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Introduction
by E C
Source : Excerpts from the introduction of The New American Haggadah, edited by Jonathan Safran Foer with a new translation by Nathan Englender

Here we are, gathered to celebrate the oldest continually practiced ritual in the Western world, to retell what is arguably the best known of all stories, to take part in the most widely practiced Jewish holiday. Here we are as we were last year, as we hope to be next year. Here we are, as night descends in succession over all of the Jews in the world... 

Here we are: Individuals remembering a shared past an in pursuit of a shared destiny. The seder is a protest against despair. The universe might appear deaf to our fears and hopes, but we are not -- so we gather, and share them, and pass them down. We have been waiting for this moment for thousands of years -- more than one hundred generations of Jews have been here as we are -- and we will continue to wait for it. And we will not wait idly... 

Introduction
Source : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/carol-smaldino/occupying-passover_b_1386865.html

In the Occupy movement, on Wall Street most dramatically, some people grabbed hold of the concept and realities of imbalances of wealth and infused already present economic concerns with worries about the divisive nature of our economic systems taken for granted for some time. To "Occupy" the Jewish holiday of Passover, is, here, to symbolically claim our right to imbue it with the freedom to question the older meanings of the journeys of Exodus and freedom in general.

The story, according to Judaism and the Haggadah in particular, is to be both repeated each year in a specific order, and, as Jews, we are considered obligated to re-experience as much as we can what it felt to be slaves as the Jews were under the grip of the Egyptians with their Pharaoh. And of course to appreciate the freedom they won -- and were granted -- and we continue to cherish.

So "Occupy" Passover is to do what many of us have already started to do, in taking the holiday with its glorious food and the mood of the gorgeous tables filled with what we have known as the most delicious of foods, and improvising the rest by sharing diverse concepts of freedom. The idea of Passover is that the issues of slavery and freedom are for all of us: my idea is if that is so, we need to confront the slavery not only in the most obviously brutalized parts of the world, but in ourselves as well.

We have become so used to seeing ourselves as free, and for so many of us as seeing ourselves in the freest nation on earth, that we can become allergic to even considering the ways in which we ourselves are controlled by prejudice and superstition. My favorite way of approaching Passover, getting back to the beginning, has for years been to write an alternative Haggadah that takes into account the notion of our becoming free, rather than to assume we already are.

"Occupying" Passover would involve, perhaps, subjecting ourselves to questions about our own lives, our own ways of living or avoiding freedom. On this small planet of ours, as far as I'm concerned, any version of reality which involves exclusionism needs to be amended. We need to look to the likes of Joseph Campbell who knew we needed ways to celebrate which could unite us. And I suppose part of any true exodus, would be to search for those ways.

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.

Introduction
Source : Breaking Down Mechitzas
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 : http://www.aish.com/h/pes/t/si/48941956.html

The first step to growth is to realize we are worthy of growth. We need to see the value of who we are so we will see that we are worthy of investing time, energy, and effort into developing our spiritual potential.

Kadesh is the first step. It's the foundation for the whole Seder experience. We see this in the word "Kadesh," which is translated as "sanctify," but literally means to "set apart," in the sense of designating something as unique and special. Kadesh is that moment when we "set apart" or sanctify the time we're in. We "set apart" the Passover night as holy and unique.

In this sense, Kadesh moves us to "set ourselves apart" - to realize we're unique so we can begin to invest in personal growth.

We invest in something only when we believe it has value. This is true in finance as well as in interpersonal relationships. We spend time and energy with people whom we perceive as having worth. This is also true with self-growth. We will invest our time and energy to develop our potential only if we believe we are worthy.

If we base our self-worth on what we possess and have accomplished, we lose our uniqueness. What is the source of self-worth? Consciously or sub-consciously we base our self-worth on what we possess and what we have accomplished: How much is my income? How big is my house? What kind of car and clothes do I own? Our possessions give tangible value, as do our achievements, our profession, which university we attended, whether we're married, and if we have children.

In fact these two barometers do not give us a true sense of our uniqueness and value. Instead they cause us to lose our sense of distinctiveness.

We intuitively know that self-worth means feeling special. Feeling special stems from recognizing we are each unique. Rarity defines value. When we judge our self-worth by our possessions and accomplishments, that judgment can be made only by comparing our status to others. However, once we're comparing these external realities, the differences are in the quantity. A person's uniqueness is lost in this "judging by comparison." I am just like everyone. The only difference is the quantity of external trappings. What makes me unique - and therefore valuable - is lost.

