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Welcome to Moishe House London's Second Seder: Reverse!

This year, we have a twist to our Seder... instead of repeating the same order as the night before, we're going to run the whole Seder in reverse order! We'll also be telling the story of Exodus in the reverse order, going from Freedom into Slavery.

We hope this will make it more accessible to those who might not have been to many seders (or who have never been to one before), or for those who have, it will be very different from their usual experience. We hope this will be both inclusive and engaging, aiding everyone to think more deeply about the Seder Night.

Our seder is meant for the broadest audience and we want everyone to feel comfortable throughout. Tonight, our Moishe House Community is you. If you have a tradition or an idea that you want to share, please do! A communal seder is an amazing opportunity to learn how other families and communities approach the amazing festival of Pesach and we want ours to be brought to life by our community!

This reverse Haggadah is an experiment - we don't need to follow it to the letter. More importantly, we hope it may act as a loose guide to some of the ideas we could explore through the reverse seder!

Source : Daniel Brenner

I read the haggadah backwards this year

I read the haggadah backwards this year

The sea opens, the ancient Israelites slide back to

Egypt like Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk

Freedom to slavery

That’s the real story

One minute you’re dancing hallelujah with the prophetess

the next you’re knee deep in brown in the basement of some minor pyramid


The angel of death comes back to life

two zuzim are refunded. 

When armies emerge from the sea like a returning scuba expedition

the Pharoah calls out for fresh towels.

The bread has plenty of time to rise.

I read the hagaddah backwards this year,

left a future Jerusalem,

scrubbed off the bloody doorposts,

wandered back to Aram.


- Daniel Brenner


Chad Gadya (Reverse!)

Chad gadyaaaa, chad gadyaaa

Then came the Holy One, blessed be He!

And destroyed the angel of death

Then came the angel of death and slew the butcher

Then came the butcher and killed the ox

Then came the ox and drank the water

That quenched the fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Then came the angel of death and slew the butcher

Then came the butcher and killed the ox

Then came the ox and drank the water

That quenched the fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Then came the butcher and killed the ox

Then came the ox and drank the water

That quenched the fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Then came the ox and drank the water

That quenched the fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Then came the water and quenched the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Then came the fire and burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Then came the stick and beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Then came the dog and bit the cat

That ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Then came the cat and ate the kid

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya

An only kid! An only kid!

My father bought for two zuzim

Chad gadya, chad gadya


Some say 

Next year in Jerusalem - L'Shana Haba'ah B'Yerushalayim - לשנה הבאה בירושלים‎‎

and some prefer to say:

Next year in freedom - L’Shana Haba B’heroot 

The first recorded use of this phrase was by Austrian Rabbi Isaac Tyrnau in his 15th century CE book cataloging the traditions of various Ashkenazi (Eastern European) Jewish Communities.

The phrase evokes a common theme in Jewish culture of a desire to return to a rebuilt Jerusalem, and commentators have suggested that it serves as a reminder of the experience of living in exile. 

It is usually said at the end of the seder, to remind us that even though the story ends in freedom, there are many who are not free, and the story should be carried with us after the end of Pesach. In tonight's reverse seder, we instead go from freedom into slavery, and so maybe it is insightful to think about next year at the start of our seder - our hopes and aspirations for a world which has more freedom. 

We can go around the room and say Next year in ..., filling in a hope or desire inspired by the theme of slavery, freedom and liberation. 


3. Hallel (songs of praise)

Four Cups of Wine:

The Four Cups of the Seder are structurally connected to the four verbal performances this evening:

(4) Hallel, completing the festival Psalms

(3) Birkat HaMazon, completing the Pesach meal; and

(2) Maggid, the storytelling

(1) Kiddush, sanctifying the holiday

Four Matriarchs of Israel:

Two 16th C. mystic rabbis identify the Four Cups with the Four Matriarchs of Israel. The Maharal of Prague (famous for the legend of Golem) and Rav Isaiah Horowitz of Tsfat explain:

(4) The Cup of Hallel (Praise) is for Leah who came to realize that the pursuit of the impossible, Jacob's love, must give way to appreciation of what one has. When her fourth child was born, Judah, she praised God: " This time I will thank God " (Genesis 29:35).

(3) The Cup of the Blessing after Eating represents Rachel whose son Joseph provided the whole family of Jacob with bread in a time of great famine.

(2) The Cup of Maggid is for Rebecca who knew how to mother both Esav and Jacob, two opposed natures.

(1) The Cup of Kiddush stands for Sarah who was the mother of a community of converts, believers by choice.


