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Our Passover meal is called a seder, which means “order” in Hebrew, because we go through specific steps as we retell the story of our ancestors’ liberation from slavery. Some people like to begin their seder by reciting or singing the names of the 14 steps—this will help you keep track of how far away the meal is!
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!
Zroah (Pascal Lamb/Shankbone)
Melah (Salt Water)
By Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder alternadox.net
Later on we will do ' rachtzah '─the washing over the matzah . Now we are doing ' urchatz ', which amounts to washing before eating a vegetable. This is not something we do every day.
To explain, Rabbi Abraham Isaac Kook, first chief Rabbi of the State of Israel, writes of dividing life into two categories: the goal, and everything else. We set goals for ourselves and set out to reach them. Everything we do that helps us reach that goal is worthwhile. But how do we relate to all the other things we do? This is an important question that addresses how we feel about the aspects of our lives that our not essential. And this is one of the central points of the Seder.
What is the goal of the Seder? The peak spiritual moment of the Seder is when we fully absorb the spiritual impact of the matzah when we eat it. So why don't we cut to the chase? Let's get that matzah inside of us as quickly as possible! But the truth is, the Seder wants to help us experience every moment of our lives as an encounter with the Divine. It demands that we let go of our usual distinctions - important and unimportant, sacred and profane, good and bad, needs and wants.
Tonight, we are going to learn how to experience the Divine within all moments. Not only prayers and mitzvot, but also eating and conversation. Not only goals, but journeys. Finally free to let go of the reins for a moment, we can celebrate every moment equally. Not only will we recognize the holiness of the process, we will even sanctify ourselves toward this pursuit: urchatz.
R’ Kook deepens the concept for us: vegetables, in the Talmud, are thought to enhance hunger - 'appetizers'. If eating is an unfortunate concession we make to our animal nature, then vegetables are antithetical to the goal of living life more spiritually. But if eating is another opportunity for encounter with the Divine - if pleasure is an encounter with the Divine ─ then the vegetable we are about to eat is a holy sacrament, drawing us in to a moment of Encounter. So of course we should wash our hands to prepare ourselves.
Washing toward the matzah -goal and the vegetable-distractions represent two kinds of freedom: the first is freedom to live an intentional life. We celebrate our right and capacity to point ourselves in a specific direction and actually follow through. But there is another kind of freedom: freedom to let go, to know that wherever we go we will find Hashem and meaning and direction and connection. It is told that the Ba'al Shem Tov, the founder of Chassidut, when embarking on a journey, would have his coachman, Alexi, let go of the reins and sit backward, facing away from the horses. With the freedom to let go of the reins, we allow our desires to guide us as much we allow the Torah to guide us.
Rebbe Natan of Brelsov writes that ' urchatz ' is from the root-word in Aramaic that means 'trust'. At this moment in the Seder, pay closer attention to your capacity to trust and let go. The goal is to trust enough to sanctify aspects of yourself and the life you live that you never allowed yourself to see as holy. Can you trust the holiness of the night, the 'night of protection', to guard you from any negative impact of what's inside of you? Do you trust the people around this table, each of them looking at you tonight with holy Pesach-eyes, to be with you in your search for true freedom?
We have nothing to fear except holding back. We will never reach true freedom if we do not free our desires and appetites to be in service of the Divine.
As you wash, consider that you are preparing yourself for an encounter with something holy – your own desires! Use the washing as an opportunity to shift your perspective on those desires.
Pass a bowl of water, a small cup and a towel around the table. Everyone pours three cupfuls over their fingers. There is no blessing over this washing.
Peter the Parsley was a brave little boy,
He would run round the kitchen and play with his toy.
He had a best friend named Sally the Salt,
They were naughty but it was never his fault.
So one exciting day they made a new friend,
Celia the Celery would be their friend til the end!
So pesach came around and the three were all ready,
Peter, Sally and Celia sat on the table all steady.
The prayers come to them and they were so excited,
The people wanted them so bad, they were delighted!
Sadly, the three were gobbled to bits and so that the end,
Of the time Peter, Sally, and Celia were good friends.
Our God and God of our ancestors, help those who are fleeing persecution today, as our ancestors did thousands of years ago. Show loving kindness and compassion to those hemmed in by misery and captivity, to those who take to the open seas or traverse treacherous landscapes seeking freedom and liberty. Rescue and recover them -- deliver them from gorge to meadow, from darkness to light. Inspire us to act on behalf of those we do not know, on behalf of those we may never meet because we know the heart of the stranger. We, too, ate the bread of affliction whose taste still lingers. And so, dear God inspire us to pursue righteousness for those who seek the freedom we enjoy tonight. Do it speedily and in our days, and let us say: Amen.
HA LACHMA 'ANYA
A. The Text
Just before beginning the "question-answer" format of the Seder, we raise the Matzah and make a three-tiered statement:
1) This is the bread of poverty/oppression that our ancestors ate in Egypt.
2) Anyone who is hungry, let him come and eat, anyone who needs to, come and partake in our Pesach (offering?) (celebration?)
3) This year we are here, next year - in Eretz Yisra'el. This year, we are slaves, next year - noblemen.
As can be seen, the first "tier" is a declaration regarding the Matzah - it is the lehem 'oni (see D'varim 16:3) which our ancestors ate in Egypt.
The second "tier" is an invitation; and the final piece is a prayer, that next year we should be freemen/noblemen in our Land.
Take the middle matzah and break it into two, one piece larger than the other. The larger piece is set aside to serve as afikoman. The smaller piece is put back, between the two matzot.
Maggid – Beginning
Raise the tray with the matzot and say:
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. Kol deechfeen yeitei v'yeichol, kol deetzreech yeitei v'yeefsach. Hashata hacha, l'shanah haba-ah b'ara d'yisra-el. Hashata avdei, l'shanah haba-ah b'nei choreen.
