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Introduction
Source : Jonathan Freund
Yellow Bench

My father's story about the yellow bench in Germany that was "For Jews Only," and the non-Jewish nanny who let him sit with her on the non-Jewish bench. We use this as an example of "When we were slaves," and to compare that to the Jim Crow laws of the Civil Rights era. We also compare my father's nanny who protected him to Shifra and Puah.

Introduction
Source : JConnect Seattle's Liberal Seder

  We begin the telling of our story by lifting up the matzah, opening wide the door to our seder and offering an invitation to anyone who can hear us to come join in our seder meal. The original version of this text is not in Hebrew, but in Aramaic, because it was the language that everyone would understand. As we say this, we imagine a time and place where this invitation could have actually brought in poor and hungry people off the street to celebrate side-by-side with seder-goers.

 While a volunteer opens the front door to the room, one person from each table holds up the middle matzah as we recite out loud:

This is the bread of affliction
Which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
All who are hungry, let them enter and eat.
All who are in need, let them come celebrate Passover with us. Now we are here. Next year in the land of Israel.
Now we are enslaved. Next year we will be free!

Introduction
Source : B'nai Yissachar, a teaching on Pesach
Why do we call it "Pesach," when God calls it "Matzah"?

A powerful teaching from B'nai Yissachar, taught in the name of Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev...

We should carefully examine this fact: Throughout the entire Torah, this festival is called “The Feast of Matzot.” Yet, Jews call the festival “The Feast of Passover.”

Give ear to this teaching -- we’ve heard it taught in the name of the Holy, Renowned Rabbi whose Jewish leadership, teaching, and holiness are great, our teacher, Rabbi Levi Yitzchak of Berdichev (may the memories of the righteous and holy be a blessing) --

Look: In Torah it is written (Exod 12:39): “And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had taken out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, since they had been driven out of Egypt 
and could not delay; nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.”  For this, God praised them through the words of His prophet: “Thus says the Eternal: I remember the devotion of your youth, how you loved Me as a bride, following me in the desert, in a land unsown” (Jer 2:2). Note that they didn’t ask, “should we take provisions?” They simply trusted in the Eternal, and were sure of His salvation. And so they took only dough, to bake unleavened cakes.

And look: the Passover sacrifice that the Jews ate in Temple times was performed because the Omnipresent One passed over the houses of our ancestors, etc...

This is why God, in the Torah, calls the holiday “The Feast of Matzot.” In doing so, God is praising the Jewish People
for baking unleavened bread which they brought out of Egypt as cakes of matzot, and for not taking along provisions for themselves.

Meanwhile, the Jewish people call the holiday “Passover” in praise of the Holy One, “who passed over the homes of the Israelites...when He struck Egypt, but saved our houses” (Exod 12:27).
 

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

On the table, in front of the person who conducts the service, place

A large platter containing Seder symbols:
 

  1.  a. Three matzos each of which is covered separately in the folds of a napkin or special cover. Two of them represent the "Leḥem Mishneh—double portion" of the Sabbath and the holy days, and the third the "Leḥem ‘Oni—bread of affliction". These are also taken to represent the three religious divisions of Israel: the "Cohen" (priest), "Levi" (associate priest) and "Yisroel" (lay-Israelite).
  2. b. The roasted shank-bone (of a lamb).
  3. c. A roasted egg. 


Also a piece of horseradish, a bit of haroses, and a spray of parsley.

Besides these, there are placed on the table for the company:

1. A plate of bitter herbs (horseradish), cut into small pieces.
2. A dish of haroses.
3. Parsley or watercress.
4. A dish of salt water.
5. A cup of wine is placed at each plate, and a large brimming goblet in the center of the table for the prophet Elijah.

The meal served during the Seder follows the form of a banquet of olden times. Hence the reference, in the Hebrew texts of the Four Questions, to the custom of reclining on the left side—a position assumed by free men. Preserving this custom, many households still provide a large cushioned armchair for the person conducting the Seder.

The table is usually spread with the best of the family's china and silverware, and adorned with flowers, in keeping with the festive spirit.

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

The master of the house lifts up the wine-cup and says:

Let us praise God and thank Him for all the blessings of the week that is gone; for life, health and strength; for home, love and friendship; for the discipline of our trials and temptations; for the happiness of our success and prosperity. Thou hast ennobled us, O God, by the blessings of work, and in love and grace sanctified us by the blessings of rest, through the commandment, "Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath unto the Lord thy God".

On weeks days begin here.

