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Introduction

Seder (order) & Freedom

The Seder prescribes a specific order to tonight’s proceedings. Having to do things a certain way seems the opposite to being free. After all what difference does it really make if you ask the four questions after you eat if you are hungry; or if we drink all the cups of wine before the meal if we are thirsty and the wine in pretty good. And what difference does it make if you wash your hands after you eat instead of before (whoops that one has been settled by science a few years ago and is another matter).

Over the past year I learned something about the relation between order and freedom I would like to share. Last week I saw a four-year old boy for a return visit after I saw him once a month ago.

Office notes from first visit:

“Very stubborn; He may throw things at you on purpose; destructive breaks furniture.

He thinks it is funny when you correct him and then gets violent. Stabbed mother with plastic knife

He doesn't have much fear. Runs out in the snow without clothes.

Violent; tantrums punches kicks and tries to bite triggered by corrections.. thinks it’s funny

Takes 3 hours to fall asleep. Mother sleeps in his bed 1/2 night

He was always hyper. The only time he was calm was when he takes a bath before bedtime. (and that was the only routine of the day).

MGM had strokes last year and is at the end of her rope; (She shares care with the mother and grandfather).”

I provided some advice to the family and I also tried to get him enrolled in a pre-K based on being an out of control kid with a disabled Grandmother and I found some opportunities for doing so.

My office notes from the return visit in one month.

“Family wants to wait until the fall for school. ‘Big change. Doing really good.’ Helps with laundry and picks up. He is learning how to control what he is going through. Every thing in the apt is calmer because he is

He now tells sister "honey and babe" and wants to help her and help his mother.

Routines: After breakfast he picks up the floor and starts vacuuming.

Bedtime is 7:30 reading a book or writing; lays there and passes out at 8:15 PM and stays asleep until 8 AM”.

The advice given was mostly was that the boy has become wild because he cannot deal with the freedom of having to decide how to amuse himself through the day and get the adults to react instead of providing the structure he needs to know how to focus his energy and attention. We developed routines for the day starting with a bedtime ritual that build on the evening bath but included a bedtime story from Mom and a schedule for blocks of time during the day. It was the Order that provided freedom for this family.

Another story on this theme from this past year is about a six month old boy who was feeding on demand at night beyond the time when it is needed. Providing the structure of when to eat and when to not eat resulted in freedom of the parents to get some sleep.

This Seder is oriented to the Reconstructionist point of view –accepting the obligation of every generation to carry forward ideas and traditions but also the responsibility make them meaningful in our time. Accepting the structure and the ideas of the past liberates one to not have to reinvent a culture of ethical thinking. It is humbling to know we are not always moving forward. Loss of the structure of Shabbot may be a cultural regression.

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Passover Past

Ben and Lenny with Grandpa Bill, Grandma Esther, Dad

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Source : Ray's iphone
Sturner Sedar '14

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Source : Ray's iphone
Sturner Sedar '14

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Source : BimBam
I'll Be There for You https://www.youtube.com/embed/HeVYuwNVNcc

A music video about the Torah’s most famous siblings: Aaron, Miriam and Moses, and the many adventures and rivalries they share throughout the Torah.

This piece was created in four weeks by 6 families, brought together by Kevah. Since each of the families had varied backgrounds in studying Torah and were diverse in age, the group decided to take a creative approach to learning text together. The eleven kids aged 5 to 15 along with their parents – a speechwriter, studio painter, landscape architect, art photographer, museum curator, singer, programmer, professor, and several entrepreneurs – decided that they wanted to make an animated musical film about sibling relationships in the Torah.

BimBam developed several workshops for the families to learn text, write a script, paint characters, draw backgrounds, storyboard animations, and practice singing together. To cap the experience, the families lent their voices to the song at Fantasy Studios, a legendary professional recording studio.

Download the lyrics here: https://www.bimbam.com/studioberkeley/

Introduction
Source : adapted from Ayeka Haggadah

Over 3,000 years ago a group of people in the middle east enslaved for generations, had lost hope of being free and were then inspired by a leader who challenged the world’s most powerful leader and brought his people to freedom. 

It is a story of hope and overcoming impossible odds.

Hope is the gift the Jews have given to the world.

Though we are no longer slaves, we each remain stuck in some part of our lives.

Hope whithers easily in the face of disappointment. It is all too easy to become disillusioned with toxic cynics ridicule optimism. Getting unstuck – making changes is scary. We may fail; we may wander for years in the desert. The youngest in our midst, Cameron, may be an inspiration. He is beginning to walk, but not without falling hard and often but he doesn’t stay down. He gets up and moves forward.

“Let my people go!” Can be words to strengthen ourselves and overcome the fear of the unknown and march forward, slowly but defiantly trying to become unstuck, toward the Promised Land.

In this Sedar there will be questions related to the Hope-Giving theme as part of other personal questions that may come up.

One goal of this haggadah will be to encourage each of us to take one moment to consider the sedar as about - where I fit in, right now, in the development of my own life, the life of my People, and the life of this family.  It is my hope that this digital haggadah can grow and improve each year - you are all welcome to contribute.   I have not removed the excess sections - but left them as an archive - for now.  Think about how this early stage haggadah can be improved in the future.

In truth, almost none of the Jews who left Egypt actually entered the Promised Land.  They wandered for forty years in the wilderness.  Paradise is elusive, and its pursuit is challenging.  While moving forward, we often stumble, wander aimlessly, run in circles.  For two thousand years, the haggadah has been the Jewish People's invitation to ask: "Where are we now on the journey?"

Introduction
Source : original

 

Many times throughout history,  the Jewish people have lived without freedom. The Haggadah tells the story of one of those times. It tells the story of how the Jewish people were freed from being slaves in Eqypt which is called the Exodus. By reading the words of the Haggadah and by eating special food, we perform the Mitzvah written in the Torah. “You shall tell the Passover story to your children in the days to come”.The word “Haggadah” means a retelling.The obligation to tell and retell the story of the exodus from slavery to one’s children is the core of the Seder ritual. Tonight, is a time for joy and relaxation as we celebrate the triumph of all people who have struggled for control over their own lives and fought and won over the forces of oppression.

 

The special meal for Pesach is called the seder. The word seder means order. The order of the seder meal helps us tell the story in a step by step way. Tonight we eat Matzoh the “bread of affliction” to remind us of our past so that in our lives we will be neither slave nor Pharoah, but that we will recognize injustice and try to stop it. Tonight is a time to renew our courage and a chance to awaken to the present with fresh insight.

 

 In the Torah, one of the most important ideas is freedom.  Freedom is not the right to do whatever you want but the opportunity to do what is right. A person who is free may choose to say yes when everyone else is saying no. Throughout the seder meal, we celebrate the journey to freedom and remember that none of us are free till all of us are free. Let us do what our ancestors have done for thousands of years. Let us remember the story of the Exodus from Eqypt, let us link ourselves with all who came before us.Let us celebrate freedom.

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Matriarchs

Esther, Great Bubie Rose, Fae, Sarah, Bubie Ida and Lenny Frank

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Matriachs

Levin Sisters

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But secular, progressive Judaism is, itself, a kind of religion. While dispensing with the God of the alte velt —if the Enlightenment didn’t kill him, the Holocaust certainly did—leftist Jews of the 20th century maintained a prophetic, religious zeal for justice.

Some of this came from within the Jewish tradition, both as a matter of Biblical injunction (“Do not oppress a stranger, for you know the heart of a stranger as you were slaves in Egypt,”

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/01/31/what-kind-of-jew-is-bernie-sanders.html

Introduction

In 1977, a Soviet newspaper alleged that Mr. Sharansky was collaborating with the CIA. Despite denials from every level of the U.S. Government, Mr. Sharansky was found guilty and sentenced to thirteen years in prison including solitary confinement and hard labor. In the courtroom prior to the announcement of his verdict, Mr. Sharansky in a public statement said: “To the court I have nothing to say – to my wife and the Jewish people I say “Next Year in Jerusalem”. After nine years of imprisonment, due to intense international pressure and a campaign led by his wife, Avital Sharansky, Mr. Sharansky was released on February 11, 1986, emigrated to Israel, and arrived in Jerusalem on that very day.

