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Introduction
Source : Elicia Brown

Havdalah Meoldy

"The late songwriter’s melody for the Havdalah ceremony swept through Jewish communities and camps like wildfire, inspiring other songwriters and igniting an interest in the ritual that is still being felt."

Since Debbie Friedman’s death in January 2011, at age of 59, much has been written about the influence of the singer-songwriter, of how she transformed Jewish music, of how, even while she lay in a hospital bed dying, her friends regaled her with the now ubiquitous songs of healing she’d composed.

Some 35 years ago, the young Friedman wrote a melody for what was then a little-known ceremony outside of Orthodox communities. And almost immediately, Friedman’s majestic tune swept through Jewish communities and camps like wildfire, igniting a revolutionary change in the nature of the Havdalah ritual itself. Eventually, that tune inspired a movement: Havdalah pajama parties, Havdalah b’nai mitzvahs, and seminal moments at Jewish camps typified by large circles of swaying children bidding farewell to Shabbat with a lakeside song. Today, the melody has been adopted by communities as far afield as Cuba and Uganda, and often is mistaken for an ancient tune of unknown origins.

By Elicia Brown

The Blessing over Wine

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּֽפֶן.

Baruch atah, Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha’olam, boray pri hagafen.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine.

The Blessing over Spices

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מִינֵי בְשָׂמִים.

Baruch atah, Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha’olam, boray minay vesamim.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, Creator of the different spices.

The Blessing over the Candle

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא מְאוֹרֵי הָאֵשׁ.

Baruch atah, Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha’olam, boray me’oray ha’aysh.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, Creator of the fire’s lights.

The Blessing over Havdalah

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵֽינוּ מֶֽלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹֽדֶשׁ לְחוֹל, בֵּין אוֹר לְחֹֽשֶׁךְ, בֵּין יִשְׂרָאֵל לָעַמִּים, בֵּין יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי לְשֵֽׁשֶׁת יְמֵי הַמַּעֲשֶׂה. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, הַמַּבְדִיל בֵּין קֹֽדֶשׁ לְחוֹל.

Baruch atah, Adonai, Elohaynu melech ha’olam, hamavdilbayn kodesh lechol bayn or lechoshech bayn Yisrael la’amim bayn yom hashevi’i leshayshet yemay hama’aseh.Baruch atah, Adonai, hamavdil bayn kodesh lechol.

Blessed are You, God, our Lord, King of the universe, who separates between the holy and the profane; between the light and dark; between Israel and the other nations; between the seventh day and the six days of the week. Blessed are You, God, who separates between the holy and the profane.

Introduction
Source : Added Hebrew from Haggadot.com

The first words in the creation of the universe out of the unformed, void and dark earth were God’s “Let there be light." Therein lies the hope and faith of Judaism and the obligation of our people: to make the light of justice, compassion, and knowledge penetrate the darkness of our time till the prophecy be fulfilled, ‘that wickedness vanish like smoke and the earth shall be filled with knowledge of God as the waters cover the sea’ (Isaiah 11:9)

,בָּרוּך אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם

.אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוׂתווְ וְצִוָּנוּ לְדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל שַׁבַּת וְיוׂם טוׂב

Baruch atah Adonai Elohaynoo melech ha-olam, asher keedshanoo b’meetzvotav v’tzeevanoo l’hadleek ner shel yom tov.

Praised are You, Lord our God, Whose presence fills the universe, Who has sanctified our lives through Your commandments and commanded us to kindle the festival lights.

Introduction

Parents recite the following blessing over their children at the start of the Passover meal

יְבָרֶכְךָ אֲדוֹנָי וְיִשְׁמְרֶךָ
יָאֵר אֲדוֹנָי פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וִיחֻנֶּךָּ
יִשָּׂא אֲדוֹנָי פָּנָיו אֵלֶיךָ וְיָשֵׂם לְךָ שָׁלוֹם

Yevarechecha Adonai ve-yishmereicha
Ya-er Adonai panav eilecha ve-ichunecha
Yissa Adonai panav eilecha ve-yasem lecha shalom

May God bless you and keep you
May God be gracious to you and turn his face to you
May God lift his face to you, and grant you peace

Kadesh
Source : Rachel Schulties

Tonight we drink four cups of wine. Why four? Some say the cups represent our matriarchs—Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, and Leah—whose virtue caused God to liberate us from slavery. Another interpretation is that the cups represent the Four Worlds: physicality, emotions, thought, and essence. Still a third interpretation is that the cups represent the four promises of liberation God makes in the Torah: I will bring you out, I will deliver you, I will redeem you, I will take you to be my people (Exodus 6:6-7.) The four promises, in turn, have been interpreted as four stages on the path of liberation: becoming aware of oppression, opposing oppression, imagining alternatives, and accepting responsibility to act.

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!

Urchatz
Source : Velveteen Rabbi's Haggadah for Passover

Since ancient times, Jews have ritually washed their hands to prepare for celebratory meals. The Seder includes two hand-washings. We perform the first without a blessing now, prior to dipping karpas, which does not constitute a meal. We will wash with a blessing before Mozi/Matzah, in preparation for eating the festival meal.

The symbolic washing of the hands that we now perform recalls the story of Miriam's Well. Legend tells us that this well followed Miriam, sister of Moses, through the desert, sustaining the Jews in their wanderings. Filled with waters of life, the well was a source of strength and renewal to all who drew from it. One drink from its waters was said to alert the heart, mind and soul, and make the meaning of Torah become more clear.