The Torah tells us that we are made in the "image of God." What is this "image of God"? Just as the Almighty is one - absolutely unique - every human being is one of a kind, unique, special and rare.

We are created in God's image and therefore we are worthy. It's not because of what we possess or have accomplished, but simply because we are. Our very existence is intrinsically valuable. We are created in the image of God, unique, and therefore worthy. This is what Kadesh teaches us.

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.

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.

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?

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.

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 : http://books.google.com/books?id=6Z_xVc5_rpsC&lpg=PA235&ots=k_MG2-iugu&dq=passages%20for%20fifth%20cup%20of%20wine&pg=PA8#v=onepage&q=passages%20for%20fifth%20cup%20of%20wine&f=true

The haggadah teaches, "In every generation, every individual should feel as though he or she had gone out of Egypt." Now comes the tough question: "What will we do with our memories of slavery?" Will we use them to renew empathy or vegeance? As free people, the choice remains ours. but history suggests that the urge for vengeance often proves irresistable. Passover should renew our capacity for empathy.

Martin Luther King Jr. said, "Opressed people can not remain oppressed forever." But it is also true that opression has been with us forever. In fact, the fight for freedom often ends with one repressive regime's replacement by another.  The French Revolution, with its slogan, "liberty, fraternity, equality," produced a reign of terror more brutal that even that of the worst french kings. The Russian Revolution gave birth to a totalitarian state, more coercive than most autocratic czars. And in Africa, the stuggle against colonialism brought to power a slew of regimes that ulimately proved more abusive than the most domineering colonial overlords.

Why does this disillusioning pattern reoccur throughout history? Part of the answer lies in the fat that liberation rarely frees us from the desire or the emotional capacity to opress others. The firey cauldron of revolution, seething with moral contradictions, stands far from the cool ideal of justice. By the time the freedom fighters have finally won,  their moral integrity has often dwindled to that of the overturned regime. Principles become the rebellions first casualty, the human rights of thsoe on th eother side are the next casualties. Locked in a spiral of brutal strife, the tactics of the opressed and the oppressor become increasingly  difficult to distingush.  And then the liberation movement turns inward, purifying itself, silencing the murmuring, divisive voices within its own ranks.

Let's look at the elements of this pattern within the Exodus story itself. With God fighting the war against Pharaoh, the Israelites themselves were spared from violently rebelling against the Egyptian king. But they must surely have observed that the forces for and against oppression, Pharaoh, and God, ultimately restored to similar tactics; the slaying of children. To prevent the Israelites from becoming too numerous, Pharaoh orders the murder of their newborn sons. To persuade Pharaoh to let the Israelites go, God slays the Egyptians' firstborn sons.

The murmuring against God, Moses, and Aaron begins in Egypt but increases after the Exodus. Unable to find water for three days after the miraculous parting of the Red Sea, the Israelites yearn for Egypt:

The Israelites said to them, "If only we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat beside the fleshpots, when we ate our fill of bread! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to starve this whole congregation to death." - EXODUS 16:2-3

The height of the murmuring comes when the Israelites build the Golden Calf. Moses smashes the Ten Commandments and sentences the counterrevolutionaries.

Moses stood up in the gate of the camp and said, "Whoever is for the Lord, come here!" And all the Levites rallied to him. He said to them, "Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel; Each of you put sword on thigh, go back and forth from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay brother, neighbor, and kin." The Levites did as Moses had bidden; and some three thousand of the people fell that day. - EXODUS 32:26-29

To enforce the frst commandment against idol worship, Moses violates the sixth - "Thou shalt not kill." So revolutions go. The sanctity of human life pales in the blinding light of more exalted ideals.

Liberation struggles often wht an evil appetite. Revenge is Sweet. Frantz Fanon was a french psychiatrist who studied the effects of oppression. Descended from African slaves, Fanon found himself irresistibly attracted to the Algerian fight of the bloody war between France and Algeria, he descrobed the circumstances and inner feelings of oppressed peoples:The town belonging to the colonized people... is a hungry town, starved of bread, of meat, of shoes, of coal, of light. The native town is a crouching village, a town on its knees, a town wallowing in the mire.The colonized man is an envious man. And this the settler knows very well; when their glances meet, he ascertains bitterly, always on  the defensive, "They want to take our place." it is true, for there is no native who does not dream at least once a day of setting humself up in the settler's placeHe is in fact ready at a moment's notice to echange the role of the quarry for that of the hunte. The native is an oppressed person whose permanent dream is to become the presecutor...