With song and praise, and with the symbols of our feast, let us renew the memories of our past.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast chosen us from all peoples and exalted anti sanctified us with Thy commandments. In love hast Thou given us, O Lord our God, solemn days of joy and festive seasons of gladness, even this day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, a holy convocation unto us, a memorial of the departure from Egypt. Thou hast chosen us for Thy service and hast made us sharers in the blessings of Thy holy festivals. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, who sanctifiest Israel and the festive seasons.

All read in unison:

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM BORE P’RI HAGGOFEN.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, Ruler of the world, who hast created the fruit of the vine.

Kadesh
Source : Dara Silverman and Micah Bazant, Love & Justice Haggadah
Social Action Blessing

Social Action Blessing


Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu Melekh ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav
v’tsivanu lirdof tzedek
Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha-olam, asher kid’shatnu
b’mitzvotayha vitzivatnu lirdof tzedek


Blessed is the Source, who shows us paths to holiness, and
commands us to pursue justice.

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

The moral and spiritual worth of the hallowed institution of the Seder, which has become a vital part of the Jewish consciousness, is priceless. We should suffer an irretrievable loss, were it allowed to pass into neglect. To avert such a danger, has been the anxious thought to which the Union Haggadah owes its origin.

In "carrying on the chain of piety which links the generations to each other", it is necessary frankly to face and honestly to meet the needs of our own day. The old Haggadah, while full of poetic charm, contains passages and sentiments wholly out of harmony with the spirit of the present time. Hence the proper editing of the old material demanded much care and attention on the part of the editors of the first edition of the Union Haggadah. Benefiting by their labors, those entrusted with the task of its revision are able to present a work at once modern in spirit and rich in those traditional elements that lend color to the service.

The Seder service was never purely devotional. Its intensely spiritual tone mingled with bursts of good humor, its serious observations on Jewish life and destiny with comments in a lighter vein, and its lofty poetry with playful ditties for the entertainment of the children. It assumes the form of an historical drama presented at the festal table, with the father and children as leading actors. The children question and the father answers. He explains the nature of the service, preaches, entertains, and prays. In the course of the evening, a complete philosophy of Jewish history is revealed, dealing with Israel's eventful past, with his deliverance from physical and from spiritual bondage, and with his great future world-mission. In its variety, the Haggadah reflects the moods of the Jewish spirit. Rabbinical homily follows dignified narrative, soulful prayers and Psalms mingle with the Ḥad Gadyo and the madrigal of numbers, Eḥod Mi Yode‘a.

The assignment to the child of a prominent part in the Seder service is in consonance with the biblical ordinance: "And thou shalt tell thy son in that day" (Ex. XIII: 8). The visible symbols, the living word of instruction, and the ceremonial acts, are sure to stimulate religious feeling. Parent and child are thus brought into a union of warm religious sympathy, which is all the more indissoluble because strengthened by the ties of natural affection. Their souls are fired with the love of liberty, and their hearts are roused to greater loyalty to Israel and to Israel's God of Freedom.

Kadesh
Source : JConnect Seattle's Liberal Seder

  We begin the telling of our story by lifting up the matzah, opening wide the door to our seder and offering an invitation to anyone who can hear us to come join in our seder meal. The original version of this text is not in Hebrew, but in Aramaic, because it was the language that everyone would understand. As we say this, we imagine a time and place where this invitation could have actually brought in poor and hungry people off the street to celebrate side-by-side with seder-goers.

 While a volunteer opens the front door to the room, one person from each table holds up the middle matzah as we recite out loud:

This is the bread of affliction
Which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
All who are hungry, let them enter and eat.
All who are in need, let them come celebrate Passover with us. Now we are here. Next year in the land of Israel.
Now we are enslaved. Next year we will be free!

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

The company repeats the refrain "Dayenu" which is equivalent to "It would have satisfied us".

How manifold are the favors which God has conferred upon us!

HAD HE brought us out of Egypt, and not divided the sea for us, Dayenu!

HAD HE divided the sea, and not permitted us to cross on dry land, Dayenu!

HAD HE permitted us to cross the sea on dry land, and not sustained us for forty years in the desert, Dayenu!   

HAD HE sustained us for forty years in the desert, and not fed us with manna, Dayenu!

HAD HE fed us with manna, and not ordained the Sabbath, Dayenu!

HAD HE ordained the Sabbath, and not brought us to Mount Sinai, Dayenu!   

HAD HE brought us to Mount Sinai, and not given us the Torah, Dayenu!   

HAD HE given us the Torah, and not led us into the Land of Israel, Dayenu!

HAD HE led us into the Land of Israel, and not built for us the Temple, Dayenu!