Here we drink the '3rd' (actually 2nd in reverse seder) cup of wine.

Elijah and Miriam's Cup:

We'll also pour two more cups of wine for the prophets Elijah and Miriam, and open the door for them. In the next page we'll look at a Pardes section on Elijah. Tonight, we are also considering the prophet Miriam. Miriam prophesied "My mother is destined to give birth to a son who will save Israel". Miriam's mother later gave birth to Moishe (Moishe House, woo!). 

A Midrash teaches us that a miraculous well accompanied the Hebrews throughout their journey in the desert, providing them with water. This well was given by God to Miriam, Moses’s sister, the prophetess, to honor her bravery and devotion to the Jewish people. Both Miriam and her well were spiritual oases in the desert, sources of sustenance and healing. Her words of comfort gave the Hebrews the faith and confidence to overcome the hardships of the Exodus.

We fill Miriam's cup with water to honor her role in ensuring the survival of the Jewish people. Like Miriam, Jewish women in all generations have been essential for the continuity of our people. As keepers of traditions in the home, women passed down songs and stories, rituals and recipes, from mother to daughter, from generation to generation.

We place Miriam's cup on our Seder table to honor the important role of Jewish women in our tradition and history, whose stories have been too sparingly told.

Miriam's life is a foil to the life of Elijah. Elijah was a hermit, a visionary, and prophet, often very critical of the Jewish people, and focused on the world to come. Miriam lived among her people in the desert, constantly encouraging them throughout their long journey. Elijah's cup is a symbol of future messianic redemption, while Miriam's cup is a symbol of hope and renewal in the present. Both are important: we need both Elijah's cup and Miriam's cup at our Seder table.

During Bareich in a conventionally ordered seder, we say thanks for the food we just ate. In this reverse seder, we'll now go around the room and say something we are grateful for - be it the food we are about to eat, or something else in life.


Hidden somewhere in the room is the afikoman! It is the larger half of a matzah which was once whole.

We must now all look for it! Beware, there are other matzot broken apart hidden in the room as well.

Everyone should eat a bit of the afikoman - usually it's the last thing you eat on seder night. Tonight, it'll be the first thing you eat! It's like having dessert before dinner - every kid's dream!

Tonight we have started with a broken matzah - and had a bite. Later on, we will later come to Yachatz - traditionally the part at which a whole matzah is split into two, the larger half becoming the afikoman. In our reverse seder, at Yachatz we will re-form our matzah.

Discuss the metaphors of the afikoman. For example, we could discuss whether it's good to have a bite of something broken? Why do we have the larger half - is that greedy? Why is the matzah split in half in the first place? Why is the afikoman hidden?


Let's all enjoy some vegetarian, chametz-free food!

Chametz is leavened (risen) foods that are forbidden on pesach. This includes anything made with the grains wheat, barley, rye, oats or spelt that has come into contact with water and been allowed to ferment and “rise.”

This year the food is chametz-free, though not all of it has a kosher for pesach symbols. We decided to do this in order to focus more on the broad ideas of pesach food. Next year, we would love to do  vegan  chametz-free food!

Some Jews east kitniyot on passover - these include beans, but also some grains and seeds. Examples include rice, corn, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, soybeans, peas, and lentils. Tonight we have prepared the food without kitniyot, though guests who do eat kitniyot are welcome to bring dishes containing them to share with others who also eat them.


7. Koreich (Sandwich)

This section on Koreich was contributed by Faustine Sigal, who is the International Director of Jewish Education for Moishe House. She works in France, where there are two Moishe Houses, both in Paris!


In this Reverse Seder, we can do a reverse Koreich Sandwich - place the matzah in the middle, and enclose it with charoset and maror on the outside! That's a messy Koreich, but don't worry, there's two hand washings coming up soon!

As we eat the Koreich, we read a text giving credits for the recipe of this sandwich to Hillel. Why Hillel?

Hillel is a major figure in the rabbinic walk of fame. Descended from King David, he is often referred to for his qualities of wisdom, humility and compassion. In the tractate Avot (like a guide on ethics), he is quoted saying “be of the disciples of Aaron, loving peace and pursuing peace, loving people and bringing them closer to the Torah”. The Jewish concept “ rodef shalom ”, peace pursuer (more than builder) is rooted in his teaching. It is also said of his students that “they were agreeable and humble, and when they taught the law they would teach both their own opinions and the opinions of (their opponents). They even prioritized the statements of (their opponents).”

