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Introduction
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

** By meeting each other: In each table-group, people say their names and in one sentence, no more, explain why they have chosen to come to this Seder.

** By joining our voices:

[All sing:]

Circle 'round for freedom,
Circle 'round for peace;
For all of us imprisoned,
Circle for release.
Circle for the planet,
Circle for each soul;
For the children of our children,
Keep the circle whole.
--- Linda Hirschhorn

** By creating light
[All say together:]
We are the generation/That stands between the fires./Behind us is the flame and smoke/That rose from Auschwitz and from Hiroshima,/From the burning of our Towers/In jet fuel lit by rage,/ From the torching of our forests for the sake of fast hamburger; / Before us is the nightmare of a Flood of Fire: /The scorching of our planet/From a flood of greenhouse gases,/Or the blazing of our cities/In thermonuclear fire/Or the glare of gunfire/Exploding in our children. / It is our task to make from fire/Not an all-consuming blaze/But the light in which we see each other;/Each of us different,/All of us made in the image of God.

We light this fire to see more clearly/That the earth, the human race,/are not for burning./We light this fire to see more clearly/The rainbow in our many-colored faces.

Blessed are you, YHWH our God, Breathing Spirit of the Universe, who gives us light that we may become a light for peace and freedom and healing for all peoples and our planet.

Blessed are you, Yah, Breathing Spirit of the Universe, who has breathed life into us, lifted us up, and carried us to reach this moment.
[Light candles at each table.]

Introduction
by Betsy
Source : original

Passover, more than any other one ritual or holiday, is a summary of Judaism.  It follows the story of redemption from slavery in Egypt, the formative journey through the Sinai desert on the way to the land of Israel, and various encounters with God, culminating in the revelation of Torah.  During the process, what has been a family and a tribal story becomes a national story: it is in leaving Egypt that we become the Jewish people.

On the first night of Passover, we gather together for a Seder to remember the history of the Jews.  However, unlike on other holidays, we are not only commanded to hear the story of our ancestors, but to participate in the retelling.  In doing so, we re-experience our enslavement and eventual emancipation.

The Seder, a feast involving opportunities for prayer and instruction, is a chance for us to share in giving thanks and for us to remember the blessing of our relationship with God.  Perhaps the most important contribution of the Passover story to the Jewish narrative is the emphasis on unyielding hope in the face of adversity.  In that spirit, Passover also focuses us on the coming spring and encourages us to welcome this new season of rebirth with faith and optimism.

Introduction
Source : original

The Seder Plate

Think of the Seder Plate as a “combination plate” dinner that formed the meal in ancient days. The foods were not merely symbolic, but were eaten—from the plate. As the Seder menu changed, the foods on the Seder Plate required explanation. (clockwise from the upper-right-of-center)

Zeroa (shankbone), represents the Passover offering made in Temple times.

Beitzah(boiled or roasted egg), represents the holiday offering made in the days of the Temple.

Maror (bitter herbs), is horseradish and represents the bitterness of slavery in Egypt.11 It will be explained during the Seder.

Charoset ( a mixture of chopped nuts, apples and wine (and other wonderful ingredients) represents the clay the Jews used to make bricks for the Egyptians.

Chazeret another bitter herb, a bitter lettuce.

Karpas any green vegetable (parsley, celery—some traditions suggest a boiled potato), represents the new

Introduction
Source : A Growing Haggadah

We begin our Seder and join our efforts with those everywhere who celebrate the Passover searching for its meaning in their lives; as an expression of our liberation so far... There are many possible modes for understanding the events retold in the Pesach Haggadah.

Of these, three are braided together so that, if we concentrate exclusively on any one of them, we diminish the special qualities of the entire story.

By participating in the symbolic actions built into the order of the Seder, we can share in: the experience of the rebirth of the natural world around us, the national liberation of our people, the spiritual redemption of each individual human being.

We begin this evening: some of us feeling shackled by the bonds of winter, some of our people—and other peoples of the world—persecuted, many of us confined by our own personal limitations.

Tonight we hope to set in motion: processes of growth that encourage within each of us the renewal of each person’s unique vision, and efforts to work for the freedom of our scattered—and all, oppressed— people, as we see about us the flowering of a new year.

Indeed, we begin our Seder here.

However, our goals are neither our renewal, our freedom, nor our flowering.

Pesach is but the pointer to the acceptance of our commitments to complete these tasks—in a harvesting of the fruits of our labors yet to come.

Kadesh
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

All Jewish celebrations, from holidays to weddings, include wine as a symbol of our joy – not to mention a practical way to increase that joy. The seder starts with wine and then gives us three more opportunities to refill our cup and drink.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who chose us from all peoples and languages, and sanctified us with commandments, and lovingly gave to us special times for happiness, holidays and this time of celebrating the Holiday of Matzah, the time of liberation, reading our sacred stories, and remembering the Exodus from Egypt. For you chose us and sanctified us among all peoples. And you have given us joyful holidays. We praise God, who sanctifies the people of Israel and the holidays.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
 שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam,
she-hechiyanu v’key’manu v’higiyanu lazman hazeh.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything,
who has kept us alive, raised us up, and brought us to this happy moment.

Drink the first glass of wine!

Kadesh
Source : SEDER FOR THE EARTH: Facing the Plagues & Pharaohs of Our Generation, Shalom Center

We will drink from four cups of grape juice to honor FOUR STAGES on the path of LIBERATION. These cups are (1) Becoming aware of oppression, (2) Opposing oppression, (3) Imagining alternatives, (4) Accepting personal and communal responsibility to act.

** First: the cup of awareness: learning to recognize the reality of oppression.
[Pour cups of grape juice.]

Kadesh
Source : Open Source Haggadah

KADESH: Happy Hour begins

Humorous
Bangitout.com
Q. "Red, Red, Wine...Stay close to me" -- Why Red Wine, Bob?

Sure there is the whole symbolic "looks like blood" thing (Jewish slaves or Paschal Lamb? You make the call) -- but the Ishbitzer Rav gives a novel interpretation: Wine, is the product of a long process (the longer it takes, the more expensive!) From the grape to the bottle, it goes through some long hard processes. So too, the Jewish Nation also requires a long process toward perfection: Egyptian slavery, then the desert, then centuries of exile and persecution. We've been through a lot. But says the Ishbitzer, just like wine, the results will be sweet. This is precisely why we always use wine for all of our holidays, a constant reminder to this idea (and is the reason why if no wine is available on Shabbos, one should make Kiddush on the challah, as bread too is an amazing product of a long hard process) Cheers! 

Q: Drinking is for Purim not Pesach?