In Hebrew, urchatz means, “washing” or “cleansing.” In Aramaic, sister language to Hebrew, urchatz means “trusting.” As we wash each others’ hands, let us rejoice in this act of trust, and reflect on the sources of hope and trust we want to bring into the world for ourselves and each other.

The leader can wash hands symbolically for everyone of the family can pass a bowl & pitcher around the table, each pouring a few drops of water onto her/his neighbor’s hands

Karpas
Source : 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 : 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?

Maggid - Beginning

Cleaning and cooking and so many dishes

Out with the hametz, no pasta, no knishes

Fish that's gefillted, horseradish that stings

These are a few of our passover things. 

Matzoh and karpas and chopped up haroset

Shankbones and kiddish 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 locusts and slaves with wheelbarrows Matzah balls floating and eggshell that cling

These are a few of our Passover things. 

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 : Eugene B Borowitz and 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.

Can we believe in a God who keeps promises?

I think I understand why many Jews are reluctant to speak of God. At best, that hesitation stems from our ancient respect for the One who grounds all reality and constitutes its stands and goal ... to link ourselves with that biblical God seems to mean allowing an all-dominating ruler into our lives. Such a God threatens to destroy what we have so clearly and importantly gained in modern times, the right to think and decide for ourselves, thus attaining true personal dignity.

Yet newly understanding our humanity also can give us fresh insight into the One in whose image we are created with whom we stand in covenant as co-creators ... We can see that our God is One unique sovereign of the universe; only a god whose stature could be seriously threatened, only one who was insecure, would find such partnership intolerable. This mature God gives our humanhood its unalienable dignity by calling us to intimate partnership despite our frailties and by refusing to give up on us despite our abused of the freedom granted us.

-- 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 : Original by Heidi Aycock

On all other nights, we get biscuits and rolls,
Fluffy and puffy and full of air holes.
Why on this night, why, tell me why,
Only this flat stuff that’s always so dry.

On all other nights, we eat all kinds of greens,
And I’m starting to like them – except lima beans.
Why on this night, I ask on my knees,
Do we eat stuff so bitter it makes grownups wheeze?

On all other nights, we dip vegies just once –
Just try dipping twice and they’ll call you a dunce.
Why on this night, why, tell me true,
Why double-dipping’s the right thing to do.

On all other nights, we sit up when we munch.
You’ll choke if you slump! You’ll croak if you hunch!
Why on this night, if anyone knows,
Do we get to recline on my mom’s good pillows.

Why is this night so different from most?
Why do we do things so odd and so gross?
Why do we tell the same stories and stuff?
Because when it’s Pesach, it’s never enough!

-- Four Questions

It is told: Rabbi Eleazar, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar ben Azariah, Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon gathered together in the town of B'nei B'rak.  They were so engaged in their discussion of the Exodus from Egypt, which continued throughout the night, that they were startled when their disciples interrupted them: " Raboteinu,  Our Teachers!   Higia z'man:  The time has come to recite the morning  Sh'ma!"

We are the heirs of these teachers.  Like them, we come together tonight to discuss Exodus from Egypt.  Despite all that threatens to separate us from one another and our tradition - fires of terror, wastelands of affluence, seas of indifference - we come together to ask questions and to learn the lessons of the Exodus for those of us who live in freedom. 

At every seder table, we celebrate our inheritance: challenging questions and provocative answers, discussions that reach across differences of age and experience.   Higia z'man:  The time has come to embrace this story as our own.   Higia z'man:  The time has come to honor each generation reading this story anew.   Higia z'man : The time has come to join hands with all who dream of freedom.   Higia z'man:  The time has come.  

-- 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 : Jessica Steinberg
This is a modern interpretation of an ancient standard, which is part and parcel of the Seder: the Four Children. By reading and discussing the Four Children, and then responding to it through modern themes, we can come to an understanding of who we are and our relation to the our Children. The source of this section are four verses from the Tanakh which briefly mention children asking, or being told about, the Exodus from Egypt. Using these very general verses, the Rabbis created four prototypes which are given to show us that we must teach a child according to the child's level.

At the time the Haggadah was created, it was safe for the rabbis to assume that most Jewish adults had the knowledge available to teach their children about the Exodus. At that time, perhaps, all adults did know about the Exodus from Egypt and the Jews' struggle against Pharaoh. However, in subsequent generations, not all adults are familiar with the story told in the Haggadah, with the people of Israel, with their history. It isn't only the children that need to be taught, but their parents as well. To complicate matters, each Jew is coming from a different orientation with regard to his or her Judaism.

In today's world, Jews may identify themselves in a variety of ways. One may be ritually, culturally, or intellectually orientedor unconnected. And yet, however modified one's Judaism may be, there is still some level of concern about the Jewish people that causes Jews to at least ask the questions about the Exodus from Egypt. If they weren't interested, they wouldn't ask. We must answer them, and enable them to teach their children.

The ritual Jew asks: "What are the laws that God commanded us? " This Jew defines herself by the rituals, the laws and guidelines of Pesach. We call on her to seek the meaning that underlies all of these acts, so that they have relevance for all of us today.

The unconnected Jew asks: "What does this ritual mean to you?" This Jew feels alienated from the Jewish community and finds it difficult to identify with the rituals, perhaps because of his upbringing or experiences. Yet we recognize that he is still interested, if only because he asks these questions, and we call on him to see these rituals as a way of affirming the universal beliefs that gave rise to them.

