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Introduction
Source : http://www.zemirotdatabase.org/view_song.php?id=126

אַדִיר בִּמְלוּכָה, בָּחוּר כַּהֲלָכָה, גְּדוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

דָּגוּל בִּמְלוּכָה, הָדוּר כַּהֲלָכָה, וָתִיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

זַכַּאי בִּמְלוּכָה, חָסִין כַּהֲלָכָה טַפְסְרָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

יָחִיד בִּמְלוּכָה, כַּבִּיר כַּהֲלָכָה לִמוּדָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

מוֹשֵׁל בִּמְלוּכָה, נוֹרָא כַּהֲלָכָה סְבִיבָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

עָנָיו בִּמְלוּכָה, פּוֹדֶה כַּהֲלָכָה, צַדִּיקָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

קָּדוֹשׁ בִּמְלוּכָה, רַחוּם כַּהֲלָכָה שִׁנְאַנָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה. 

תַּקִיף בִּמְלוּכָה, תּוֹמֵךְ כַּהֲלָכָה תְּמִימָיו יֹאמְרוּ לוֹ: 
לְךָ וּלְךָ, לְךָ כִּי לְךָ, לְךָ אַף לְךָ, לְךָ יי הַמַּמְלָכָה, כִּי לוֹ נָאֵֶה, כִּי לוֹ יָאֶה.

Translation: Because it is proper for Him, because it befits Him. Mighty in sovereignty, rightly select. His minions say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Exalted in sovereignty, rightly glorious. His faithful ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Blameless in sovereignty, rightly powerful. His generals say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Singular in sovereignty, rightly strong. His learned ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Exalted in sovereignty, rightly awesome. Those who surround Him say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Humble in sovereignty, rightly saving. His righteous ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Holy in sovereignty, rightly merciful. His multitudes say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” Strong in sovereignty, rightly supportive. His perfect ones say to Him: “Yours and Yours, Yours because it is Yours, Yours and only Yours— Yours, Adonai, is sovereignty!” 

Introduction
Source : Sue Fishkoff, JTA
The olive branch is a universal symbol of peace, associated with the dove in the story of Noah's Ark and the Flood.

Olive trees mature slowly, so only when there was an extended time of peace, with agriculture left undisturbed, could the olive tree produce its fruit. In 2008, Jewish Voice for Peace promoted putting an olive on the seder plate as part of its Trees of Reconciliation project, which sought to donate 3,000 olive saplings to Palestinian farmers to replant trees torn down to make room for Jewish settlements in the West Bank.

This year, we have olives on our seder plate to remind us that not only are we not free until everyone is free, but we are not free until there is peace in our homes, in our community and in our world.

Adonai oz l’amo yitein, Adonai yivarech v’et amo v’shalom.

God give strength to our people, God bless our people with peace.

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri ha’eitz.

Blessed are you, Adonai, who gives us the fruit of the tree.

Introduction
Source : ajws.org
On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.  The Book of Exodus, much like the Book of Genesis, opens in pervasive darkness. Genesis describes the earth as “unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep.”1 In Exodus, darkness attends the accession of a new Pharaoh who feared the Israelites and so enslaved them. God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis. But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.  There is Yocheved, Moses’ mother, and Shifra and Puah, the famous midwives. Each defies Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Israelite baby boys. And there is Miriam, Moses’ sister, about whom the following midrash is taught:   

[When Miriam’s only brother was Aaron] she prophesied… “my mother is destined to bear a son who will save Israel.” When [Moses] was born the whole house… filled with light[.] [Miriam’s] father arose and kissed her on the head, saying, “My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled.” But when they threw [Moses] into the river her father tapped her on the head saying, “Daughter, where is your prophecy?” So it is written, “And [Miriam] stood afar off to know what would be[come of] the latter part of her prophecy.”2

Finally, there is Pharaoh’s daughter Batya, who defies her own father and plucks baby Moses out of the Nile. The Midrash reminds us that Batya knew exactly what she doing:   

When Pharaoh’s daughter’s handmaidens saw that she intended to rescue Moses, they attempted to dissuade her, and persuade her to heed her father. They said to her: “Our mistress, it is the way of the world that when a king issues a decree, it is not heeded by the entire world, but his children and the members of his household do observe it, and you wish to transgress your father’s decree?”3

But transgress she did.  These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day.  Retelling the heroic stories of Yocheved, Shifra, Puah, Miriam and Batya reminds our daughters that with vision and the courage to act, they can carry forward the tradition those intrepid women launched.  While there is much light in today’s world, there remains in our universe disheartening darkness, inhumanity spawned by ignorance and hate. We see horrific examples in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and the Ukraine. The Passover story recalls to all of us—women and men—that with vision and action we can join hands with others of like mind, kindling lights along paths leading out of the terrifying darkness. 