Don't get bummed if you can't hold your wine. The Avnei Nezer feels that Pesach is a continuation to Purim. When the Talmud (Ta'anit 29a) says "When entering Adar, increase your simcha," Rashi explains that it applies to both months of redemption, Adar and Nissan. This is a good explanation why we celebrate Purim during the second Adar in a leap year: to keep Purim and Pesach next to each other. Therefore, says the Avnei Nezer, the wine is a continuation of the celebration of Purim. But know when to say when, four cups is enough! 

Q: Why does Judaism always start meals with wine?  

Wine is a drink that lightens the mood and loosens people up (God knows we need all 4 cups especially with all our family on Pesach). Our sages even say that: "There is no simcha, (joyous occasion) without wine." However a fundamental lesson we can take away from Kadesh, is that Judaism believes that part of our goal in life is to find the holiness and spirituality in everything in this world. To sanctify that which is mundane. The word "Kadesh" can also mean to separate. To mikadesh the night with wine is to make this night, and this cup something separate, something special, something unique. Wine is just a regular drink. But by sanctifying wine, we are showing that we can live in the physical world, and enjoy it, while at the same time find holiness into that very same experience. If we use wine in the correct manner and at the correct time, it can provide the physical and spiritual high we all are longing for. L'Chaim.

Kadesh
Source : Original

Urchatz
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com
Water is refreshing, cleansing, and clear, so it’s easy to understand why so many cultures and religions use water for symbolic purification. We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal, which Judaism thinks of as a ritual in itself. (The Jewish obsession with food is older than you thought!)

To wash your hands, you don’t need soap, but you do need a cup to pour water over your hands. Pour water on each of your hands three times, alternating between your hands. If the people around your table don’t want to get up to walk all the way over to the sink, you could pass a pitcher and a bowl around so everyone can wash at their seats… just be careful not to spill!

Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do.

Let's pause to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together tonight. Go around the table and share one hope or expectation you have for tonight's seder.

Urchatz
Source : Original

Karpas
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Passover, like many of our holidays, combines the celebration of an event from our Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.

We now take a vegetable, representing our joy at the dawning of spring after our long, cold winter. Most families use a green vegetable, such as parsley or celery, but some families from Eastern Europe have a tradition of using a boiled potato since greens were hard to come by at Passover time. Whatever symbol of spring and sustenance we’re using, we now dip it into salt water, a symbol of the tears our ancestors shed as slaves. Before we eat it, we recite a short blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree ha-adama.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruits of the earth.

We look forward to spring and the reawakening of flowers and greenery. They haven’t been lost, just buried beneath the snow, getting ready for reappearance just when we most needed them.

-

We all have aspects of ourselves that sometimes get buried under the stresses of our busy lives. What has this winter taught us? What elements of our own lives do we hope to revive this spring?

Karpas
Source : Original

Yachatz
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

There are three pieces of matzah stacked on the table. We now break the middle matzah into two pieces. The host should wrap up the larger of the pieces and, at some point between now and the end of dinner, hide it. This piece is called the afikomen, literally “dessert” in Greek. After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen in order to wrap up the meal… and win a prize.

We eat matzah in memory of the quick flight of our ancestors from Egypt. As slaves, they had faced many false starts before finally being let go. So when the word of their freedom came, they took whatever dough they had and ran with it before it had the chance to rise, leaving it looking something like matzah.

Uncover and hold up the three pieces of matzah and say:

This is the bread of poverty which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. All who are hungry, come and eat; all who are needy, come and celebrate Passover with us. This year we are here; next year we will be in Israel. This year we are slaves; next year we will be free.

These days, matzah is a special food and we look forward to eating it on Passover. Imagine eating only matzah, or being one of the countless people around the world who don’t have enough to eat.

What does the symbol of matzah say to us about oppression in the world, both people literally enslaved and the many ways in which each of us is held down by forces beyond our control? How does this resonate with events happening now?

Yachatz
Source : humormatters.com

Our Passover Things

(To be sung to the tune of "My favorite things", from The Sound of Music)

Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes
Out with the hametz, no pasta, no knishes
Fish that's gefiltered,
horseradish that stings
These are a few of our Passover things.

Matzoh and karpas and chopped up haroset
Shankbones and kidish and Yiddish neuroses
Tante who kvetches and uncle who sings
These are a few of our Passover things.

Motzi and maror and trouble with Pharoahs
Famines and locust and slaves with wheelbarrows
Matzoh balls floating and eggshell that clings
These are a few of our Passover things.

CHORUS

When the plagues strike
When the lice bite
When we're feeling sad
We simply remember our Passover things
And then we don't feel so bad.

Yachatz
Source : Original

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

The Haggadah doesn’t tell the story of Passover in a linear fashion. We don’t hear of Moses being found by the daughter of Pharaoh – actually, we don’t hear much of Moses at all. Instead, we get an impressionistic collection of songs, images, and stories of both the Exodus from Egypt and from Passover celebrations through the centuries. Some say that minimizing the role of Moses keeps us focused on the miracles God performed for us. Others insist that we keep the focus on the role that every member of the community has in bringing about positive change.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Becky & Jeremy Gimbel and Laura Einhorn

Passover Story in Song

Adapted lyrics by Becky & Jeremy Gimbel & Laura Einhorn

(To the tune of “American Pie” by Don McLean)

A long long time ago

In the land of Egypt

Where the Israelites were Pharaoh’s slaves

Pharaoh said, “Hebrew boys should die!”

And the Jewish mothers began to cry

But Yochevet refused to throw her boy away

She and Miriam put him in the Nile

Where he was found after a while

Pharaoh’s daughter saved him

In the palace, his mother raised him

Since from the water was where he came

They decided “Moses” was his name

And he grew up with the morals of a Jew

Spoken: One day, growing up in Pharaoh’s palace, Moses witnessed an Egyptian slave beating a Jew.  Enraged by this action, Moses broke into song…

(To the tune of “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield)

There’s something happening here

What it is ain’t exactly clear

There’s a man with a whip over there

Beatin’ a slave like he just don’t care.