Hillel is the model we refer to when seeking the ability to reconcile different truths towards peace. His name is associated with the commitment to honour complexity in life, to acknowledge that “these and those are the words of the living God”. Any experience, idea, longing – be it as positive as Redemption – is made of the combination of differences. The seder in general brings together differing, if not opposing things :

  • Joy of redemption and sadness of affliction;

  • Memories and compassion with hunger and a festive meal;

  • Jewish particular memories and values and a universalistic commitment;

  • Repeating old texts every year and making them fresh every year, etc.

Korech, this part of the seder, is the sandwich version of this view on life. We walk into Hillel’s step and combine different concepts towards one horizon. We bring different elements together into one redemptive bite.


We now come to eat the bitter herbs. While we eat it, we remember the bitterness of the lives of our ancestors and think about the bitterness in the lives of others around the world.

The following is adapted from the CCJ's Freedom Seder Haggadah:

The traditional Haggadah doesn't specify what the bitter herbs should be, traditions include horseradish or lettuce. The bitter taste is meant as a reminder of the hardship experienced by the Israelites in slavery. This empathy can be extended to considering the suffering of those who are still enslaved or in bonded labour. Slavery and trafficking for the purpose of labour can take many forms and covers a wide range of industries from textiles to shing and manual labour in factories or on farms. Debt bondage is a specific form of slavery in which a person is employed to pay off a debt, but ‘the value of these services as reasonably assessed is not applied towards the liquidation of the debt or the length and nature of those services are not respectively limited and defined’ . While we recall the Biblical Exodus story and the slavery and bitter hardships it describes, we should be aware that these conditions and experiences still exist in our world.

We will revisit human trafficking in our section on the 10 plagues.

בּרוּךְ ַאָתה יי ֱאלֹ ֵהינוּ ֶמֶלךְ ָהעוָֹלם, ֲא ֶשר ִקְד ָשנוּ ְבּ ִמ ְצווָֹתיו, ְו ִצָוּנוּ ַעל ֲאִכיַלת ָמרוֹר.

Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.

[Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and ordained that we should eat bitter herbs.]


This section on Motzi Matzah was contributed by Faustine Sigal, who is the International Director of Jewish Education for Moishe House, who works in France, where there are two Moishe Houses in Paris! The transliterations have a certain French accent to them which is really cool!


Matsa is the Pessah bread, and, take it from a French person, bread is a central element in building social links. Judaism is well aware of this, as we are reminded by the fact that meals are started by a solemn, communal blessing over bread. More painfully, some rules also limit Jews possibility to eat bread together with non-Jews. This comes from the concern to keep Jews separated from their non-Jewish neighbours and acknowledges how transformative the experience of sharing a meal can be in a friendship.

This is for the generic bread part. But what is specific about matsa within the pessah picture? Matsa is an unfinished process: it is bread that we started baking but did not finish, for lack of time in the original story. Eating it is a reminder that Redemption is also an unfinished process. It is the first day of the rest of our lives rather than an ending point. It is not an achievement but a responsibility we are given, to take it further, step by step and to pay it forward.  Next up in the Jewish calendar is Shavuot, the giving of the Torah. Once we are freed, accepting shared rules and memory is the next stop of this journey. What is yours?


Activity/Discussion: What are our unfinished processes? Go round the room and say something that's unfinished.


Washing your hands - mostly from Wikipedia:

Washing before a meal (Mayim Rishonim = First Waters) AKA Ntilat Yadayim:

In the Babylonian Talmud, washing before meals is seen as so important, that neglecting this risks sudden destruction or poverty. Let's discuss why washing hands before eating is/was considered so important. We can talk also about ritual purity. 

Washing after a meal (Mayim Acharonim = Last Waters):

It is now not so common, but in Talmudic time, one is supposed to also wash ones hands after the meal. This may have been because the food was preserved using a type of salt which was dangerous to get into the eyes. It may also be because of the blessings after meal, and the wish to have clean hands before saying G-d's name. 

Although  mayim acharonim  was once not widely practiced (for example, until recently it did not appear in many Orthodox Passover Haggadot) it has undergone something of a revival and has become more widely observed in recent years, particularly for special meals such as Shabbat and Festivals. Some denominations have supported discontinuing the practice of  mayim acharonim  on the grounds that the rabbis of the Talmud instituted it as a health measure, and since modern foods no longer contain preservatives so dangerous as to cause blindness upon contact with the eyes, washing the hands after meals is no longer required and can be discontinued by contemporary rabbinic decision.

Tonight, we've emphasised washing after the meal above washing before the meal, as a result of our reverse seder!