Upon his arrival to Israel he continued the struggle for opening the gates of the Soviet Union. The final chapter of this historic struggle for the release of Soviet Jews was the momentous rally of over 250,000 people on December 7th, 1987, of which Natan Sharansky was the initiator and driving force

http://www.jewishagency.org/executive-members/natan-sharansky-0

Introduction

“You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.” (Deuteronomy 10:19)
Rabbi Shlomo Ephraim Luntschitz, the 16th century commentator from Prague known as the Kli Yakar,
wrote that anyone who was never a stranger in his life cannot feel the pain of the stranger and does not
suffer together with the stranger. Anyone who himself has been a stranger, though, knows in his very core
the agony of the stranger, and would never allow anything which he himself finds hateful to happen to
5
INTRODUCTION
another.
It’s precisely because we have seen our own people dominate the news cycle for so long that we cannot
stay silent. It’s because we have witnessed violence and bloodshed in our community that we cannot stay
silent. It’s because we have heard our brothers and sisters blamed and defended, vilified and glorified, that
we cannot stay silent regarding the tragic events taking place in Ferguson, in New York, in Ohio, in
Wisconsin, and elsewhere throughout the country.

Introduction
Introduction
Source : The New Union Haggadah

Shabbat Candles

May the festival lights we now kindle,

Inspire us to use our powers

To heal and not to harm,

To help and not to hinder,

To bless and not to curse,

To serve You, O God of freedom.

Kadesh

The dining room table was simply resplendent. Covered in her now off-white lace table cloth, the oak wooden table stood sturdily atop the navy tuft pile carpet, though every year a few more shims were added for leveling. On the soft carpet, slight impressions from hundreds of chair legs left indented memories of the past. 

In the corners of the dining room, white built-in cabinets displayed China dishes with tiny blue and white flowers, wine glasses of every size, a shelf reserved entirely for Shabbat candlesticks, and a rudimentary hanukkiah made of wood and bolts, the sole survivor of Sunday school, now coated with wax.

The door was open to Elijah. At one end of the table sat his goblet full of wine, waiting for his visit, while across from it, Miriam’s cup stood in prominence. The children, who were now adults, still shot furtive glances at these cups. Would the wine disappear this year like it always had?

As in every year, there was too much food. He always cooked for twelve, even though now, there were only five or six people who might return to this table for Passover. 

In the foyer, a few table leaves leaned against a corner.

“Honey, we don’t need them this year,” he suggested to his wife.

“No. Let's put them in – just in case.” 

“But Mom,” their adult children echoed, “its just the six of us. And the leaves are really heavy. It's not worth breaking your back over.”

“No. No. Let's put them in – just in case.” 

And so they compromised. This year, one leaf would be used. The other would stand lonely in another room.

“And Mom, we don’t need extra chairs either.”

It’s in these moments, joyous holiday meals and family celebrations, that we remember them. It is in the smell of spices so fragrant, the taste of sweet wine, and the shadow of candles flickering, that we recall the days when they sat next to us and sometimes we can still feel their warmth. 

As we recall the story of the Jewish people, of our redemption from slavery in Egypt, we remember also the story of our own families: the journeys and experiences that shaped us, the people and places, and the faces that sat across from us, shared meals with us, shared the story with us – for so many years.

We can’t help but want to set a place for them at the table, hoping that they will walk in the door years after they’ve departed. We can’t help but want to hear their voices singing, laughing. We can’t help but want to smell their perfume, to taste their cooking, to see their smile.

While our memories are but meager substitutes for the warm hug we so long to experience, may we find solace and comfort in knowing that while they may be gone, our memories endure.

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

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

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

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

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

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

Drink the first glass of wine!

Kadesh

By Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Rabbi Lauren Holtzblatt

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 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

Kadesh

What was your holy moment this year?

Kadesh
Source : Tikkun Passover Supplement

KIDDUSH

Before the blessing over the first cup of wine, say:

We are gathered here tonight to affirm our continuity with the generations of Jews who kept alive the vision of freedom in the Passover story. For thousands of years, Jews have affirmed that by participating in the Passover Seder, we not only remember the Exodus, but actually relive it, bringing its transformative power into our own lives.

The Hebrew word for Egypt, Mitzrayim, means “narrow straits.” Traditionally, Mitzrayim has been understood to mean a spiritual state, the “narrow place,” a place of confusion, fragmentation, and spiritual disconnection. There are many ways in which all of us, individually and collectively, may be trapped in Mitzrayim. Fear of the other, fear of our own true selves, fear of losing control. All of these can become "false gods" to which we may be enslaved. Even some of what passes for "spiritual growth" may lead us into a narrower, more constricted place as we attempt to cut off parts of ourselves that we don't like. It is only a short step from abusing facets of our own selves to abusing others as well.

The way out of Mitzrayim is through chesed, compassion—through embracing that which we have been taught to scorn within ourselves and others and through attempting to understand those who seem very different from us. Israel left Egypt with “a mixed multitude”; the Jewish people began as a multicultural mélange of people attracted to a vision of social transformation. What makes us Jews is not some biological fact, but our willingness to proclaim the mes- sage of those ancient slaves: The world can be changed, we can be healed. 

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

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

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

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

Urchatz
Source : Deborah Miller
We will wash our hands twice during our seder: now, with no blessing, to get us ready for the rituals to come; and then again later, we’ll wash again with a blessing, preparing us for the meal.

Too often during our daily lives we don’t stop and take the moment to prepare for whatever it is we’re about to do. Let's pause as we wash our hands to consider what we hope to get out of our evening together. 

Karpas

We begin the sedar by eating Kapas, a reminder of spring and hope.  Winter is cold and bleak.  Even when cold and dark the indomitable force of life is at work under the surface.  By ingesting the karpas, the color, smaell and taste remind us of the tough power of life and hope wihin. 

What aspect of the natural world gives you hope?  What is the most hopeful place you have ever been? 

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

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

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

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

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

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

-

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

Karpas
Source : original

By Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder alternadox.net

By not trusting ourselves and the various voices within us, we keep hidden the better part of who we are.  Many of us were taught early on that it is not safe to be who we really are - that it is not safe to say what is on our minds or in our hearts. But tonight we are free to release, to encounter, to integrate, to evolve and to express.

As Michael Kagan writes, the salt water in which we dip our karpas is the tears and frustration of not being allowed to let go.  Tonight those tears will serve as a ticket to freedom.  As King David said, 'My tears were nourishment for me...'  To move forward, we must inevitably encounter the walls we have built inside; the tears are the struggle to get beyond those walls─not tears of failure but tears of exertion.

Tonight, we dip our desires─the karpas ─into our tears. We indulge in something frivolous, purposeless, pointless, and we fight through the internal barriers that try to prevent us from enjoying it.

Consider sharing something about your inner walls - what do you feel prohibited from doing/feeling/talking about/enjoying?

Yachatz

There is always some brokenness and a piece missing.  It is risky to venture into the unknown without assurances that everything will work out.  There are always good reasons to stay put. 

After the Yachatz we say: "Ha lachma onya." "Now we are here, next year may we celebrate Passover in the land of Israel  (and in Westport, Connecticut) ; this year we are still enslaved, next year may we all be free people." We have a vision and a mission.  Despite the good reasons for staying put, the brokenness, the pieces missing, we begin our journey.  It is an act of defiant courage.  At every stage of life we can risk staying stuck or moving ahead.