The cultural Jew asks: "What is this all about?" She shows little concern with the ritual or psychological ramifications of the Exodus, even while embracing this reenactment of our ancestors; flight from Egypt. We call on her to recognize that it was a deep sense of faith that enabled these rituals to transcend the generations. It was belief in a vision of future freedom that caused us to celebrate our first Exodus and hear the echo of the prophets' call: "Let all people go!"

The intellectual Jew refrains from asking direct questions because he doesn't lean in any direction, preferring instead to let the text speak for itself. We call on him to understand that true freedom can only be obtained when we question authority and challenge power, even if that power be God Himself. It is our responsibility to question not only the text but the status quo too, and share this message of freedom with all people everywhere.

-- 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 : The Jewish Way: Living the Holidays

Periodically, scholars survey historians’ opinions as to what is the most influential event of all time. In recent decades, the Industrial Revolution has often appeared at the top of the list. For the politically oriented, not uncommonly the French Revolution wins; for Marxists, the Russian Revolution. Christians often point to the life and death of Jesus as the single most important event of history. For Muslims, Mohammed’s revelations and his hegira [exile, 622 CE] have a similar transcendental authority. Yet when Jews observe Passover, they are commemorating what is arguably the most important event of all time — the Exodus from Egypt.

If for no other reason than the fact that the Exodus directly or indirectly generated many of the important events cited by other groups, this is the event of human history. That it was a Jewish event is an eloquent tribute to the extraordinary role the Jewish people have played in human history.

Exodus: History or Mythic Tale?

The Exodus transformed the Jewish people and their ethic. The Ten Commandments open with the words, “I am the Lord your God who took you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.” Having no other God means giving no absolute status to other forms of divinity or to any human value that demands absolute commitment. Neither money nor power, neither economic nor political system has the right to demand absolute loyalty. All human claims are relative in the presence of God. This is the key to democracy.

Justice Exodus morality meant giving justice to the weak and the poor. Honest weights and measures, interest-free loans to the poor, leaving part of the crops in the field for the stranger, the orphan, and the widow, treating the alien stranger as a native citizen — these are all applications of the Exodus principle to living in this world. Thus, the Exodus, as articulated at Sinai, transformed the Jewish people and their religious ethical system. In as much as Christianity and Islam adopted the Exodus at their core, almost half the world is profoundly shaped by the after effects of the Exodus event.

In modern times, the image of redemption has proven to be the most powerful of all. The rise of productivity and affluence has heightened expectations of the better life. Widely disseminated scientific ideas and conceptions of human freedom carry the same message: do not accept disadvantage or suffering as your fate; rather, let the world be transformed! These factors come together in a secular concept of redemption. By now, humans are so suffused with the vision of their own right to improvement that any revolutionary spark sets off huge conflagrations. In a way, humane socialism is a secularized version of the Exodus’ final triumph. The liberator is dialectical materialism, and the slaves are the proletariat–but the model and the end goal are the same.

Indeed, directly revived images of the Exodus play as powerful a role as Marxism does in the worldwide revolutionary expectations. In South America, the theology of liberation directly touches the hundreds of millions who strive to overcome their poverty. Ongoing Experience The secret of the impact of the Exodus is that it does not present itself as ancient history, a one-time event. Since the key way to remember the Exodus is reenactment, the event offers itself as an ongoing experience in human history. As free people relive the Exodus, it turns memory into moral dynamic. The experience of slavery that breaks and crushes slaves does not destroy free people. It evokes feelings of repulsion and determination to help others escape that state.

As participants eat the bitter herb, they remember the heartbreaking tale and the death of the children. They also remember that slavery gradually conditions people to accept servitude as the norm. The Israelites fell into that trap and were delivered, not by their own merit. The lesson is that a slave needs help to get started on liberation. In the seder ritual, the family also acts as the transmitter of memory. The past is not excised but becomes an active part of the lives of the participants. Parents tell the story to children. At the same time, the children are not merely dependent. They ask questions and participate in the discussion. They must become involved for it is essential that they join in the unfinished work of liberation. This is why when Pharaoh offered to let the adult Jews leave Egypt to worship God if the children were left behind, Moses rejected the offer, “With our youth and our elders we will go.”

The seder order is deliberately designed to hold the children’s attention, to fascinate them with their people’s history so that they will feel impelled to take up the covenantal task. Thus, by the magic of shared values and shared story, the Exodus is not some ancient event, however important, it is the ever-recurring redemption. It is the event from ancient times that is occurring tonight; it is the past and future redemption of humanity. The Exodus is the most influential historical event of all time because it did not happen once but recurs whenever people open up and enter into the event.

-- Ten Plagues
Source : 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 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? 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 : Haggadot

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, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and transphobia.

Greed - Profits are a higher priority than the safety of workers or the health of the environment. #WeAreThe99%

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. 

Discrimination - While we celebrate our liberation from bondage in Egypt, too many people still suffer from discrimination. In the U.S. women earn 77 cents for every dollar earned by a man. 

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 and affect change?

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Zeroah (A Roasted Bone): This reminds us of the Pesach offering we used to bring in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. 

Beitzah (A Hard Boiled Egg): This reminds us of the festival offering which was brought to the Holy Temple on Pesach. 

Maror (Horseradish Root) מרורThese bitter herbs symbolize the harsh suffering and bitter times we endured when we were slaves in Egypt. 

Charoset (A mixture of apples, wine and nuts): Ground up together, Charset resembles bricks and mortar, reminding us how hard we were forced to work when we were slaves in Egypt. 

Karpas (Parsley): We dip parsley into salt water at the beginning of the Seder, representing the salty tears we cried when we were slaves. 