Introduction
Source : http://www.poetryfoundation.org/poem/178948
Caged Bird

BY MAYA ANGELOU

A free bird leaps 

on the back of the wind   

and floats downstream   

till the current ends 

and dips his wing 

in the orange sun rays 

and dares to claim the sky. 

But a bird that stalks 

down his narrow cage 

can seldom see through 

his bars of rage 

his wings are clipped and   

his feet are tied 

so he opens his throat to sing. 

The caged bird sings   

with a fearful trill   

of things unknown   

but longed for still   

and his tune is heard   

on the distant hill   

for the caged bird   

sings of freedom. 

The free bird thinks of another breeze 

and the trade winds soft through the sighing trees 

and the fat worms waiting on a dawn bright lawn 

and he names the sky his own 

But a caged bird stands on the grave of dreams   

his shadow shouts on a nightmare scream   

his wings are clipped and his feet are tied   

so he opens his throat to sing. 

The caged bird sings   

with a fearful trill   

of things unknown   

but longed for still   

and his tune is heard   

on the distant hill   

for the caged bird   

sings of freedom.

Introduction
Source : Original

The Seder

This book is a Hagadah.which means “telling.” Tonight we will be having a seder, which means, “order”.Through this traditionally ordered ritual, we will retell the story of the Israelites’ journey out of Egypt, eat special foods that symbolize Pesach's many messages, and teach each other the traditions of Pesach, first celebrated more than 3,000 years ago.

An ancient rabbinic text instructs us, “Each person in every generation must regard himself or herself as having been personally freed from Egypt.” for the seder to be successful.

Tonight’s Seder is not just the retelling of an ancient story.Rather, we are asked to actually experience and acknowledge the bitterness of oppression and the sweetness of freedom so we may better understand the hope and courage of all men and women, of all generations, in their quest for liberty, security, and human rights. This haggadah attempts to incorporate the lives and work of each guest, and to relate the traditional story of passover to our personal experiences and to the modern world around us.

In the words of Audre Lorde: I cannot afford the luxury of fighting one form of oppression only. I cannot afford to believe that freedom from intolerance is the right of only one particular group. And I cannot afford to choose between the fronts upon which I must battle these forces of discrimination, .wherever they appear to destroy me. And when they appear to destroy me, it will not be long before they appear to destroy you.

The order of the seder:

Kadesh-the recitation of Kiddush.
Urchatz-washing the hands.
Karpas-eating a vegetable dipped in salt-water.
Yachatz-breaking of the middle matzo.
Maggid-the recitation of the Hagadah.
Rachtzah-washing of the hands a second time.
Motze-the recitation of the blessing hamotzi.
Matzah-the recitation of the blessing al Achilas matzo, eating the matzo.
Morror-eating the bitter herbs.
Korech-eating a sandwich of matzo and bitter herbs.
Shulchan Oruch-eating the festive meal.
Tzafun-eating the afikomen.
Bayrech-the recitation of grace.
Hallel-the recitation of Hallel psalms of praise

Nirtzah-our prayer that G-d accepts our service.

Introduction
Source : Pesach: A Season of Justice

Passover is rich in social justice themes. It is impossible to study the story of our redemption and not feel compelled to eradicate injustice in the world today. Among the primary social justice themes found in the Exodus story and in the Passover observance are hunger and homelessness and oppression and redemption. “This is the bread of affliction which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all those who are hungry come and eat with us. Let all who are in want share the hope of Passover.” (Haggadah, “Ha Lachma Anya”) “Ha Lachma Anya” reminds us of a time when our diets were once restricted to matzah, considered the “bread of affliction.”
 
Due to our hasty retreat from Egypt, we were limited to the food carried on our backs – the unleavened bread that we were unable to thoroughly prepare. Our experience with hardship following the exodus from Egypt inspires us to consider those who eat the metaphorical “bread of affliction” in present times, and to let all those who are now hungry join us at our Passover tables.  “Even the poorest person in Israel may not eat until he reclines, and they must not give him less than four cups of wine.” (Babylonian Talmud, Pesachim 99b) 
 
The Babylonian Talmud reminds us that it is imperative for us to take care of all in our community, even the poorest person, during Passover and throughout the year.  Four cups of wine, quite a luxury for some, is seen as an integral part of the Passover observance. The requirement that even poor Jews be provided with ample wine, and presumably, with 
all the ritual foods and courses for the one night of the Seder, leads to the expectation that we should help the poor and the hungry year-round. “My Father was a wandering Aramean who went down to Egypt and dwelled 
there.” (Haggadah, “Maggid”) 
 
The painful reminder of our status as strangers in the land of Egypt and our subsequent 40 years of wandering in the wilderness without a home raises awareness of immigration and refugee concerns. The memory instills in us a desire to eradicate homelessness in the areas around us, and ultimately, the world.  “This year we are slaves. Next year, may we all be free” (Haggadah, “Ha Lachma Anya”) 
 
As we are commanded, we place ourselves directly into the story, remembering what it was like for us, the Children of Israel, to be slaves in the land of Egypt. This personal experience of slavery motivates us to examine the current international situation and wrestle with cases of injustice, oppression, and slavery today. Sadly, slavery did not end 
at that time, but persists even to this day. Pesach is an opportunity for us to raise awareness of contemporary examples of slavery and oppression throughout the world.  In our own nation, domestic violence traps victims within their homes, limiting their freedom as surely as if they were enslaved. 
  