I’m singin:

Stop Egypt what’s that sound, everybody look what’s going round

Spoken: In a fit of anger, Moses struck down the taskmaster, and fled to the desert where he tended sheep for a while.  One day, something a little bizarre happened…

(To the tune of “Yesterday” by The Beatles)

Suddenly, God came to me in a flaming tree

Said I want my people to be free

Go to Pharoah, speak for me

Go to Pharoah, speak for me

Spoken: So Moses went to Pharoah…

(To the tune of “Louie, Louie” as adapted by Mah Tovu)

Pharoah Pharoah

Whoa baby let my people go

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Pharoah Pharoah

Whoa baby let my people go

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Well a burning bush told me just the other day

That I should go to Egypt and say

It’s time to let our people be free

Listen to God if you won’t listen to me (I SAID)

Pharoah Pharoah

Whoa baby let my people go

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Pharoah Pharoah

Whoa baby let my people go

Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah

Spoken: Pharoah wouldn’t listen to Moses’ plea, thus, THE PLAGUES

(To the tune of “It’s The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” by REM)

Blood blood

Frogs frogs

Lice lice

Beasts beasts

Cattle disease

Boils boils

Hail hail

Locusts

Darkness (2x)

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

It’s the end of the world as we know it

So spill your wine

Break to spill wine

Spoken: At first, Pharoah would let the Israelites go, and then God hardened his heart and Pharoah would change his mind.  Every time.  All through the nine plagues.  Enter the tenth plague, death of the first born.  This one put Pharoah over the top.

(To the tune of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” by John Denver)

Our doors are crossed with blood,

God spared our sons

We’re outta here

We’re moving our buns

But we don’t have buns

They didn’t have time to rise!

We’re leaving en route to Canaan

Don’t think that we’ll be back again

Hey Jews, it’s time to go

(With a groove)

So the Jews left, matzah in hand

From Egypt to the promised land

Got to a sea they couldn’t cross

Moses raised his hand up to the Boss

Pharoah’s army was close behind

Hey, this brings a song to mind

(To the tune of “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins)

Been working, so hard

Time to make these waters part

400 years busting our backs

Finally God’s cutting us some slack

The sea is splitting

Tonight we’ll get out of this town (The sea is splitting we’ll get out of this town!)

The sea is splitting

We’ll cross the sea and not drown

Tonight we’re gonna be free, oo ee

Crossing the red sea

Hum, Miriam, break out the timbrels and drums!

(To the tune of “Miriam’s Song” by Debbie Friedman)

Mi chamochah ba-eilim, Adonai

Mi kamochah nedar bakodesh

Nora t’hilot, oseh feleh

Nora t’hilot, oseh feleh

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Original

-- Four Questions
Source : JewishBoston.com

The formal telling of the story of Passover is framed as a discussion with lots of questions and answers. The tradition that the youngest person asks the questions reflects the centrality of involving everyone in the seder. The rabbis who created the set format for the seder gave us the Four Questions to help break the ice in case no one had their own questions. Asking questions is a core tradition in Jewish life. If everyone at your seder is around the same age, perhaps the person with the least seder experience can ask them – or everyone can sing them all together.

מַה נִּשְׁתַּנָּה הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילות

Ma nishtana halaila hazeh mikol haleilot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכלין חָמֵץ וּמַצָּה  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלּוֹ מצה  

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin chameitz u-matzah. Halaila hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights we eat both leavened bread and matzah.
Tonight we only eat matzah.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin shi’ar yirakot haleila hazeh maror.

On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables,
but tonight we eat bitter herbs.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אֵין אָֽנוּ מַטְבִּילִין אֲפִילוּ פַּֽעַם אחָת  הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה שְׁתֵּי פְעמים

Shebichol haleilot ain anu matbilin afilu pa-am echat. Halaila hazeh shtei fi-amim.

On all other nights we aren’t expected to dip our vegetables one time.
Tonight we do it twice.

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָֽנוּ אוֹכְלִין בֵּין יוֹשְׁבִין וּבֵין מְסֻבִּין.  :הַלַּֽיְלָה הַזֶּה כֻּלָּֽנוּ מְסֻבין

Shebichol haleilot anu ochlin bein yoshvin uvein m’subin. Halaila hazeh kulanu m’subin.

On all other nights we eat either sitting normally or reclining.
Tonight we recline.

-- Four Questions
Source : http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/passover-haggadah-supplement-2011-2

Discuss as a group or in pairs at the Seder table:

1. Egypt, “mitzrayim” in Hebrew, comes from the word “tzar”: the “narrow place,” the constricted place. In what way are you personally still constricted? Are you able to see yourself as part of the unity of all being, a manifestation of God’s love on earth? Are you able to overcome the ego issues that separate us from each other? Can you see the big picture, or do you get so caught in the narrow places and limited struggles of your own life that it’s hard to see the big picture? What concrete steps could you take to change that?

2. Do you believe that we can eventually eradicate wars, poverty, and starvation? Or do you believe that no one really cares about anyone but themselves, and that we will always be stuck in some version of the current mess? Or do you think that such a belief is, itself, part of what keeps us in this mess? If so, how would you suggest we spread a more hopeful message and deal with the cynicism and self-doubt that always accompanies us when we start talking about changing the world?

3. What experiences have you had that give you hope? Tell about some struggle to change something — a struggle that you personally were involved in — that worked. What did you learn from that?

4. When the Israelites approached the Sea of Reeds, the waters did not split. It took a few brave souls to jump into the water. Even then, the waters rose up to their very noses, and only then, when these brave souls showed that they really believed in the Force of Healing and Transformation (YHVH), did the waters split and the Israelites walk through them. Would you be willing to jump into those waters today — for example by becoming an advocate for nonviolence or for the strategy of generosity? Would you go to speak about this to your elected representatives? To your neighbors? To your coworkers? To your family?

-- Four Questions
Source : Original

How does each of us define “FREEDOM”? Is it an idea or a reality? What rights come with being free? What responsibilities?

 Let’s agree on what do with the Tzedakah money raised before Shabbat that might help someone else be free.

Ideas:

Freedom from hunger: local food bank

Freedom from fear: Southern Law Poverty Center or Legal Aid Center

Freedom from poverty: The Jewish Federation

Others?

-- Four Children
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

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?

-- Four Children
Source : Rabbi Gilah Langner, created for Rabbis for Human Rights - North America, 2010

Four Questions on Slavery

Our tradition speaks of four children or four attitudes: the wise child, the wicked child, the simple child, and the one who does not know how to ask.  Each child has a different reaction to hearing about slavery.   

What does the wise child say?  “What are the testimonies, the statutes, and the laws that apply to this situation?  How we are to discern what God demands of us?” 

You are to answer this child:  “God brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage that we may understand the heart of those suffering in slavery, and use all our powers to redeem them.”

What does the wicked child say?  “What does all this work have to do with you?”  Notice: “you,” not him or her.  The wicked child stays far removed from suffering, and thus has lost the essence of our teachings. 

You might ask this child: “If you had been in Egypt, would you have been redeemed?  And if you do not lift a finger now, who will redeem those who languish in slavery?”