This is the bread of affliction, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need, come and share the Pesach meal. This year, we are here. Next year, in the land of Israel. This year, we are slaves. Next year, we will be free.
Refill the wine cups, but don’t drink yet.
Ha lachma anya d’achaloo avhatana b’ara d’meetzrayeem. Kol dichfeen yay-tay vi’yachool, kol deetzreech yay-tay viyeesfsach. Hashata hach. Li’shana ha-ba-aa bi’arah di’yeesrael. Hashata av’day, li’shana ha-ba a bi’nay choreen.
This is the bread of affliction, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need, come and celebrate Passover. Today, we are here. Next year, in the land of Israel. Today, we are slaves. Next year, we will be free.
Written in Aramaic, this statement begins the narration of the Seder by inviting the hungry to our table. Aramaic, Jewish legend has it, is the one language which the angels do not understand. Why then is Ha Lachma spoken in Aramaic? To teach us that where there is hunger, no one should rely upon the angels, no one should pray to the heavens for help. We know the language of the poor, for we were poor in the land of Egypt. We know that we are called to feed the poor and to call them to join our celebration of freedom.
The MaNishtana traditionally asks us, “What is unique or different about tonight?” and, “Why do we eat Matzah, why do we dip and eat Bitter Herbs not just once, but twice and why do we recline?” These elements are symbolic themes that mirror the reflection our ancestor’s liberation from slavery, the hardships they experienced and the oppression that infringed on their freedoms. Tonight at our GLBT Passover Seder we incorporate a fifth question and answer. “What is unique or different about tonight’s seder, why tonight do we have Pride?” Pride is a very symbolic word in the GLBT community. We use this word often and tonight we have the opportunity to demonstrate how proud we are of our sexual orientation and gender identity.
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?
שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת סֵדֶר אָנוּ עוֹשִים סֵדֶר מָסָרְתִּי, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָנוּ גַאִים?
Mah nish-ta-na ha-lai-lah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-lei-lot!
Sheh-beh-chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin ha-metz u-matzah.
Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, ku-lo matzah?
Sheh-beh-chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin sh’ar y’ra-kot.
Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, maror?
Sheh-beh-chol ha-lei-lot ein a-nu mat-bi-lin a-fi-lu pa-am e-hat.
Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, sh-tei fi-ah-mim?
Sheh-beh-chol ha-lei-lot a-nu och-lin bayn yosh-vin ou-vein mis-u-bin.
Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, ku-la-nu mis-u-bin?
Sheh-beh-chol ha-lei-lot sed-er a-nu o-seem sed-er ma-sar-ti.
Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh, ku-la-nu ga-im?
Why is this night different from all other nights!
On all other nights we eat either leavened bread or matzah.
Why, on this night, do we eat only matzah?
On all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs.
Why, on this night, do we eat only bitter herbs?
On all other nights we do not dip herbs.
Why, on this night, do we dip them twice?
On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining on pillows.
Why, on this night, do we eat only reclining upon pillows?
On all other Seder nights we do a traditional Seder.
Why, on this night, do we have Pride?
The Five Answers
Speaker 1: We were slaves in Egypt. Our ancestor in flight from Egypt did not have time to let the dough rise. With not a moment to spare they snatched up the dough they had prepared and fled. But the hot sun beat as they carried the dough along with them and baked it into the flat unleavened bread we call matzah.
Speaker 2: The first time we dip our greens to taste the brine of enslavement. We also dip to remind ourselves of all life and growth, of earth and sea, which gives us sustenance and comes to life again in the springtime.
Speaker 3: The second time we dip the maror into the charoset. The charoset reminds us of the mortar that our ancestors mixed as slaves in Egypt. But our charoset is made of fruit and nuts, to show us that our ancestors were able to withstand the bitterness of slavery because it was sweetened by the hope of freedom.
Speaker 4: Slaves were not allowed to rest, not even while they ate. Since our ancestors were freed from slavery, we recline to remind ourselves that we, like our ancestors, can overcome bondage in our own time. We also recline to remind ourselves that rest and rejuvenation are vital to continuing our struggles. We should take pleasure in reclining, even as we share our difficult history.
Speaker 5: We are proud to be gay, straight, lesbian, bi, transgendered, queer and everything else under the rainbow. And all of us together here, add meaning to an age old Jewish tradition and for that we have pride. As a community we have come far, and while we are not done with our struggle, we should reflect proudly on our accomplishments as we celebrate here tonight at our GLBT Passover Seder.
Participant: On all other nights, we get biscuits and rolls,
Fluffy and puffy and full of air holes.
Why on this night, why, tell me why,
Only this flat stuff that’s always so dry.
Participant: On all other nights, we eat all kinds of greens,
And I’m starting to like them – except lima beans.
Why on this night, I ask on my knees,
Do we eat stuff so bitter it makes grownups wheeze?
Participant: On all other nights, we dip vegies just once –
Just try dipping twice and they’ll call you a dunce.
Why on this night, why, tell me true,
Why double-dipping’s the right thing to do.
Participant: On all other nights, we sit up when we munch.
You’ll choke if you slump! You’ll croak if you hunch!
Why on this night, if anyone knows,
Do we get to recline on my mom’s good pillows.
Participant: Why is this night so different from most?
Why do we do things so odd and so gross?
Why do we tell the same stories and stuff?
Because when it’s Pesach, it’s never enough!
Why is it only
On Passover night
We never know how
To do ANYTHING right?
We don’t eat our meals
In the regular ways,
The ways that we do
On all other days.
‘Cause on all other nights
We may eat
All kinds of wonderful
Good bready treats,
Like big purple pizza
That tastes like a pickle,
And pink pumpernickel,
And tiger on rye,
Fifty falafels in pita,
And tangerine sauce
Spread unto each side
Up-and-down, then across,
And toasted whole-wheat bread
With liver and ducks,
And crumpets and dumplings,
And bagels and lox,
And doughnuts with one hole
And doughnuts with four,
And cake with six layers
And windows and doors.