When we recall our immense joy at being freed from slavery to worship and live according to the dictates of our faith, we are inspired to celebrate the great strides made by various contemporary groups, such as women and African Americans, which have fought for redemption from oppression and won, as our ancestors did. The observance of Passover presents a rich opportunity for interfaith sharing and celebration. 
Kadesh
Source : Deborah Putnoi Art

Cup of Miriam

Kadesh
Source : Deborah Putnoi Art

Kadesh
Source : Religious Action Center: Pesach, A Season for Justice

While our tradition applies specific meaning to the four cups of wine found within the Passover seder, many modern Haggadot have begun to reinterpret the original four cups.

The four cups are derived from four expressions of redemption found in Exodus 6:6-7: “I will bring you out;” “I will deliver you;” “I will redeem you;” and “I will take you.” Due to the positive, redemptive focus of each phrase, each cup could come to represent current groups that need to be “brought out, delivered, redeemed, or taken out.” A short teaching can take place before each cup is blessed. Groups for consideration include: refugees and slaves, victims of domestic violence, victims of sexual trafficking, and the poor and impoverished.

Rabbis for Human Rights suggests the following four interpretations for the four cups:

The First Cup: Freedom in America

As we lift the first cup, we envision an America – the “land of the free” – where everyone has a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of him/herself and of his/her family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services (from Article 25 of the Declaration of Human Rights).

The Second Cup: Deliverance in Israel

As we lift the second cup, we envision a modern day Israel, that fosters the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants. We envision an Israel that is “based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel,” an Israel that “will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants” (from the Declaration of Independence of the State of Israel, 1948).

The Third Cup: Redemption from Overwork and Underwork

As we lift the third cup, we envision a world where everyone has work and, without any discrimination, receives equal pay for equal work. We envision a world where everyone also can enjoy rest and leisure, and periodic holidays with pay (adapted from Articles 23 and 24 of the Declaration of Human Rights).

The Fourth Cup: Liberation from Slavery All Over the World

As we lift the fourth cup, we envision a world where no one is held in slavery or servitude… a world without sweatshop laborers, where all workers are able to make a fair wage, regardless of which country they are born into. We envision a world where all products are fairly traded, and no one country or financial institution can dictate trade policies (adapted from Article 4 of the Declaration of Human Rights).

A Fifth Cup

Some Haggadot include a “fifth” cup in the Seder as an opportunity for additional readings or prayers. This tradition dates back to the early rabbis and commentators, including Alfasi and Maimonides, who discussed this possible addition to the Seder. A Fifth Cup enables us to call attention to a current social justice issue or recognize a recent victory with regards to a prior injustice. This fifth cup could be passed around the table and filled with coins to be donated to tzedakah. An additional reading with specific hopes or social action goals (like a renewed focus on the homeless or implementation of a new, long-term tzedakah project) for the coming months can be included at this point.


Discussion: As wine can serve as a symbol of abundance and luxury, the fifth cup is a perfect opportunity for a discussion on privilege and poverty: Some Jews experience a high degree of privilege. Others are less privileged. A recent study points to 100,000 Jews living below the poverty line in New York City. What are the sources of our privilege? Has your family’s economic status changed over the last few generations? In what ways? What does it mean to experience the Haggadah from a place of privilege? From a place of poverty? All are invited to tell a short story of an ancestor who faced economic hardship, or came up against an economic system that did not acknowledge their humanity.

Urchatz
Source : Deborah Putnoi art

Urchatz
Source : Original
At this point, I will symbolically wash my hands for all of us, without saying the blessing. As I take a moment to wash my hands, imagine that you are washing away all anxiety and stress in your life, and allow yourself to be filled with the hope that the world can be a better place for us all.
Karpas
Source : Deborah Putnoi Art

Yachatz
Source : http://ajws.org/what_we_do/education/publications/holiday_resources/passover_seder_reading_2009.pdf

Breaking the matzah

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." After dinner, the guests will have to hunt for the afikomen.

Reader 1: Ha lachma anya—this is the bread of affliction. At the seder we begin as slaves. We eat matzah, the bread of affliction, which leaves us hungry and longing for redemption. It reminds us of a time when we couldn’t control what food was available to us, but ate what we could out of necessity. The matzah enables us to taste slavery— to imagine what it means to be denied our right to live free and healthy lives.

