• And if your son asks you in the future, saying, What are the testaments and the statutes, and the judgments that the L-rd our God commanded of you? You will say to your son, We were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt; and the L-rd brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand. The L-rd gave signs and wonders, great and harmful, against Egypt, against Pharaoh, and against all his household, before our eyes. And he brought us out of there http://kosher4passover.com/ to bring us in to give us the land that he promised our fathers. ~Deuteronomy 6:20-23 Background • The Seder is considered an integral aspect of Jewish faith and identity. • The Passover seder recounts liberation and the Exodus of the Children of Israel from bondage to slavery in Ancient Egypt. • The text of seder proper is contained in a small booklet called a Haggadah. Haggadah • Explains that without the Exodus, the Jews would still be slaves to the Egyptian Pharaoh and would never have realized their role as a nation • It is considered a mitzvah to embellish one's retelling of the Exodus on this night. Often the Seder lasts into the wee hours of the morning, as participants continue to talk about the events of the night and sing special Passover songs included in the Haggadah • Unlike other public holiday observances which are traditionally held in the synagogue, the Seder is specifically designed to be conducted by a family at home, with or without guests. • This focus is derived from the opening words of the Torah verse which is the source for the mitzvah of retelling the Exodus from Egypt: "And you shall tell it to your son on that day, saying, 'Because of this God did for me when He took me out of Egypt" (Exodus 13:8). • On the evening before Passover, Jews search their house and all of its surroundings for all leavened bread or CHAMETZ (like bread, cookies, pretzels etc.) • The next day the chametz is burned • The first born must fast on the day before Passover • FASTING does not occur if you are too young to fast or health reasons Traditional Passover Seder foods have deep meaning… • The Passover Seder Plate (ke'ara) is a special plate containing six symbolic foods used during the Passover Seder • Each of the six items arranged on the plate have special significance to the retelling of the story of the Exodus from Egypt. • The seventh symbolic item used during the meal—a stack of three matzot—is placed on its own plate on the Seder table. Maror and Chazeret: two types of bitter herbs, symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery which the Jews endured in Ancient Egypt. 1) For maror, most people use freshly grated horseradish combined with cooked beets and sugar into a dish called chrain, or whole horseradish root. 2) Chazeret is typically romaine lettuce, whose roots are bitter-tasting. Either the horseradish or romaine lettuce may be eaten in fulfillment of the mitzvah of eating bitter herbs during the Seder. 3) Charoset; A sweet, brown, pebbly mixture, representing the mortar used by the Jewish slaves to build the storehouses of Egypt. Also a mixture of apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon, as a reminder of the mortar used by the Jews in the construction of buildings as slaves 4) Karpas; A vegetable other than bitter herbs, such as parsley, celery or cooked potato, which is dipped into salt water at the beginning of the Seder. This represents hope and redemption; served with a bowl of salted water to represent the tears shed. • 5) Z'roa or Zeroah; A roasted lamb shank bone, symbolizing the korban Pesach (Pesach sacrifice), which was a lamb offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, then roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night. • 6) Beitzah: a roasted egg, as a symbol of life and the perpetuation of existence. • 7) Matzoh: Three unleavened matzohs are placed within the folds of a napkin as a reminder of the haste with which the Israelites fled Egypt, leaving no time for dough to rise. Two are consumed during the service, and one (the Aftkomen), is spirited away and hidden during the ceremony to be later found as a prize. • Wine: four glasses of wine are consumed during the service to represent the four- fold promise of redemption, with a special glass left for Elijah the prophet. 1. Kadeish (blessings and the first cup of wine) • Kadeish is Hebrew Imperative for Kiddush. This Kiddush is a special one for Passover, it refers to matzo and the Exodus from Egypt. Acting in a way that shows freedom and majesty, most Jews have the custom of filling each other's cups at the Seder table. The Kiddush is normally said by the father of the house. 2. Ur'chatz (wash hands) • In traditional Jewish homes, it is common to ritually wash the hands before a meal. Wash your hands by pouring water first on your right hand three times then on your left hand. 3. Karpas (appetizer) • Each participant dips a vegetable (parsely, onion, potato) into salt water as a reminder of the tears shed by their enslaved ancestors. Parsley is good to use because when you shake off the salt water, it looks like tears. • The following blessing is said: “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who creates the Fruit of the Land” 4. Yachatz (breaking of the middle matzah) • The middle of the three matzot on the Seder Plate is broken in two. The larger half is hidden, to be used later as the afikoman, the "dessert" after the meal. The smaller half is returned to its place between the other two matzos. 