On all other nights
We eat all kinds of bread,
But tonight of all nights
We munch matzah instead
And on all other nights
Vegetables, green things,
And bushes and flowers,
Lettuce that’s leafy
And candy-striped spinach,
Fresh silly celery
(Have more when you’re finished!)
Cabbage that’s flown
From the jungles of Glome
By a polka-dot bird
Who can’t find his way home,
Daisies and roses
And inside-out grass
And artichoke hearts
That are simply first class!
Sixty asparagus tips
Served in glasses
With anchovy sauce
And some sticky molasses--
But on Passover night
You would never consider
Eating and herb
That wasn’t all bitter.
And on all other nights
You would probably flip
If anyone asked you how often you dip.
On some days I only dip
One Bup-Bup egg
In a teaspoon of vinegar
Mixes with nutmeg,
But sometimes we take more than ten thousand tails
Of the Yakkity-birds
That are hunted in Wales,
And dup them in vats
Full of Mumbegum juice.
Then we feed them to Harold,
Our six-legged moose.
Or we don’t dip at all!
We don’t ask your advice.
So why on this night
Do we have to dip twice?
And on all other nights
We can sit as we please,
On our head, on our elbows,
Our back or our knees,
Or hang by our toes
From the tail of a Glump,
Or on top of a camel
With one or two humps,
With our foot on the table,
Our nose on the floor,
With one ear in the window,
And one out the door,
Over the greasy k’nishes
Or dancing a jig
Without breaking the dishes.
On all other nights
You site nicely when dining—
So why on this night
Must it all be reclining?
As we tell the story, we think about it from all angles. Our tradition speaks of four different types of children who might react differently to the Passover seder. It is our job to make our story accessible to all the members of our community, so we think about how we might best reach each type of child:
What does the wise child say?
The wise child asks, What are the testimonies and laws which God commanded you?
You must teach this child the rules of observing the holiday of Passover.
What does the wicked child say?
The wicked child asks, What does this service mean to you?
To you and not to himself! Because he takes himself out of the community and misses the point, set this child’s teeth on edge and say to him: “It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.” Me, not him. Had that child been there, he would have been left behind.
What does the simple child say?
The simple child asks, What is this?
To this child, answer plainly: “With a strong hand God took us out of Egypt, where we were slaves.”
What about the child who doesn’t know how to ask a question?
Help this child ask.
Start telling the story:
“It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.”
Do you see yourself in any of these children? At times we all approach different situations like each of these children. How do we relate to each of them?
Jews are a people of memory and action. On Passover, we use stories and rituals to remember and retell the narrative of our collective liberation. We share the ancient Exodus story, year after year, so that it resonates through the generations as a narrative of deliverance from slavery to freedom. In Hebrew, Egypt is called Mitzrayim, which means “a narrow place.” Every year, the Haggadah asks us not only to share the story of the Exodus, but challenges us to actively engage in the process of combating oppression. We are encouraged to connect the biblical story of Exodus to communal and individual struggles for liberation, and are reminded that the fight for freedom is ongoing.
Let’s discuss the process of Exodus, moving from “a narrow place” to a place of freedom. Every day, people fight for freedom on interpersonal, systemic, global and local levels. What are modern struggles for liberation? Discuss the following questions either in pairs or as a group to inspire thought, conversation and action:
Why do you think the text starts with “We were slaves” instead of “Our ancestors were slaves?” How does this quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. "no one is free until we are all free," connect to Avadim Hayinu? How are we free today? How are we still struggling? Share something that you are doing or can commit to doing to help move yourself or others from “a narrow place” to a place of shared freedom.
The most devastating effect of slavery, ultimately, is that the slave internalizes the master's values and accepts the condition of slavery as his proper status. People who live in chronic conditions of poverty, hunger, and sickness tend to show similar patterns of acceptance and passivity. As with slaves,their deprivation deprives from their political and economic status and then becomes moral and psychological reality. It is this reality that was overthrown in the Exodus.—Irving Greenberg
We got used to standing in line at seven o'clock in the morning, at twelve noon, and again at seven o'clock in the evening. We stood in a long queue with a plate in our hand into which they ladled a little warmed-up water with a salty or a coffee flavor. Or else they gave us a few potatoes. We got used to sleeping without a bed, to saluting every uniform, not to walk on the sidewalks, and then again to walk on the sidewalks. We got used to undeserved slaps, blows, and executions. We got accustomed to seeing piled up coffins full of corpses, to seeing the sick amidst dirt and filth, and to seeing the helpless doctors. We got used to the fact that from time to time one thousand unhappy souls would come here, and that from time to time, another thousand unhappy souls would go away.—Peter Fischel, age 15, perished at Auschwitz, 1944
We are now at the part of the Seder where we retell the Exodus Story. One of our students has created a Pesach Play to tell the Pesach Story. Please find it as a separate sheet and act it out as a family if you would like.
A little boy once returned home from Hebrew school and his father asked, "what did you learn today?"
He answered, "The Rabbi told us how Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt."
The boy said "Moses was a big strong man and he beat Pharoah up. Then while he was down, he got all the people together and ran towards the sea. When he got there, he has the Corps of Engineers build a huge pontoon bridge. Once they got on the other side, they blew up the bridge while the Egyptians were trying to cross."
The father was shocked. "Is that what the Rabbi taught you?"
The boy replied, "No. But you'd never believe the story he DID tell us!"
watercolor and pen on paper
Beth Flusser, 2011
In every generation, one must see himself as if he himself had personally come out of Egypt, as it is said: “You should say to your son on that day, ‘It is because of that which God did to me when I left Egypt.’ It is not only our ancestors that the Holy One Blessed Be He redeemed. Rather, he redeemed us too, along with them, as it is said: “He brought us out of there, in order so that he could bring us to and give us the land which He had promised to our ancestors.”