This is the Pharoah's Egypt and it is all around us, from the grinding decay of America's worst inner cities to the brutal dictatorships that still dominate much of Africa and the Middle East.

But the desire to humiliate one's former master explains only part of the cycle in which the oppressed become the oppressors. Subjugation of another rflects more than quenching an old thirst for revenge. The capacity  to oppress another human being represents a fundamental rupture of human empathy, the bond of understanding that links us with out brothers and sisters and enables us to put ourselves in their shoes. Eliminate empathy and one group begins to treat another as inhuman objects - as machines to build cities in Egypt, as beasts to be captured in Africa, as insects to be exterminated in Nazi concentration camps. Expose  a people to a world without empathy and you forge the next link in the chain of oppression. Nations respond this way and so do individuals. Scratch a parent who abuses a child and you will usually find someone who suffered abuse as a child.

If vengeance and a lack of empathy are the germs that breed oppression, neighter the Israelites who left Egypt nor we today are immune from the disease.

As the very climax of their struggle for freedom, the children of Israel rejoice when Pharaoh's soldiers drown in the Red Sea. A tide of other emotions submerged what compassion they may have had - revenge, relief, and the joy of salvation: "Then Moses and the Israelites and this song to the Lord. They said: I will sing  to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously; Horse and driver he was hurled into the sea" (Ex, 15:1).  For the Israelites dancing on the shore of the Red Sea, the Egyptians were hardly  the object of human concern. They were the enemy, not young men whose  mothers would mourn them, whose  firstborn brothers had just been slain by God, soldiers following orders of a Pharaoh whose heart had  repeatedy been hardened by the Lord of Israel.

In reminding us of our experience as slaves, Passover renews our collective empathy. We are neither slaves stripped of our dignity, nor are we fully free to rejoice in the fall of our enemies. We must remember their humanity, even when they have forgotten ours.

So, before we sing 'Dayyenu' we spill a drop of wine from our glasses for each of the ten plagues. A common inerpretation explains that our joy cannot be complete because our redemption was acheived at the cost of great suffering to the Egyptians.

The passion for vengeance cools slowly. Dignity destroyed takes years to rebuild. The scars of slavery take generations to heal. That is why we needed forty years in the desert before entering the Promised Land. But time alone does not heal all wounds. If they are deep enoug, active intervention and treatment are essentail. And for the Jewish people, that intervention came in the form of the Torah, a code for transforming the bitter memories of oppression into a commitment to building a more just and humane society.

As the Rabbis of the Talmud wisely observed, the commandment to respect the rights of minorities appears thirty-six times in the Torah, a reminder that with power, the oppressed themselves often become oppressors. It is the Jewish peoples responsiblity to remain strong and to help break this tragic cycle. When Hillel, the great sage, was asked to teach the entire Torah to a man while standing on one foot, this is what he said: "What is hateful to you, do not do to other. All the rest is commentary. Now go and study."

Let your bitter memories enlarge the well of human empathy. Overcome your lust for vengeance. Overcome your readiness to deny others their humanity. For who has not dreamed - at least once - of sitting on Pharaoh's throne?

-- Four Questions
Source : A growing Haggadah

Some Answers Questioning is a sign of freedom, and so we begin with questions. To ritualize only one answer would be to deny that there can be many, often conflicting answers. To think that life is only black and white, or wine and Maror, bitter or sweet, or even that the cup is half empty or half full is to enslave ourselves to simplicity. Each of us feels the challenge to search for our own answers. The ability to question is only the first stage of freedom. The search for answers is the next. Can we fulfill the promise of the Exodus in our own lives if we do not search for our own answers? Does every question have an answer? Is the ability to function without having all the answers one more stage of liberation? Can we be enslaved to an obsessive search for the answer? Do you have the answer?  

 
-- Four Questions
Source : original

Each of the four questions refers to an essential component of the Pesach Seder.  But actually, as the Talmud presents it, much of what is different tonight is for the sake of being different.  Each of the bizarre movements that we make─covering the matzah and then uncovering it, two kiddushes, two washings, all this talk, leaning, removing the Seder plate, etc.─ is meant to catch our attention: Hey! Something is happening tonight!  Something is different!