But, while we will soon enjoy a large meal and end the seder night as free people, millions of people around the world can not leave the affliction of hunger behind. Let us awaken to their cries and declare:

Kol dichfin yeitei v’yeichol—let all who are hungry, come and eat. As we sit at our seder and contemplate our people’s transition from slavery to freedom, let us hope for a time when all who are hungry will eat as free people. Let us pray:

Let all people gain autonomy over their sources of sustenance.

Let local farms flourish and local economies strengthen.

Let exploitation of natural resources cease so that the land may nourish its inhabitants.

Let communities bolster themselves against the destruction wrought by flood and drought.

Let our world leaders recognize food as a basic human right and implement policies and programs that put an end to world hunger.

Hashata avdei—this year we are still slaves. Leshanah haba’ah b’nei chorin—next year we will be free people.

This year, hunger and malnutrition are still the greatest risks to good health around the world. Next year, may the bread of affliction be simply a symbol, and may all people enjoy the bread of plenty, the bread of freedom.

Yachatz
Source : A Night to Remember: The Haggadah of Contemporary Voices by Mishael Zion and Noam Zion http://haggadahsrus.com/NTR.html
The Pesach story begins in a broken world, amidst slavery and oppression. The sound of the breaking of the matza sends us into that fractured existence, only to become whole again when we find the broken half, the afikoman, at the end of the Seder.

This brokenness is not just a physical or political situation: It reminds us of all those hard, damaged places within ourselves. All those narrow places from which we want to break to free. In Hebrew, Egypt is called Mitzrayim, reminding us of the word tzar, narrow. Thus, in Hassidic thought, Mitzrayim symbolizes the inner straits that trap our souls. Yet even here we can find a unique value, as the Hassidic saying teaches us: "There is nothing more whole – than a broken heart."

SHARE: Pass out a whole matza to every Seder participant, inviting them to take a moment to ponder this entrance into a broken world, before they each break the matza themselves.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : Primo Levi

PASSOVER

Tell me: how is this night different 

From all other nights?

How, tell me, is this Passover

Different from other Passovers?

Light the lamp, open the door wide

So the pilgrim can come in,

Gentile or Jew;

Under the rags perhaps the prophet is concealed.

Let him enter and sit down with us;

Let him listen, drink, sing and celebrate Passover;

Let him consume the bread of affliction,

The Paschal Lamb, sweet mortar and bitter herbs.

This is the night of differences

In which you lean your elbow on the table,

Since the forbidden becomes prescribed,

Evil is translated into good.

We will spend the night recounting

Far-off events full of wonder,

And because of all the wine

The mountains will skip like rams.

Tonight they exchange questions:

The wise, the godless, the simple-minded and the child.

And time reverses its course,

Today flowing back into yesterday, 

Like a river enclosed at its mouth.

Each of us has been a slave in Egypt,

Soaked straw and clay with sweat,

And crossed the sea dry-footed.

You too, stranger.

This year in fear and shame,

Next year in virtue and in justice.

Maggid - Beginning
Source : AJWS
By Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holzblatt

On Passover, Jews are commanded to tell the story of the Exodus and to see ourselves as having lived through that story, so that we may better learn how to live our lives today. The stories we tell our children shape what they believe to be possible—which is why at Passover, we must tell the stories of the women who played a crucial role in the Exodus narrative.

The Book of Exodus, much like the Book of Genesis, opens in pervasive darkness. Genesis describes the earth as “unformed and void, with darkness over the surface of the deep.”1 In Exodus, darkness attends the accession of a new Pharaoh who feared the Israelites and so enslaved them. God alone lights the way out of the darkness in Genesis. But in Exodus, God has many partners, first among them, five brave women.

There is Yocheved, Moses’ mother, and Shifra and Puah, the famous midwives. Each defies Pharaoh’s decree to kill the Israelite baby boys. And there is Miriam, Moses’ sister, about whom the following midrash is taught:

[When Miriam’s only brother was Aaron] she prophesied… “my mother is destined to bear a son who will save Israel.” When [Moses] was born the whole house… filled with light[.] [Miriam’s] father arose and kissed her on the head, saying, “My daughter, your prophecy has been fulfilled.” But when they threw [Moses] into the river her father tapped her on the head saying, “Daughter, where is your prophecy?” So it is written, “And [Miriam] stood afar off to know what would be[come of] the latter part of her prophecy.”2

Finally, there is Pharaoh’s daughter Batya, who defies her own father and plucks baby Moses out of the Nile. The Midrash reminds us that Batya knew exactly what she doing:

When Pharaoh’s daughter’s handmaidens saw that she intended to rescue Moses, they attempted to dissuade her, and persuade her to heed her father. They said to her: “Our mistress, it is the way of the world that when a king issues a decree, it is not heeded by the entire world, but his children and the members of his household do observe it, and you wish to transgress your father’s decree?”3

But transgress she did.