Ilu ho-tsi, ho-tsi-a-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu!
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Dai, da-ye-nu,
.. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu!
Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Our hands were touched by this water earlier during tonight's seder, but this time is different. This is a deeper step than that. This act of washing our hands is accompanied by a blessing, for in this moment we feel our People's story more viscerally, having just retold it during Maggid. Now, having re-experienced the majesty of the Jewish journey from degradation to dignity, we raise our hands in holiness, remembering once again that our liberation is bound up in everyone else's. Each step we take together with others towards liberation is blessing, and so we recite:
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu bemitvotav vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִּם.
Blessed are you our God, who has sanctified us with commandments and instructed us regarding lifting up our hands.
We are meant to fully experience the flatness and blandness of the matzah , not to mention its visual similarity to cardboard. This is a food that has no real identity of its own. It is completely ready to receive.
Matzah is compared to manna. The Jews ate matzah when they left Egypt, but it had the taste of manna. And manna tasted like whatever you wanted it to taste like (but could it be made to taste like a donut on Pesach, or at least rice?) The matzah , too, is empty. It is ready to be impressed upon: in the physical world, by a nice schmeer of guacamole; and in the spiritual world by the profound spiritual imprint that Hashem wants to impress upon each of us. Eating matzah aligns us toward receptivity to whatever Hashem wants us to have.
Unlike most foods, matzah is essentially free of a third dimension. It is flat. It has not yet 'grown' 'up'. But this is because Hashem wants us not to grow in the usual way. He has a different third dimension in mind for us, one that does not follow the rules of linear growth. We eat the bread of no-identity so that we can achieve the level of no-identity. And then He gives us a sense of Holy Identity.
Inasmuch as we are attached to identity, we cannot completely receive Holy Identity. As we eat the matzah , then, let us strive to become like the matzah as much as we can, so that we can be impressed upon by Hashem who engraves upon us.
' Motzi ', then, is the process of leaving behind identification with our original context, and ' matzah ' is the process of staying 'empty' in order to receive.
Eating matzah is beginning of something entirely new. It clears out the old you and creates the possibility of the new you emerging – freer, more connected, more alive.
Matzah – why do we eat it during Pesach? We eat it because the dough of our ancestors did not have time to become leavened before they fled from Egypt. It is said, “They baked unleavened cakes of the dough they brought with them out of Egypt. They could not tarry and had not made special provisions for themselves.
Bitter herbs – why do we eat them during Pesach? We eat them because the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors in Egypt. It is said, “They embittered their lives with hard bondage, in mortar and brick, and in all manner of labor in the field.”
In every generation we are each bound to regard ourselves as if we had personally gone forth from Egypt, to remember that struggle and the meaning and responsibilities of freedom. We celebrate moving from slavery to freedom, sorrow to joy, mourning to festivity, and servitude to redemption. Hallelujah!
Group sings (traditional):
Barukh ata adonai, eloheinu melekh ha-olam, ha-motzi lechem meen ha-aretz.
Blessed it the force that brings forth bread from the earth.
Barukh ata adonai, eloheinu melekh ha-olam, asher kid d’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzeevanu al akheelat matzah.
Blessed is the force that has sanctified us with the commandment to eat unleavened bread.
Raise the matzah and recite two blessings: the regular bread blessing and then one specifically mentioning the mitzvah of eating matzah at Passover.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.
We praise God, Spirit of everything who brings bread from the land.
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.
Blessed are You, Spirit of everything who commands us to eat matzo.
Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.
A simple piece of Matzah serves to remind us of the immense suffering of ancient slavery. Now we take into account a second item, bitter chocolate, to remind us of modern suffering. One might question how chocolate is representative of hardship, for its purpose is to satisfy one’s pleasures, to be eaten in times of love and craving. Simply put, it is expected to be sweet, but when it is not, the unwanted chocolate is automatically dismissed and rejected. The expectations of chocolate is to be sweet and readily available for one’s satisfaction. Victims/survivors of rape culture can be seen in a similar light. A prize to be won by the hands of a pursuer, it softens, melts, drip, drip, drip. Their dignity mutilated down the wrist, almost ink, slowly hardening to etch su ering like blood. No longer a clean-cut square, the chocolate is transformed into a desired shape, sugar stu ed in to make it what it is not. Today, we embrace chocolate in its plain form, celebrating not its bitterness, but its strength.
Everyone at the table should eat a piece of bitter chocolate and consider quietly the ways in which they feel pressured to take shapes that aren’t natural to them.
Remember that life is both sweet and sour. Each matzah and horseradish to taste the sour and know that it is not what life is about, but is sprinkled into life to remind us to appreciate the sweet parts of life.
When the Temple stood in Jerusalem, the biggest ritual of them all was eating the lamb offered as the Pesach or Passover sacrifice. The great sage Hillel would put the meat in a sandwich made of matzah, along with some of the bitter herbs. While we do not make sacrifices any more – and, in fact, some Jews have a custom of purposely avoiding lamb during the seder so that it is not mistaken as a sacrifice – we honor this custom by eating a sandwich of the remaining matzah and bitter herbs. Some people will also include charoset in the sandwich to remind us that G-d’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.
Why do we eat kharoset?
Dates, orange, cinnamon, and wine combine to make this sweet dish. Traditionally, it was the color of clay or mortar. It reminds us of the bricks and mortar that the Israelites are said to have made when they built the Pharaohs' palaces and cities. At the same time, the taste of Kharoset is sweet, and it reminds us of the sweetness of freedom.
Question: Why do Jews from Gibraltar sprinkle a little bit of brick dust into their charoset? Answer: To remind them of the bricks that the Israelite slaves were forced to make.
