The entire story of the Haggadah is contained in the Seder plate (קערה ke'ara); everything on it symbolizes an aspect of Exodus:
- Zeroa (זרוֹע)a roasted bone, evokes the offering made at the Temple in ancient times.
- Beitza (ביצה), a boiled egg, symbolizes the circle of life and death.
- Maror (מָרוֹר), a bitter herb, reminds us of the bitterness of enslavement.
- Charoset (חֲרֽוֹסֶת), a mixture of fruit, nuts, wine and spices, represents the mortar our ancestors used to build the structures of Mitzrayim
- Karpas (כַּרְפַּס), a green vegetable, symbolizes hope and renewal.
- Chazeret (חזרת), the bitter herb for the “sandwich” we eat later, following the custom established by Hillel the Elder, as a reminder that our ancestors “ate matzah and bitter herbs together”
In addition to those 6 traditional foods, you'll notice that we also have chocolate and an orange:
Fair Trade certified chocolate is grown under standards that prohibit the use of forced labor. It is placed on the seder plate to remind us that forced labor is still with us today. The Fair Trade movement promotes economic partnerships based on equality, justice and sustainable environmental practices. We have a role in the process by making consumer choices that promote economic fairness for those who produce our products around the globe.
I'll let Susannah Heschel explain the orange...
In the early 1980s, the Hillel Foundation invited me to speak on a panel at Oberlin College. While on campus, I came across a Haggadah that had been written by some Oberlin 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, a statement of defiance against a rebbetzin’s pronouncement that, “There’s as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the seder plate.”
At the next Passover, I placed an orange on our family's Seder plate. During the first part of the Seder, I asked everyone to take a segment of the orange, make the blessing over fruit, and eat it as a gesture of solidarity with Jewish lesbians and gay men, and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community.
Bread on the Seder plate brings an end to Pesach-- it renders everything chametz. And it suggests that being lesbian is being transgressive, violating Judaism. I felt that an orange was suggestive of something else: the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men 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 of spitting out, repudiating the homophobia of Judaism.
When lecturing, I often mentioned my custom as one of many new feminist rituals that have been developed in the last twenty years. Somehow, though, the typical patriarchal maneuver occurred:
My idea of an orange and my intention of affirming lesbians and gay men were transformed. Now the story circulates that a man said to me that a woman belongs on the bimah as an orange on the Seder plate. A woman's words are attributed to a man, and the affirmation of lesbians and gay men is simply erased.
Isn't that precisely what's happened over the centuries to women's ideas? And isn’t this precisely the erasure of their existence that gay and lesbian Jews continue to endure, to this day?
- Excerpted from an Email from Professor Susannah Heschel
Keep one orange on the Seder plate, and pass out orange slices. As we hold the fruit in our hands, shout out marginalized and invisibilized folks that we want to recognize and fully welcome in to the circle of the loving community we are creating.
All say the Blessing over Fruit from Trees!
ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו, מלך העולם, בורא פרי העץ
(Ashkenazi pronunciation, masc.) Baruch atah Adonai, eloheinu Melech ha’olam boreh p’ri ha-eitz
(Ashkenazi pronunciation, fem.) Brucha Yah Shechinah, eloheinu Malkat ha’olam, borayt p’ri ha-eitz
Blessed are You, Hashem, whose spirit fills all creation and brings forth fruit from the trees
Four Questions: http://www.totshabbat.com/Mah-Nishtanah-sheet-music.pdf
Let my people go:http://www.totshabbat.com/GoDownMoses-sheetmusic.pdf
Collection: http://offtonic.com/nusach/Pesach2011/2012%20Seder%20Pesach.pdf (Order of the Seder; psalm 114; shir hamaalot; Eliyahu Hanavi; Psalm 117; 118; Echad Mi Yodea)
Reader 1: Long before the struggle upward begins, there is tremor in the seed. Self-protection cracks, roots reach down and grab hold. The seed swells, and tender shoots push up toward light. This is karpas: spring awakening growth. A force so tough it can break stone.
Reader 2: Why do we dip karpas into salt water?
Reader 1: At the beginning of this season of rebirth and growth, we recall the tears of our ancestors in bondage.
Reader 2: And why should salt water be touched by karpas?
Reader 1: To remind us that tears stop. Even after pain. Spring comes.
Take a bit of greenery, dip it into the salt-water, and recite the following blessing:
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה
Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri ha’adamah.
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.
Take the middle matzah and break it into two, one piece larger than the other.
The larger piece is set aside to serve as Afikoman. This is traditionally hidden, by the leader of the Seder for the children to “steal” or “find” and then ransom for a something at the end of the Seder.
The smaller piece is put back, between the two matzot. This smaller piece, along with the top matzah is what will be used for the “Motzi-Matzah” and “Korech”
Maggid – Beginning
Raise the tray with the matzot and say:
הָא לַחְמָא עַנְיָא דִי אֲכָלוּ אַבְהָתָנָא בְּאַרְעָא דְמִצְרָיִם. כָּל דִכְפִין יֵיתֵי וְיֵיכֹל, כָּל דִצְרִיךְ יֵיתֵי וְיִפְסַח. הָשַׁתָּא הָכָא, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּאַרְעָא דְיִשְׂרָאֵל. הָשַׁתָּא עַבְדֵי, לְשָׁנָה הַבָּאָה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין.