Blessed are you, O Lord, our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us through your commandments and has commanded us concerning the washing of hands"  

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה הָ׳ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדַיִם ‎


We're now beginning to tell the story of Exodus. We'll be going in the reverse order to usual, starting with a cup of wine, then Dayenu, then the 10 plagues, then the story (we'll do a Play), then the four children, then the four questions!

Drink "2nd" (3rd in Reverse Seder) cup of wine.


One of most beloved songs in the Passover Seder is "Dayeinu". Dayeinu commemorates a long list of miraculous things God did, any one of which would have been pretty amazing just by itself. For example, “Had God only taken us out of Egypt but not punished the Egyptians – it would have been enough.” Dayeinu, translated liberally, means, “Thank you, God, for overdoing it.”

Dayeinu is a reminder to never forget all the miracles in our lives. When we stand and wait impatiently for the next one to appear, we are missing the point of life. Instead, we can actively seek a new reason to be grateful, a reason to say “Dayeinu.”

We'll take part in the fun sephardi tradition of whipping each other with spring onions while we sing a few verses of Dayenu!


Ilu ho-tsi, Ho-tsi-a-nu, Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim, Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim, Da-ye-nu!
If he had brought us all out of Egypt, it would have been enough!

CHORUS: .. Dai, da-ye-nu, .. Dai, da-ye-nu, .. Dai, da-ye-nu, .. 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, Da-ye-nu!
If he had given us Shabbat it would have been enough!

CHORUS: .. Dai, da-ye-nu, .. Dai, da-ye-nu, .. Dai, da-ye-nu, .. Da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu, da-ye-nu!

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu, Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah, Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah, Da-ye-nu!
If he had given us the Torah it would have been enough!

CHORUS: .. 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!

Adapted from JewBelong Haggadah

The Ten Plagues

(image from JewBelong; text derived from Machar Congregation of DC's Haggadah)

Let us all refill our cups.

Tonight we drink four cups of the fruit of the vine.
There are many explanations for this custom.
They may be seen as symbols of various things:
the four corners of the earth, for freedom must live everywhere;
the four seasons of the year, for freedom's cycle must last through all the seasons;
or the four matriarchs: Sarah, Rebecca, Leah, and Rachel.

A full cup of wine symbolizes complete happiness.
The triumph of Passover is diminished by the sacrifice of many human lives
when ten plagues were visited upon the people of Egypt.
In the story, the plagues that befell the Egyptians resulted from the decisions of tyrants,
but the greatest suffering occurred among those who had no choice but to follow.

It is fitting that we mourn their loss of life, and express our sorrow over their suffering.
For as Jews we cannot take joy in the suffering of others.
Therefore, let us diminish the wine in our cups
as we recall the ten plagues that befell the Egyptian people.

As we recite the name of each plague, in English and then in Hebrew,
please dip a finger in your wine and then touch your plate to remove the drop.


Blood - Dam (Dahm) דם
Frogs - Ts'phardea (Ts'phar-DEH-ah) צפרדע
Gnats - Kinim (Kih-NEEM) כנים
Flies - Arov (Ah-ROV) ערוב
Cattle Disease - Dever (DEH-vehr) דבר
Boils - Sh'hin (Sh'-KHEEN) שחין
Hail - Barad (Bah-RAHD) ברד
Locusts - `Arbeh (Ar-BEH) ארבה
Darkness - Hoshekh (KHO-shekh) חושך
Death of the Firstborn - Makkat B'khorot (Ma-katB'kho-ROT) מכת בכורות

In the same spirit, our celebration today also is shadowed
by our awareness of continuing sorrow and oppression in all parts of the world.
Ancient plagues are mirrored in modern tragedies.

In our own time, as in ancient Egypt, ordinary people suffer and die
as a result of the actions of the tyrants who rule over them.
While we may rejoice in the defeat of tyrants in our own time,
we must also express our sorrow at the suffering of the many innocent people
who had little or no choice but to follow.

As the pain of others diminishes our joys,
let us once more diminish the ceremonial drink of our festival
as we name some of the plagues of our own world:

Everyone is encouraged to call out names of plagues of today.