Yachatz
Source : original

By Rabbi Gavriel Goldfeder www.alternadox.net

We all know that we cannot rely on the holiness of our desires all the time.  Tonight is special, different. Tonight it is safe to let go.  But in a week or a month, who knows?  By breaking the middle matzah , we acknowledge that we are still split.  We still cannot ultimately trust that our desires and our necessities, our concerns and our impulses, our inner child and our responsible adult, have become one. There is brokenness here. 

The two pieces of matzah represent two kinds of eating: because we have to and because we want to. One half we will eat soon, in hunger. The other half we will hide─the half that represents desire, enjoyment, fulfillment, luxury.  It is supposed to be eaten on a full stomach, out of desire to eat rather than necessity.

We will hide it because our relationship to it is still uncharted - many of us haven't yet made peace with our desires as portals to the holy.  But we are also giving ourselves a goal. The hidden matzah represents our future, the ultimate future, where we are free to do as we wish, knowing that this is Hashem's wish as well. Our ultimate goal is to bring these two halves together.

This is a moment of brokenness, but it is also a moment of faith.  In allowing ourselves to break, to recognize the split, to admit unfamiliarity, to admit that we are not yet there, we are also expressing faith that the rift can be fixed.  After all, only people who do not believe in healing try to 'keep it together'.  Jews, however, believe in the 'healer of broken hearts'. We believe in the G-d who values nothing higher than a broken vessel. We believe that even when the broken matzah is two, it is one.

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.

Yachatz
Source : T'ruah's Refugee Seder

Matzah, unleavened bread, reminds us both the bread of poverty that the ancient Israelites ate in Egypt and the bread of freedom that they ate in their rushed escape to freedom. Three matzot sit on a plate at the center of the table. At this point of the seder, we break the middle matzah in two, wrap one portion in a napkin, and set it aside, hidden from sight.

This division reminds us of the forced separation of communities and families, parents from children, spouses and siblings from each other. The visible half becomes our bread of affliction, representing the suffering of those who do not know where their loved ones are. The hidden half, called the afikoman, represents the horrors hidden from our sight. At the end of the seder, we look for the afikoman, and similarly commit to seeking redemption. Until families and communities become one whole again, our seder cannot truly end.

I am 38 years old, married and a father of two children. I was born in Niala, South Darfur. My father was murdered during an attack on our village in 2003. We had to run away and seek refuge in the “Kalma” refugee camp. My mother, wife and children still live there until today. I miss them very much and I don’t know what their situation is. I came to Israel to seek protection but I was imprisoned. I have been in prison for almost two years. I don’t want to be in prison any more. –Testimony of A.A.M.S., 1/18/14 1

We pour a second cup, the cup of storytelling, and over it we begin to tell tales of Exodus old and new.

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

Pour the second glass of wine for everyone.

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

Maggid - Beginning
Source : adapted from Ayeka Haggadah

We are hardwired to give.  One of the worst feelings in the world is not being needed by others. But a slave is drained, depleted, and has nothing to give and that deprives them further of a loss of sense humanity.

So we beginning the Seder by proclaiming, "anyone who is hungry should come and eat!" Something we should shout! We are no longer slaves with nothing to give.

Share a moment when you either carried out or witnessed a momentous act of extraordinary giving.

Who would you want to invite next year to our Seder? How about someone from another culture?

How about the phrase - now we are slaves. What is the thing you are stuck on?

Maggid - Beginning
Source : The Tapestry of Jewish Time by Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin

Each holiday is a place in time and space, with its own story, its own message and its own rituals.  If we open ourselves, the rituals and messages of each holiday find a way to enter our hearts.

This holiday of Pesach enters our hearts with the themes of freedom, defiance, hope and renewal.  Pesach is the retelling of how a rabble of slaves was infused with a sacred purpose and grew to enter into a covenant with God.  It is a narrative that has taught the world that birth is not destiny, oppression is not defeat, “victim” is not an identity and partnership with God is open to us all. 

Maggid - Beginning

Scholar Sol Schimmel in the book, The psychology of Gratitude observes that the format of Dayeinu is intentional: “One interpretation of the structure of this poem is that when we reflect on a benefit that G-d ( or by extention, another person) has done for us, we should break it into its multiple components, mediating on each element.” For gratitude to be truly felt on both sides, it must be enumerated in specifics. A general thank-you gets lost.

From Erica Brown, Seder Tale

Maggid - Beginning
Maggid - Beginning
Source : T'ruah's Refugee Seder

We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt…

The reason people are leaving Eritrea is not hunger; it’s a dictatorship that imprisons and tortures citizens at will. If he could live in Eritrea with freedom and safety, W told me there was no place he would rather live; it was home. As we drove out of Holot [Detention Facility in the Negev], W said, “it looks exactly like the military camp in Eritrea” (where men do constant, mandatory service until they’re 55, making it impossible for them to have any other life). “Exactly the same! The only difference is that in Eritrea, the fence is wood,” he said, looking out at the high, thick metal topped with barbed wire. –Testimony of W, a refugee from Eritrea, recorded by journalist Ayla Peggy Adler, 2/12/14

The Egyptians treated us badly and they made us suffer, and they put hard work upon us…

I was born and raised in Eritrea, where I was fortunate to be well educated…I taught high school math…On January 10, 2012, I fled my homeland to escape persecution… Smugglers offered to take me to a refugee camp, but instead they transported me to someplace in the Sudanese desert and held me and others as slaves. We worked in our captors’ houses and fields all day, without a break. I tried to escape, but they caught me; as punishment, they isolated me and held me, blindfolded, in solitary confinement for a month…We suffered greatly. We saw our friends die…I didn’t think I would survive…

On July 7, 2012, my captors took me, and others, to the Israeli border. Israeli soldiers spotted us but refused us entry. We turned back, and eventually we found a different route to cross into Israel. Security forces immediately picked us up and transferred us to the Saharonim prison.—Testimony published anonymously, 1/28/14

“It is because of what the ETERNAL did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.”

Kamal (“Kimo”), 26, was born in a village in Darfur. He was 15 when the Janjaweed attacked his village. 800 of his villagers fled to the Nuba Mountains, where they made a temporary camp. Three weeks later, the UN found them , said it was unsafe, and helped them get to Kakuma camp in Kenya, but there were no opportunities for a real future or education there. With his best friend Ibrahim, he decided to leave. He left his family and went to South Sudan where he worked for a year to earn the money for the Bedouins to cross the Sinai. After climbing the fence to Israel, Ibrahim and Kimo walked for ten hours with no food or water. They finally saw the Israeli border patrol and they were given food and water and put into a detention facility. After six months there, he was brought to Levinsky Park in South Tel Aviv, where he stayed for three months outside, while working to get his visa. He has worked in hotels for the last four years. In his free time, he studied computers, psychology, and English and volunteered with ASSAF’s (Aid Organization for Refugees and Asylum Seekers) Youth Program. He received a summons to report to Holot Detention Facility on April 2, 2014. --Testimony reported during a series of writing workshops developed and run by Madelyn Kent with Jeremy Elster and Right Now: Advocates for African Refugees in Israel. These stories are part of a larger storytelling/video project with African refugees, “Desert Stories.”

-- Four Questions
Source : Original
Modern Four Questions

                In my first meme, Grumpy Cat represents the wicked child. He does not include himself when asking the questions. Because of this, he is considered wicked and told he would not have been freed with the rest of the Jews. The second meme is the child who does not know how to ask a question. This derpy cat is unable to phrase what is in his mind, and we tell him that Adoni brought us out of Egypt without going into too much detail. Next, I used chemistry cat to represent the smart child. If his glasses and beakers aren’t demonstration enough of his intelligence, his reference to Boyle’s laws identify him as the smart child. He asks specific questions about our customs and laws. Lastly is the simple cat. The simple cat is happy with a simple tummy rub and Adoni freeing us. He does not ask for more and is easily satisfied. The cats in these pictures are common memes, used to tell jokes to the modern generation. Adding a thoughtful element, these cats convey a serious message through a medium which we are used to.