And for good reason: tonight offers a special opportunity to grow dynamically, to take a giant leap toward bringing our disparate selves together and our destiny to fruition. If our curiosity is piqued, we will be more attentive to those opportunities.  The Seder is trying to get our attention to let us know that tonight is different. Tonight, so much is possible.

Take a moment to consider what would happen if the normal rules did not apply.  Visualize the new reality, and speak it out if you like.  Consider asking G-d to help you shift on the points where you are stuck. 

-- Four Questions
Source : www.shiratdevorah.blogspot.com

-- Four Questions
Source : Original

The Four Questions are the questions most commonly associated with the Passover Seder. Though they are thought of as four separate questions, they are really just subsets of the single question: what makes tonight so special? Eventually the Haggadah gives us some answers about that, in the retelling of the Pesach story.

But the Haggadah neglects to ask: what makes us so special? Not us, Jews in the abstract. Us, those of us here tonight! We accept that tonight is particular but do we ever think about the ways in which we are particular ourselves for sitting around this table? For being able to come to the table in the first place? Each of us tonight bears particular privileges that many others don't have, preventing them from doing so.

The Haggadah leads us to ask this question, but won't ask it for us: who is not here? And why?

-- 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 : Rachel Barenblat "The Velveteen Rabbi's Hagaddah for Passover"

…and 5.

In addition to the Four Questions, tonight we ask ourselves a fifth:

We are commanded to celebrate as if each one of us were personally liberated from

Egypt. In the next year, how do you hope to bring yourself closer to your place of

freedom?

Anyone who wishes to may answer the Fifth Question.

-- 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 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 : The Jewish Secular Community Passover Hagada

Reader 42: On this night, we also remember a fifth child. This is the child of the Holocaust who did not survive to ask, "Why was the night of Passover, 1943, different from all other Passover nights?" And so, we ask for that child.

Reader 43: Pesakh 1943 is a historic date in modern Jewish history. At that time began the revolt against the Nazis who had come into the Ghetto of Warsaw to complete the deportation of the remaining Jews. Few conflicts in history can compare with the impossibly unequal battle of the Warsaw Ghetto. On one side was the tremendous power of the German Army and the Gestapo. On the other was the remnant of Warsaw's starving Jews - 40,000 civilians led by the Jewish Fighting Organization, several hundred poorly armed young men and women. Confined in a small area within the Ghetto, they were unable to maneuver beyond a few city blocks.

Reader 44: Nevertheless, the Jews fought back for 42 days. A shot on Nalevki Street at dawn of April 20, 1943, the first day of Pesakh, was the signal for the revolt. The fighting units, concealed in nearby bunkers, attics and cellars, began firing at Nazi patrols. The Germans retreated. On that day Mordecai Anielevitch, the Commander of the Jewish Fighting Organization, wrote: "The dream of my life has come true. I have had the good fortune to witness Jewish defense in the Ghetto in all its greatness and glory."

Reader 45: The Jewish fighters knew in their hearts that it was an impossible struggle, that the odds were too great. But they hoped against hope and kept on fighting. As the days passed, the situation grew more and more desperate. One by one the defense positions were wiped out. On May 15th the leadership of the Jewish resistance perished in the bunker at 18 Mila Street. No one surrendered.

Reader 46: But for weeks thereafter small groups battled the Nazis from behind rubble and wreckage. And although the Germans were certain that not one Jew would escape from the Ghetto, several hundred did. They succeeded in making their way through the underground sewers and eventually joined Partisan bands in the woods and forests. Similar acts of resistance took place in Minsk, Vilna, Bialystock, and in cities and towns in Poland. Many of the escaped Partisans later testified at the war trials of the Nazi leaders.

Reader 47: The uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto will be a shining light in our history as a fight that was waged for the honor and dignity of our people. We were slaves in Egypt...and slaves in the death camps of fascism. We have much to remember.

-- Four Children
Source : original - Heifets

Four children (four characters) – first recorded marketing segmentation

 

The clever one : knows all there is and can market it for you, better than you can do it yourself

 

The obstinate one:  No matter what will find that everything is wrong , might as well write that one off

 

The Simple one:  will believe everything you say.  Go  for  it!!