These women had a vision leading out of the darkness shrouding their world. They were women of action, prepared to defy authority to make their vision a reality bathed in the light of the day.

Retelling the heroic stories of Yocheved, Shifra, Puah, Miriam and Batya reminds our daughters that with vision and the courage to act, they can carry forward the tradition those intrepid women launched.

While there is much light in today’s world, there remains in our universe disheartening darkness, inhumanity spawned by ignorance and hate. We see horrific examples in the Middle East, parts of Africa, and the Ukraine. The Passover story recalls to all of us—women and men—that with vision and action we can join hands with others of like mind, kindling lights along paths leading out of the terrifying darkness.

1 Genesis 1:2 2 Babylonian Talmud, Megillah 14a 3 Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 12b 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Appointed by President William Jefferson Clinton in 1993, she is known as a strong voice for gender equality, the rights of workers, and separation between church and state.

Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt is a rabbi at Adas Israel Congregation in Washington, D.C.. She is co-creator of two nationally recognized community engagement projects—MakomDC and the Jewish Mindfulness Center of Washington.

-- Four Questions
Source : ajws.org

We encourage you to incorporate this reading into the Four Questions section of your seder. 

Mah nishtanah ha-lailah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-lailot?

Why is this night different from all other nights?

We know the traditional answers to this question: On this night, we eat matzah and bitter herbs, we dip and we recline. But this is not all, or even most, of what Passover is about.  

On most other nights, we allow the news of tragedy in distant places to pass us by.  

We succumb to compassion fatigue – aware that we cannot possibly respond to every injustice that arises around the world.

On this night, we are reminded that our legacy as the descendants of slaves creates in us a different kind of responsibility – we are to protect the stranger because we were strangers in the land of Egypt.

Let us add a fifth question to this year’s seder.  Let us ask ourselves,

Aych nishaneh et ha-shanah ha-zot mi-kol ha-shanim?

How can we make this year different from all other years?

This year, this Passover, let us recommit to that sacred responsibility to protect the stranger, particularly those vulnerable strangers in faraway places whose suffering is so often ignored.

Let us infuse the rituals of the seder with action:

When tasting the matzah, the bread of poverty, let us find ways to help the poor and the hungry.

When eating the maror, let us commit to help those whose lives are embittered by disease.

When dipping to commemorate the blood that protected our ancestors against the Angel of Death, let us pursue protection for those whose lives are threatened by violence and conflict.

When reclining in celebration of our freedom, let us seek opportunities to help those who are oppressed. 

At this season of liberation, join us in working for the liberation of all people.  Help us respond to the seder’s questions with action and justice. 

-- Four Questions
Source : Unknown

 “Why is this night different from all other nights?”

The question is central to the telling of the Passover story and is followed in the traditional Seder with four more that elaborate on the holiday rituals:

1. On all other nights we eat either leavened and unleavened bread. Why on this night do we eat only unleavened bread?

2. On all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs. Why on this night do we eat only bitter herbs?

3. On all other nights we need not dip our herbs even once. Why on this night do we need to dip twice?

4. On all other nights we eat sitting or reclining. Why on this night do we recline?

These classic questions still hold meaning for us, but are there other questions that might be even more relevant to ask today? We’ve asked Jewish educators and organizations all over North America to add a fifth question to the Seder – one that will inspire us to make Passover meaningful for today’s Jewish world.

Birthright Israel NEXT's 5th Question is:

On this night we look into the past to tell a story about the history of the Jewish people. What do you take from this story as you write your part of the future of the Jewish people?

For more questions from our great contributors, visit www.alefmag.com.


-- Four Questions
Source : Traditional

                 Maggid – Four Questions

מַהנִּשְּׁתַּנָה

?מַה נִּשְּׁתַּנָה הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מִכָּל הַלֵּילוֹת

Mah nish-ta-na ha-lai-lah ha-zeh mikol ha-lei-lot?

Why is this night of Passover different from all other nights of the year?

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

She-b'chol ha-lei-lot anu och'lin cha-meitz u-matzah. Ha-laylah hazeh kulo matzah.

On all other nights, we eat either leavened or unleavened bread, why on this night do we eat only matzah?

שֶׁבְּכָל הַלֵּילוֹת אָנוּ אוֹכְלִין שְׁאָר יְרָקוֹת, - הַלַּיְלָה הַזֶּה מָרוֹר

Sheb'chol ha-lei-lot anu och'lin sh'ar y'rakot. Ha-lai-lah h-azeh maror.

On all other nights, we eat vegetables of all kinds, why on this night must we eat bitter herbs?