-- 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 : Progressive Jewish Alliance

Consider these 4 quotes and these 4 questions. Discuss either or both.

Quotes:

1) “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.” - Barack Obama

2) “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt

3) “Were people not in possession of courage, foresight and trust, which are the general conditions of faith, there would be no activity.” - Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

4) “A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead

Questions:

1) How is this economic crisis different from all other economic crises?

2) How will you contribute to the parting of this new Red Sea?

3) Who are the modern-day Israelites? Who are the Egyptians?

4) To truly make change in the world you must live it. What can you do today to make real change?

(Special thanks to Rabbi Lisa Edwards and IKAR for helping to create this.)

-- Four Questions
-- Four Questions
-- Four Questions
Source : BimBam
Ma Nishtana (The Four Questions) - Learn what they mean and how to sing them https://www.youtube.com/embed/fn3FNA4Ar40

Learn the Four Questions (aka Ma Nishtana) for Passover - whether you're the youngest child yourself or you're coaching someone else. :) Watch this short video to practice saying the words and to learn all the cool ways that seder night is different. Featuring Jason Mesches.
-- Four Questions
by VBS
Source : Rabbi Ed Feinstein, Valley Beth Shalom

Ma Nishtana is the opening phrase of the Four Questions sung at every Passover Seder. They mean "How is it different?" as in "How is this night different than all other nights?" It's the first real question at the seder table. The phrase also means what difference is seen tonight? We've taken that phrase to expand the notion of transformation that occurs in each of us in preparation for our great spring holiday of change, Passover.

Find more information here: https://www.vbs.org/worship/ma-nishtana

-- Four Questions
Source : http://hartman.org.il/Blogs_View.asp?Article_Id=83&Cat_Id=275&Cat_Type=Blogs
By Noam Zion

In a culture of questions like that of the Rabbis, they wish to understand the purpose and the reason for each commandment and every social institution and to exercise free choice between options. This type of education is critical by nature and it generates not only the aspiration to political freedom, but also spiritual and intellectual freedom.

That is why the Rabbis took the image of the first Jew, who obeyed unquestioningly the divine commandment of lech lecha - “Go out of your land” - and accorded the spiritual hero the content appropriate to their world.

The Rabbis, like Philo the first century Jewish philosopher, attribute to Abraham a search for truth that involved challenging the accepted beliefs of his idolatrous society. (See the midrash about Abraham the iconoclast in the Haggadah itself.)

It is noteworthy that the Rabbis, and following in their footsteps, Maimonides, painted a portrait of Abraham as a doubter, someone who questions society’s conventions and is searching for a philosophical truth. He also tries to free others from their intellectual bondage by creating a situation that forces them to pose questions, as Hillel did with the proselyte and as the Rabbis demanded that each parent do on Seder night with one’s own child.

Here, the Rabbis painted a portrait of Abraham based on the Biblical nucleus of the story of Sodom, in which God encourages Abraham to ask tough intellectual and moral questions, challenging the supreme authority - God.

Willing participation

“Shall not the judge of all the land be just?” - This rhetorical question seems defiant toward God, and yet God invited this defiance by involving Abraham in the debate concerning the fate of Sodom. Why? Why did God not fear rebellion? Why did God agree to enter in the extended negotiations that involved making concessions to the product of God’s own creation, Abraham?

The answer, in my opinion, lies in a radical educational approach - God’s desire to teach humans to willingly participate in God’s plan, out of rational understanding and recognition of the intrinsic justice of God’s Torah.

The Rabbis also took this direction and constructed an educational method based on the idea of the mentor, the apprentice. In this relationship, there are no questions that may not be asked, no doubt that may not be raised - as long as the true motive for the question is a genuine desire to learn.

Raising doubts, continuing tradition

The child and spiritual heir, who raised doubts and discovered the inner logic of the Seder, who queried and contributed to its ongoing design in a process of questions and answers, will continue the tradition most faithfully.

A genuine question is not a rebellion against authority, but rather authentic curiosity that enables the tradition to be passed on. It is not easy for authoritarian figures who are already convinced of the rationality of their world and of the unreason of other ways, to listen to criticism from the younger generation.

It is vital that the parent-teachers learn at the very least how to open themselves, their teachings and the existing social order to the new questions. If the parent and teacher discover they have innocent pupils before them who do not know how to ask, they must open up to them and open them up to the asking of incisive questions.

Democratic society can learn a great deal from the openness of our Rabbis to the culture of kushiyot - questions. A kushiya is not merely an educational tool to arouse the interest of students in the “material” of Passover, but rather an educational “form” that educates teacher and pupil, parent and child to the dialogue of freedom.

-- Four Questions
Source : Lab/Shul Sayder

Mah Nishtana: What's New? What significant change has occurred in your life since this time last year? Name one meaningful piece of news. ​Elijah's Cup is passed around as each guest speaks. A blessing or toast concludes the round. Avadim Hayinu: Our Slavery. Identify the problem. What enslaves you today? What's holding you back from being freer, happy, and creative? ​Use a blank note of paper - on one side write HOW AM I FREE and on the other side write HOW AM I NOT FREE Dayenu: Enough. Identify possible solutions. What can you do to help end your enslavement and reduce that which holds you back from more freedom and creativity? What will help you fight the Pharaohs within? ​This round can be about personal or societal slavery and oppressions. L'shana Ha'baa: Future Vision - Next Year. We can't end the seder till we all commit to making the world a better place, with less oppression and more freedom. What is your vision of a freer world? What do you commit to in the coming year to help reduce slavery and oppression in the world? ​This can be discussed over dessert!

-- Four Questions

Select ONE question from the list below and ask your neighbor:

  1. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

  2. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

  3. What do you value most in a friendship?

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

As we tell the story, we think about it from all angles. Our tradition speaks of four different types of children who might react differently to the Passover seder. It is our job to make our story accessible to all the members of our community, so we think about how we might best reach each type of child:

What does the wise child say?

The wise child asks, What are the testimonies and laws which God commanded you?

You must teach this child the rules of observing the holiday of Passover.

What does the wicked child say?

The wicked child asks, What does this service mean to you?

To you and not to himself! Because he takes himself out of the community and misses the point, set this child’s teeth on edge and say to him: “It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.” Me, not him. Had that child been there, he would have been left behind.

What does the simple child say?

The simple child asks, What is this?

To this child, answer plainly: “With a strong hand God took us out of Egypt, where we were slaves.”

What about the child who doesn’t know how to ask a question?

Help this child ask.

Start telling the story:

“It is because of what God did for me in taking me out of Egypt.”

-

Do you see yourself in any of these children? At times we all approach different situations like each of these children. How do we relate to each of them?

-- Four Children
Source : Rabbi Gilah Langner, T'ruah

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

What does the wise child say? “What are the testimonies, the statutes, and the laws that apply to this situation? How are we to discern what God demands of us?” You are to answer this child: “God brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage that we may understand the heart of those suffering in slavery, and use all our powers to redeem them.”

What does the wicked child say? “What does all this work have to do with you?” Notice: “you,” not him or her. The wicked child stays far removed from suffering, and thus has lost the essence of our teachings. You might ask this child: “If you had been in Egypt, would you have been redeemed? And if you do not lift a finger now, who will redeem those who languish in slavery?”

The simple child asks: “What’s this all about?” You should teach this child: God brought us out of Egypt with a strong hand, out of the affliction of slavery. So we must use our strength to abolish slavery around the world. We cannot stop our work until there are no longer any slaves, anywhere.

The child who does not know to ask, you must open his or her eyes to what is going on. For today, there are 27 million people living in slavery, and over 8 million of them are children. Surely this is one reason God took our people out of Egypt long ago – so that we might understand what slavery is like, and help free all those who remain enslaved.