Chazeret (Romaine Lettuce): This is the second portion of bitter herbs which we eat during the Seder.  This is eaten in a Matzah sandwich together with Maror. 

-- 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 : Milken Global Beit Midrash
-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

If He had brought us out from Egypt,and had not carried out judgments against them, Dayenu.

If He had carried out judgments against them,and not against their idols, Dayenu.

If He had destroyed their idols,and had not smitten their first-born, Dayenu.

If He had smitten their first-born,and had not given us their wealth, Dayenu.

If He had given us their wealth,and had not split the sea for us, Dayenu.

If He had split the sea for us,and had not taken us through it on dry land, Dayenu.

If He had taken us through the sea on dry land,and had not drowned our oppressors in it, Dayenu.

If He had drowned our oppressors in it,and had not supplied our needs in the desert for forty years, Dayenu.

If He had supplied our needs in the desert for forty years,and had not fed us the manna, Dayenu.

If He had fed us the manna,and had not given us the Shabbat, Dayenu.

If He had given us the Shabbat,and had not brought us before Mount Sinai, Dayenu.

If He had brought us before Mount Sinai,and had not given us the Torah, Dayenu.

If He had given us the Torah,and had not brought us into the land of Israel, Dayenu.

If He had brought us into the land of Israel,and had not built for us the Beit Habechirah (Chosen House; theBeit Hamikdash.) Dayenu.

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

Ilu ho-tsi, ho-tsi-a-nu,
Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim,
Ho-tsi-a-nu mi-Mitz-ra-yim,
Da-ye-nu!

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

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-Sha-bat,
Da-ye-nu!

.. (CHORUS)

Ilu na-tan, na-tan la-nu,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Na-tan la-nu et-ha-To-rah,
Da-ye-nu!

.. (CHORUS)

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu

So let’s bring Dayeinu into the present tonight. We have a vision, we take it to heart, and we work hard to make it happen. We are grateful, and yet what miracles and accomplishments would be sufficient (Dayeinu) in today’s world for us to be truly satisfied?

1. When all workers of the world receive just compensation and respect for their labors, enjoy safe, healthy and secure working conditions and can take pride in their work. . . Dayeinu

2. When governments end the escalating production of devastating weapons, secure in the knowledge that they will not be necessary. . . Dayeinu

3. When technology is for the production and conservation of energy and our other natural resources is developed so that we can maintain responsible and comfortable lifestyles and still assure a safe environment for our children. . . Dayeinu

4. When the air, water, fellow creatures and beautiful world are protected for the benefit and enjoyment of all, and given priority over development for the sake of profits. . . Dayeinu

5. When all people live freely, practicing their beliefs and cultures without interference or persecution. . . Dayeinu

6. When all women and men are allowed to make their own decisions on matters regarding their own bodies and their personal relationships without discrimination or legal consequences. . . Dayeinu

7. When people of all ages, sexes, races, religions, cultures and nations respect and appreciate one another. . . Dayeinu  

8. When all children grow up in freedom, without hunger, and with the love and support they need to realize their full potential. . . Dayeinu

9. When all children, men and women are free of the threat of violence, abuse and domination; when personal power and strength are not used as weapons. . . Dayeinu

10. When all people have access to the information and care they need for their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. . . Dayeinu

11. When food and shelter are accepted as human rights, not as commodities, and are available to all. . . Dayeinu

12. When no elderly person in our society has to fear hunger, cold, or loneliness. . . Dayeinu

13. When the people of the Middle East, and all people living in strife, are able to create paths to just and lasting peace. . . Dayeinu

14. When people everywhere have the opportunities we have to celebrate our culture and use it as a basis for progressive change in the world. . . Dayeinu

All: If tonight each person could say this year I worked as hard as I could toward my goals for improving this world, so that one day all people can experience the joy and freedom I feel sitting with my family and friends at the Seder table. . . Dayeinu, Dayeinu

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : My Jewish Learning

What is a Miriam’s Cup?

A Miriam’s Cup is a new ritual object that is placed on the seder table beside the Cup of Elijah. Miriam’s Cup is filled with water. It serves as a symbol of Miriam’s Well, which was the source of water for the Israelites in the desert. Putting a Miriam’s Cup on your table is a way of making your seder more inclusive.

It is also a way of drawing attention to the importance of Miriam and the other women of the Exodus story, women who have sometimes been overlooked but about whom our tradition says, "If it wasn’t for the righteousness of women of that generation we would not have been redeemed from Egypt" (Babylonian Talmud, Sotah 9b).

There are many legends about Miriam’s well. It is said to have been a magical source of water that followed the Israelites for 40 years because of the merit of Miriam. The waters of this well were said to be healing and sustaining. Thus Miriam’s Cup is a symbol of all that sustains us through our own journeys, while Elijah’s Cup is a symbol of a future Messianic time.

This is the Cup of Miriam, the cup of living waters. Let us remember the Exodus from Egypt. These are the living waters, God’s gift to Miriam, which gave new life to Israel as we struggled with ourselves in the wilderness. Blessed are You God, Who brings us from the narrows into the wilderness, sustains us with endless possibilities, and enables us to reach a new place."

Miriam's cup should be passed around the table allowing each participant to pour a little water form their glass into Miriam's cup.  This symbolizes the support of notable Jewish women throughout our history which are often not spoken about during our times of remembrance. 

