Passover Seder Dinner
READER:  Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.  Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength.  These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts.  Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)
READER:  In the future, when your son asks you, "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?"  tell him: "We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand.  Before our eyes the LORD sent miraculous signs and wonders--great and terrible--upon Egypt and Pharaoh and his whole household.  But he brought us out from there to bring us in and give us the land that he promised on oath to our forefathers.  The LORD commanded us to obey all these decrees and to fear the LORD our God, so that we might always prosper and be kept alive, as is the case today.  And if we are careful to obey all this law before the LORD our God, as he has commanded us, that will be our righteousness." (Deuteronomy 6:20-25)
READER:  And when your children ask you, "What does this ceremony mean to you?"  then tell them, "It is the Passover sacrifice to the LORD, who passed over the houses of the Israelites in Egypt and spared our homes when he struck down the Egyptians." (Exodus 12:26-27)
YOUNG CHILD: (Rising to ask the four questions)
Ma nish-ta-nah ha-lai-lah ha-zeh mi-kol ha-ley-lot!
She-be-khol ha-ley-lot a-nu okh-lin kha-meytz u-ma-tzah. Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh ku-lo ma-tzah.
She-be-khol ha-ley-lot a-nu okh-lin she'ar yerakot. Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh ma-ror.
She-be-khol ha-ley-lot eyn a-nu mat-bi-lin a-fi-lu pa-'am e-khet. Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh shtey f'a-min.
She-be-khol ha-ley-lot a-nu okh-lin beyn yo-she-vin u-veyn me-su-bin. Ha-lai-lah ha-zeh ku-la-nu me-su-bin.
How different this night is from all other nights!
On all other nights we eat bread or matzah. On this night why do we eat only matzah?
On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables. On this night why do we eat only bitter herbs?
On all other nights we do not dip our vegetables even
once. On this night why do we dip them twice?
(This refers to dipping the parsely twice in salt water before eating it.)
On all other nights we eat our meals sitting or reclining. On this night why do we eat only reclining?
LEADER: Tonight is different from all other nights because tonight we will remember what God has done for his people.
ALL: Blessed is the Almighty God who has given the Torah to His people.
LEADER: The Torah spoke concerning the four sons:
a Wise one,
a Wicked one,
a Simple one, and
one Who is unable to ask.
What does the Wise son say?
The Wise son seeks knowledge: "What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?" (Deuteronomy 6:20)
What does the Wicked son say?
The Wicked son looks down on the beliefs of his people and scoffs: "What do you mean by this rite?" (Exodus 12:26).
What does the Simple son say?
The Simple son asks a simple question, "What does this mean?" (Exodus 13:14)
What does the son say Who is unable to ask?
And the son Who is unable to ask, the parent must teach: "It is because of what the Lord did for me when I went free from Egypt." (Exodus 13:8)
We will now tell the story of Passover.
READER: The Israelites were already in the land of Egypt. They became fertile and multiplied and increased very greatly, so that the land was filled with them. A new king arose over Egypt, who did not know Joseph, and imposed great labor and hardship on the Israelites. But the more the Israelites were oppressed, the more they increased and spread out. The king then ordered that all newborn baby boys be killed. The Pharaoh charged all his people, saying "every boy that is born you shall throw into the Nile, but let every girl live."
READER: A Levite woman conceived and bore a son and hid him for three months. After that time, she prepared a wicker basket and laid the child in the basket and placed it among the reeds by the bank of the Nile. The daughter of Pharaoh came down to bathe in the Nile and saw the basket among the reeds and had her slave girl fetch the basket. The Pharaoh's daughter took pity on the child and made him her own son. She named him Moses, explaining, "I drew him out of water."
READER: Moses grew and had learned of his heritage. After witnessing an Egyptian beating an Israelite, he struck down the Egyptian and hid him in the sand. When Pharaoh learned of the matter, he sought to kill Moses, but Moses frle from Pharaoh. He arrived in the land of Midian, where he married his wife, Zipporah.
READER: A long time had gone by and the king of Egypt died. The Israelites were groaning under bondage and cried out to God. God heard their cries. God appeared to Moses in a burning bush telling him that he would use Moses to lead His peiple out of Egypt into a land "flowing with milk and honey." So Moses returned to Egypt and Moses took the rod of God with him.