HAD HE built for us the Temple, and not sent us prophets of truth, Dayenu!

HAD HE sent us prophets of truth, and not made us a holy people, Dayenu!

All read in unison:

How much more then are we to be grateful unto the Lord for the manifold favors which He has bestowed upon us! He brought us out of Egypt, divided the Red Sea for us, permitted us to cross on dry land, sustained us for forty years in the desert, fed us with manna, ordained the Sabbath, brought us to Mount Sinai, gave us the Torah, led us into the Land of Israel, built for us the Temple, sent unto us prophets of truth, and made us a holy people to perfect the world under the kingdom of the Almighty, in truth and in righteousness.

Urchatz
Source : Love and Justice Haggadah

NIRTZAH
~Closing
Reader: At the end of the seder, Jews have always vowed to one another:“L’shana haba-a bi-Y’rushalayim/ Next Year in Jerusalem!” Why does the seder end with this vow?
Reader: For Jews, forced into diaspora two thousand years ago, wandering always in countries which were sometimes safe harbors and sometimes nightmares, the dream of Jerusalem was more than the city itself.
Reader: To dream that next year we would be in Jerusalem is to dream of a land and a time of autonomy, safety, self-determination, the right to one’s own culture and language and spirituality, to live on land that can’t be taken from you by the whim of an outside power. To live with the basic right to be who you are. Jerusalem comes from the same word root as “shalom” which is usually translated as “peace” but actually means “wholeness.”
Reader: But this year, in Jerusalem, wholeness is very far away, and the news seems to be worse with each passing day. Still, when we look for the sparks of resistance, we see them everywhere. Fed by an aching for justice, some sparks have already grown to small brush fires, and grow in strength each day. (6)
This year we say instead:

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

The Seder service is marked with special concern for the children. A striking contrast is offered between the ceremonies of this service of the Passover Eve and the conduct of the usual meal, so that the child is sure to ask for an explanation, and thus to give the coveted opportunity to tell the story of Israel's deliverance, and to impress the lesson of faith in Cod, the Defender of right and the Deliverer of the oppressed. These symbols aim to put us in sympathy with our forefathers of the generation of the Exodus; to feel the trials of their embittered life of bondage and the joy of their subsequent triumph of freedom.

Wine.
As in all Jewish ceremonials of rejoicing, such as the welcoming of the Sabbath and the festivals, the solemnizing of marriages, and the naming of a child, so at the Seder, wine is used as a token of festivity. Mead, apple-cider, any fruit juice, or especially unfermented raisin wine, is commonly used at the Seder service.

The Four Cups. Each participant in the service is expected to drink four cups of wine. Even the poorest of the poor who subsist on charity were enjoined to provide themselves with wine for the four cups. This number is determined by the four divine promises of redemption made to Israel in Exodus VI: 6-7: V’hotzesi, V’hitzalti, V’goalti and V’lokaḥti, that is, bringing out of bondage, deliverance from servitude, redemption from all dependence in Egypt, and selection as " the people of the Lord". The first cup serves for Kiddush as on other holy days and on Sabbath; the second is taken at the conclusion of the first part of the Seder; the third follows the grace after the meal, and the last comes at the end of the second part of the Seder.

The Cup of Elijah. The fifth promise of God (V’hevesi) to bring Israel into Canaan, which follows the four promises of redemption, gave rise to the question of the need of a fifth cup of wine in the Seder. Popular belief left the decision of all mooted questions of law and ritual to the prophet Elijah, the central hero of Jewish legend. The popular mind believed this great champion of righteousness and of pure worship of God to be immortal, and viewed him as the coming forerunner of the Messiah, whose task it will be—among other things—to announce the good tidings of peace and salvation, to effect a union of hearts between parents and their children, to comfort the sorrowing, to raise the dead, and to establish the divine kingdom of righteousness on earth.

The fifth cup, the need of which was left to his decision, came to be known as the Cup of Elijah; and gave rise to the custom of opening the door during the Seder service, that the long expected messenger of the final redemption of mankind from all oppression might enter the home as a most welcome guest. Our fathers were thus helped, in times of darkness and persecution, to keep in mind the Messianic era of freedom, justice, and good-will. Stripped of its legendary form, it is still the hope for the realization of which Israel ever yearns and strives.

Matzo.
The unleavened bread or the bread of affliction reminds us of the hardships that our fathers endured in Egypt, and of the haste with which they departed thence. Having no time to bake their bread, they had to rely for food upon sun-baked dough which they carried with them.

Watercress or Parsley.
Either of these greens is suggestive of the customary oriental relish and is used as a token of gratitude to God for the products of the earth. The purpose of dipping it in salt water or vinegar is to make it palatable.