Question: What do Hungarian Jews place on the Seder table to represent the precious gifts given to the Israelites as they departed Egypt? Answer: Gold and Jewelry
Question: When they read the piece of the Haggadah that begins “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt” (In Hebrew “Avadim Hayinu”), Jews from this country take a pillowcase filled with heavy objects and carry it on their backs around the table. Answer: Syria
Question: Which symbol from the seder plate do the Kavkazi Jews of the Caucasus hide for the children to find instead of the matza? Answer: An Egg
Question: Why do many Middle Eastern Jewish families whip each other with scallions at the Seder table? Answer: To mimic the whips of slave drivers in Egypt.
Question: Because Moses floated in the river what item do many Jews of Tunisia decorate with a colored cloth in this, and place on the Seder table? Answer: A basket
Question: At Passover, the Abayudaya Jews of what country celebrate the anniversary of the overthrow of the brutal dictator Idi Amin, who outlawed the practice of Judaism? Answer: Uganda
Question: At the beginning of the Seder, what do Jews from Morocco pass above their heads three times while reciting "In haste we came out of Egypt”? Answer: A Seder Plate
Question: Tunisian Jews place a fish bowl with live fish swimming in it on the Passover table. Which part of the Exodus story does this commemorate? Answer: The crossing of the Red Sea
Question: What do Iraqi Jews tie to the back of a small child while telling them to guard it until end of the Seder? Answer: The Afikomen
Question: In which country is the Seder “interrupted” by a knock on the door by a member of the family dressed up as a nomad. The leader of the Seder asks: “Where are you coming from?” (Egypt) Where are you going?” (Jerusalem). Answer: Iraq
According to research done by Be’chol Lashon, 20% of American Jews identify as African American, Latinx, Asian, mixed race, Sephardi and Mizrahi. This year, join us as we celebrate Passover rituals from diverse Jewish communities and traditions.
Download the PDF place cards here: https://werepair.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Passover_Place_Cards.pdf
A Jewish community that has lived in Kochi, India for more than 2,000 years starts preparing for Passover right after Hanukkah. They believe that if a Jewish woman were to make even the slightest mistake in Passover preparation during the 100 days before the actual seder, then the lives of her husband and her children would be endangered. They keep special rooms that hold all of the Passover utensils. Houses would be scraped and immediately repainted after Purim. Wells would be drained and scrubbed. Each grain of rice they’d eat on Passover would be examined to make sure it was free from cracks into which chametz might find its way.
Chocolate and Macaron Cake
1 cup virgin coconut oil, melted, cooled, plus more for pan
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
1 cup skin-on almonds
8 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
6 large eggs, room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
½ cup (packed) light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Ganache and assembly
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon light agave nectar or pure maple syrup
Pinch of kosher salt
½ cup unsweetened coconut milk (from a very well shaken 13.5-ounce can)
2 tablespoons unsweetened coconut flakes
1 tablespoon sliced almonds
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Place a rack in middle of oven and preheat to 350°. Lightly brush a 10"-diameter cake pan with oil. Line the bottom with a round of parchment; brush parchment with oil. Dust sides of pan with cocoa powder; tap out excess. Toast almonds on a rimmed baking sheet until fragrant and slightly darkened, 8–10 minutes. Let cool. Reduce oven temperature to 325°.
Meanwhile, heat chocolate and 1 cup oil in a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water (don’t let bowl touch the water), stirring often, until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.
Pulse almonds, salt, and ¼ cup cocoa in food processor until nuts are finely ground. Add shredded coconut and pulse a couple of times to combine.
Beat eggs on medium speed in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until no longer streaky, about 20 seconds. Add both sugars and vanilla, increase speed to high, and beat until mixture is pale, thick, and starts to hold the marks of the whisk, about 2 minutes (it should fall off the whisk and immediately sink back into itself). Switch to the paddle attachment and with mixer on low speed, gradually add chocolate mixture. Beat to incorporate, then mix in almond mixture. Fold batter several times with a rubber spatula, making sure to scrape the bottom and sides. Scrape batter into prepared pan; smooth top.
Bake cake until firm to the touch and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean but greasy, 35–45 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and let cake cool 15–20 minutes in pan (cake might fall slightly in the center; that’s okay). Run a paring knife or small offset spatula around edges of cake; invert onto rack. Carefully peel away parchment; let cool completely.
Do Ahead: Cake can be baked 1 day ahead. Store tightly covered at room temperature until ready to serve.
Ganache and Assembly
Preheat oven to 350°. Combine chocolate, 1 Tbsp. agave nectar, and salt in a medium bowl. Bring coconut milk to a simmer in a small saucepan over low; pour over chocolate mixture. Let sit until chocolate is melted, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, toss coconut flakes, almonds, sugar, and remaining 1 tsp. agave nectar on a parchment-lined rimmed baking sheet and toast until golden, about 4 minutes. Let almond-coconut mixture cool, then break into smaller clusters.
Using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat chocolate mixture until it has lost its sheen and is thick enough to hold very soft peaks, 6–8 minutes (ganache won’t be quite as thick as frosting but close).
Working quickly before ganache starts to set, scrape on top of cake and spread to edges with a small offset spatula or knife. Top with almond-coconut clusters.
4-5 sheets of matzah
1 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
12 oz. dark chocolate
Preheat oven to 350F/175C
Cover a tray with baking paper. Fill the tray with the matzah sheets, breaking them to fill the entire tray.
Melt butter and brown sugar over medium heat. Stir constantly and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes constantly stirring. This should dissolve the bits of sugar.
Pour over matzah and spread evenly with a spatula.
Bake for 10-15 minutes. Keep an eye on it and don’t let it burn.
While the matzah is still hot, sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the matzah and let it sit for 5 minutes. Spread the chocolate with a spatula. Then add sea salt or chopped nuts.