 

The one who  does not know how to ask.  Marketing efforts  without  awareness of demand (think of failed  marketing by Xerox of  GUI computers before Apple)

-- 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 : Web Page

It is a law of the universe that retaliation, hatred, and revenge only continue the cycle and never stop it. Reconciliation does not mean that we surrender rights and conditions, but means rather that we use love in all our negotiations. It means that we see ourselves in the opponent -- for what is the opponent but a being in ignorance, and we ourselves are also ignorant of many things. Therefore, only loving kindness and right-mindfulness can free us.

-- Exodus Story
Source : http://holidays.juda.com/passover-songs.shtml

Take Us out of Egypt (sung to the tune of Take me out to the ball game")

Take us out of Egpyt

Free us from slavery

Bake us some matzah in a haste

Don't worry 'bout flavor--Give no thought to taste.

Oh it's rush, rush, rush, to the Red Sea

If we don't cross it's a shame

For it's ten plagues, Down and you're out

At the Pessah history game.

-- Ten Plagues
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

As we rejoice at our deliverance from slavery, we acknowledge that our freedom was hard-earned. We regret that our freedom came at the cost of the Egyptians’ suffering, for we are all human beings made in the image of God. We pour out a drop of wine for each of the plagues as we recite them.

Dip a finger or a spoon into your wine glass for a drop for each plague.

These are the ten plagues which God brought down on the Egyptians:

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya |  צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

Death of the Firstborn | makat b’chorot | מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

The Egyptians needed ten plagues because after each one they were able to come up with excuses and explanations rather than change their behavior. Could we be making the same mistakes? Make up your own list. What are the plagues in your life? What are the plagues in our world today? What behaviors do we need to change to fix them? 

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Pesach: A Season of Justice

As we recite the plagues, we pour out ten drops of wine, lessening our joy, to remember the plagues set upon Egypt. In today’s world, there are many societal cruelties and injustices that can cause us to diminish our joy. Many Haggadot contain listings of modern day plagues, such as AIDS, breast cancer, child poverty, domestic violence, environmental destruction, homelessness, homophobia, hunger, illiteracy, and racism. Families can discuss their “top ten” societal ills and discuss ways we can work to prevent them. Consider the following reading from A Common Road to Freedom, A

Passover Haggadah for a Seder conducted with both Jews and African Americans: Each drop of wine is our hope and prayer that people will cast out the plagues that today threaten everyone, everywhere they are found, beginning in our own hearts:


The making of war,

The teaching of hate and violence,

Despoliation of the earth,

Perversion of justice and government,

Fomenting of vice and crime,

Neglect of human needs,

Oppression of nations and peoples,

Corruption of culture,

Subjugation of science, learning, and human discourse,

The erosion of freedoms.

-- 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?

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Original

In the following rap, each seder guest is assigned a number. When the leader calls out their number, they do their assigned plague. 

CHORUS:

Moses at the Red Sea, like “who’s gonna follow me?”
Pharaoh’s in the tide, we gonna ride, to our destiny,
In back of me, so sad to see, them bodies in the Red Sea
chariots get buried, b-b-buried in the Red Sea
Pharaoh sat and laughed when a staff became a snake,
too long we’ve been your slaves, just let us go and pray,
said "don’t make this mistake,"no pardon his heart was hardened,
so started what we regard as: the days of 10 plagues...

One: blood in the river gonna shiver, gonna freak outlips take a sip now there's blood in your mouth

Two: frogs on your beds in your house on your platedon't matter what's for dinner better like frog legs

Three: gnats buzz buzz watch the dust turn to bugsitch itch hard to think with all the lice in your mugs

Four: beasts roam your streets when you step outsidethere's a tiger on your tail nowhere to hide

Five: death of your livestock, flesh dries upb-b-bodies in your barn Pharaoh when you gonna wise up?

CHORUS

Six: boils on your flesh no less than torturecareful bout the ash in the air it'll scorch ya

Seven: hail rains down beats your brains downlike a message from the heavens better lay our chains down

Eight: locusts from the coast you can hear their wings clickeating crops eating trees til they're used as toothpicks

Nine: darkness, dispatch, 3 days pitch blackremember when this started and you thought it was just witchcraft

Death of the first born how did it come to this ten is what it took so we all would remember it

CHORUS

-- 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

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

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 : http://consistentlyunderconstruction.wordpress.com/2012/04/06/but-i-dont-feel-redeemed/

Even though we’re spending the whole night discussing the exodus from Egypt, the root for redeem, גאל, really only appears in these two sections of Maggid- once by the response to the “wicked son,” and the 7 times by the culmination of Maggid ( Leitwort, anyone?). Otherwise we generally speak about יציאת מצרים- leaving Egypt, or God taking us out of Egypt- הוציא אותנו.