________________________ ________________________

________________________ ________________________

________________________ ________________________



NARRATOR 1: It was also when God starting sending manna, food from the sky that tasted like anything you wanted it to and sustained the Jews until they reached the Holy Land of Israel. But all of that is for another story. In the meantime, Happy Passover!
NARRATOR 2: And Miriam took a timbrel – which is another word for a tambourine – in her hand; and all of the women went out after her with their timbrels and danced and sang. This kicked off a trek of forty years through the desert.
MIRIAM: That was a miracle! We made it across the Red Sea! I don’t know what God has in store for us next, but at last, we are free!
NARRATOR 1: It was amazing. When Moses raised his rod, the water of the sea parted, and the children of Israel walked across on the ground at the bottom of the sea. They were totally fine. But when Pharaoh’s armies followed to catch them, the waters closed in and Pharaoh’s armies were drowned.
GOD: Moses! Lift thy rod and stretch out thy hand over the sea, and divide it; and the children of Israel shall go across the sea safely.
NARRATOR 2: Then God spoke to Moses.
AARON: Don’t be afraid. God has handled things for us before, and I don’t think he would have made all those plagues just to have us die at the edge of the Red Sea now.
MIRIAM: Look! The Egyptians are coming! They will kill us all! They will work us to death! Moses, do something!
NARRATOR 1: So once again, Pharaoh had hardened his heart. He got his army together and went after the Jews. Because they were walking and had a lot of kids with them who were slow walkers, the Jews had only gotten a few miles away from Egypt and they were really close to the Red Sea.
PHARAOH: I have just let my slaves all go. This is not good for the people of Egypt. All that my forefathers have worked for will vanish if I lose the Hebrew slaves. Who will build the cities? The entire economy of Egypt will collapse. It will be the end of an empire. I WANT THEM BACK!
NARRATOR 2: Most of the Jews went with Moses and Aaron. But some felt the whole idea of leaving their homes and going some unknown land was crazy, so they stayed in Egypt. But meanwhile…
MOSES: F-f-f-forget the bread, let’s go!
MIRIAM: Moses, if we leave right now, the bread won’t have time to rise.
AARON: He won’t change his mind. Not this time.
MOSES: We m-m-m-must go fast! We must m-m-m-make food, but… but… we must go before… before… Pharaoh changes his mind again.
AARON: Listen to me everyone! Remember this day, when you were able to leave Egypt, we were slaves and now we are going to be free and God will guide us out of here to the Promised Land.
NARRATOR 1: So Aaron and Moses left Pharaoh and went to the Jews.
PHARAOH: Be gone already! You and your people! You have ruined my empire.
AARON: But Pharaoh, now that you have seen how powerful God is, will you let my people go?
PHARAOH: Go away! Go away and leave me to my grief!
AARON: Pharaoh, the grandfather my brother once loved, we are truly sorry for your loss.
NARRATOR 2: God then came to Moses and instructed him to have all the Jewish people slay a lamb and smear some of its blood on the doorposts of their houses and gates. Then, when the Angel of Death flew over Egypt, he took the lives of all of the firstborn, except for those in the homes marked with blood. Pharaoh’s own son died. It was devastating. The people of Egypt were mourning. Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh yet again.
PHARAOH: I do not know your God, and I will not let your people go. Get out of my house! GET OUT!
AARON: Pharaoh, our God is all-powerful! We don’t know what we can do to make you see thatyou must give in. We’re warning you now that God has told Moses what the next plague will be. He’s going to kill the firstborn of every Egyptian household, including your youngest son. Pharaoh, don’t let this happen! Let my people go!
PHARAOH: Who is this God of yours? How is it that each of these plagues only affects the Egyptians and not the Hebrews!? Get out!
NARRATOR 1: But the crazy thing was, after each plague, Pharaoh would call Moses and Aaron to the palace and tell them that if their God made the plague stop, the Jews could leave Egypt. So God would end the plague, and then Pharaoh would harden his heart and change his mind, keeping the Jews in bondage. It was a mess!
NARRATOR 2: So between the cattle disease, which ruined the meat, and the hail and locusts which wrecked the crops, Egypt was in bad shape. People were hungry. Then came the plague of darkness. The sun never rose, and people were frightened and cold. The plagues were spreading fear and sickness across Egypt.
NARRATOR 1: The next plague God sent was lice....people and animals all got lice. Then flies everywhere. Then cattle all the cows got sick and died, then boils… terrible blisters on everyone… then hail fell from the sky – big pieces of hail, as big as ping-pong balls. Then locusts, which ate the plants, including all of the crops.
NARRATOR 2: Soon, Egypt was overrun with another of God’s plagues… frogs. Wherever you looked, there were frogs all over the land. As you can imagine, it was awful. So Pharaoh called Moses and Aaron back to the palace and told them he would now allow the Jews to leave Egypt. But when they were ready to leave, Pharaoh changed his mind again. This happened every time!
PHARAOH: I will take my chances. Now get out of my palace, and tell the Jews to get back to work!
MOSES: B-b-b-ut Pharaoh, m-m-m-ore terrible things will happen to the Egyptian people if you do not let us go!
PHARAOH: Not so fast. I realized that when you go I will have no one to build my pyramids. So I have hardened my heart and changed my mind. You need to stay.
AARON: Yes, Pharaoh? We were just leaving.
PHARAOH: Get Moses and Aaron back here!
NARRATOR 2: So Aaron and Moses left the palace and told the Jewish people to start getting ready for their journey. But then…
PHARAOH: Fine, then go.
AARON: Yes, of course. We don’t want to harm your people, we just want to leave and be free.
PHARAOH: OK, this is horrible! The Nile River has turned to blood, and it’s your fault! Everyone is freaking out. Maybe your God is powerful after all. If I let your people go, will he turn the river back to water?
NARRATOR 1: To punish Pharaoh for his refusal to let the Jews go, God turned the water of the Nile to blood. It was horrible. Everyone needs fresh water to live, and instead of water, the entire river ran red with blood. Pharaoh was furious, and he called Moses and Aaron back to the palace.