Chill for 30 minutes then cut into squares. Serve cold.
As Moses and the children of Israel were crossing the Red Sea, the children of Israel began to complain to Moses of how thirsty they were after walking so far. Unfortunately, they were not able to drink from the walls of water on either side of them, as they were made up of salt-water.
Then, a fish from that wall of water told Moses that he and his family heard the complaints of the people, but that they through their own gills could remove the salt from the water and force it out of their mouths like a fresh water fountain for the Israelites to drink from as they walked by.
Moses accepted this kindly fish's offer. But before the fish and his family began to help, they told Moses they had a demand. They and their descendants had to be always present at the seder meal that would be established to commemorate the Exodus, since they had a part in the story. When Moses agreed to this, he gave them their name which remains how they are known to this very day, for he said to them, "Go Filter Fish!"
Tzafun, which literally means “hidden,” is the part of the Seder where we seek what is not obvious, when we look for something other than what is in front of our faces. It is also when we return to that which was broken earlier in the evening and make it meaningful. In this way, Tzafun serves as the organizing principle of the second half of our Seder, where we ask ourselves what world we want to see, when we commit ourselves to making our vision real.
Searching and finding the matzoh is a tradition for the children to search for and find the afikomen, and when they do, they are given a reward by the adults. The act of leaving the table and searching for the matzoh represents the Israelites coming out of Egypt and searching for freedom; the finding of the afikomen in exchange for a prize represents finding redemption and, in exchange, receiving of the Torah at Mount Sinai.
Searching for the afikomen is also a very spiritual part of the Seder. In contrast with the strict order of the preparation and dinner, we can go and search for the afikomen without any rules or regulations. (Well, some rules: no tipping furniture, going in bedrooms or breaking anything!) It is up to us as individuals -- or a group -- to find the afikomen, relying only on our instincts and faith that we will achieve our goal.
[Leader: Collect the afikomen and distribute pieces to all guests.]
Leader says: "Afikomen" means "dessert." In ancient times, the paschal lamb was the last food to be eaten. It its place, we now partake in this piece of Afikomen, with which our meal is completed.
[Everyone: Eat the piece of matzoh.]
Oseh Shalom Bim-romav Hu Yaaseh Shalom Aleinu Ve-al Kol Yisrael Ve-Imru Amen
With the third cup of wine we remember God’s promise to redeem the Israelites with an outstretched arm. With this cup we turn our thoughts to those who offered a helping hand. We raise this glass of juice to those who use their privileges, status, power, and resources to stand against our culture of permissiveness around sexual violence.
Fill your third cup of juice, and recite the acrostic below in praise of accomplices who risk their own privileges and sometimes safety to stand against rape culture. Refill your cup immediately.
Blessings- We are grateful to have blessings and prayers to turn to when even our accomplices fail us. We are always able to connect to our source, and this is an internal power that is always accessible to us.
Acceptance- We are grateful for those who bring safety to our lives by accepting us for the person that we are. The people who bring safety and acceptance to our lives, also help us heal when we are suffering from pain.
Relief- We are grateful to have existing social justice organizations in our community that provide healing, justice, and community.
Existence- We are grateful to have the opportunity to exist in this space so that we can learn about rape culture and use our knowledge to try and eliminate it from society.
Consent- We are grateful for the partners that respect our space and listen to us when we give permission to touch us, and when we don’t.
Heart- We are thankful for the love that exists in the world and for those who are willing to use their privileges to call out and call in those who perpetuate both benevolent and hostile violence.
Raise your glass as you recite this blessing, and then enjoy your third cup of juice.
We will now drink our third cup of wine, which represents God's promise to redeem his people from Egypt. Please read the bolded text together with us:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree hagafen.
We praise God, Spirit of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.
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.
In addition to the cup of wine for Elijah, many people today include a cup of water for Miriam, as we do tonight.
Miriam is Moses's older sister and a prophetess in her own right. As we, the Israelites are freed from bondage in Egypt, Miriam leads the women in dance after crossing the Sea of Reeds. Her chant is recorded in the Torah, “Sing to the Lord for he has triumphed gloriously. Horse and driver has he hurled into the sea” (Exodus 15:21).
Later, during the wanderings in the desert, a well of water follows Miriam. In the words of Louis Ginzberg “Water…did not abandon them in all their forty years’ wandering, but accompanied them on all their marches. G-d wrought this great miracle for the merits of the prophetess Miriam, wherefore also it was called ‘Miriam’s Well’” ( The Legends of the Jews Vol.3).
The tradition of Miriam’s cup stems from this legend and acknowledges all the ways, physically and spiritually, that Miriam supports her people. It honors the spirit of all women, who nurture their families and communities. Now we will read Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's reflections on Miriam and other women in the Passover story:
On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.
The Book of Exodus, much like the Book of Genesis, opens in pervasive darkness. Genesis describes the earth as “unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep.”1 In Exodus, darkness attends the accession of a new Pharaoh who feared the Israelites and so enslaved them. God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis. But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.
There is Yocheved, Moses’ mother, and Shifra and Puah, the famous midwives. Each defies Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Israelite baby boys. And there is Miriam, Moses’ sister, about whom the following midrash is taught:
[When Miriam’s only brother was Aaron] she prophesied… “my mother is destined to bear a son who will save Israel.” When [Moses] was born the whole house… filled with light[.] [Miriam’s] father arose and kissed her on the head, saying, “My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled.” But when they threw [Moses] into the river her father tapped her on the head saying, “Daughter, where is your prophecy?” So it is written, “And [Miriam] stood afar off to know what would be[come of] the latter part of her prophecy.”2
Finally, there is Pharaoh’s daughter Batya, who defies her own father and plucks baby Moses out of the Nile. The Midrash reminds us that Batya knew exactly what she doing:
When Pharaoh’s daughter’s handmaidens saw that she intended to rescue Moses, they attempted to dissuade her, and persuade her to heed her father. They said to her: “Our mistress, it is the way of the world that when a king issues a decree, it is not heeded by the entire world, but his children and the members of his household do observe it, and you wish to transgress your father’s decree?”3
But transgress she did.
