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Passover Guide
Pesach Information

Passover Seder (continued...)

5. Maggid : Narration of the Story of the Exodus

Bread of Affliction
The telling of the Passover story begins with a description of the matza as a symbol of Jewish suffering and with a call to assist those who are still in need.

The matza plate is uncovered and held in the air. Then is is announced:

“This is the bread of affliction, which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let those who are hungry come in and partake. Let all who are in need come and celebrate the Passover”.

Ma Nishtana: The Four Questions
The four questions are traditionally asked by the youngest child at the Seder. Throughout the Sdeder, questions are encouraged, in order to learn more about the Exodus and Judaism. The questions are sung by the youngest child, who is able to.

This is a translation of the song, “ma nishtana”

Why is this night different from all other nights?
On all other nights we eat either leavened or unleavened bread. Why on this night do we eat only unleavened bread?

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

On all other nights we don't dip even once. Why on this night do we dip twice?

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

Avadim Hayinu: "We were slaves in Egypt"
At this point in the Seder, Jews are reminded of the greatness of God's act to liberate them from Egypt and of their obligation to tell the Passover story.

Here is a translation:

“Slaves were we to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the Lord our God brought us out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. If the Holy One, Blessed by He, had not brought our fathers out of Egypt, then we and our children and our children's' children would still be enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt”.

The Four Sons
It is believed that everyone must be taught the meaning of the Passover Seder in a way that matches his personality and ability. We read about the wise son, the wicked son, the simple son and the son who does not know how to ask.

The wise son asks, "What is the meaning of the testimonies, statutes and judgments commanded by God?" To him we explain every aspect of the Seder, down to the last detail.

The wicked son distances himself from the service and asks, "What is the meaning of this service to you?" We exclude him in the reply, saying "Because of what God did to me, in taking me out of Egypt."

To the simple son, who just wonders, "What is this?" we say that "with a strong hand, God brought us out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage."

And to the son who does not know how to ask a question, we "open" him, saying, "This is because of what God did for me when I came out of Egypt."

Rabbinic Texts
The traditional Haggadah does not directly tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt. Instead, the traditional Haggadah refers to rabbinic texts. The texts tell, indirectly the story of the Exodus.

The 10 Plagues
The Haggadah lists the plagues suffered by Pharaoh and the Egyptians. As each plague is read out loud, a drop of wine is spilt. This practice may have originated in an ancient belief that doing so would ward off evil. Another explanation for this practice is that joy should decrease as a result of the suffering of others.

The ten plagues are:

  1. Blood
  2. Frogs
  3. Pests
  4. Beasts
  5. Cattle Disease
  6. Boils
  7. Hail
  8. Locust
  9. Darkness
  10. Slaying of the First-Born.

Dayenu
Dayanu is the song that concludes the narration of the Passover story. The song praises the miracles that God bestowed on the Jewish People, from the time of their liberation as slaves in Egypt to the construction of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem.

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