The simple child asks:  “What’s this all about?” 

And you should teach this child:  God brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand, out of the house of slaves.  So we should use our strength to abolish slavery around the world.  No slavery.  No exceptions.

And the one who does not know to ask, you must open his and her eyes to what is going on.  For today there are 27 million people living in slavery, and over 8 million of them are children.  Surely this is one reason God took our people out of Egypt long ago – so that we might understand what it means to be a slave, and so that we might help free all those who live in slavery.  

                              

-- Exodus Story
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Our story starts in ancient times, with Abraham, the first person to have the idea that maybe all those little statues his contemporaries worshiped as gods were just statues. The idea of one God, invisible and all-powerful, inspired him to leave his family and begin a new people in Canaan, the land that would one day bear his grandson Jacob’s adopted name, Israel.

God had made a promise to Abraham that his family would become a great nation, but this promise came with a frightening vision of the troubles along the way: “Your descendants will dwell for a time in a land that is not their own, and they will be enslaved and afflicted for four hundred years; however, I will punish the nation that enslaved them, and afterwards they shall leave with great wealth."

Raise the glass of wine and say:

וְהִיא שֶׁעָמְדָה לַאֲבוֹתֵֽינוּ וְלָֽנוּ

V’hi she-amda l’avoteinu v’lanu.

This promise has sustained our ancestors and us.

For not only one enemy has risen against us to annihilate us, but in every generation there are those who rise against us. But God saves us from those who seek to harm us.

The glass of wine is put down.

In the years our ancestors lived in Egypt, our numbers grew, and soon the family of Jacob became the People of Israel. Pharaoh and the leaders of Egypt grew alarmed by this great nation growing within their borders, so they enslaved us. We were forced to perform hard labor, perhaps even building pyramids. The Egyptians feared that even as slaves, the Israelites might grow strong and rebel. So Pharaoh decreed that Israelite baby boys should be drowned, to prevent the Israelites from overthrowing those who had enslaved them.

But God heard the cries of the Israelites. And God brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand and outstretched arm, with great awe, miraculous signs and wonders. God brought us out not by angel or messenger, but through God’s own intervention. 

-- Exodus Story
Source : A Growing Haggadah

Even before the Exodus from Egypt our ancestors probably celebrated the mystery of life and the creation of the world each spring. Now again, we remind ourselves of the greens of the earth and the salt of the sea from which all life emerged, and on which all life depends.


But we do not simply celebrate spring’s renewal nor love’s warmth. Pesach celebrates our becoming free. Through the wondrous rebirth of life we can feel the precarious beginnings of the struggle for freedom. The sea’s salt not only reminds us of life’s start, but also of the brine of tears shed by our people and by all people striving to be free.

-- Ten Plagues
Source : JWA / Jewish Boston - The Wandering Is Over Haggadah; Including Women's Voices

The traditional Haggadah lists ten plagues that afflicted the Egyptians. We live in a very different world, but Passover is a good time to remember that, even after our liberation from slavery in Egypt, there are still many challenges for us to meet. Here are ten “modern plagues”:

Inequity - Access to affordable housing, quality healthcare, nutritious food, good schools, and higher education is far from equal. The disparity between rich and poor is growing, and opportunities for upward mobility are limited.

Entitlement - Too many people consider themselves entitled to material comfort, economic security, and other privileges of middle-class life without hard work.

Fear - Fear of “the other” produces and reinforces xenophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment, antisemitism, homophobia, and transphobia.

Greed - Profits are a higher priority than the safety of workers or the health of the environment. The top one percent of the American population controls 42% of the country’s financial wealth, while corporations send jobs off-shore and American workers’ right to organize and bargain collectively is threatened.

Distraction - In this age of constant connectedness, we are easily distracted by an unending barrage of information, much of it meaningless, with no way to discern what is important.

Distortion of reality - The media constructs and society accepts unrealistic expectations, leading to eating disorders and an unhealthy obsession with appearance for both men and women.

Unawareness - It is easy to be unaware of the consequences our consumer choices have for the environment and for workers at home and abroad. Do we know where or how our clothes are made? Where or how our food is produced? The working conditions? The impact on the environment?

Discrimination - While we celebrate our liberation from bondage in Egypt, too many people still suffer from discrimination. For example, blacks in the United States are imprisoned at more than five times the rate of whites, and Hispanics are locked up at nearly double the white rate. Women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. At 61 cents to the dollar, the disparity is even more shocking in Jewish communal organization.

Silence - Every year, 4.8 million cases of domestic violence against American women are reported. We do not talk about things that are disturbing, such as rape, sex trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence, and elder abuse, even though they happen every day in our own communities.

Feeling overwhelmed and disempowered - When faced with these modern “plagues,” how often do we doubt or question our own ability to make a difference? How often do we feel paralyzed because we do not know what to do to bring about change?

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

The plagues and our subsequent redemption from Egypt are but one example of the care God has shown for us in our history. Had God but done any one of these kindnesses, it would have been enough – dayeinu.

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu hotzi- hotzianu, Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim Hotzianu mi-mitzrayim, Dayeinu

If God had only taken us out of Egypt, that would have been enough!

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ

Ilu natan natan lanu, natan lanu et ha-Torah, Natan lanu et ha-Torah , Dayeinu

If God had only given us the Torah, that would have been enough.

 The complete lyrics to Dayeinu tell the entire story of the Exodus from Egypt as a series of miracles God performed for us. (See the Additional Readings if you want to read or sing them all.)

Dayeinu also reminds us that each of our lives is the cumulative result of many blessings, small and large. 

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

We have now told the story of Passover…but wait! We’re not quite done. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet. Rabban Gamliel would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice.

The shank bone represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. It is called the pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors.

The matzah reminds us that when our ancestors were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. Our ancestors grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled.

The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As all good term papers do, we start with the main idea:

ּעֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין  

Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt. Now we are free.

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and God took us from there with a strong hand and outstretched arm. Had God not brought our ancestors out of Egypt, then even today we and our children and our grandchildren would still be slaves. Even if we were all wise, knowledgeable scholars and Torah experts, we would still be obligated to tell the story of the exodus from Egypt.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

בְּכָל־דּוֹר וָדוֹר חַיָּב אָדָם לִרְאוֹת אֶת־עַצְמוֹ, כְּאִלּוּ הוּא יָצָא מִמִּצְרָֽיִם

B’chol dor vador chayav adam lirot et-atzmo, k’ilu hu yatzav mimitzrayim.

In every generation, everyone is obligated to see themselves as though they personally left Egypt.