Ha lachma anya dee achalu avhatana b'ara d'meetzrayeem. Kol deechfeen yeitei v'yeichol, kol deetzreech yeitei v'yeefsach. Hashata hacha, l'shanah haba-ah b'ara d'yisra-el. Hashata avdei, l'shanah haba-ah b'nei choreen.
This is the bread of affliction, which our ancestors ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are in need, come and share the Pesach meal. This year, we are here. Next year, in the land of Israel. This year, we are slaves. Next year, we will be free.
Refill the wine cups, but don’t drink yet.
Maggid – Four Questions
?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?
בָּרוּךְ הַמָּקוֹם, בָּרוּךְ הוּא. בָּרוּךְ שֶׁנָּתַן תּוֹרָה לְעַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל, בָּרוּךְ הוּא
כְּנֶגֶד אַרְבָּעָה בָנִים דִּבְּרָה תּוֹרָה . אֶחָד חָכָם, וְאֶחָד רָשָׁע, וְאֶחָד תָּם, וְאֶחָד שֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל
Baruch hamakom, baruch hu. Baruch shenatan torah l'amo yisra-eil, baruch hu.
K'neged arba-ah vanim dib'rah torah. Echad chacham, v'echad rasha, v'echad tam, v'echad she-eino yodei-a lishol
The Torah speaks of four types of children: one is wise, one is wicked, one is simple, and one does not know how to ask.
חָכָם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מַה הָעֵדוֹת וְהַחֻקִּים וְהַמִשְׁפָּטִים אֲשֶׁר צִוָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ אֶתְכֶם? וְאַף אַתָּה אֱמָר לוֹ כְּהִלְכוֹת הַפֶּסַח: אֵין מַפְטִירִין אַחַר הַפֶּסַח אֲפִיקוֹמָן.
Chacham mah hu omeir? Mah ha-eidot v'hachukim v'hamishpatim, asher tzivah Adonai Eloheinu etchem? V'af atah emor lo k'hilchot hapesach. Ein maftirin achar hapesach afikoman.
The Wise One asks: "What is the meaning of the laws and traditions God has commanded?" (Deuteronomy 6:20) You should teach him all the traditions of Passover, even to the last detail.
רָשָׁע מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מָה הָעֲבֹדָה הַזֹּאת לָכֶם? לָכֶם - וְלֹא לוֹ. וּלְפִי שֶׁהוֹצִיא אֶת עַצְמוֹ מִן הַכְּלָל כָּפַר בְּעִקָּר
.וְאַף אַתָּה הַקְהֵה אֶת שִנָּיו וֶאֱמֹר לוֹ: בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יי לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם. לִי - וְלֹא לוֹ. אִילּוּ הָיָה שָׁם, לֹא הָיָה נִגְאָל
Rasha, mah hu omer? Mah ha-avodah ha-zot lachem? Lachem v’lo lo. Ul'fi shehotzi et atzmo min hak'lal, kafar ba-ikar. V'af atah hakheih et shinav, ve-emor lo. Ba-avur zeh, asah Adonai li, b'tzeiti mimitzrayim, li v'lo lo. Ilu hayah sham, lo hayah nigal.
The Wicked One asks: "What does this ritual mean to you?" (Exodus 12:26) By using the expression "to you" he excludes himself from his people and denies God. Shake his arrogance and say to him: "It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt..." (Exodus 13:8) "For me" and not for him -- for had he been in Egypt, he would not have been freed.
תָּם מָה הוּא אוֹמֵר? מַה זֹּאת? וְאָמַרְתָּ אֵלָיו: בְּחֹזֶק יָד הוֹצִיאָנוּ יי מִמִּצְרָיִם, מִבֵּית עֲבָדִים
Tam mah hu omeir? Mah zot? V'amarta eilav. B'chozek yad hotzi-anu Adonai mimitzrayim mibeit avadim.
The Simple One asks: "What is all this?" You should tell him: "It was with a mighty hand that the Lord took us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."
ושֶׁאֵינוֹ יוֹדֵעַ לִשְׁאוֹל - אַתְּ פְּתַח לוֹ, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר: וְהִגַּדְתָּ לְבִנְךָ בַּיוֹם הַהוּא לֵאמֹר, בַּעֲבוּר זֶה עָשָׂה יי לִי בְּצֵאתִי מִמִּצְרָיִם
V'she-eino yodei-a lishol, at p'tach lo. Shene-emar. V'higadta l'vincha, bayom hahu leimor.
Ba-avur zeh asah Adonai li, b'tzeiti mimitzrayim.
As for the One Who Does Not Know How To Ask, you should open the discussion for him, as it is written: "And you shall explain to your child on that day, 'It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt." (Exodus 13:8)