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

Sheb'chol ha-lei-lot ein anu mat-beelin afee-lu pa-am echat.Ha-lai-lah hazeh sh'tei p'ameem.

On all other nights, we do not dip vegetables even once,
why on this night do we dip greens into salt water and bitter herbs into sweet haroset?

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

Sheb’khol ha-lei-lot anu och-leem bein yo-shveen u-vein m’su-been, ha-lailah hazeh kulanu m’subeen.

On all other nights, everyone sits up straight at the table, why on this night do we recline and eat at leisure?

-- Four Children
Source : ajws.org

At Passover, we are confronted with the stories of our ancestors’ pursuit of liberation from oppression. Facing this mirror of history, how do we answer their challenge? How do we answer our children when they ask us how to pursue justice in our time?

What does the Activist Child ask?

“The Torah tells me, ‘Justice, justice shall you pursue,’ but how can I pursue justice?”

Empower him always to seek pathways to advocate for the vulnerable. As Proverbs teaches, “Speak up for the mute, for the rights of the unfortunate. Speak up, judge righteously, champion the poor and the needy.”

What does the Skeptical Child ask?

“How can I solve problems of such enormity?”

Encourage her by explaining that she need not solve the problems, she must only do what she is capable of doing. As we read in Pirke Avot, “It is not your responsibility to complete the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.”

What does the Indifferent Child say?

“It’s not my responsibility.”

Persuade him that responsibility cannot be shirked. As Abraham Joshua Heschel writes, “The opposite of good is not evil, the opposite of good is indifference. In a free society where terrible wrongs exist, some are guilty, but all are responsible.”

And the Uninformed Child who does not know how to ask…

Prompt her to see herself as an inheritor of our people’s legacy. As it says in Deuteronomy, “You must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.”

At this season of liberation, join us in working for the liberation of all people. Let us respond to our children’s questions with action and justice.



 

-- Four Children
Source : Jessica Steinberg, Ritualwell.org

The Generous Child
The generous child knows all about food justice and donates much of their monthly allowance to charity. This child encourages their parents to volunteer, brings the most cans in during school food drives, and never eats too much.

The Spoiled Child
The spoiled child knows and understands food justice, but chooses not to care. This child is selfish, easily upset by not getting what they want, and is likely a picky eater. This child's catch phrases are “So what?!” and “That’s not my problem.”

The Stoical Child
The stoical child may know something about food justice, may care, but does absolutely nothing to help. This is the kid who writes "bring in cans" every day during the fundraiser in their planner, but forgets each time.

The Child Who Doesn’t Know
The child who doesn’t know is the kid who lives life happily and ignorantly with absolutely no clue that there are people who don’t/can’t do the same. This child may have an overprotective parent that shelters them from the challenges of life.

This clip originally appeared on Ritualwell.org.

-- Four Children
Source : Internet

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?

-- Exodus Story
Source : Jewish Meditation Center of Brooklyn • www.jmcbrooklyn.org

1. After the ten plagues, Pharoah finally lets our people go, and the Israelites leave in a big hurry. They pack their bags, gather their children and livestock, toss the unleavened bread on their backs, and begin their journey. It is Pharaoh’s change of heart, after refusing so many times to let them go, that allows the Israelites to arrive at this moment of freedom.

2. After being freed, the Israelites find themselves between the roaring sea before them and the Egyptian army behind them. They panic and say to Moses, “There weren’t enough graves in Egypt, so you brought us to die in the wilderness? What have you done to us, taking us out of Egypt? It would have been better to stay as slaves than to die here.” We can learn a lot about resistance to transition from the complaints of the Israelites.

3. Sometimes in the midst of doubt and fear, it can feel impossible to take that first step forward. A rabbinic Midrash tells the story of Nachshon ben Aminadav, who walked into the sea until the water was above his neck; only after he took this great risk did the waters part for all the Israelites. Passover is our annual invitation to take that first step.

Ask everyone to imagine the moment where they can’t stay in the same place. Go around the table and ask each person to say one word to answer this question: What would you need to act, to move forward, away from constriction and narrowness, toward freedom? [examples: “faith,” “community,” “imagination,” “lightness”, etc]

Go around the table and each person can answer this second question: What is one situation or pattern you’ve resisted changing even when you know it’s not in service to living the life you want to lead?” [examples: “going to sleep super late,” “my unfulfilling job,” “that relationship (you know the one),” etc.]

4. There’s commentary that the post-Exodus forty years of wandering in the desert was the necessary length of time to allow the generation of Israelites raised with a slave mentality to be replaced by a new generation of free people. This means that only those born into freedom were able to enter the Promised Land. We can translate this to our own lives to mean that we have to transition out of fixed mindsets and make space for new ways and paths and directions.