PHARAOH: There is no way I am going to do that! I don’t know this God you are talking about, and I will not let your people go. Now get out of my palace!
AARON: Pharaoh, if you do not release the Hebrews, Egypt will be smitten with a greater plague than it has ever before seen.
PHARAOH’S YOUNG SON: I thought I was his brother!
AARON: I am Aaron, Moses’s brother.
PHARAOH’S YOUNG SON: Moses! I missed you! (Looks at Aaron.) Hey, who are you?
AARON: You cared for my brother for many years. At one time, he loved you as a grandfather. But he is the son of a Hebrew slave. If you love him, you will let his people go.
PHARAOH: LOL. That is really amusing, guys. So, Moses, back after all of these years to bring shame on your own house and your own grandfather?
AARON: Pharaoh, we are here to demand, in the name of our all-powerful and all-knowing God, that you release the Hebrew people from bondage.
NARRATOR 2: And so Moses and Aaron went to the people of Israel and convinced them that God had spoken to Moses. Then they went to see Pharaoh at the palace.
GOD: Your brother Aaron speaks well, right? He will have to help. I will only speak to you, but you can tell Aaron what I said, and he can be the one who speaks to Pharaoh and the people.
MOSES: Puh-puh-puh-please send s-s-s-someone else…
GOD: You’re right, it will not be easy. I forgot to mention Pharaoh is not going to simply agree to let his slaves go free. He will take some convincing, and it will not be pretty.
MOSES: That is c-c-c-c-crazy. They’ll n-never l-listen and besides, I am s-s-s-s-s-low of s-s-s-p-p-peech and s-s-s-s-low of t-t-tongue.
GOD: Just tell the Children of Israel, also known as the Jews, also now known as the slaves, that they need to listen to you, because you speak for me. Tell them to leave their homes and everything they have always known and follow you to the wilderness.
MOSES: Whah-what shhhould I t-t-t-ell the p-p-people?
GOD: Fear not – I will be with you.
MOSES: B-b-but why should… I mean, why, why should I be the one t-t-to lead m-m-my people?
NARRATOR 1: It’s important to know that Moses stuttered whenever he spoke, so he was always nervous to speak in public.
GOD: I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. I have seen the affliction of my people in Egypt and have heard their cry. I have come to deliver them out of the hands of the Egyptians, and to bring them out of that place unto a good land, flowing with milk and honey. Now, Moses, I need you to go back to Pharaoh and tell him to let the Jews go free and then you will need to lead the Jews out of Egypt.
MOSES: Here I am.
GOD: Moses! Moses!
NARRATOR 2: Moses followed the sheep and came across a burning bush. It was the craziest thing. This green bush was on fire, but instead of burning up and getting all crinkled and then black, it stayed green. This was, of course, a miracle. It was God, getting Moses’s attention so that he could talk to him. It worked.
SHEEP: I said, “Baaaa!”
NARRATOR 2: One fine morning, one of Moses’s sheep strayed a bit from the path.
SHEEP: Baaaa
NARRATOR 1: And so Yocheved’s son, Moses, grew up as the Pharaoh’s adopted grandson, with all the riches and prestige that such a position entailed. But when he was young, Yocheved told Moses that he was Jewish, so he always had great compassion for the Hebrew slaves. One day, he came upon an Egyptian guard beating an old Jewish slave. Moses got so angry that he killed the guard. Of course, by doing so he was breaking the law. He feared the consequences, so he ran away ran away from the palace into the desert, and became a shepherd. That where we pick up the story now.
PRINCESS’S ATTENDANT: Whatever you say, your majesty.
PRINCESS: Good idea. I hadn’t thought of that. All right, your Hebrew woman may nurse my child, and when he is old enough to walk, she shall bring him to the palace for me to raise. I am going to name him “Moses,” which means “drawn from the water.”
MIRIAM: (as she comes out of her hiding place) Excuse me, your majesty, but would you like me to call a Hebrew woman to nurse the baby, so that your attendant can continue to tend to you instead of being distracted by the baby?
PRINCESS: Oh, it must be one of those Jewish babies that my dad, the Pharaoh, wants to kill. But look at this little guy. He seems so beautiful and innocent. I know, I’ll take him home and raise him as my son. He will love me and respect me as his mother.
NARRATOR 2: She pulled the baby out of the water.
PRINCESS’S ATTENDANT: Why, yes, your highness.
PRINCESS’S ATTENDANT: It appears to be a baby, your highness.
PRINCESS: What is this?
NARRATOR 2: So Yocheved wove a basket of reeds, which is another word for long bamboo-like sticks, put her son into it and hid it in the tall grass by the river. She then sent her young daughter Miriam to hide nearby and keep watch. The Pharaoh’s daughter, who was a princess, eventually came down to the water to bathe and heard cries coming from the river.
YOCHEVED: (distraught) Oh no! Did you hear about Pharaoh’s awful decree? I knew he was mean, but now he’s killing our babies?! I need to hide my beautiful baby boy.
NARRATOR 2: Our story continues at the banks of the Nile River, where we meet Yocheved, a Jewish woman with a newborn son.
HERALD: Hear ye, hear ye. It is hereby decreed by Pharaoh, ruler of the land of Egypt, that any son born to a Jew is to be drowned in the Sea of Reeds.
PHARAOH: Leave my quarters. I’ve gotta think. This could be bad...really bad. I mean, I love having these Hebrew slaves, but there are just SO many of them! They are not Egyptians, and as shocking as it might be, I don’t think they even like me. What if there’s a war and they join my enemies and fight against me? I am going to try to find a way to decrease this Jewish-Hebrew slave population.
SLAVE: Indeed I did, your most fabulousness.
PHARAOH: Fourteen? Did you say fourteen sons?
SLAVE: Yes, your highness. I must tell you that as a slave, we are really doing a fine job at building those pyramids. Carrying bricks is just the discipline that my fourteen sons need.
PHARAOH: Yes, I’ll have more grapes. This morning I took a tour of all of my new pyramids and I’m totally exhausted.
NARRATOR 1: The story of Moses and the Exodus from Egypt has been told thousands of times. It’s a reminder to the Jewish people that once we were slaves in Egypt, but now we are free. And so, this year, as in years before, generation upon generation, we tell the story of Passover. Now, I invite you to relax and listen to this tale. We begin in Pharaoh’s Palace.