And Egyptians made the Hebrews lives bitter with hard bondage,
in mortar, and in brick... Exodus 1:14

Brick Making in Pakistan: A Vignette

Since the 1960s, an estimated 750,000 landless Muslim peasants have hand molded hundreds of millions of mud bricks each year in Pakistan. The bricks are fired in some 7,000 vast but primitive kilns spread throughout the country.

With no other hope for sustenance, desperate families drift to kilns where they borrow money to buy food and tools from the owners. On a good day, a family will mold about fourteen hundred bricks for which they are paid two dollars. But their debts keep growing because kiln owners undercount the number of bricks produced, inflate the debt, and charge exorbitant prices for food and clothing.

Impoverished families, including young children, work as a unit. Without putting their children to work, these families would sink even deeper in debt. Even so, most families incur debts they will never earn enough to repay. If kiln owners suspect that a family may be planning to run away, they take a child to another location as a hostage.

According to one former kiln owner, "to intimidate brick makers, the owner just comes along and smashes all the freshly made raw bricks, a whole day's work, for no reason. If a young worker lifts his head or causes trouble, they will put his leg in the kiln oven for a second to burn it. This is common and brick makers are forced to watch." When a parent dies, the children inherit their mother's or father's debts, assuring another generation of bonded brick makers.

David Arnow, PhD
Author of Creating Lively Passover Seders www.livelyseders.com

Co-editor My People's Passover Haggadah both published by and available from www.jewishlights.com

This material was originally published by the New Israel Fund www.nif.org in its 2002 Passover Haggadah Supplement.

-- Four Children
Source : Original by Archie Gottesman
You can look at the four sons as four generations of Jews in America today. The first generation of eastern European Jewry who emigrated to America at the turn of the century are represented by THE WISE SON. This is the Jew who grew up with a strong connection to the Jewish way of life. His commitment to Judaism is unshakable.

His son, the second generation, is represented in the Wicked Son. This is the rebel who wants to succeed in his new life and take on Western values. Although he has grown up in a home full of Jewish values and an integrated Jewish life, he rejects this in favor of integrating into Western society and becoming accepted as the new American.

His son, the third generation, is represented by the Simple Son. This child has spent Seder nights at his grandparents' table and has seen his grandmother light the Shabbat candles. He has a spattering of knowledge picked up at Hebrew school, but he doesn't know the meaning behind any of the symbols and is not very motivated to go beyond what he sees.

His son, the fourth generation, is represented in the "One who doesn't know how to ask." This child does not have memories of his great grandparents. He celebrates the American holidays and other than knowing that he is a Jew, has no connection whatsoever to Judaism. He sits at a traditional Seder night and does not even know what to ask because it is all so foreign to him.

Today there is a fifth son, who is off in India or out at the movies on Seder night, not even aware that Passover exists. Anyone sitting at the Seder table is still connected to the Jewish people and heritage just by being there. We just need to get him interested enough to ask a question so a door can be opened for him.

-- Four Children
In recounting our story, let us consider that we tell it to four children, one wise, one simple, one wicked and one innocent.

The wise child asks: How can I learn more about our people?  To that child you shall direct our wealth of literature so that they may seek out this knowledge for themself.

The simple child asks: What is this all about?  To that child you shall say simply , because we had faith we were redeemed from slavery.

The wicked child asks: What good is this to you?  To that child you shall say, do not exclude yourself by saying "to you" but say instead "to us", for only together can we succeed.

The innocent child does not know how to ask.  For this child you shall tell them that we were taken out of Egypt so that we could be free.

Say to all of the children, that you may know who you are, get wisdom, get understanding and it shall preserve you, love it and it shall keep you.

-- 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 : http://blog.ninapaley.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/MosesPartsSea324fps.gif
Moses Parts the Sea

-- Exodus Story
Source : youtube
macabeats story https://www.youtube.com/embed/qmthKpnTHYQ

-- Exodus Story
Source : youtube
passover movie https://www.youtube.com/embed/B2ePd43aon8

-- Exodus Story
Selma: 50 years later https://www.youtube.com/embed/_PdYMlevf44

President Barack Obama on the Edmund Pettus Bridge

"To speak out for what is right

To shake up the status quo

That is America!"

-- Exodus Story
Source : AISH Site
-- Ten Plagues

What has been a plague on your life journey?

What would be plagues of today?

Mosquitoes – Zika

Ebola

global warming related: Tornadoes; Hurricaines;

Fake news

Chemical warfare with Syrian family victims

Bombs on civilians

Terrorists

Was the plague of frogs something humorous?  Something funny to give hope

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

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

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

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

Blood | dam | דָּם

Frogs | tzfardeiya |  צְפַרְדֵּֽעַ

Lice | kinim | כִּנִּים

Beasts | arov | עָרוֹב

Cattle disease | dever | דֶּֽבֶר

Boils | sh’chin | שְׁחִין

Hail | barad | בָּרָד

Locusts | arbeh | אַרְבֶּה

Darkness | choshech | חֹֽשֶׁךְ

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

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

-- Ten Plagues
Source : Original

The literal translation of “makat bechorot” is “plague of the firstborn”. After the Egyptians had already suffered from nine plagues, Pharaoh kept refusing to let the Jewish people go by hardening his heart. This eventually led to the ultimate punishment: the slaying of the firstborn son of every family in Egypt. The Jewish people were told to paint their doors with lamb's blood so that Hashem would know not to kill their firstborn. Why is it that Hashem required us to use lamb blood to identify a Jewish household? The lamb is used throughout the Torah to represent an atonement of sorts. Using the lamb for Passover shows us that we have to earn our freedom through atonement and forgiveness.

-- Ten Plagues
Source : unknown

Like the plagues of our ancestors' time in Egypt, modern life has it's plagues as well. In this ritual the cup of wine we enjoy at this seder is diminished because, in our times as well, freedom, health and lives of others are curtailed. Each drop of wine we pour represents the hope and prayer that people will cast out the plagues that threaten everyone everywhere they are found...beginning in out own hearts.
>
> The making of war
> the teaching of hate and violence
> despoliation of the Earth
> perversion of justice and of government
> fomenting of vice and crime
> neglect of human needs and suffering
> oppression of nations and people
> corruption of culture
> subjugation of science, learning and human discourse
> the erosion of personal and civil freedoms

-- Ten Plagues

from the Washington Post 2-23-16

I suggest borrowing a page from the Passover Haggadah. The Seder service recalls the Ten Plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians: blood, frogs, lice, wild animals, pestilence, boils, hail, locusts, darkness and slaying of the firstborn. This, come to think of it, sounds a lot like Trump’s descriptions of women: fat pigs, dogs, slobs, disgusting animals. But if the Ten Plagues of Egypt were enough to deliver the Israelites from Pharaoh, perhaps these Ten Plagues of Trump will help to deliver America from his efforts to make voters forget the past 10 months.

Blood

Trump on Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly: “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” Trump has previously said that what matters is having “a young and beautiful piece of ass,” and he said avoiding sexually transmitted diseases was “my personal Vietnam.

Rapists

Mexico is “sending people that have lots of problems,” he said. “They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists.”

Trump has called repeatedly for rounding up and deporting all 11 million illegal immigrants, alleged that prominent Hispanic American journalists are controlled by Mexico, mocked Asian accents and disabled people and told Jews they wouldn’t support him “because I don’t want your money.”

Lies

Trump said he saw “thousands and thousands” of Muslims in New Jersey celebrating the 9/11 attacks. He also let stand the charge at one of his events that President Obama is a Muslim.