Rachtzah
Source : Rabbi Menachem Creditor, Congregation Netivot Shalom, Berkeley, CA

Our hands were touched by this water earlier during tonight's seder, but this time is different. This is a deeper step than that. This act of washing our hands is accompanied by a blessing, for in this moment we feel our People's story more viscerally, having just retold it during Maggid. Now, having re-experienced the majesty of the Jewish journey from degradation to dignity, we raise our hands in holiness, remembering once again that our liberation is bound up in everyone else's. Each step we take together with others towards liberation is blessing, and so we recite:

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha’olam, asher kidshanu bemitvotav vetzivanu al netilat yadayim.

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה' אֱלֹֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶך הָעוֹלָם אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִּם.

Blessed are you our God, who has sanctified us with commandments and instructed us regarding lifting up our hands.

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.

בְָּרוּךְ 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 : Martin Luther King, Jr.

We still have a long, long way to go before we reach the promised land of freedom. Yes, we have left the dusty soils of Egypt, and we have crossed a Red Sea that had for years been hardened by long and piercing winter of massive resistance, but before we reach the majestic shored of the promised land, there will still be gigantic mountains of opposition ahead and prodigious hilltops of injustice.

Let us be dissatisfied until the tragic walls that separate the outer city of wealth and the comfort from the inner city of poverty and despair shall be crushed by the battering rams of the forces of justice.

Let us be dissatisfied until those who live on the outskirts of hope are brought into the metropolis of daily security.

Let us be dissatisfied until slums are cast into the junk heaps of history, and every family will live in a decent sanitary home.

Let us be dissatisfied until the dark yesterdays of segregated schools will be transformed into bright tomorrows of quality integrated education.

Let us be dissatisfied until integration is not seen as a problem but as an opportunity to participate in the beauty of diversity.

Let us be dissatisfied until men and women...will be judged on the basis of the content of their character, not on the basis of the color of their skin.

Let us be dissatisfied until from every city hall, justice will roll down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

Let us be dissatisfied until the day when nobody will shout, "White Power!" when nobody will shout, "Black Power!" but everybody will talk about God's power and human power.

Maror
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah

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?

ברוּךְ אַתָּה יְיַָ 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.

Charoset Recipe - Jane Schwab 

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.

Shulchan Oreich
Tzafun
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

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

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

Refill everyone’s wine glass.

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

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

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

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

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

The Third Glass of Wine

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the third glass of wine!

Hallel
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah

Singing songs that praise God | hallel | הַלֵּל

This is the time set aside for singing. 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 : Matt Sanow

Welcoming Elijah

We now fill the fourth and final cup of wine.

At the same time, we fill an additional cup and set it aside for the prophet Eliyahu (Elijah). This practice came about because their was a difference of opinion among the sages, as to whether there should be four or five cups at the seder. The compromise was to drink four, and leave a fifth—tradition says that Eliyahu will return at the seder prior to the coming of Messiah, and he will tell us whether to drink of the fifth cup.

Send one of the children to open a door to allow Eliyahu to enter while we sing the song “Eliyahu Hanavi

Eliyahu Hanavi,
Eliyahu Hatishbi,
Eliyahu, Eliyahu, Eliyahu hagiladi

Bimheirah yameinu, yavo eileinu
Im Mashiach ben David.

Elijah the Prophet,
Elijah the Tishbite,
Elijah the Giladite

May he come speedily to us in our days
With Messiah the son of David.

We await the time when Eliyahu will return, answering all religious questions, and announcing the coming of the Messiah.

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!

Conclusion

Is it a Schwab family tradition that each stance is read in a single breath.  Enjoy! 

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 three?

I know three.

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

Conclusion

Each verse should be read my a Seder participant.  

1. An only kid! An only kid,
My father bought
For two zuzim. 
An only kid! An only kid!

2. Then came the cat
And ate the kid
My father bought For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

3. Then came the dog
And bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid! 

4. Then came the stick
And beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

5. Then came the fire
And burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

6. Then came the water
And quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid! 

7. Then came the ox
And drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

8. Then came the butcher
And killed the ox
That drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

9. Then came the angel of death
And slew the butcher
That killed the ox 
That drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

10. Then came the Holy One, blest be He!
And destroyed the angel of death
That slew the butcher
That killed the ox
That drank the water
That quenched the fire
That burned the stick
That beat the dog
That bit the cat
That ate the kid
My father bought
For two zuzim.
An only kid! An only kid!

Conclusion

All read the third line of each stanza in unison

Unto God let praise be brought
For the wonders He hath wrought—
  At the solemn hour of midnight.

All the earth was sunk in night
When God said "Let there be light!"
  Thus the day was formed from midnight.

So was primal man redeemed
When the light of reason gleamed
  Through the darkness of the midnight.

To the Patriarch, God revealed
The true faith, so long concealed
  By the darkness of the midnight.

But this truth was long obscured
By the slavery endured
  In the black Egyptian midnight.

Till the messengers of light
Sent by God, dispelled the night,
  And it came to pass at midnight. p. 116

Then the people God had freed
Pledged themselves His law to heed,
  And it came to pass at midnight.

When they wandered from the path
Of the Lord, His righteous wrath
  Hurled them into darkest midnight.

But the prophets’ burning word
By repentant sinners heard
  Called them back from darkest midnight.

God a second time decreed
That His people should be freed
  From the blackness of the midnight.

Songs of praise to God ascend,
Festive lights their glory lend
  To illuminate the midnight.

Soon the night of exile falls
And within the Ghetto walls
  Israel groans in dreary midnight.

Anxiously with God they plead,
Who still trust His help in need,
In the darkest hour of midnight.