Adapted from JewBelong Haggadah


Elliot will now introduce Shitacha!

After that, we'll sing the Ma Nishtana in reverse order:

מַה נִּשְּׁתַּנָה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת

Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?
Why is this night different from all other nights?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָנו מְסֻ

4) Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.
Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אֶנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּעַם אֶחָת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעָמִים

3) Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.
Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

2) Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.
Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat only bitter herbs?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה, הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה - כּוּלוֹ מַצָּה

1) Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.
Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzo, but on this night we eat only matzo?


The pieces of afikoman that we found earlier can now be reformed, as a jigsaw, to make whole matzo's.

We can each say something that we want to heal, to reform. 

Source :
Karpas Cocktail

Karpas is a vegetable other than bitter herbs on the seder plate, and it represents the coming of spring. It is usually parsley, but celery or cooked potato are sometimes also used. At the beginning of the seder, the karpas is dipped into salt water (Ashkenazi custom), vinegar (Sephardic custom) or charoset (Yemenite custom). The practice symbolizes the tears shed by enslaved Jews in Egypt.

Following a fairly literal approach, our karpas cocktail involves parsley and balsamic vinegar. We combine these with Leopolds's American Small Batch Gin, which has some light flowery flavors that pair well with the subtle vegetal taste of the parsley. We definitely suggest using flat or Italian parsley instead of the curly variety, which we found a bit bitter. The effect of the vinegar is subtle, but it adds a nice complexity to the brighter flavors.