The seder reminds us that it was not only our ancestors whom God redeemed; God redeemed us too along with them. That’s why the Torah says “God brought us out from there in order to lead us to and give us the land promised to our ancestors.”

---

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who redeemed us and our ancestors from Egypt, enabling us to reach this night and eat matzah and bitter herbs. May we continue to reach future holidays in peace and happiness.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the second glass of wine!

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : The Jewish Secular Community Passover Hagada

Reader 50: Throughout time, groups have always fought and enslaved one another, physically and intellectually. Our history is one of constant struggle against repression. Throughout the centuries, Jews have been denied freedom.

In every generation I must find my freedom again

In every generation they rise up to destroy me

In every generation there are those who would be

masters of slaves.

In every generation I was a slave

I was a slave for Pharaoh in Egypt

for Nebuchadnezzer in Babylon

and died fighting the Romans at Massada

and fled from the Crusaders

and from the Spanish Inquisitors

and was slain by the Cossacks in Russia,

and by the Nazis

and still there are those who oppress us as the

Russian Government oppressed our people and those

who would destroy us as the Arabs fought to

annihilate Israel.

How can I be free while there is one slave left?

How can I be free when people use guns instead of

understanding?

How can I be free when my own mind enslaves me in 

bigotry, jealousy and hatred?

This year we are slaves, but next year....shall we be free?

Harvey Fisher (Former member of JSC)

Rachtzah
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we now transition from the formal telling of the Passover story to the celebratory meal, we once again wash our hands to prepare ourselves. In Judaism, a good meal together with friends and family is itself a sacred act, so we prepare for it just as we prepared for our holiday ritual, recalling the way ancient priests once prepared for service in the Temple.

Some people distinguish between washing to prepare for prayer and washing to prepare for food by changing the way they pour water on their hands. For washing before food, pour water three times on your right hand and then three times on your left hand.

After you have poured the water over your hands, recite this short blessing.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ  עַל נְטִילַת יָדָֽיִם

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al n’tilat yadayim.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to wash our hands.

Rachtzah
Source : http://www.tikkun.org/nextgen/passover-haggadah-supplement-2011-2

What is really needed is a revolutionary transformation in our way of thinking and in our economic, political, and social arrangements.

America will find security when it is perceived by the world as caring not merely for its own well-being, particularly that of its most wealthy citizens and global corporations, but genuinely for the well-being of all of the people on the planet.

Instead of relying on domination, we know both from our holy texts and from our real-world experience that it is generosity, kindness, compassion, and caring for others that will be the key to our success and survival.

Telling the ancient story reminds us that the same Power in the Universe (YHVH or, in English, “God”) that made the Exodus possible can, at this very moment, make it possible for the world to be transformed and liberated from all forms of oppression. No matter how overwhelming the global order of materialism and selfishness might seem at this moment, the power of God’s goodness can again be enlivened in all of us, and we can act together to transform the world, just as the ancient Israelites did in their struggle with Pharaoh.

Inviting God’s goodness to be enlivened within us takes inner work, as well as political organization. First and foremost, we need to overcome ego, quiet our minds, affirm pleasure for our bodies, rejoice in our opportunity to serve God and humanity, and recognize that beyond the self, beyond family and country, we are part of the ongoing unfolding and evolution of the consciousness of the universe as it moves toward higher and higher levels of self-knowledge, partly through us. So we pause now to close our eyes, to envision the universe and our place in it, and to affirm the meaning of our human mission as partners with God in the healing and transformation of all that is.

Rachtzah
Source : Original

Motzi-Matzah
Source : JewishBoston.com

The blessing over the meal and matzah | motzi matzah | מוֹצִיא מַצָּה

The familiar hamotzi blessing marks the formal start of the meal. Because we are using matzah instead of bread, we add a blessing celebrating this mitzvah.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִיא לֶֽחֶם מִן הָאָֽרֶץ

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, hamotzi lechem min ha-aretz.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who brings bread from the land.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתַָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מַצָּה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat matzah.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat matzah.

Distribute and eat the top and middle matzah for everyone to eat.

Motzi-Matzah
Source : Foundation for Family Education, Inc.
(To be recited when describing the Matzah and the Seder Plate.)
The Jewish prisoners in the German concentration camp at Bergen Belsen did not have matzah for the observance of Pesach in 1944. Under the circumstances the sages at the camp permitted the eating of leavened bread for which occasion this benediction was composed:
Our Father in heaven, behold it is evident and known to three that it is our desire to do they will
and to celebrate the festival of Pesach by eating matzah and by observing the prohibition of leavened food. But our heart is pained that the enslavement prevents us and we are in danger of our lives. Behold, we are prepared and ready to fulfill they commandment; "And ye shall live by them and not die by them".
We pray to thee that thou mayest keep us alive and preserve us and redeem us speedily so that we may observe thy statutes and do thy will and serve thee with a perfect heart.  Amen.
Motzi-Matzah
Source : Original

Maror
Source : JewishBoston.com

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror  |מָרוֹר   

  In creating a holiday about the joy of freedom, we turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset. We don’t totally eradicate the taste of the bitter with the taste of the sweet… but doesn’t the sweet mean more when it’s layered over the bitterness?

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָֽׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּֽנוּ עַל אֲכִילַת מרוֹר

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who made us holy through obligations, commanding us to eat bitter herbs.

Maror
Source : Original

Koreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating a sandwich of matzah and bitter herb | koreich | כּוֹרֵךְ

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 God’s kindness helped relieve the bitterness of slavery.

Koreich
Source : Original

Shulchan Oreich
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

Enjoy! But don’t forget when you’re done we’ve got a little more seder to go, including the final two cups of wine!

Shulchan Oreich
Tzafun
Source : JewishBoston.com

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

The playfulness of finding the afikomen reminds us that we balance our solemn memories of slavery with a joyous celebration of freedom. As we eat the afikomen, our last taste of matzah for the evening, we are grateful for moments of silliness and happiness in our lives.

Bareich
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Refill everyone’s wine glass.

We now say grace after the meal, thanking God for the food we’ve eaten. On Passover, this becomes something like an extended toast to God, culminating with drinking our third glass of wine for the evening:

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, whose goodness sustains the world. You are the origin of love and compassion, the source of bread for all. Thanks to You, we need never lack for food; You provide food enough for everyone. We praise God, source of food for everyone.

As it says in the Torah: When you have eaten and are satisfied, give praise to your God who has given you this good earth. We praise God for the earth and for its sustenance.

Renew our spiritual center in our time. We praise God, who centers us.

May the source of peace grant peace to us, to the Jewish people, and to the entire world. Amen.