READER: Moses and his brother Aaron went to the Pharaoh to ask for the release of their people. But the Pharaoh's heart was hardened against the Israelites and would not release them from the bondage of slavery. Each time the Pharaoh refused to let the Israelites go, the land of Egypt came under a great plague. With the tenth and most awful plague, the heart of Pharaoh would be pierced.
ALL: "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord. (Exodus 12:12)
READER: And the blood on the houses where you are staying shall be a sign for you: when I see the blood, I will pass over you, so that no plague will destroy you when I strike the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12:13 NJPS)
READER:  This day shall be to you one of remembrance: you shall celebrate it as a festival to the Lord throughout the ages; you shall celebrate it as an institution for all time.  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread; on the very first day you shall remove leaven from your houses, for whoever eats leavened bread from the first day to the seventh day, that person shall be cut off from Israel.  You shall celebrate a sacred occasion on the first day, and a sacred occasion on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them; only what every person is to eat, that alone may be prepared for you.  You shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day throughout the ages as an institution for all time. (Exodus 12:14-17 NJPS)
LEADER: Let us fill our cups a second time. A full cup is a sign of joy and on this night we are filled with joy in remembrance of God's mighty deliverance. We must also remember the great sacrifice at which redemption was purchased. Lives were sacfiriced to bring the Israelites out of the bondage of Egypt. As we recite each plague, let us dip our little finger into the cup, allowing a drop of wine to fall, reducing the fullness of our cup of joy this night.
LEADER: Rabbi Gamaliel, grandson of Rabbi Hillel and teacher of Rabbi Saul (Paul, the Apostle), taught that in recounting the Passover story one must explain three things: The Passover Lamb, Unleavened Bread, and the Bitter Herbs.
LEADER: PASSOVER: It is God that we honor in remembering that He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt when He struck the Egyptians. (Lifting the shank bone of a lamb) The shank bone reminds us of the lamb whose blood marked the doors of the Israelites. We read in Exodus that the lamb was to be without defect, brought into the household and cared for. It was then at twilight, the fourteenth day of the month, that the Israelites were to slaughter the lamb and put the blood on the sides and tops of the doorframes. God gave His people instructions that only through obedience would they be spared from the angel of death. Isaiah told of the coming Messiah, that He would be led like a lamb to the slaughter. We know that Yeshua was our final blood atonement so that we would be freed from the bondage of sin and we would be passed over from death. "Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!" (Revelation 5:12)
READER: The Israelites were saved by God and not an angel or seraph or any other messenger. For it is written: "On that same night I will pass through Egypt and strike down every firstborn--both men and animals--and I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt. I am the Lord!" (Exodus 12:12)
LEADER: I shall pass through the land of Egypt
ALL: "I" -- not "an angel"
LEADER: I shall strike down every first-born.
ALL: "I" -- not "a seraph"
LEADER: I shall destroy all the Egyptian gods.
ALL: "I" -- not "a messenger"
ALL: I am the Lord, I am the One God, and there is none besides Me.
LEADER: Of course, when the Lord said, "I will bring judgment on all the gods of Egypt," he was talking about false gods, demons who pretended to be gods, since there is only one real God, El-o-he-nu.
LEADER: MATZAH (Lifting the other half of the Middle Matzah): Why do we eat this unleavened bread? The dough did not have time to rise before God revealed Himself to them and redeem them. As it is written: With the dough they had brought from Egypt, they baked cakes of unleavened bread. The dough was without yeast because they had been driven out of Egypt and did not have time to prepare food for themselves. (Exodus 12:39)
LEADER: MAROR (Lifting the Bitter Herb): Why do we eat bitter herb? We eat bitter herb because of the hardship that the Israelites had to bear. As it is written: They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields; in all their hard labor the Egyptians used them ruthlessly. (Exodus 1:14)
LEADER: (Lifting the egg): The egg has also been added to the Seder. It is called kha-hi-hah, a name signifying the special holiday offering. The egg was added during the Babylonian period. The egg does not have a great significance in the Seder other than reminding us of our Jewish heritage and the many obstacles that have been overcome throughout the years.
LEADER: And now we bless our second cup of wine, the cup of plagues.
ALL: Ba-rukh a-tah A-do-nai E-lo-hey-nu Me-lekh ha-'o-lam bo-rey pri ha-ga-fen. Blesssed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who created the fruit of the vine.
(Drink the second cup of wine.)