Sucker punches

When a protester was escorted from a Trump rally, Trump fondly recalled the old days, when “they’d be carried out on a stretcher.” Trump said of the protester: “I’d like to punch him in the face.” Trump also considered paying the legal fees of a supporter who cold-cocked a black demonstrator at one of his rallies and who said, “The next time we see him, we might have to kill him.” Trump also retweeted messages from white supremacists and suggested a Black Lives Matter demonstrator roughed up at his event deserved it.

Waterboarding

Trump said he would like to bring back waterboarding for terrorism detainees and a “hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” He said at one point that he would expect the military to follow illegal orders to torture detainees and to target innocent family members of terrorists.

Chains

Trump, before recanting, said “there has to be some form of punishment” for women who get an abortion if the procedure were made illegal.

Foul mouths

Trump has told mass rallies that he wants to “bomb the [expletive] out of ISIS.” He called his chief rival, Ted Cruz, a “pussy,” and made unsubstantiated insinuations about Cruz’s wife, Heidi: “Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!

Schlongs

Trump used the occasion of a nationally televised debate to “guarantee you” there was “no problem” with the size of his penis.

Dark people

Trump has called for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States” — except perhaps for “very rich Muslims” who are his friends.

Flaying of the first birther

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Trump led the “birther” movement challenging President Obama’s standing as a natural-born American. During the campaign he called for ending the tradition of birthright citizenship for all born on U.S. soil.

Like the Seder service on Passover, the catalog of Trump’s outrages could go on and on. And it should: Post Opinions Digital Editor James Downie and I are compiling a comprehensive list of Trumpisms, and we invite you to email us your favorites at posttrumpisms@gmail.com to make sure all of his offenses are included.

But even if we only had these Ten Plagues of Trump, it would be enough — dayenu, as we say during Passover — to make Trump’s rebranding impossible.

-- Ten Plagues

While we’re enjoying in the sweetness of wine, we still show sympathy for those that suffered. The joys of just punishment and the need for restraint are vengeful feelings.

For your own discussion later during the meal:

The traditional Haggadah questions and debates the number of plagues in terms of impact. In this Seder, let's debate violence vs. nonviolence as a way of getting to freedom. 

How can we exercise empathy in today’s political climate?

How do we show mercy to those that espouse hateful views? e.g. Charlottesville, Tree of Life Synagogue, Sri Lanka 

Does suffering make us more empathetic? When does it make us vengeful or insensitive?

How is Harriet Tubman seen as a black Moses?

-- Ten Plagues

Take turns reading the 10 quotes below, followed by a 2 minute moment of silence. Each quote is taken from a news article from the alst year. 

“I can barely buy a piece of stale bread, that’s why my children are dying before my eyes.” [Yemen]

“The Rakhine burned their houses down,” she said, referring to civilians from the Buddhist ethnic group that gives Rakhine State its name. “My friend is gone forever.” [Myanmar]

"I don't have my son with me. He's not coming back, period. He's gone. He's dead. So what are our options in here," [Parkland, FLorida]

“He approached me and told me in so many words, ‘I want you to have sex with this guy for money,’ I was very uncomfortable and I kept saying no, I didn’t want to do it. He kept telling me, ‘If you love me, you’ll do this. It’s just one thing. Just try it.’” [Texas]

“[The government] comes to your house, they ask you a series of questions, and you start to think, if I answer ‘no,’ they can cut me from health care. It just leaves you overwhelmed.” [Venezuela]

“What matters is he was a father of two, he had his family, he was an unarmed black man that was going to his grandparent’s house, and got assassinated, Nothing else matters at that point." [Sacremento California]

“We avoided the road because we heard horrible stories that women and girls are grabbed while passing through and are raped, but the same happened to us,. There is no escape — we are all raped.” [South Sudan]

“Thousands of people who have had their lives dramatically altered by sexual violence have reached out to share their own experiences with me and have thanked me for coming forward…At the same time, my greatest fears have been realized—and the reality has been far worse than what I expected. My family and I have been the target of constant harassment and death threats.” [Washington DC]

“It’s crazy seeing the world advance by the minute while seeing a place you call home decline by the second.” [Gaza]

“Mommy, I love you and adore you and miss you so much. Please, Mom, communicate. Please, Mom. I hope that you’re OK and remember, you are the best thing in my life.” [Detention Center, Arizona]

-- Ten Plagues
Source : JewishBoston.com with Rabbi Matthew Soffer

The Passover Haggadah recounts ten plagues that afflicted Egyptian society. In our tradition, Passover is the season in which we imagine our own lives within the story and the story within our lives. Accordingly, we turn our thoughts to the many plagues affecting our society today. Our journey from slavery to redemption is ongoing, demanding the work of our hearts and hands. Here are ten “modern plagues”:  

Homelessness

In any given year, about 3.5 million people are likely to experience homelessness, about a third of them children, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty. A recent study by the U.S. Conference of Mayors showed the majority of major cities lack the capacity to shelter those in need and are forced to turn people away. We are reminded time and again in the Torah that the Exodus is a story about a wandering people, once suffering from enslavement, who, through God’s help, eventually find their way to their homeland. As we inherit this story, we affirm our commitment to pursue an end to homelessness.

Hunger

About 49 million Americans experience food insecurity, 16 million of them children. While living in a world blessed with more than enough food to ensure all of God’s children are well nourished, on Passover we declare, “Let all who are hungry come and eat!” These are not empty words, but rather a heartfelt and age-old prayer to end the man-made plague of hunger.

Inequality

Access to affordable housing, quality health care, nutritious food and quality education is far from equal. The disparity between the privileged and the poor is growing, with opportunities for upward mobility still gravely limited. Maimonides taught, “Everyone in the house of Israel is obligated to study Torah, regardless of whether one is rich or poor, physically able or with a physical disability.” Unequal access to basic human needs, based on one’s real or perceived identity, like race, gender or disability, is a plague, antithetical to the inclusive spirit of the Jewish tradition.

Greed

In the Talmud, the sage Ben Zoma asks: “Who is wealthy? One who is happy with one’s lot.” These teachings evidence what we know in our conscience—a human propensity to desire more than we need, to want what is not ours and, at times, to allow this inclination to conquer us, leading to sin. Passover urges us against the plague of greed, toward an attitude of gratitude.

Discrimination and hatred

The Jewish people, as quintessential victims of hatred and discrimination, are especially sensitized to this plague in our own day and age. Today, half a century after the civil rights movement in the United States, we still are far from the actualization of the dream Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. articulated in Washington, D.C., a vision rooted in the message of our prophets. On Passover, we affirm our own identity as the once oppressed, and we refuse to stand idly by amid the plagues of discrimination and hatred.

Silence amid violence

Every year, 4.8 million cases of domestic violence against American women are reported. Each year, more than 108,000 Americans are shot intentionally or unintentionally in murders, assaults, suicides and suicide attempts, accidental shootings and by police intervention. One in five children has seen someone get shot. We do not adequately address violence in our society, including rape, sex trafficking, child abuse, domestic violence and elder abuse, even though it happens every day within our own communities.

Environmental destruction

Humans actively destroy the environment through various forms of pollution, wastefulness, deforestation and widespread apathy toward improving our behaviors and detrimental civic policies. Rabbi Nachman of Brezlav taught, “If you believe you can destroy, you must believe you can repair.” Our precious world is in need of repair, now more than ever.

Stigma of mental illness

One in five Americans experiences mental illness in a given year. Even more alarming, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly two-thirds of people with a diagnosable mental illness do not seek treatment, and minority communities are the least likely to search for or have access to mental health resources. Social stigma toward those with mental illness is a widespread plague. Historically, people with mental health issues have suffered from severe discrimination and brutality, yet our society is increasingly equipped with the knowledge and resources to alleviate the plague of social stigma and offer critical support.

Ignoring refugees

We are living through the worst refugee crisis since the Holocaust. On this day, we remember that “we were foreigners in the land of Egypt,” and God liberated us for a reason: to love the stranger as ourselves. With the memory of generations upon generations of our ancestors living as refugees, we commit ourselves to safely and lovingly opening our hearts and our doors to all peace-loving refugees.