The Third Glass of Wine

The blessing over the meal is immediately followed by another blessing over the wine:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the third glass of wine!

Bareich
Source : Original

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

Singing songs that praise God | hallel | הַלֵּל

This is the time set aside for singing. Some of us might sing traditional prayers from the Book of Psalms. Others take this moment for favorites like Chad Gadya & Who Knows One, which you can find in the appendix. To celebrate the theme of freedom, we might sing songs from the civil rights movement. Or perhaps your crazy Uncle Frank has some parody lyrics about Passover to the tunes from a musical. We’re at least three glasses of wine into the night, so just roll with it.

Fourth Glass of Wine

As we come to the end of the seder, we drink one more glass of wine. With this final cup, we give thanks for the experience of celebrating Passover together, for the traditions that help inform our daily lives and guide our actions and aspirations.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

We praise God, Ruler of Everything, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Drink the fourth and final glass of wine! 

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

The Cup of Elijah

We now refill our wine glasses one last time and open the front door to invite the prophet Elijah to join our seder.

In the Bible, Elijah was a fierce defender of God to a disbelieving people. At the end of his life, rather than dying, he was whisked away to heaven. Tradition holds that he will return in advance of messianic days to herald a new era of peace, so we set a place for Elijah at many joyous, hopeful Jewish occasions, such as a baby’s bris and the Passover seder.

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

Eliyahu hanavi
Eliyahu hatishbi
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi
Bimheirah b’yameinu, yavo eileinu
Im mashiach ben-David,
Im mashiach ben-David

Elijah the prophet, the returning, the man of Gilad:
return to us speedily,
in our days with the messiah,
son of David.

Hallel
Source : Original

There, in the very center of the Seder table, stands a special, ornate kiddush-cup brimming with wine, awaiting the one still expected but as yet un-arrived guest -- the prophet Elijah. 

Will Elijah come this year, to drink of our wine, to bring tidings of the long anticipated,final redemption of all humankind on this anniversary of Israel's redemption from Egypt? I hope so, but I think not. 

The world at large is not yet ready for redemption, although it is sorely in need of it. There is still too much hatred, too much disease, too much evil. There is still too much poverty, oppression, misery. We have not yet conquered our tendency to conquer others, nor have we yet mastered the art of conquering ourselves. 

But aren't these the very reasons we are in need of redemption? Yes, but this kind of redemption must first come from within; it cannot be brought about from without. We are the ones who must redeem ourselves from all these ills, find solutions for all these conflicts and raise mere “hope” to the level of action before we can expect to see the first glimmerings of a final redemption.

The real meaning of redemption is for us to work toward building a better world, and, as we progress, we will pave the way toward greater progress, until Elijah will be able to reach our doors without stumbling into the pitfalls and potholes we have left in his path. 

"When will redemption come?," R. Yehoshua b. Levi asked Elijah.

Elijah replied, "Go and ask the Messiah who sits and waits at the Old City gates."

"Today!, " replied the Messiah.

And so, elated, R. Yehoshua patiently waited the day away, and still the Messiah had not arrived, nor had redemption come to the world.

When he next encountered Elijah, R. Yehoshua accosted him and as much as accused the Messiah of lying.

"'Today!,' he told me, yet today has become yesterday, and still no redeemer has brought redemption."

The perennial prophet simply sipped his cup and said, "I fear you may have misunderstood him. He was quoting scripture to you from the book of Psalms. Here is what it says: "'Today', [I will come] if only all of you would hearken to My [God's] voice." 

Let us set out the ornate cup in the center of our Seder tables and fill it with sweet wine. Let us open the door to redemption; not only the physical door to our homes, but the metaphorical spiritual doors which, while still locked, prevent us from working to bring about the " athalta d’geulah," the beginnings of that great, final redemption. Let us be the ones who engage in paving the road that Elijah and we must walk to complete his - and our - journey.

Hallel
Source : http://books.google.com/books?id=6Z_xVc5_rpsC&lpg=PA235&ots=k_MG2-iugu&dq=passages%20for%20fifth%20cup%20of%20wine&pg=PA237#v=onepage&q=passages%20for%20fifth%20cup%20of%20wine&f=false

A Prayer for Peace

May we see the day when war and bloodshed cease, when a great peace will embrace the whole world. Then nation will not threaten nation, and mankind will not again know war. For all who live on earth shall realize we have not come into being to hate or to destroy.  We have come into being to praise, to labor, to love. Compassionate God, bless the leaders of all nations with the power  of compassion. Fulfill the promise conveyed in scripture; I will bring peace to the land, and you shall lie down and no one shall terrify you. I wll rid the land of vicious beasts and it shall not be ravaged by war.  Let love and justice flow like a mighty stream. Let peace fill  the earth as waters fill the sea. And let us say: Amen.

Nirtzah
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

Nirtzah  marks the conclusion of the seder. Our bellies are full, we have had several glasses of wine, we have told stories and sung songs, and now it is time for the evening to come to a close. At the end of the seder, we honor the tradition of declaring, “Next year in Jerusalem!”

For some people, the recitation of this phrase expresses the anticipation of rebuilding the Temple in Jerusalem and the return of the Messiah. For others, it is an affirmation of hope and of connectedness with  Klal Yisrael, the whole of the Jewish community. Still others yearn for peace in Israel and for all those living in the Diaspora.

Though it comes at the end of the seder, this moment also marks a beginning. We are beginning the next season with a renewed awareness of the freedoms we enjoy and the obstacles we must still confront. We are looking forward to the time that we gather together again. Having retold stories of the Jewish people, recalled historic movements of liberation, and reflected on the struggles people still face for freedom and equality, we are ready to embark on a year that we hope will bring positive change in the world and freedom to people everywhere.

In  The Leader's Guide to the Family Participation Haggadah: A Different Night, Rabbi David Hartman writes: “Passover is the night for reckless dreams; for visions about what a human being can be, what society can be, what people can be, what history may become.”

What can  we  do to fulfill our reckless dreams? What will be our legacy for future generations?

Our seder is over, according to Jewish tradition and law. As we had the pleasure to gather for a seder this year, we hope to once again have the opportunity in the years to come. We pray that God brings health and healing to Israel and all the people of the world, especially those impacted by natural tragedy and war. As we say…

לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בִּירוּשָׁלָֽיִם

L’shana haba-ah biy’rushalayim

NEXT YEAR IN JERUSALEM!

