The Passover Seder or how to live one’s freedom
“The Passover Seder “What does this mean?
If the Pesach festival had a heart it would be the Passover Seder. The word ” Seder ” means ” Order ” to highlight the fact that it corresponds to a ceremony structured in a very specific order. Our sages, of divine inspiration we define this ceremony charged with deep interpretations and hidden meanings.
This ceremony is held on the night of Pesach on 14 Nissan. A multitude of details and rules that must be followed in a very scrupulous way punctuate this very special evening. Nothing is superfluous and left to chance. This night makes us relive with our spirit, our emotions and our senses the liberation that our ancestors lived almost 3000 years ago and this year after year, the exit of Egypt, their emancipation from a slave status that they had been for 210 years and the accession to true freedom.
Let’s get to the bottom of the story about the steps of the Passover Seder
The Passover Seder ceremony takes place in 15 stages, a specific good identifies each of them. The songs and poems are very numerous tonight and one of them is the list of these steps for us remember them all night long. The order of these steps is important, and here is the list:
Qadech, Our’hatz, Carpas, Ya’hatz, Maguid, Ro’htza, Motsi, Matsa, Marore, Qore’h, Choul’han Ore’h, Tsafoune, Bare’h, Allele, Nirtsa.
The Seder and His Mitzvos (Commandments)
The 2 most important commandments of this evening, those initiated by the Torah , consist in eating unleavened bread ( matsa) and tell how we were released from Egypt. Other mitzvos have been put in place by our sages such as drinking 4 glasses of wine, eating Maror and finally singing the Allele.
Unpublished this evening, children are obliged to respect these Mitzvos
Very early (5 or 6 years), we put our children in contribution by encouraging them to respect the Mitzvos of the Passover Seder. The laws ordered by the wise can be adapted to their age.
Children must remain awake until the end of the meal or at least as much as possible. The way of eating tonight is very different from other nights. That is why our blessed memory sages have thought of everything while instituting a different and unusual order.
The father has the obligation to tell his boys or not to his wife, the story of the liberation of the Jewish people from slavery in Egypt. One of the passages in the Hagada describes 4 profiles of children and some parents put their children to bed as soon as this passage is over but it is a mistake. The children must take a nap in the afternoon so that they can hold the whole ceremony for the duration of the Passover Seder.
The Passover Seder Kidouch
It is customary that the one who leads the Seder is the one who recites the Kidouch, usually the head of the family, the other participants perform this mitzvah by listening to the Kidouch. Other families have the habit that it is every family member who recites the Kidouch.
In any case everyone must hold their glass while reciting the blessing.
During the recitation of the Kidouch
2 Mitzvot must be fulfilled during the recitation of the Kidouch:
– To leave the Mitzvah of the Kidouch.
– Complete the mitzvah of drinking the first glass of wine.
Do not forget during the recitation or listening to Chehe’hiyanou braha to leave the festival and all the mitzvos of the Passover Seder.
During the recitation of Agadah
The story of the Egyptian exit is such an important event that we need to remember it, it is a law at same as eating kosher . This obligation to remember is related to 3 major events of this episode of our history:
– The wickedness of the Egyptian people who enslaved us causing us to suffer terrible suffering and humiliation throughout our long bondage.
– The punishment inflicted upon Ashem by the Egyptians through the 10 plagues by measuring to measure for each of the sufferings endured by the Jewish people.
– The feeling of deep gratitude we must feel for Ashem for all the benefits he has given to the Jewish people by freeing them from slavery and making us his chosen people.
And who does not understand Agadah.
It is an evening that is in the emotion and awareness that is why the basic reading is not enough for us to be acquitted of this obligation. Understanding is essential. If your level of Hebrew is too low, preparation should be considered so that in the evening the experience is richer in order to get as close as possible to relive this event in the most intense way possible. All the energy is placed in the cleaning of the house and the preparation of the party at the level of the meals but if it is not to live intensely this event then what good? The leader, the leader of the Seder, must ensure that all have understood the essential parts of the Seder.
The fundamental parts of the narrative of the Egyptian exit
– The passage of 10 wounds.
– The part that begins with: “Rabbane Gamliel said …” to the second glass of wine.
Are we timed to tell the story of leaving Egypt?
For many people Agadah is an opportunity to comment on explanations. But this is not the time to do it. We must stay focused on the narrative objective and explanations and comments are only there to give more body and detail to the story. Each of the participants must be fed with explanations according to their level and their intellectual capacities. Do not forget the children who have to be told about leaving Egypt with illustrations and visual descriptions to capture their attention. All this must take us to the 12 strokes of midnight limit to consume the Afikomane which is the closing of the story of the evening.
During the Braha of Matsa
– The one who directs the Seder should think of giving up all the participants when he recites the blessings.
– Each of the guests must, in turn, intend to leave by the blessing of the head of the family.
– The consumption of Matsa is obligatory on the evening of Passover Seder
– At the time of the Bra’ha on the Matsa one must also think of the Kore’h Sandwich and the Afikomane.
– And especially think about leaning on the left side.
The meal and its restrictions
As you can see the evening is busy, both in stories and food and it is appropriate to be in the meal during the meal not to fall into excess. To guard against the drowsiness which could result from a meal too rich but also to keep a small place for Afikomane which is eaten at the end of the meal.
Not to exceed 12 strokes midnight, we must be careful not to get too close to the limits and give a comfortable margin to consume the Afikomane before the 12 strokes of midnight.
Beware of the dessert and confusion that may be with regard to its consumption especially if this dessert is a fruit. One could fall into a dilemma regarding the recitation of the blessing especially if it is a fruit of the earth and this in relation to the blessings we have already made before the meal (Quarpasse).
The glass of wine we leave for the prophet Elyahu
We remain in this spirit of emancipation and the final redeemer that we all expect. In the same way that Ashem released us once, he will repeat it by sending us the prophet Elyaou who will come to announce the coming of the final redeemer.
What do we do with this glass? Some covers it to be able to consume it the next day at the morning kidouch, others simply pour it.
Praise Ashem with Chir Hachirim (Singing Songs) after the Seder
When we think we have finished, no, it is not over yet, we recite Chir Hashirim. This song represents the total and mutual devotional bond between Ashem and the Jewish people.
It is good to watch this night to continue after the Passover Seder to deepen the miracles and other wonders that Ashem has given us. However, those who are exhausted will be able to rest so that they can pray in a suitable manner the next day.