Powerlessness

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? How often do we find ourselves powerless to transform the world as it is into the world as we know it should be, overflowing with justice and peace?

Written in collaboration with Rabbi Matthew Soffer of Temple Israel of Boston

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

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

ּעֲבָדִים הָיִינוּ הָיִינו. עַתָּה בְּנֵי חוֹרִין  

Avadim hayinu hayinu. Ata b’nei chorin.

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

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

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

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

אִלּוּ הוֹצִיאָֽנוּ מִמִּצְרַֽיִם, דַּיֵּנוּ

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

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

אִלּוּ נָתַן לָֽנוּ אֶת־הַתּוֹרָה, דַּיֵּנוּ

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

---

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the second glass of wine!

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : youtube
fountainheads dayenu https://www.youtube.com/embed/E_RmVJLfRoM

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : adapted from Ayeka Haggadah

Have you had any dayanu moments this year – Joyful ones to sing about

DAYENU – expressing gratitude

Sometimes the accumulation of small defeats can wear us down and make us lose hope.  My brain is flooded with “Why didn’t I do that?  I can’t believe I did that again: what on earth was I thinking?
 

What would happen if I changed  focus?  If instead of reminding myself of my failings, I started to list my successes?  Even my little ones?

What would happen if we began publicizing achievements and blessings rather than catastrophes and setback?

What if we tried to see things in a positive light?  If we constructed “gratitude lists” to make us more aware of all the wonderful things happening to us?

Singing the song “Dayenu”, a keystone moment for many families , is nothing but not a “national gratitude list.  After a rousing chorus how can a person not have more hope?

What would be on your gratitude list for the Jewish People?

-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : BimBam
Dayenu: Learn the words to the Passover Seder song https://www.youtube.com/embed/8p1pabOX3fc

Day dayenu day dayenu! It's the best loved song from the Passover Seder and now you and your friends and family can learn the tune and a few verses with Jason Mesches. Practice up with this karaoke video and have a great Pesach!
-- Cup #2 & Dayenu
Source : BimBam
Dayenu (a Passover Song): A Jewish Kids' Sing Along https://www.youtube.com/embed/xSQWCyWj6DA

Learn the Jewish song called Dayenu (דַּיֵּנוּ "It Would Have Been Enough") sung during Passover with Second Grade and "Yad b'Yad" Students from Temple Isaiah in Lafayette, California.
Rachtzah
Source : The Wandering is Over Haggadah, JewishBoston.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Motzi-Matzah
Source : JewishBoston.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maror
Source : JewishBoston.com

Dipping the bitter herb in sweet charoset | maror  |מָרוֹר   

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

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

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

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

Maror
Source : http://jewishfoodforthought.com/
Maror (Bitter Herbs) by Hanan Harchol https://www.youtube.com/embed/PMglldaETwQ

This animation was created for the project Projecting Freedom: Cinematic Interpretations of the Haggadah. Special thanks to project director Rabbi Leon Morris and curator Saul Robbins. More at www.ProjectingFreedom.org and http://jewishfoodforthought.com/
Maror
Source : Image
"Gabriola" Seder Plate

At a friend's seder, I looked at the Seder plate and re-imagined the symbols as abstract concepts. This distillation made me recognize that, in order, they provide a template for the process of liberation. I created this "infographic" design to communicate the stages of any creative problem solving algorithm:

Beginning

Simplifying

Letting Go

Conflict

Building

Diversity

Celebrating

Each symbol can be the springboard (pun intended) of personal reflection:

Karpas: what are you going to do new? How are you going to grow?
Matzah: how can you simplify your life?
Maror: what is the biggest conflict/source of bitterness?
Zro'a: what sacrifice are you prepared to make?
Charoset: what is your biggest source of sweetness?
Orange: how can you be more inclusive?
Beitzah: what are you celebrating this year? 

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
Source : JewishBoston.com

Eating the meal! | shulchan oreich | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ

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

Shulchan Oreich
Source : Various internet sites


Shulchan Oreich
THE TABLE IS SPREAD

Dinner is served! Enjoy! 

Shulchan Oreich
Source : Shalom Sesame
Shalom Sesame: Les Matzarables https://www.youtube.com/embed/wpzLKo3diWk

Shalom Sesame takes on the Broadway Musical! Join the Muppets as they search high and low for "Matzah in the House."
Tzafun
Source : JewishBoston.com

Finding and eating the Afikomen | tzafoon | צָפוּן

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

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

Refill everyone’s wine glass.

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

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

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

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

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

The Third Glass of Wine

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the third glass of wine!

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

Singing songs that praise God | hallel | הַלֵּל

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

Fourth Glass of Wine

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

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

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

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

Drink the fourth and final glass of wine! 

Hallel
Source : JewishBoston.com

The Cup of Elijah

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

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

אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַנָּבִיא, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַתִּשְׁבִּיאֵלִיָּֽהוּ, אֵלִיָּֽהוּ,אֵלִיָּֽהוּ הַגִּלְעָדִי

בִּמְהֵרָה בְיָמֵֽנוּ יָבוֹא אֵלֵֽינוּ

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

עִם מָשִֽׁיחַ בֶּן דָּוִד

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

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

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!

Nirtzah
Nirtzah

Elie Weisel's Seder

"This is the bread of affliction which our forefathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry enter and eat thereof...."

Thus the Seder, that ancient family ceremony in which all Jews everywhere can and should relive an event that took place thirty-five centuries ago.

Like all Jewish children, I loved this holiday more than any other. Both solemn and joyous, it allowed us an escape from time. Slave of the pharaoh, I followed Moses into the unknown, into the desert. His summons to freedom was stronger than fear.

The Seder transformed our very being. On that evening, my father enjoyed the sovereignty of a king. My mother, softer and lovelier than ever, seemed a queen. And we, the children, were all princes. Even visitors the traveler and forsaken beggars we'd invited to share our meal acted like messengers bearing secrets, or like princes in disguise.

How could I not love Passover? The holiday began well before the ceremony itself. For weeks we lived in a state of anticipation filled with endless preparations. The house had to be cleaned, the books removed to the courtyard for dusting. The rabbi's disciples assisted in making the  matzah. Passover meant the end of winter, the victory of spring, the triumph of childhood.

Here I must interrupt my reverie, for I see that I'm using the past tense. Is it because none of this is true anymore? Not at all. The meaning of the festival and its rites has scarcely changed at all. But everything else has. I still follow the rituals, of course, I recite the prayers, I chant the appropriate Psalms, I tell the story of Exodus, I answer the questions my son asks. But in the deepest part of myself, I know it's not the same. It is not as it used to be.

Nothing is. An abyss separates me from the child I once was. Today I know that no happiness can be complete. In fact, I'll go further and say that now, at this holiday time, the joy I should feel is tainted with melancholy.

It's understandable, of course. Passover was the last holiday I celebrated at home. I recall all this in order to tell you why it's impossible for me to talk about Passover only in the present tense. Do I love it less than before? No, let's just say I love it differently. Now I love it for its questions, the questions which, after all, constitute its  raison d'etre.

The purpose of the Seder is to provoke children to ask questions. "Why is this night different from all other nights?" Because it reminds us of another night, so long ago, yet so near, the last night a persecuted and oppressed people, our people, spent in Egypt. "Why do we eat bitter herbs?" To remind us of the bitter tears that our forefathers shed in exile. Each song, each gesture, each cup of wine, each prayer, each silence is part of the evening's ritual. The goal is to arouse our curiosity by opening the doors of memory.