Maror. The bitter herb—a piece of horseradish—represents the embittered life of the Israelites in Egypt.

Ḥaroses.
This mixture of apples, blanched almonds, and raisins, finely chopped and flavored with cinnamon and wine, was probably originally a condiment. Owing to its appearance, it came to be regarded as representing the clay with which the Israelites made bricks, or the mortar used in the great structures erected by the bondmen of Egypt.

The Roasted Shank-Bone is an emblem of the Paschal lamb.

The Egg (roasted) is the symbol of the free-will burnt-offering brought on every day of the feast, during the existence of the Temple in Jerusalem.

Aphikomon. Aphikomon is derived from the Greek, meaning after-meal or dessert. The origin of this custom must be traced to the Paschal lamb which was eaten on Passover night. It was customary to reserve a small portion of the lamb to be eaten at the close of the meal. When sacrifices had ceased, a piece of the matzo was eaten instead. The Aphikomon, hidden early in the Seder, is left to the end of the meal, in order that the children may be kept alert during the entire service. In connection with this, a sort of game of paying forfeits originated. The head of the family good-naturedly takes no note of the spiriting away of the aphikomon by the children, who do not surrender it until the master of the house is forced to redeem it by some gift, in order that the meal may be concluded.

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

Some parsley, lettuce or watercress is distributed to all present who dip it in salt water or in vinegar, and before partaking of it say in unison:

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM BORE P’RI HO’ADOMO.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the earth.

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

The leader breaks the middle Matzo, leaving one half on the Seder-dish, and hiding the other half as the Aphikomon to be eaten at the end of the meal.

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

The leader lifts up the Matzo and says:

 Lo! This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in want come and celebrate the Passover with us. May it be God's will to redeem us from all trouble and from all servitude. Next year at this season, may the whole house of Israel be free!

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

PRAISED art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, and hast enabled us to observe this night of the Passover, the Feast of Unleavened Bread. O Lord our God and God of our fathers, may we, with Thy help, live to celebrate other feasts and holy seasons. May we rejoice in Thy salvation and be gladdened by Thy righteousness. Grant deliverance to mankind through Israel, Thy people. May Thy will be done through Jacob, Thy chosen servant, so that Thy name shall be sanctified in the midst of all the earth, and that all peoples be moved to worship Thee with one accord. And we shall sing new songs of praise unto Thee, for our redemption and for the deliverance of our souls. Praised art Thou, O God, Redeemer of Israel.

The cups are filled for the second time.

All read in unison:

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM BORE P’RI HAGGOFEN.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast created the fruit of the vine.

Drink the second cup of wine.

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

The upper Matzo is broken and distributed. All then read in unison:

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM HAMOTZI LEḤEM MIN HO’ORETZ.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth.

BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM ASHER KIDD’SHONU B’MITZVOSOV V’TZIVONU AL ACHILAS MATZO.

Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who hast sanctified us through Thy commandments, and ordained that we should eat unleavened bread.

Eat the Matzo.

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

At the conclusion of the meal, the children are given an opportunity to find the Aphikomon. The reader redeems it and distributes pieces of it to all present.

After partaking of the Aphikomon, it is customary to eat nothing else.

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

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.

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

The cups are filled for the fourth time.

The leader lifts the cup of wine and reads:
The festive service is completed. With songs of praise, we have lifted up the cups symbolizing the divine promises of salvation, and have called upon the name of God. As we offer the benediction over the fourth cup, let us again lift our souls to God in faith and in hope. May He who broke Pharaoh's yoke for ever shatter all fetters of oppression, and hasten the day when swords shall, at last, be broken and wars ended. Soon may He cause the glad tidings of redemption to be heard in all lands, so that mankind—freed from violence and from wrong, and united in an eternal covenant of brotherhood—may celebrate the universal Passover in the name of our God of freedom.

All read in unison:
May God bless the whole house of Israel with freedom, and keep us safe from danger everywhere. Amen.
May God cause the light of His countenance to shine upon all men, and dispel the darkness of ignorance and of prejudice.
May He be gracious unto us.
Amen.
May God lift up His countenance upon our country and render it a true home of liberty and a bulwark of justice. And may He grant peace unto all mankind.
Amen.
‏בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָֽעוֹלָֽם בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּֽפָּן׃‎
BORUCH ATTO ADONOI ELOHENU MELECH HO‘OLOM BORE P’RI HAGGOFEN.
Praised art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who createst the fruit of the vine.
Drink the fourth cup of wine.