And He hears their piteous cry.
"Wait! be strong, My help is nigh,
  Soon ‘twill pass—the long-drawn midnight.

"Tenderly I cherished you
For a service great and true;
  When ‘tis past—the long-drawn midnight." p. 117

O, Thou Guardian of the Right,
Lead us onward to the light
  From the darkness of the midnight.

Father, let the day appear
When all men Thy name revere
  And Thy light dispels the midnight.

When no longer shall the foe
From th’ oppressed wring cries of woe
  In the darkness of the midnight.

But Thy love all hearts shall sway;
And Thy light drive gloom away,
  And to midday change the midnight.

Commentary / Readings
Source : http://www.reformjudaism.org/blog/2014/04/09/five-fun-facts-about-passover

We all know about Passover, that holiday when we Jews whip out our flat, cracker-like matzah, talk about the massive exodus from Egypt, and drink a whole lot of Manischewitz wine. As it happens, though, there are a few other things you might want to know about Passover! Here are some facts about the holiday that you probably never knew:

Passover is an oldie. Judaism celebrates a lot of holidays. Some are fairly recent, such as Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, founded only 66 years ago when Israel was declared a state. But the oldest of them all? Passover! The very first Passover was celebrated in Egypt itself more than 3,300 years ago and marked the first holiday the Jews ever celebrated.

The world’s biggest matzah ball was really big.You thought your mother made them well? Well she’s up against some competition. The world largest matzah ball was made in the heart of New York City in 2009. Chef Anthony Sylvestry managed to make a matzah ball measuring 22.9” wide and weighing a whopping 267 lbs!  

Sometimes there are seven foods on the seder plate. The traditional seder plate is a circular plate with six spots on it, each to hold a different symbolic food to be eaten during the Passover meal. In recent years, a new tradition has begun to form – a seder plate with seven spots instead of six. The new seventh food? An orange. The orange is said to signify fruitfulness, and the action of spitting out the seeds represents “spitting out” hate and discrimination in our communities. 

Passover is a day of commemoration.On Passover 2,000 years ago, a nation of Jews escaped Egypt through the splitting of the Red Sea. On Passover 149 years ago, Abraham Lincoln was assassinated at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. Many Jewish Americans were in synagogue at the time of the assassination, both to observe Passover and to celebrate the end of the Civil War, and the American Jewish Historical Society notes that synagogue bimahs "were quickly draped in black and, instead of Passover melodies, the congregations chanted Yom Kippur hymns." 

Nepal is home to the world’s largest Passover seder.The world’s largest Passover seder, boasting more than 1,000 participants, is held yearly in Kathmandu, Nepal. Why Nepal? The country is overflowing with young Israeli travelers who have recently finished their army service, and when it comes time for Passover, some want to be reminded of their mom’s chicken soup or experience the familiar crunch of matzah. Other attendees simply hear of this massive event and feel compelled to travel to Nepal to experience the holiday in such a unique way. Rabbis fly in to lead the seder, and tens of participants show up in advance to help prepare for the guests. Now that’s a lot of company!

Commentary / Readings
Source : Rabbi Joel Soffin

On this holiday when we are commanded to relive the bitter experience of slavery, we place a fourth matzah with the traditional three and recite this prayer (recite while holding the Fourth Matzah):

“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,  ‘Shalah et Ami!  Let MY People Go!'”

Commentary / Readings
Source : Susannah Heschel

Six items traditionally adorn the Seder plate.  Some have roots in ancient Egypt.  Some have roots in the turning of the seasons from later influences in the harvest.  Long after Egypt, we lived among the Persians whose New Year falls on the spring equinox.  Persians place severn items on a special cloth, including the egg of fertility and greens to celebrate.  It is hard to discern which customs we borrowed from our neighbors and which they adapted from us.  

The newest symbol on the Seder plate is the Orange.  In our own days, the scholar Susannah Heschel instituted this custom as a means of inclusion.  Just as the orange has segments and seeds, so do our people.  

In the 1980's, Susannah Heschel was invited to lecture at Oberlin College in Ohio.  "While on campus, I came across a Haggadah written by students to express feminist concerns.  One ritual they devised was placing a crust of bread on the Seder plate as a sign of solidarity with Jewish lesbians.  They reasoned:  There is as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the Seder plate.   But bread on the Seder plate brings an end to Pesach.  It renders everything  chometz, and suggests that being a lesbian is being transgressive, violating Judaism.  

At the next Passover, I placed an orange on our family's Seder plate. I asked everyone to take a segment of the orange, make the blessing over fruit and eat it as a gesture of solidarity with other who are marginalized within the Jewish community.  I felt that an orange was suggestive of something else: The fruitfulness for all Jews when each and everyone one of us are contributing and active members of Jewish life.  In addition, each orange segment had a few seeds that had to be spit out - a gesture repudiating the exclusion within Judaism."

Commentary / Readings
Source : Alexander Kimel

I do believe, with all my heart,

In the natural Goodness of Man.

Despite the blood and destruction,

Brought by one man, trying to be God,

In the Goodness of Man, I do believe.

I do believe, with all my heart,

That God gave man the blessing and the curse.

Man can select the curse of envy, hatred and prejudices,

Or the blessing of love, harmony and beauty.

Despite the painful curses of the past,

In the blessing of the Creator, I do believe.

I do believe, with all my heart,

That God created a beautiful world,

The sun and the trees, the flowers and the bees.

And the best way to serve God, is

To enjoy the fruits of His labor of love.

Despite the painful memories from the past,

In the joyful celebration of life, I do believe.