Remembering our own capacity to enslave and be enslaved, as well as our ability to find freedom in our lives, is one of the most meaningful practices of Passover. May we all be blessed with a Passover of liberation. May our practice be a source of strength as we find paths to freedom, and may our open-heartedness benefit all beings.

-- 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

The plagues represent moments of hardship in our journey toward freedom, struggles with the power structures that constrict us. Tonight we will reflect on our personal plagues, ways in which we have tried to assert our own power by recreating strategies of control and domination that we have suffered from in an unjust world.

Where have we tried to turn hierarchy upside down rather than co-creating a world of equality and liberation for all? Where have we been stuck in fear and defensiveness rather than finding the strength to be vulnerable and ask gently for what we need?

Take a moment for quiet reflection. We will then symbolically remove ten drops of wine from our glasses to acknowledge the pain that has accompanied our journeys toward liberation. As you take ten drops out of your glass feel free to say a personal plague out loud, or to think about these plagues silently.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : Pesach: A Season of Justice

This song, found in the Seder, thanks God for the myriad miracles that took place at the time of the Exodus. “Dayenu” can also allow us to express our gratitude for all that has taken place in recent times. In 1988, CLAL (The National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership) produced this modern version of

Dayenu to recall the many miracles of the modern state of Israel. This reading speaks of the Jewish community’s custom of reaching out to those in need, such as the Jews in the Former Soviet Union and Ethiopia. When we celebrate the successes of the past, we can also remember the ongoing need to help those who are oppressed in other communities.

Had God upheld us throughout two thousand year of Dispersion

But not preserved our hope for return, Dayenu

Had God preserved our hope for return

But not sent us leaders to make the dream a reality, Dayenu

Had God sent us leaders to make the dream a reality

But not given us success in the U.N. vote, Dayenu

Had God given us success in the U.N. vote

But not defeated our attackers in 1948, Dayenu

Had God defeated our attackers in 1948

But not unified Jerusalem, Dayenu

Had God unified Jerusalem

But not led us toward peace with Egypt, Dayenu

Had God returned us to the Land of our ancestors

But not filled it with our children, Dayenu

Had God filled it with our children

But not caused the desert to bloom, Dayenu

Had God caused the desert to bloom

But not built for us cities and towns, Dayenu

Had God rescued our remnants from the Holocaust's flames

But not brought our brothers from Arab lands, Dayenu

Had God brought our brothers from Arab lands

But not opened the gates for Russia's Jews, Dayenu

Had God opened the gate for Russia's Jews

But not redeemed our people from Ethiopia, Dayenu

Had God redeemed our people from Ethiopia

But not planted in our hearts a covenant of One People, Dayenu

Had God planted in our hearts a covenant of One People

But not sustained in our souls a vision of a perfected world, Dayenu!

Motzi-Matzah
Source : Religious Action Center: Pesach, A Season for Justice

This reading takes place near the beginning of the Seder in the yachatz section. It provides the primary textual inspiration for feeding the hungry during Passover, as well as calling for an end to slavery, which continues to exist around the world in various forms. It also prompts us to join together with members of the African American community for communal Seders recognizing our common experience of slavery. This passage inspires many of the social justice programs created around the observance of Passover:

Ha Lachma Anya
This is the bread of affliction, the poor bread,
which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt.
Let all who are hungry come and eat.
Let all who are in want, share the hope of Passover.
As we celebrate here, we join with our people everywhere.
This year we celebrate here.
Next year in the land of Israel.
Now we are still in bonds.
Next year may we all be free.

Additional Readings:

The Matzah of Unity
by the United Jewish Communities Rabbinic Cabinet

Passover is the great Jewish family holiday -- but with a critical message about our ethics and values.
We eat the Karpas, the green vegetable -- and recall our concern for the environment.
We dip into the salt water of tears -- and remind ourselves to care for the oppressed.
We eat the bitter herbs -- and sharpen our concern for the stranger.
We taste the matzah, the bread of affliction -- and feel the memories of our servitude to Pharaoh.
We note the roasted egg, symbolic of the extra offering in the Temple in ancient days -- and ask ourselves what are our own sacrifices?

Passover is so real and tangible, because we not only taste our freedome, but we also resolve to work for the liberation of all people. It is a time to ask ourselves: what are we doing to care for those in need? Can we reach out and assist with our tzedakah, our charitable contributions, or through our acts of loving-kindness?

Let us now take the middle matzah and divide it in half. As we break this matzah and set it aside, we link ourselves symbolically with all Jews throughout the world, especially those who have lived under the heel of the oppressor.

Our Seder meal will not conclude until the missing piece of Matzah is found and returned to the table. The Matzah, when restored, shows the desire of our people to be together as one, at peace. As Jews, we are a people of sacred fragments; we need help from God to bond together in everlasting unity.