These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day.
Retelling the heroic stories of Yocheved, Shifra, Puah, Miriam and Batya reminds our daughters that with vision and the courage to act, they can carry forward the tradition those intrepid women launched.
While there is much light in today’s world, there remains in our universe disheartening darkness, inhumanity spawned by ignorance and hate. We see horrific examples in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and Ukraine. The Passover story recalls to all of us—women and men—that with vision and action we can join hands with others of like mind, kindling lights along paths leading out of the terrifying darkness.
1 Genesis 1:2
2 Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 14a
3 Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 12b
Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton in 1993, she is known as a strong voice for gender equality, the rights of workers, and separation between church and state.
Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt is a rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C.. She is co-creator of two nationally recognized community engagement projects—MakomDC and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington.
Let us all refill our cups.
Leader picks up cup for all to see.
This is the cup of hope.
The seder tradition involves pouring a cup for the Hebrew prophet Elijah. For millennia, Jews opened the door for him, inviting him join their seders, hoping that he would bring with him a messiah to save the world.
Yet the tasks of saving the world - once ascribed to prophets, messiahs and gods - must be taken up by us mere mortals, by common people with shared goals. Working together for progressive change,we can bring about the improvement of the world, tiqqun ha-olam - for justice and for peace, we can and we must.
Let us now symbolically open the door of our seder to invite in all people of good will and all those in needto work together with us for a better world.Let us raise our fourth cup as we dedicate ourselves to tiqqun olam, the improvement of the world.
"L' Tiqqun Olam!"
All drink the fourth cup.
All day I try to say nothing but thank you, breathe the syllables in and out with every step I take through the rooms of my house and outside into a profusion of shaggy-headed dandelions in the garden where the tulips’ black stamens shake in their crimson cups.
I am saying thank you, yes, to this burgeoning spring and to the cold wind of its changes. Gratitude comes easy after a hot shower, when my loosened muscles work, when eyes and mind begin to clear and even unruly hair combs into place.
Dialogue with the invisible can go on every minute, and with surprising gaiety I am saying thank you as I remember who I am, a woman learning to praise something as small as dandelion petals floating on the steaming surface of this bowl of vegetable soup, my happy, savoring tongue.
We will celebrate again, next year, in the promised land!
In a moment, our Seder will be complete. However, we remember that working against oppression in the world is our never-ending responsibility. We recommit ourselves to the vision of a world filled with peace and justice for all. We work for a world where "nation shall not lift-up sword against nation nor study war anymore." We work for a world where people are not treated differently because of their race, their religion, their gender, their age, their marital status, their skin color, the people they love, their profession or their politics. We work for a world that affirms the inherent worth and dignity of every person on our planet and assures basic human rights for everyone, everywhere. Like Nachshon standing at the shore of the Red Sea, we are not waiting for a miracle but rather proceeding with faith that G-d will support us and give us the strength and resolve to work together to heal the world.
We close our Seder by saying, "L'Shanah Haba'ah B'Yerushalyim", which means "Next Year in Jerusalem." For centuries, this declaration expressed the Jewish people's goal to return to our homeland. Even after the founding of the State of Israel in 1948, these words still resonate with us. We all have our own personal aspirations and dreams that we are striving for. As we conclude our Seder, may we have the strength and the will to continue working toward our personal Jerusalem and toward a world where all people will live in shalom -- peace, safety and freedom.
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame. "Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Humanity manifests itself in brotherhood most frequently in “dark times.” This kind of humanity actually becomes inevitable when the times become so extremely dark for certain groups of people that it is no longer up to them, their insight or choice, to withdraw from the world. Humanity in the form of fraternity invariably appears historically among persecuted peoples and enslaved groups. ... This kind of humanity is the great privilege of pariah peoples; it is the advantage that the pariahs of this world always and in all circumstances can have over others. ...
It is as if under the pressure of persecution the persecuted have moved so closely together that the interspace ... has simply disappeared. This produces a warmth of human relationships which may strike those who have had some experience with such groups as an almost physical phenomenon. ...
In its full development it can breed a kindliness and sheer goodness of which human beings are otherwise scarcely capable. Frequently it is also the source of a vitality, a joy in the simple fact of being alive, rather suggesting that life comes fully into its own only among those who are, in worldly terms, the insulted and injured
What follows are short descriptions of Seder customs from around the world. For this lesson each custom can be printed out on a separate card or strip.
Circling the seder plate over the heads of each participant, while saying “In Haste we left Egypt”. The response is “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt”
Where it fits in the seder: The very beginning Where it is from: Morocco and Tunisia
Putting the shank bone, charoset, maror, karpas, egg, and matzah all around the table, rather than on a seder plate.
Where it fits in the seder: During set-up, before the seder starts Where it is from: Persian and Yemenite Jews
Putting the shank bone, charoset, maror, karpas, egg, and matzah in a covered basket, ready to carry out of Egypt with us.
Where it fits in the seder: During set-up, before the seder starts. Where it is from: Tunisia
Putting a fishbowl with live fish on the seder table
Where it fits in the seder: During set-up, before the seder starts. Where it is from: Tunisia
Having first night Seder in Hebrew, and the second night Seder in the language you speak at home.
Where it fits in the seder: Throughout Where it is from: Kavkaz (in the Caucasus mountains, in or near Russia)
Each person takes a turn holding up the Matzot and reciting the steps of the seder (Kadeish U’rchatz, Karpas, Yachatz…).