I do believe with all my heart,

That God has created man in image of His own.

And killing of man, is like killing of God.

Despite the massacres in Rwanda, the cleansing in Bosnia,

The folly of Muslim fanatics, and the cruelty of Pot Pol.

In the love and compassion of the Creator, I do believe.

I believe with all my heart,

That the Messiah and the Kingdom of Heaven will come;

When man will conquer his destructive urge,

And learn how to live in harmony with nature and himself.

When all the preachers of hate will be silenced,

And man will become his brother’s keeper.

When man will stop killing man, in the name of God,

And nation will not lift weapons against nation.

When it will be, I do not know, but

Despite all the signs to the contrary.

In the dawn of a Better World, I do believe.

Commentary / Readings
Source : Reform Judaism Magazine

Ask virtually anyone: “Was Jesus’ Last Supper a Passover seder?” and the response is likely to be “Of course!”

Yet, Jesus could not have known what a “seder” was, let alone have modeled his Last Supper after one. The elements of even the primitive seder originated decades after he died.

The Gospels date Jesus’ ministry to the period of Pontius Pilate, Roman prefect of Judea from 26 C.E. to early 37 C.E. Jesus’ year of death is unknown; scholars settle on between 30 and 33 C.E.

At that time, the core element of Passover observance had been Jerusalem’s sacrificial cult, from 621 B.C.E. (when the biblical mandate first appeared) up until 70 C.E. (the destruction of the Second Temple). Jewish families brought paschal (Passover) lambs for sacrifice on the Temple altar as biblically prescribed: “Thou shalt sacrifice the Passover offering…in the place which the Lord shall…cause His name to dwell [Jerusalem’s Temple]” (Deuteronomy 16:2, 5–6); and the practice of King Josiah: “In the eighteenth year of King Josiah [621 B.C.E.] was this Passover kept…in Jerusalem” (Second Kings 23:21–23). For the ceremony, the kohanim (priests) conducted the sacrificial rite. Then families retrieved and consumed their meat as the main part of their Passover meal, which also included unleavened bread and bitter herbs (recalling the Hebrews’ enslavement in Egypt).

Passover meals Jesus experienced in his lifetime would have had to be along these Temple-centered lines.

Then, in 70 C.E., approximately 40 years after Jesus’ death, Rome destroyed the Second Jerusalem Temple, thus ending the required central component of Passover observance, as sacrifice of paschal lambs by the Temple priests was no longer possible.

Instead, the early rabbis eventually introduced an inchoate, rudimentary practice that over the ensuing decades evolved into a new way of observing Passover. This would become known as a “seder,” Hebrew for “order,” because the ceremony followed a set sequence of liturgical recitations and ritual foods narrating the Passover saga, ultimately to be governed by an instructional guide called the haggadah. In our oldest reference, the early third century rabbinic compendium, the Mishnah, we read that Gamaliel II, the greatest rabbi of the post-destruction era (likely during the late 80s C.E.), customarily said: “Whoever does not mention [expatiate upon] these three things on Passover does not discharge one’s duty...: the Passover offering [lamb], unleavened bread, and bitter herbs” (Pesahim 10:5). Thus the core Temple-centered observance mutated from sacrificing lambs into drawing upon Passover motifs to retell the Hebrews’ escape from Egypt.

Centuries of further embellishment and refinement produced the full-fledged, mature seders we know today—the kind that many modern churches adopt and adapt in “reenacting” the Last Supper even though no such seder could have been practiced during Jesus’ day.

How the Confusion Began

If the Last Supper could not have been a seder, what led to modern-day associations of the two?

Early Christian theology contended that the primary purpose of the Jewish Bible (as yet Christians’ only scripture) was to signal Jesus’ coming. The Passover saga thereby became a major filter for heralding Jesus’ uniqueness. In the 50s C.E., Paul of Tarsus wrote of the “sacrifice” of Christ, “our paschal lamb,” urging Christians to avoid the “leaven of malice and evil” in favor of “the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth” (1 Corinthians 5:6ff.). In 71 C.E., in the wake of the Temple’s fall, Mark—followed by Matthew ca. 85 and Luke ca. 95—reimagined Jesus’ Thursday night Last Supper (ca. 30 C.E.) as having been a Passover meal, most likely to correlate Passover, the festival of physical and political freedom for the Jews, with Jesus’ death, which Christians claimed brought spiritual freedom, indeed salvation, for humanity. John, meanwhile, preferring to interpret Jesus himself as the paschal lamb, set that Passover meal on Friday night, 24 hours after Jesus’ Last Supper, so as to coincide Jesus’ death with that of the Passover lambs sacrificed shortly before that Friday evening’s Passover meal. Thus, the various Gospel writers embellished Last Supper narrations with their own preferred Passover motifs in service to Christian theology.

In time, Passover-Easter became the most dangerous season for Jews in Christian Europe. Medieval mythology came to cast Jews as kidnapping and killing Christian children for their blood (supposedly needed to bake Passover matzah), an accusation resulting in torture, even death, for countless Jews charged with the (seasonal) reenactment of their ancestors’ alleged murder of Jesus. Some Jews were even accused of deriving and adapting their seder from the Lord’s Supper!

No wonder that, in recent times, Jews welcomed an astonishing pivot when Christians began to deem seders splendid vehicles for experiencing a taste of what Jesus’ Jewish life had been genuinely all about. Responding in kind, Jews were now thrilled to invite Christians to local synagogues or Jewish homes to experience seders themselves.