So this redemption that we’re trying to figure out is not just another word for the Exodus, and it’s not some word that’s thrown about all willy-nilly. It has some real meaning, and that meaning is something we are working to acheive throughout Maggid. What does redemption mean? How can I feel redeemed?

The colloquial term “the four expressions of redemption,” appreciates that redemption is not just part of the process, it’s the whole shebang- once again pointing to the idea that redemption is something greater than just a physical act of salvation. It’s both a part of the process, and the ultimate goal.

Tthe various usages of the root גאל in the Torah revolve around the idea of “do the part of the next of kin,” as the BDB puts it, rather than the “physical salvation,” that one might have thought. The salvation, in fact, seems to be just one of the things someone close to us is meant to do on our behalf. In a classI recently gave on this topic, the term “restore” was suggested as an alternative translation to “redemption,” and I tend to agree with that suggestion- in the Bible the גואל restores land to the family, the גואל הדם restores the balance of life and death, and God restores the Jewish slaves to a state of freedom, as they, and all of humanity, was created.

To better understand this “restoration” we should ask ourselves: why is it a “next of kin” is doing the restoring?

True redemption must include both the physical freedom to do as one desires and the spiritual freedom it takes to be aware of one’s true, authentic desires. As Judaism believes each person is created in the image of God, true redemption means possessing an awareness of ourselves as created in the image of God, and acting upon that, realizing our potential, in mind and in in body.

The same is true of redemption as a nation. Just as each person is unique, each person must understand how they can individually express their own aspect of the Divine, so too each nation has a unique character, their own mission. As Ramban states, the mission of the Jewish people is to carry God’s message in this world.

The first step to redemption, to restoration, as individuals and as nations, is to understand who we are, our uniqueness, and our mission in this world. And it is here that the other meaning of גאל fits in. When we lose track of ourselves, it is up to our kinsman to come and help us understand, to restore us to our roots, to who we really are, and help us discover our own self’s worth, and live up to all our potential. Who better to do that than someone similar, someone who can help us see ourselves for who we are by showing us who they really are?

This is what the Haggadah is supposed to do. We begin at the beginning, when the Jewish people were only a twinkle in God’s eye, and follow the nation through diapers, as they begin to take their first steps in the dessert on their journey of self-discovery. We see how God interacts with the world, His mighty hand and outstretched arm, Divine justice and mercy, His salvation, and we are meant to learn from His ways, so we can realize the Divine within ourselves and appropriately bear his massage to the world.

At the culmination, we are meant to view ourselves as “redeemed.” Learning about the redemption, acting as though we went through it, is meant to help us feel as though we have, so we can understand who we really are, and act accordingly.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : California Faith for Equality

Tonight we read, “in every generation each individual is obligated to see him/herself as though s/he went forth from Egypt.” While we are gathered around our seder table we experience the bitterness of slavery, the maror (bitter herb) and the sadness of injustice even as we delight in the coming spring, the karpas (fresh greens). While we recall our experiences of old we are aware of the injustices of our own time. Our hearts and thoughts turn to those who do not yet experience freedom because of discrimination. Tonight we think of our lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, friends and colleagues whose freedom is undermined. We pray that when we gather around the seder table next Passover, the freedom to marry will return to California and the Defense of Marriage Act will no longer be law in our land.

May the One who delivered our people from Egypt enable the justices of the Supreme Court to hear the turning tide and embrace the freedom to marry and the end of DOMA so that all of those who are oppressed may be free!

Written by Rabbi Eleanor Steinman Executive Director

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
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

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : http://www.sproutnshout.com/pharaoh.html

To the tune of "Louie, Louie"

CHORUS:

Pharaoh, Pharaoh
Oh baby!  Let my people go! 
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!
Singin' Pharaoh, Pharaoh
Oh baby! Let my people go! 
Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!

A burnin' bush told me just the other day
that I should come over here and stay.
Gotta get my people outta Pharaoh's hands
Gotta lead my people to the Promised Land.