Today the Star of David rises proudly in the former Soviet Union. Yet hundreds of thousands of elderly Jews struggle to survive. In Argentina, families, schools, community centers and synagogues face a difficult economic crisis and we provide basic services and supplies for tens of thousands of our fellow Jews.

Jews who left Ethiopia and other devastated countries experienced a modern exodus to live in freedom. They brought their children and grandchildren to Israel, a land sworn to us by our ancestors and God. Now we are committed to helping them to become full participants in all aspects of Israeli society.

But our work is not done. We need boundless love for the Jewish people in order to continue our efforts at caring for the most vulnerable, supporting of Jewish education, ingathering of the exiles and to rebuilding Israel. May this Passover be a time of recommitment to our people and our faith.

Affliction Beyond Hunger
by Jews for Racial and Economic Justice

In our city today, some of our neighbors are forced to work in order to receive their meager welfare benefits, which barely enable them to survive. Tonight we share their bread of affliction:

The affliction of work without dignity
The injustice of no minimum wage
The theft of protection from injury
The anxiety of work with no future
Panic at the threat of lost benefits.
The stress of leaving a child for work
The shame of forced placement
The death of educational opportunity
The robbery of the right to organize
Silenced voices of protest.
Who speaks aloud alongside those whose speech has been muted?
Who breathes together with those who cannot catch their breath?
We can breathe the breath of life, we can join these struggles, we can face the Pharoahs and strip them of their power.

Ha Lachma Anya Supplement
by Rabbi Arthur Waskow

In the world today there are still some who are so pressed-down that they have not even this bread of oppression to eat. There are so many who are hungry that they cannot all come and eat with us tonight. Therefore we say to them, we set aside this bread as a token that we owe you righteousness, tzedakah , and that we will fulfill it. (Set aside one piece of matzah.) And to ourselves we say, not by bread alone, but by everything that is brought forth by the mouth of YHWH, lives the human; share your bread with the hungry, says YHWH. As the tradition says,

"Ha-sha-tah ha-kha; I-sha-nah ha-ba-ah b'ar-ah d'yis'ra'el,"

This year we celebrate here, but the next year we hope to celebrate in the land of Israel, the land of God-wrestling.


The Fourth Piece of Matzah
by Rabbi Joel Soffin

While holding up a fourth piece of matzah, recite the following:

"We raise this fourth matzah to remind ourselves that slavery still exists, that people are still being bought and sold as property, that the Divine image within them is yet being denied. We make room at our Seder table and in our hearts for those in southern Sudan and in Mauritania who are now where we have been.

We have known such treatment in our own history. Like the women and children enslaved in Sudan today, we have suffered while others stood by and pretended not to see, not to know. We have eaten the bitter herb; we have been taken from our families and brutalized. We have experienced the horror of being forcibly converted. In the end, we have come to know in our very being that none can be free until all are free.

And so, we commit and recommit ourselves to work for the freedom of these people. May the taste of this 'bread of affliction' remain in our mouths until they can eat in peace and security. Knowing that all people are Yours, O God, we will urge our government and all governments to do as You once commanded Pharaoh on our behalf: 'Shalach et Ami! Let MY People Go!'"

Hallel
Source : Pesach: A Season of Justice

This section of the Haggadah focuses on our hopes for the peace and redemption of messianic times, while also reminding us of what we can do l’taken et haolam, to repair the world in our own time. By way of example, North Shore Congregation Israel of Glencoe, IL’s Women’s Seder includes the following passage to be read while opening the door for Elijah. This reading reminds us that there are still injustices based on gender, and that we must continue to fight for equality in the Jewish community, in the workplace, economically and in society between men and women:


Elijah, we are told,

Will precede the Messiah.

He will be a sign to us.

And so we welcome Elijah

At the end of Shabbat,

A taste of the ideal, the messianic.

We pray, we sing.

At the Seder we even open the door.


At a bris we welcome a baby boy into the covenant. There we place a chair for Elijah, reminding us that each child born bears the potential…could make the difference…could be the Messiah.

But some would say that the Messiah will truly come when we welcome our daughters into the covenant with Elijah’s chair present, bringing them into our people, recognizing their potential to make a difference. We open the door. We welcome Elijah, girls and boys, women and men. Together, we realize potential. (Lisa S. Greene)

Hallel
Source : Pesach: A Season of Justice

This new custom celebrates Miriam’s role in the deliverance from slavery and her help throughout the wandering in the wilderness. An empty cup is placed alongside Elijah’s cup. Each attendee at the Seder then pours a bit of his/her water into the cup, symbolizing Miriam’s life-giving well that followed the wandering Israelites. With this new custom, we recognize that women are equally integral to the continued survival of the Jewish community. With a social action lens, we see the pouring of each person’s water as a symbol of everyone’s individual responsibility to respond to issues of social injustice, and that, together, significant actions can take place.