Where it fits in the seder: The beginning Where it is from: Persia
Take a pillowcase, and fill it with heavy objects, before the seder. During the seder, take turns carrying it around the table on your back, to experience a little of the hard work that Jews did as slaves in Egypt.
Where it fits in the seder: At “Avadim Hayinu”, “We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt” Where it is from: Romania
Interruption in the seder by a “nomad” who is leaving Egypt. Dialogue with the “guest” goes like this;
Seder leader: Where are you coming from?
Seder Leader: Where are you going?
Seder Leader: What are the supplies for your trip?
Nomad: [sings the 4 questions]
Where it fits in the seder: Right before the 4 questions, or any time, as a surprise Where it is from: Iraq
Pour out bits of wine or grape juice into a bowl of water, and see it turn red/bloody.
Where it fits in the seder: The recital of the ten plagues. Where it is from: Sefaradi custom
Pour wine or grape juice out of a Cup of Pharaoh
Where it fits in the seder: The recital of the ten plagues. Where it is from: India
Gently mock-whip the person who knows where the afikomen is hidden, until they reveal where it is.
Where it fits in the seder: At the very end of the meal. Where it is from: Bukhara
Tie the afikomen onto the back of one child at the seder.
Where it fits in the seder: After Yachatz, and it remains there until the end of the meal. Where it is from: Iraq
אֶחָד מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אֶחָד אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אֶחָד אֱלֹהֵינוּ שֶׁבַּשָּׁמַיִם וּבָאָרֶץ. Echad mi yodea? Echad ani yodea
Echad Eloheinu, Eloheinu, Eloheinu, Eloheinu, Eloheinu Shebashamayim uva'aretz.
שְׁנַיִם מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁנַיִם אֲנִי יוֹדֵע: שְׁנֵי לֻחוֹת הַבְּרִית, Shnayim mi yodea? Shnayim ani yodea. Shnei luchot habrit,
שְׁלֹשָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁלֹשָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁלֹשָׁה אָבוֹת,
Shlosha mi yodea? Shlosha ani yodea. Shlosha avot,
אַרְבַּע מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אַרְבַּע אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אַרְבַּע אִמָּהוֹת,
Arbah mi yodea ? Arbah ani yodea. Arbah imahot,
חֲמִשָּׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? חֲמִשָּׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: חֲמִשָּׁה חוּמְשֵׁי תוֹרָה,
Chamisha mi yodea? Chamisha ani yodea. Chamisha chumshei Torah,
שִׁשָּׁה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שִׁשָּׁה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שִׁשָּׁה סִדְרֵי מִשְׁנָה,
Shisha mi yodea? Shisha ani yodea. Shisha sidrei mishnah,
שִׁבְעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שִׁבְעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שִׁבְעָה יְמֵי שַׁבַּתָּא,
Shivah mi yodea? Shivah ani yodea Shivah y'mei shabta
שְׁמוֹנָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁמוֹנָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵע: שְׁמוֹנָה יְמֵי מִילָה,
Shmonah mi yodea? Shmonah ani yodea Shmonah y'mei milah
תִּשְׁעָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? תִּשְׁעָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: תִּשְׁעָה יַרְחֵי לֵדָה,
Tishah mi yodea? Tishah ani yodea Tishah yarchei leidah
עֲשָׂרָה מִי יוֹדֵעַ? עֲשָׂרָה אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: עֲשָׂרָה דִבְּרַיָא,
Asarah mi yodea? Asarah ani yodea Asarah dibrayah
אַחַד עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? אַחַד עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: אַחַד עָשָׂר כּוֹכְבַיָּא,
Achad asar mi yodea? Achad asar ani yodea Achad asar kochvayah
שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁנֵים עָשָׂר שִׁבְטַיָּא,
Shneim asar mi yodea? Shneim asar ani yodea Shneim asar shivtayah,
שְׁלֹשָה עָשָׂר מִי יוֹדֵעַ? שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר אֲנִי יוֹדֵעַ: שְׁלֹשָׁה עָשָׂר מִדַּיָּא,
Shlosha asar mi yodea? Shloshah asar ani yodea Shlosha asar midayah,
Who knows one? I know one! One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth....
Who knows thirteen? I know thirteen! Thirteen are the attributes of God; Twelve are the tribes of Israel; Eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream; Ten are the commandments; Nine are the months to childbirth; Eight are the days to Brit Milah; Seven are the days of the week; Six are the orders of the Mishnah; Five are the books of the Torah; Four are the mothers of Israel; Three are the fathers of Israel; Two are the tablets of the covenant; One is our Hashem, One is Hashem, One is Hashem, in the heaven and the earth.
When Israel was in Egypt land, "Let my people go!"
Oppressed so hard they could not stand. "Let my people go!"
Go down, Moses, way down in Egypt Land. Tell ol' Pharaoh: "Let my people go!"
The Lord told Moses what to do, "Let my people go!"
To lead the children of Israel through, "Let my people go!"
Who knows one? I know one!
One is Hashem, one is Hashem, one is Hashem!
In the heaven and the earth, ah, ooh ah ah,
I say ooh, ah, ooh ah ah
Who knows two? I know two!
Two are the tablets that Moses brought,
And one is Hashem, one is Hashem, one is Hashem,
In the heaven and the earth, ah, ooh ah ah,
I say ooh, ah, ooh ah ah
(Repeat with the following:)
Three are the Papas
Four are the Mommas
Five are the books of the Torah (clap)
Six are the books of the Mishna ( written version of the Jewish oral law) (clap)
Seven are the days of the week (clap,clap)
Eight are the days before a Bris (circumcision) (clap)
Nine are the months before a baby is born (clap)
Ten are the commandments (hands in the air for this one!)
Eleven are the stars in Joseph’s dream
Twelve are the tribes of Israel
Thirteen are the ways Hashem is good