroyed His dwelling place. Pour Your anger upon them and let Your fiery wrath overtake them. Pursue them in indignation and annihilate them from beneath the heavens of the L-rd
Sh’foach cha’maht’chah el ha’goyim ah’sher lo y’dah’ooh’chah, v’ahl mahm’la’choat ah’sher b’shim’chah lo kah’rah’ooh. Kee ah’chahl et Yaakov v’et nah’vay’hoo hay’sha’moo. Sh’foch ah’lay’hem zah’meh’chah vah’chah’roan ahph’chah ya’see’gaym. Tir’doaf b’ahf v’tah’sh’mee’daym mee’tah’chaht sh’may Ah’doh’nai.
***POINTS TO PONDER***
A Night of Guarding:
The night of the Seder is known as Lel Shee’murim, the night of watching, because G-d protected the Israelites during the plague of the firstborn. By opening the door, we demonstrate that we believe that it is truly a Lel Shee’murim, and that we are not concerned that evil might be lurking on the other side of the door.
Eliyahu HaNavi, Elijah the Prophet, lived in the 9th century B.C.E. in the Northern Kingdom of Israel. A fierce and fiery prophet, Eliyahu fought against the idolatry brought into the country by Queen Jezebel, who married Ahab, King of Israel. Tradition notes that just before the coming of the Messiah, Eliyahu will settle every doubtful case of Jewish law. Eliyahu’s cup of wine,
which is placed on the Pesach Seder table, is linked to a Talmudic dispute as to whether four or five cups of wine are to be used at the Seder celebration. Hence the extra cup, known as Eliyahu’s Cup, conveys the idea that the question could not be solved by the authorities of the Talmud and therefore must wait for Eliyahu’s decision.
Eliyahu is also invited to join every brit milah (circumcision) celebration. Can you think of what ties these two occasions together?
Chad gadya, chad gadya. D’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata shunra v’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata chalba v’nashach l’shunrah, d’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata chutra v’hika l’chalba, d’nashach l’shunrah, d’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata nura v’saraf l’chutra, d’hikah l’chalba, d’nashach l’shunrah, d’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata maya v’chava l’nura, d’saraf l’chutra, d’hikah l’chalba, d’nashach l’shunrah, d’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata tora v’shatah l’maya, d’chava l’nura, d’saraf l’chutra, d’hikah l’chalba, d’nashach l’shunrah, d’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata hashocheit v’shachat l’tora, d’shata l’maya, d’chava l’nura, d’saraf l’chutra, d’hikah l’chalba, d’nashach l’shunrah, d’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata malach hamavet v’shachat l’shocheit, d’shachat l’tora, d’shata l’maya, d’chava l’nura, d’saraf l’chutra, d’hikah l’chalba, d’nashach l’shunrah, d’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya. V’ata Hakodesh Baruch Hu v’shachat l’malach hamavet, d’shachat l’shocheit, d’shachat l’tora, d’shata l’maya, d’chava l’nura, d’saraf l’chutra, d’hikah l’chalba, d’nashach l’shunrah, d’achlah l’gadya, d’zabin aba bitrei zuzei,
chad gadya, chad gadya.
Our Seder now ends. Together we say, “Next year in Jerusalem. Next year may all men and women everywhere be free!”