2 oz (60 ml) Leopold’s Gin

2 sprigs Flat or Italian Parsley – leaves only

3 drops Balsamic Vinegar


1) Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake gently to chill the drink and bruise the parsley.

2) Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a chilled cocktail glass.

3) Garnish with a single parsley leaf floating in the drink.


The gentle shaking is the key to this cocktail. You want to roll the drink back and forth in the shaker to release the flavor of the parsley without overly macerating the leaves.


14. Ur'chatz (First Ritual Washing of the Hands)

Traditionally, no blessing is said for Urchatz. So, we'll have a few minutes of silence before washing our hands. This can be a chance to reflect on the seder.

Then wash hands for a cleanse!


Our Reverse Seder concludes with kiddush (blessing over wine).

In the conventional order, beginning with kiddush seems unremarkable - after all, kiddush is the opening act of every shabbat and holiday meal. But kiddush – a ritual sanctification of time – has an intimate and unique connection to Pesach’s central theme: freedom. How so?

As Israel was about to be released from slavery, God instituted a new calendar: “This month shall (mark for you the beginning of months; the first of the months of the year for you.” (Exodus 12:2) Why is this the first mitzva (commandment) communicated to a free nation?

A slave’s time is not his own. He is at the beck and call of his master. Even when the slave has a pressing personal engagement, his taskmaster’s needs will take priority. In contrast, freedom is the control of our time. We determine what we do when we wake up in the morning; we prioritize our day. This is true for an individual, but also for a nation. God commands Israel to create a Jewish calendar because, as an independent nation, Israel should not march any more to an Egyptian rhythm, celebrating Egyptian months and holidays. Instead Israel must forge a Jewish calendar, with unique days of rest, celebration and memory. Controlling and crafting our time is the critical first act of freedom.

Kiddush says this out loud. We sanctify the day and define its meaning! We proclaim this day as significant, holy and meaningful. We fashion time, claim ownership of it, and fashion it as a potent contact point with God, peoplehood and tradition. This is a quintessential act of Jewish freedom.

Today, we often feel short of time; that time controls us. Kadesh reminds us that true freedom and self-respect is to master and control time for ourselves, to shape our life in accordance with our values.

This section was adapted from Pardes.

Source : (Traditional)

   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.]

Source : Free Siddur Project, adapted

On Shabbat begin here, and include the portions in parentheses:

Vay’hi erev vay’hi voker yom hashishi. Vay’chulu hashamayim v’haaretz v’choltzva’am. Vay’chal Elohim bayom hashvi’i M’lachto asher asah, vayishbot bayom hashvi’i mikolmlachto asher asah. Vay’vareich Elohim et yom hashvi’i vay’kadeish oto, ki vo shavat mikol m’lachto, asher bara Elohim la’asot.)

Savri maranan verabanan verabotai

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, borei p’ri hagafen.

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikolam, v’rom’manu mikol-lashon, v’kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, vatiten-lanu Adonai Eloheinu b’ahavah (shabbatot limnucha u’)moadim l’simchah, chagim uz’manim l’sason et-yom (hashabbat hazah v’et-yom) chag hamatzot hazeh. Z’man cheiruteinu, (b’ahavah) mikra kodesh, zeicher litziat mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v’otanu kidashta mikolha’amim. (v’shabbat) umo’adei kod’shecha (b’ahavah uvratzon) b’simchah uv’sason hinchaltanu. Baruch Atah Adonai, m’kadeish (hashabbat v’) Yisrael v’hazmanim.

[On Saturday night include:

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, borei m’orei ha’eysh. Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, hamavdil beyn kodesh lichol, beyn or lichoshech, beyn yisrael la’amim, beyn yom hashvi’i lisheshet yimai hama’aseh. Beyn kidushat Shabbat likidushat yom tov hivdalta, v’et yom hashvi’i misheshet yimai hama’aseh kidashta; hivdalta vikidashta et amcha yisrael bikidushatecha. Baruch atah Adonai, Hamavdil beyn kodesh lechol.]


Let's say a shehecheyanu - usually you say this for a first-time of doing something! This is probably each of our first reverse seder! Shehecheyanu!!

וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה‎‎ שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ‎ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הַעוֹלָם‎ בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ‎

Baruch atah Adonai Elohenu melekh ha'olam shehecheyanu vekiymanu vehigi'anu lazman hazeh.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has granted us life, sustained us and enabled us to reach this occasion.

Let's now drink our last cup of wine, and relax, Reverse Seder complete!