5. Magid (The telling of the story) • The story of Passover, and the change from slavery to freedom is told. The youngest person asks the Four Questions (a set of questions about the proceedings designed to encourage participation in the seder. The Four Questions are often sung. Mah Nishtanah (The Four Questions) Question 1) Why is it that on all other nights during the year we eat either bread or matzo, but on this night we eat only matzo? • Answer: Matzoh reminds us that when the Jews left the slavery of Egypt they had no time to bake their bread. They took the raw dough on their journey and baked it in the hot desert sun into hard crackers called matzoh. Question 2) Why is it that on all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs, but on this night we eat bitter herbs? • Answer: Maror reminds us of the bitter and cruel way the Pharaoh treated the Jewish people when they were slaves in Egypt Question 3) Why is it that on all other nights we do not dip our herbs even once, but on this night we dip them twice? • Answer: We dip bitter herbs into Charoset to remind us how hard the Jewish slaves worked in Egypt. The chopped apples and nuts look like the clay used to make the bricks used in building the Pharaoh's buildings We dip parsley into salt water. The parsley reminds us that spring is here and new life will grow. The salt water reminds us of the tears of the Jewish slaves Question 4) Why is it that on all other nights we sit straight or leaning, but on this night we are all seated leaning? • Answer: We lean on a pillow to be comfortable and to remind us that once we were slaves, but now we are free The Magid (telling of story continued…) 6. Four verses in Deuteronomy (26:5-8) are then expounded. This telling describes the slavery of the Jewish people and their miraculous salvation by God. This culminates in an enumeration of the Ten Plagues, which are recited: • Dam (blood)—All the water was changed to blood • Tzefardeyah (frogs)—An infestation of frogs sprang up in Egypt • Kinim (lice)—The Egyptians were afflicted by lice • Arov (wild animals)—An infestation of wild animals (some say flies) sprang up in Egypt • Dever (pestilence)—A plague killed off the Egyptian livestock • Sh'chin (boils)—An epidemic of boils afflicted the Egyptians • Barad (hail)—Hail rained from the sky • Arbeh (locusts)—Locusts swarmed over Egypt • Choshech (darkness)—Egypt was covered in darkness • Makkat Bechorot (killing of the first-born)—All the first-born sons of the Egyptians were slain by God Go and Learn… the Magid (continued…) • With the recital of the Ten Plagues, each participant removes a drop of wine from his or her cup using a fingertip. Although this night is one of salvation, the Sages explain that one cannot be completely joyous when some of God's creatures had to suffer. • At this part in the Seder, songs of praise are sung, including the song Dayeinu, SONG which proclaims that had God performed any single one of the many deeds performed for the Jewish people, it would have been enough to obligate us to give thanks to Him. • Kos Sheini (Second Cup of Wine): Magid concludes with the drinking of the Second Cup of Wine. • 7. Rachtzah (ritual washing of hands) • The ritual hand-washing is repeated, this time with the traditional blessing before breaking bread. Wash hands three times on the right and three times on the left, this time with a blessing. ‖Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us to wash our hands.‖ 8. Motzi Matzo (blessings over the matzo) • Lifting all three matzot, we recite the regular blessing for bread, then release the bottom matzo and recite the special blessing for the mitzvah of matzo. We then eat a portion of matzo from the top two matzot while leaning. (We can add more from other matzot as necessary for all the people at the table but we leave the third matzah for the Korech.) Blessing #1: ”Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe Who brings forth bread from the earth” Blessing #2: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the universe, who has sanctified us with His commandments, and commanded us concerneing the eating of Matzah. 9. Maror (bitter herb) • Bitter herbs (parsley or lettuce) are dipped into charoset (horseradish) which symbolizes the bitterness of slavery, then the charoset (mixture of apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine) which symbolizes the mortor used by Jews in building during former slavery. Blessing: Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with his Commandments, and commanded us concerning the eating of maror. 10. Koreich (sandwich) • The matzo and maror are combined, similar to a sandwich, and eaten. This follows the tradition of Hillel, who did the same at his Seder table 2000 years ago. Break off two pieces of matzoh, put lettuce, bitter herbs in between, recite a special prayer and eat while reclining slightly on left side. 11. Shulchan Orech (the meal [literally, "set table"]) • The festive meal is eaten. Common- roast chicken or turkey 12. Tzafun (eating of the afikoman) • The afikoman, which was hidden earlier in the Seder, is the last morsel of food eaten by participants in the Seder. This actually means “dessert”. That is the piece of matzah that was hidden at beginning! That will be the last thing eaten till next morning • After the consumption of the afikoman, no other food may be eaten for the rest of the night. We also may not drink any intoxicating beverage, with the exception of the remaining two cups of wine. 13. Bareich (Grace after Meals & 3rd cup of wine) • The recital of Birkat Hamazon. “We thank God for the delecious meal” • Kos Shlishi (the Third Cup of Wine): The drinking of the Third Cup of Wine. Kos shel Eliyahu ha-Navi (cup of ELIJAH the Prophet) • The front door of the house is opened and three verse are recited, two from Psalms (79:6-7) and one from Lamentations (3:66). • Traditionally, Elijah the Prophet visits each home on Seder night as a foreshadowing of his future arrival at the end of the days, when he will come to announce the coming of the JEWISH MESSIAH. Hallel: songs of praise & 4th cup of wine • The entire order of Hallel which is usually recited in the synagogue on Jewish holidays is also recited at the Seder table, albeit sitting down. Afterwards the Fourth Cup of Wine is drunk. • Nirtzah: The Seder concludes with a prayer that the night's service be accepted. A hope for the Messiah is expressed: "L'shanah haba'ah b'Yerushalayim! – ―Next year in Jerusalem!" Cartoons Discussion Questions What are all the items on the plate? What do they represent? What was most interesting about the Seder Feast? Why is the Seder Feast so significant to Judaism?
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