On this evening, all questions are not only permitted, but valid. And not only those which relate to the holiday. All questions are important; there is nothing worse than indifference. The story shows us four possible attitudes toward history; that of the wise son, who knows the question and asks it; that of the wicked son, who knows the question but refuses to ask it; that of the simple son, who knows the question but is indifferent to it; and finally, that of the ignorant son, who neither knows the question, nor is able to ask it.

In anguish, I wonder: What can we do not to forget the question? What can we do to vanquish oblivion? What significance does Passover have, if not to keep our memories alive? To be Jewish is to take up the burden of the past and include it in our concerns, our projects, and our obligations in the present.

We read the news and it's always the same: violence in Jerusalem, bombings in Lebanon, riots in Hebron... Were it not for its past and its history, what right would Israel have? It is because of Moses, not only Sadat and Begin, that the peace between Israel and Egypt strikes one as miraculous.

As we recite the Haggadah, which tells us of the exodus of the children of Israel from Egypt, we experience a strange feeling, the feeling that we are living in Biblical times, living at a vertiginous pace.

My contemporaries have witnessed and lived through what no other generation has seen: the power of evil, but also the victory of a promise, the kingdom of night, but also the rebirth of a dream; Nazism and its victims, but also the end of the nightmare; the deaths at Babi Yar, but also the defiance of young Russian Jews, the first to challenge the Kremlin's police dictatorship.

Sometimes our heads spin, so frenzied and terrifying is the flow of events. History advances so quickly. And although man has conquered space, he has not conquered his own fears and prejudices. Have we learned nothing? All the wars that continue to rage, all the victims fallen to terrorists' bullets, all the children dying of hunger and disease in Africa and Asia. Why is there so much hatred in the world? And why so much indifference to suffering, to the anguish of others?

I love Passover because it remains for me a cry against insensitivity.

Two stories. The first is about Job, who was in Egypt at the same time as Moses. What's more, he held the important position of adviser in the Pharaoh's court, with the same rank as Jethro and Bilaam. When the Pharaoh asked how he might resolve the Jewish question, Jethro spoke in favor of Moses' request to let his people go. Bilaam, on the other hand, took the opposite stand. When Job was consulted, he refused to take sides; he wished to remain neutral, so he kept silent, neither for nor against. This neutrality, the  Midrash  says, earned him future suffering. At critical times, at moments of peril, no one has the right to abstain, to be prudent. When the life or death or simply the well-being of a community is at stake, neutrality is criminal, for it aids and abets the oppressor and not his victim.

The second story is no less provocative. It is found in the  Midrash , in the passage about the Red Sea. The expected victims are saved at the eleventh hour, while their oppressors drown before their eyes. It is a moment of grace so extraordinary that the angels themselves begin to sing, but God interrupts them with the most humane, the most generous, and the most sympathetic reminder. What has come over you? My creatures are perishing beneath the waves of the sea and you are singing? How can you praise me with your hymns while human beings die?

Although neither of these stories is part of the traditional Seder, I like to tell them. For me, Passover is an ongoing commitment to others and to compassion.

Oh, I know... it's easy enough to say. Compassion for the enemies of one's people who has the right and the audacity to preach such a position? We can understand it on the level of God and the angels, but not on the human level. Why the story, then? To prompt us to question. If God demands compassion, then it must figure into the equation, it must play a role.

A topical question for the whole world and for Israel and its inhabitants. Face to face with hatred, what should their attitude be? What do they feel, what should they feel, in the face of those Palestinians who treat them as despicable usurpers?

I have seen Israel at war and I can attest to the fact that there was no hatred for enemy soldiers. Yes, there was a fierce desire and determination to win, but there was no hatred. At the time, I remember how difficult it was for me to understand this phenomenon; it seemed illogical, irrational. For an enemy who desires only our destruction, you have to feel as much hatred as he feels for you. All of military history exists to prove it. But all of Jewish history exists to prove the contrary. The Jewish people have never had recourse to hatred, even when it involved a fight for survival.

If we'd had to hate all our enemies, we'd never have known where to stop. And so, I return to the last holiday I celebrated at home with my family in my small town. The region was already infested with Germans. In Budapest, Adolf Eichmann was planning the deportation and liquidation of our communities. But we didn't know this. The Russian front seemed so close. At night we heard the cannons, we saw the reddening of the sky, and we thought: Soon, soon we will be free.

Communal prayer was forbidden in the synagogues, so we arranged to hold services in our house. Normally, on Passover eve, we chanted lightheartedly, enthusiastically. But not this time. This time we only murmured.

I remember now, and I'll always remember, that Seder. With bowed heads and heavy hearts, we evoked the memories almost in silence; we dared not ask ourselves if, once again, God would intervene to save us.

In addition to my family, a strange visitor participated in the ceremony. In my imagination, I saw him as the Prophet Elijah. He spoke and fell silent and spoke again, like a madman. Fuming with rage, he frightened us with his cruel and horrifying stories.

Now I understand. He did not want to tell about the past but to predict the future. It is he too that I remember today when I invite "all who are hungry to come and eat." But he will not come. He will never come again. Nor will the others."

From  The Kingdom of Memory  by Elie Wiesel.
Copyright by Elirion Associates, Inc. Printed in  Hadassah Magazine

Nirtzah
Every year at the end of the Seder we say "Next Year in Jerusalem!" 

But that can't mean physically. It would get overcrowded. Some of us do not have the means to get there. Some of us are too old or young or sick to travel. 

No. Not physically. Mentally. We need to open our minds and hearts to a level where we can accept who we are as people on every level. These traditions we have were around for thousands and thousands of years. Some things have adapted to fit the times. Some things have been rendered obsolete. But the message is the same. We are Jews. We survive. We are special. 

We need to hold on to that message in our everyday lives. Not next year. Now. Jerusalem is now. Why wait a year to make your life and the lives of others better? We are on this earth for a very brief period of time. We need to utilize every second being the best we can be and living to our full potential. 

We were once slaves. Some of us still are. Some of us are even killed for our beliefs. We need to band together as a community. As one. We need to stand up and say "We are Jews. We exist. We thrive." 

We do not assimilate. We do not cower in fear. We do not pretend to worship other deities. We are warriors and poets and scholars. 

We are Jews 

And we are proud 

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com
Who knows one?

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

Who knows one?

I know one.

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows two?

I know two.

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows four?

I know four.

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows five?

I know five.

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows six?

I know six.

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows seven?

I know seven.

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eight?

I know eight.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows nine?

I know nine.

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows ten?

I know ten.

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows eleven?

I know eleven.

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows twelve?

I know twelve.

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Who knows thirteen?

I know thirteen

Thirteen are the attributes of God

Twelve are the tribes

Eleven are the stars

Ten are the Words from Sinai

Nine are the months of childbirth

Eight are the days for circumcision

Seven are the days of the week

Six are the orders of the Mishnah

Five are the books of the Torah

Four are the matriarchs

Three are the patriarchs

Two are the tablets of the covenant

One is our God in Heaven and Earth

Songs
Source : JewishBoston.com

Chad Gadya

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

דְזַבִּין אַבָּא בִּתְרֵי זוּזֵי

חַד גַּדְיָא, חַד גַּדְיָא

Chad gadya, chad gadya

Dizabin abah bitrei zuzei

Chad gadya, chad gadya.

One little goat, one little goat:

Which my father brought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The cat came and ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The dog came and bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The stick came and beat the dog

That bit the cat that ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The fire came and burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The water came and extinguished the

Fire that burned the stick

That beat the dog that bit the cat

That ate the goat,

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The ox came and drank the water

That extinguished the fire

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

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The butcher came and killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

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

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The angle of death came and slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

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

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

One little goat, one little goat:

The Holy One, Blessed Be He came and

Smote the angle of death who slew

The butcher who killed the ox,

That drank the water

That extinguished the fire

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

Which my father bought for two zuzim.

Songs
Source : United Jewish Center
Songs
Source : pastorjoshmw· You Tube