Once the seder became imported into churches, however, the pendulum swung disturbingly too far. Passover was now transformed into an overtly Christian celebration—wherein Jewish haggadot were photocopied and repackaged with insertions of a Christological nature blatantly contrary to original rabbinic intent. Such fanciful notions included the death of the firstborn foreshadowing the death of Jesus (God’s firstborn); the lamb’s blood on wooden doorposts of Israelite homes in Egypt anticipating Jesus’ blood on the wooden cross; the passing through the Red Sea heralding the sacrament of baptism—the Red Sea so named because of the saving blood of Jesus; the three pieces of matzah (centered on the table) representing the Trinity; the breaking of the middle matzah recalling the breaking of the body of Jesus (second person of the Trinity); the stripes on the matzah reminiscent of the lash marks from Jesus’ whippings; and the matzah’s tiny perforations recalling the stigmata piercing Jesus’ hands, feet, and side.

Nowadays, these false notions continue to be promulgated and accepted in certain Christian circles, primarily among conservative Evangelicals, who welcome seder demonstrations by “Jews-for-Jesus” and “Messianic Jews.” Fortunately, certain major Christian denominations—especially Roman Catholicism and the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America—issued formal directives, even outright prohibitions, to their constituents against treading on Jewish sensitivities by staging misleading Passover celebrations.

In short, Jesus never practiced the kind of Passover meal that many churches stage today to “reenact” the Last Supper. Nor could this meal (ca. 30 C.E.) have been a seder, because in Jesus’ time the festival was still observed as a Jerusalem Temple rite, without the set sequence of seder elements that became rudimentally defined in the decades after the Temple’s fall some 40 years later—not to mention the seder’s far more detailed embellishments in the centuries to come.

Michael J. Cook is the HUC-JIR Bronstein Professor of Judeo-Christian Studies and author of Modern Jews Engage the New Testament: Enhancing Jewish Well-Being in a Christian Environment (Jewish Lights Publishing, 3rd printing 2012).

Commentary / Readings
Source : Rabbi Thomas Louchheim

Do you have Ashkenazi roots? Do you trace your family back to the Mediterranean or Poland? If you do, you might have a Sephardic background. In either case, for most of us these terms have lost their significance in today's "melting pot" North American society. Nevertheless, there still seems to be some debate about what you may or may not eat on Passover. Let me see if I can clarify this for you (or complicate your menu for your seder).

On Passover, one is not to have chametz – leavening – in your home. By chametz, the tradition means those grains from which matzah may be baked: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and spelt. No other foodstuffs are regarded as chametz. In 1810 the Reform Movement in Germany determined that they would be following the Sephardic practice of not categorizing any legumes or rice as chametz. Therefore, for more than 200 years, my family has been following this Reform (not “Sephardic”) practice by eating string beans and rice with our matzah ball soup.

The prohibition found its roots in France in the thirteenth century and then spread through Europe. There was no explanation, at the time, for excluding these foods during Passover. In actuality, allowing rice and legumes predates Sephardic Jews. Prohibiting these foods actually contradicts the Talmud (Pesachim 35a and 114b), which allows them. The Talmud even disputes the claim that these foods are chametz because they can be dried and made into flour.

Commentary / Readings
Source : Rabbi Mark Dov Shapiro

Somewhere during the course of your Passover seder this year, ask one of these questions and see how your fellow attendees respond. You can also try typing the questions on small pieces of paper, folding them up, and asking everyone around the table to choose one, read it aloud, and respond. Depending on your audience, the responses may be either serious or playful. Either way, you’re guaranteed interesting discussion.

  • What do Passover and Easter have in common? (Think spring festivals, eggs, and redemption, to start.) How do they differ?
  • Think for a moment about the future of the Jewish community. Do you think your great-grandchildren will be sitting at a Passover seder someday? Why or why not?
  • Which symbol on the seder plate do you think is the most important?
  • What if "Bitter Herb" is your brother-in-law or a family friend? How should such an individual be treated at the seder? 
  • It is traditional for the youngest person at a seder to ask the Four Questions. If you were to create a new tradition for the asking of the Four Questions, who would you choose to ask the questions and why?
  • Tradition says that Elijah the Prophet is supposed to announce the coming of the Messiah. If you could send Elijah to any spot on the globe to make the announcement of the Messiah, where would you send him?
  • Some people say the Ten Plagues are part of tradition and so they should be included in the seder. Others say the plagues lead us to inappropriately exalt in the adversities suffered by the Egyptians. Others say that Jews take a drop of wine from the cup for each plague, acknowledging that freedom was won at a cost. Do you believe in a God who punishes people? Would God slay the Egyptians’ firstborn sons? What do you think? Should the Ten Plagues be part of the seder?
  • Do you believe we can eventually eradicate wars, poverty, and starvation? Or do you believe that we will always be stuck in some version of the current mess? 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?
  • What experiences in your life have given you hope? Tell about some struggle to change something that worked. What did you learn from it?
Cover

Tonight we gather together to celebrate Passover, our holiday of freedom, as many generations of Schwabs' have done before us. We will eat a great meal together, enjoy (at least!) four glasses of wine, and tell the story of our ancestors’ liberation from slavery in Egypt. We welcome our friends and family members from other backgrounds to reflect with us on the meaning of freedom in all our lives and histories. We will consider the blessings in our lives, pledge to work harder at freeing those who still suffer, recognize the plagues many still face today, and begin to cast off the things in our own lives that oppress us.

"Neighbor is not a geographic term. It is a moral concept. It means our collective responsibility for the preservation of man's dignity and integrity."  Joachim Prinz