Commentary / Readings
Source : Ilana Rosenberg Merlm, My daughter, written as a high school student
The Haggadah tells us, "In every generation they rise against us and seek our destruction."  Remember and learn from the past
 
     To me, the Holocaust is much more than a tragic event in Jewish and world history.  To me, it was a wake up call. In the pre-Holocaust era, European Jewry was rapidly looking to assimilate. Jews were holding some of the most prestigious positions in society. Ranging from doctors to musicians to professors and even politicians, some Jews were so wrapped up in their social ranks that they did not even identify with their Judaism anymore.  It is said that the Jewish Germans were Germans first, then Jews.  They were more loyal to their country than their G-d.
     I think that the Holocaust was a wake up call to all of the Jews who forgot that G-d existed.  They forgot that they were put on this earth to serve a higher being, not society.
     The Jews of that time tried to run from their Judaism. By assimilating into German society they thought they could exempt themselves from their religious responsiblities.  Obviously they were wrong.  Hitler did not care whether a Jew was assimilated or not.  He saw them all as Jews.  As much as they tried to run away, they were still Jews and in danger of being exterminated.
     We must realize that we are different, we are G-d's chosen people.  This is a privilege not a chore.  If we are proud of our heritage and do not try to deny it we can overcome anything. We need unity to keep Judaism alive. 
     In my opinion the Holocaust could happen again.  There will always be hatred against Jews; we are the scapegoats for society.  When something goes wrong economically or politically we are blamed. If we remember and learn from the past, we can hope for a good future.  If we forget we are doomed.
 
Commentary / Readings
Source : Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg

By Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg


As a child of survivors of the Nazi death camps who has published extensive articles and editorials regarding the Holocaust, I am deeply disturbed and sense the deep pangs of anguish of those who still cannot either comprehend or appreciate the true acts of heroism which prevailed. As a practicing rabbi who refuses to allow the memories of the past to be distorted, I appeal to our fellow Jew: “Never forget the acts of heroism which made it possible for us to exist.”

The recurring questions which haunts survivors and their children echo through the halls of time. “Why didn’t they fight back? Why did they enter the chambers of death like sheep to the slaughter?” By our standards, such actions as placidly lining up against a wall to be shot or walking silently into the gas chambers or standing nude and obedient at the edge of a ravine filled with blood-covered bodies awaiting one’s own turn to die, defy all understanding. Indeed, anti-Semites would suggest that Jews were different, somehow not quite as brave, not quite as courageous as the average person. Our enemies will even conclude that the Jews were guilty of the crimes they were accused of, and hence with heavy conscience and accepting the punishment for their “crimes,” the Jews quietly submitted to their deserved punishment.

Nothing could be a greater falsification of the truth. The hopelessness seen in their faces was not a reflection of guilt; rather it was a realization that they had been completely deserted and betrayed by humanity. The light of morality, conscience and brotherhood had been completely extinguished and for them life became a terror-filled abyss. Responsibility for their death clearly lies with the Nazis and their collaborators.

Individuals confronted by the Holocaust often ask obvious questions to which there are no simplistic answers. One needs to read, to study, to discuss, to reflect and to interview individuals who have lived through the tortures of hell on earth. Since it is evident that many will not read the volumes necessary for research, allow us to attempt to analyze the crucial and sensitive issue of “sheep to the slaughter.

In order to understand the Jew of the Holocaust, we must attempt to put ourselves in his place. He knew of centuries of persecution carried out by the drunk and the sober, by the church and by government dictum. He had suffered many instances of prejudice, degradation and depersonalization prior to the Holocaust. The Holocaust begins with the Nuremberg Laws, anti Semitic newspaper articles, cartoons, radio broadcasts, rallies, humiliations, beatings, intimidations and economic boycott. The Holocaust victim begins to feel as if he is choking; fear becomes a part of daily life. 

Maybe he should leave Europe, he things. But to where should he go, and should he not stay together with his family? The International Conference at Evian, France, demonstrates that the world does not want the Jew. Not one country is willing to open the doors of freedom. The victim is trapped, like a child in a cage with a ravenous lion. The victim’s passport is marked with the letter “J” for Jude and Kristallnacht results in vast destruction; his home, his shop and even his place of worship cannot escape the wrath of maniacs bent upon the complete annihilation of the Jew.

Some Jews are arrested and sent to concentration camps and the victim is informed that his children are expelled from school. The children do not understand, the victim is powerless to explain these atrocities to them. A yellow badge is to be worn and to be found on the streets without it means death.

The innocent victim and his family are uprooted and resettled in a ghetto, seven people in a room, little food, almost no medicine. The old and the young perish in the street. The victim’s child falls ill and dies. He cries and screams in anguish. He is helpless to save her. A four-month-old baby perishes and the world remains silent.

His family is ordered to report to the train station. On the journey there are no sanitary facilities, pressed together like sardines, there is no room for the corpses to fall. They stand like the rest for nine days. The victim’s grandfather dies begging for air.

Finally, the concentration camp. They arrive ravenous with hunger, nearly unconscious. Here, a short man motions with his finger to the left or to the right. The victim goes to the right; his family to the left. He soon discovers that the only means of escape is through the chimney.

His family, his wife, his two children are already in the next world. The chimney continues operating at full capacity. The heart and the soul of the world remain uncompassionate.

An inmate attempts to overcome a guard. He is tortured brutally and hung in front of the inmates. Each victim begins thinking to himself that he wants to avoid that suffering, revolt is meaningless, and even if he escaped where would he go? No one wants him.

The victim dreams and longs for a better world. He yearns for the time to come when he will no longer suffer and will begin to rebuild anew. The world remains silent to his pleas. His dreams remain unfulfilled. His heroic vision of hope for the future is clouded by the reality of the inferno surrounding him. He is tormented by recurring nightmares. He hears the voices of his children, wife, his parents and loved ones. He remembers the sight of Joseph, his friend and neighbor, who was buried alive. In front of his eyes stand Yaakov, his uncle who was disemboweled, Chaim who was hanged and Chana who was subjected to medical experiments and then tortured to death. Tears flow as he envisions Pinchas who was drowned and his brother who was trampled to death. He awakens, scarred by the memory of Shmuel who was burnt with cigarettes and then thrown into the burning crematorium while still alive. 

Today the world has the audacity to exclaim “Why didn’t they fight back? Why didn’t they rush the armed guards? Why didn’t they attempt mass suicide?” The world refuses to realize that courage and heroism is often expressed in the individual’s will to live; to seek to survive and build a better life, a better world for himself and his future family. The world dares to forget that numerous heroic uprisings did occur.

The remnants of Hitler’s inferno came back from the grave to build a new nation, a nation conceived in blood and tears, a nation which loudly proclaims, “We will not be silent, Jews return to your own home, our gates are eagerly awaiting you.” These survivors dedicated themselves and their children to a new purpose; the atrocities of the past, the inhumanity of mankind, could not extinguish the Jewish spirit.