CHORUS

The Nile turned to blood! There were darkened black skies!
Gnats and frogs! There were locusts and flies!
The first born died, causing Egypt to grieve,
Finally Pharaoh said, "Y'all can leave!"

CHORUS

Me and my people goin' to the Red Sea
Pharaoh's army's comin' after me.
I raised my rod, stuck it in the sand
All of God's people walked across the dry land.

CHORUS

Pharaoh's army was a comin' too.
So what do you think that I did do?
Well, I raised my rod and I cleared my throat
All of Pharaoh's army did the dead man's float.

CHORUS

Rachtzah
Source : Compiled

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. 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.

Anyone who wishes to is welcome to wash their hands.

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.

Blessed are you, spirit of the world, who made us holy through simple deeds like the washing of our hands.

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 : original

Matzah. It’s flat, it has holes in it, it breaks easily, it crumbles, it’s bitter, and it’s nothing creative, yet Jewish people and Non-Jewish people that observe Passover eat it every day for at least 8 days out of the year. Sometimes more.

 “Something second hand and broken, still can make a pretty sound, and that second hand white baby grand still has something beautiful to give.” Megan Hilty

Every year we look at Matzah like it’s nothing special. But it represents something more than a large bland cracker. It represents hope. Matzah still has a beautiful lesson to teach us, and even though the Matzah in front of us is broken, it still has a beautiful story to tell.

Motzi-Matzah
Source : Aish UK

Matzah is literally free of all additives, externalities and superficial good looks -- it is bread without the hot air.  It represents the bare essentials.

Everything we pursue in life can be divided into necessities and luxuries.  To the extent that a luxury becomes a necessity we lose an element of our freedom by being enslaved to a false need.

Jewish thought teaches that we should not submit to peer pressure, viewing ourselves as competing with others.  It is far better to focus on our "personal bests" rather than "world records"; life is an arena in which we do not need others to lose in order for us to win.

On Passover we can focus on the essence and leave the externalities behind.  It is a time to get rid of the ego that powers our self importance and holds us back through distracting us from our true goals.

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 : www.jewishworldwatch.org

This second bitter herb represents the bitterness of abandonment. The Jews enslaved in Egypt were not only oppressed, they endured the added pain of feeling alone. Many who have survived genocide say that the idea that no one is coming to help can be more devastating than oppression itself. That is why hope is so powerful. People need to know, "We are not alone."

Darfur is a world away. The refugees are, in many ways, nameless, faceless “strangers,” so it might seem easy to ignore their plight. But, when we turn our backs on people who are suffering, we are culpable as bystanders, enabling the oppressors. As Jews, we have frequently been the strangers, feeling isolated and forgotten by the world. Because we know how it feels, we cannot abandon Darfur.

Chazeret question:

Have you ever stood by when someone was mistreated, humiliated, teased or ostracized? Upon reflection, would you act differently?

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 : http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-V4j-TOhrf2s/Ti7-O2z5tAI/AAAAAAAAPq4/qjOkAE1fIC0/s1600/food+fight.png

Koreich
Source : Original

Leader: Now we partake of the Charoset, which symbolizes the mortar with which our enslaved ancestors worked. Though the labor was bitter, it was made bearable by the sweetness of hope. We now include charoset with the maror and matzoh to soften the bitterness of suffering.

Create a "Hillel sandwich", matzoh with both maror and charoset, and eat it.

Koreich
Source : www.jewishworldwatch.org

Although this mixture of chopped fruits and nuts represents the mortar of the bricks made in captivity, the sweetness reminds us that even in despair, there is hope. That is why we dip the bitter herbs in the charoset. Where we see injustice, pain and suffering, we must also look for hope, for a remedy, for a solution.

Be the light. As long as the Darfurians are driven from their homes, persecuted, raped and slaughtered, we will shine a light so the world cannot be indifferent and turn away. We pray with the refugees of Darfur for the day when they can safely return to their land and rebuild their lives. We continue to work on all fronts for their safety, even when hope seems elusive. We are buoyed by the fact that even in these darkest times, they have not lost hope.

Charoset question:

What is it that enables one to find hope in the midst of despair?

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!

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.

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

Find the Afikomen, symbolizing part of you that was split off and must be reintegrated into your full being to be a whole and free person.

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!

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.

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!

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.