Our young must be told that we have always fought tyranny, we did not die like sheep for the slaughter. The Jewish nation has experienced the inferno of humanity. Jews have been criticized, labeled, stereotyped and maligned, we have experienced anguish and peril, many have tried to murder us; others to missionize our young and yet, through it all, we unlike any other people, have survived.

Sophisticated 20th ? Are the numbers branded on the arms of survivors beauty marks, reminders of the good old days when the orchestra played such melodic tunes as “Arbeit Macht Frei?”

The propaganda machine rings aloud with the deceptions of Hitler’s Mein Kampf. Twentieth century anti-Semites declare that Jews control industry, that Jews operate the banks, direct Wall Street and t.

We Jews have been gassed in the bathhouses of humanity, burned in crematoria constructed by the world’s intellectuals, our children bayoneted, their blood spilt on the walls of the most civilized nations in the world. We have returned from the grave. We did not perish in the inferno. Our nation will never march like sheep to the slaughter. The people of Israelshall live.

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Guess what I just wrote on my blog? http://blogs.jewishtimes.com/index.php/jewishtimes/neilrubin
Commentary / Readings
Source : Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg
By Rabbi Dr. Bernhard H. Rosenberg
      In the Haggadah it states, " It is our duty to thank and to praise in song and prayer, to glorify and extol Him who performed all these wonders for our forefathers and for us. "  I, as a son of survivors thank God for allowing my parents to survive and giving me the opportunity to study and become a Rabbi."
            I personally feel no guilt for having the God-given privilege of being alive.  I mourn for my grandparents, uncles, and aunts who perished at the hands of Nazi maniacs; often weeping for not having experienced their love.  I cry in anguish when reminded that six million of my brethren, young and old, left this earth via gas chambers and crematoriums.  I sense the pain of my family and friends who saw their elders shot before their very eyes and their babies hurled against brick walls and bayoneted.  I experienced deep anger when I viewed the numbers branded on the arm of my father, of blessed memory.  Yet I thanked God for sparing the lives of my beloved parents.
            Yes, I blame humanity for remaining silent while my innocent brethren perished screaming in terror for someone to heed their outcries.  Humanity; not God.  We are not puppets to be controlled by our Creator.  People caused the Holocaust; people remained silent.  Leaders of countries refused to intercede on behalf of the defenseless. Should I then hate humanity?  Should I live with anger in my heart, rebelling against the environment, rejecting those of other faiths and cultures?  Perhaps I should bend in fear like a blade of grass when the winds of anti-Semitism turn toward me.  Perhaps I should walk along the rocky paths of society fearing what the future may bring.
            I openly and candidly answer in the negative.  No, I will not live in a shell of neurotic chaos, and I will not reject society.  I refuse to live in a world which rejects hope, receiving nourishment from the seeds of hatred. I admire and respect my beloved parents, Jacob and Rachel, of blessed memory, and honor them for their strength and courage.  Even Auschwitz could not diminish their faith.  They could have rejected humanity; instead they aided others in their daily fight for existence.  No, a world of anger and hostility was not their banner.
            Now that I am an orphaned adult, I appreciate even more the impact that my parents had upon me.  All that I am and all that I ever will be I owe to them.  They instilled within me pride and fortitude; their motto became my personal outcry, “Never Again.”
            Refuse to discuss the Holocaust?  Sweep these memories under the rug?  No-this is not our mission to the world and ourselves.  Let the truth be known!  Let others realize what the world did to an ethical, moral and religious populace.  Let them hear the testimony of valiant survivors.  Let them see our courage. Feel guilt for surviving, for speaking on behalf of children who wee silenced-never!
            I became a rabbi to aid the living, to ensure our survival; to rekindle the Jewish flame.  I am proud; proud of my heritage, proud of our strength, and proud of my beloved parents. Contrary to what we are told, the passage of time does not ease our pain, nor does it diminish the scope of the horror that was the Holocaust.
            Oh yes, there are those, few in number, who feel that it is psychologically healthier to avoid reminders that keep painful and unpleasant events alive.  Why subject our young to the brutal story of Nazi bestiality toward the Jewish people?  What purpose will it serve?  It would be wiser not to talk about it so that it can disappear. Never!  We must never stop telling this story.  Tell it we must, in every gory detail!  We must do this because it is our sacred duty to alert them to the evils of men, so that they will never be lulled into a false sense of safety and security.  We must alert them so that our children will be vigilant and will never be caught unaware as were the Jews who perished in the Holocaust.  This is the message I emphasize to my beloved children, Ilana, Ayelet, Yaakov and Ari. Although we are cognizant that our children will be adversely affected, that they will feel great pain upon learning the true facts of the Holocaust, we know that this is something we must do.
Commentary / Readings
Source : Bangitout.com Seder Sidekick

10. US ARMY -  "THE ARMY OF 'who knows ONE?“

9. Animal Awareness Passover Campaign - "Frogs are our friends, not a plague."

8. American Red Cross - "This Passover, lets make rivers of blood“

7. Lenox Hill OBGYN - "We wont throw your newborn into the Nile“

6. Adoption Promotion Week - "Drop your unwanted children in a basket in the NYC Reservoir, for less fortunate parents to find!“

5. D'Angelo's Barber Shop: "Free lice check with every haircut“

4.  Republic of China's Population Control Agency - Death of the first born commemorative pins

3. Ebay: "Your Afikomen is worth a lot more than that"

2. Radioshack: "You've Got 4 questions, We've Got Answers“ 

1. Kosher For Passover Ex-Lax, now in new Matzah strength:  "Ex-odus"

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com
Who knows one?

At some seders, people go around the table reading a question and the answers in one breath. Thirteen is hard!

Who knows one?

I know one.

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows four?

I know four.

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows five?

I know five.

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows six?

I know six.

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows seven?

I know seven.

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eight?

I know eight.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows nine?

I know nine.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows ten?

I know ten.

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows twelve?

I know twelve.

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows thirteen?

I know thirteen

Thirteen are the attributes of God

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com

Chad Gadya

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Dizabin abah bitrei zuzei

Chad gadya, chad gadya.

One little goat, one little goat:

Which my father brought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The cat came and ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The dog came and bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The stick came and beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The fire came and burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The water came and extinguished the

Fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The ox came and drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The butcher came and killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The angle of death came and slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The Holy One, Blessed Be He came and

Smote the angle of death who slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

That burned the stick that beat the dog That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.