CTeen Connection’s Guide to an Awesome Passover Seder

2 months ago Shai Fichtelberg 0

This year, all around the world, many Jewish families will be hosting their first Pesach Seder at home. This can seem like a daunting task with so many preparations to be made and steps to follow be we are here, to make this a little easier, and help you host your hopefully first, of many, Pesach Seders. So, print this out, grab your materials, and get ready to have a meaningful Pesach with your family!

Step 1: Kadesh (Kiddush)

Materials needed: Grape Juice/ Wine, Cup (3.2oz+)

How To- 

  • Fill up cup with your grape juice/ wine
  • Stand
  • Recite the prayer together
  • Sit and drink while leaning to the left

*1 cup down, 3 more to go 🙂

Deeper: During the seder we are meant to be treated like royalty. As a result, some have the custom that someone else poors for them. Like a king would never serve himself, we serve each other and have someone serve us. Also, like the scene of a king leaning back on a couch being served grapes, we to lean to the left. 

Step 2: Urchatz (Washing hands)

*No we didn’t add this step just because of current events

Materials needed: Washing cup, water (No washing cup? No problem! Use a regular one)

How to: 

  • Fill cup with water
  • Pour completely over your right hand (don’t use all of the water)
  • Pour completely over your left hand
  • Repeat alternating hands for a total of six times

*This might remind you of washing for bread in which we don’t talk, but you CAN talk after this because you aren’t saying a blessing

Deeper: Water is poured over the hands to symbolize ritual purification. Traditionally a special hand washing cup is used to pour water over the right hand first, then the left. On any other day of the year, Jews say a blessing called netilat yadayim during the handwashing ritual, but on Passover, no blessing is said, prompting the children to ask, “Why is this night different than all other nights?”

Step 3: Karpas (Dipping)

Materials: Potato or Onion, Bowl with Saltwater 

How to: 

  • Make salt water by dissolving a lot of salt into warm or boiling water
  • Take a piece of your potato or onion and dip it into the saltwater
  • Say the blessing for a vegetable

Deeper: We dip the vegetable in salt water to let us know that even those things which appear bitter ― a lost job or a broken relationship ― are ultimately for the best. Gratitude is requires constant effort and attention. A Jew strives to say 100 blessings every day. The reward is emancipation.

Step 4: Yachatz (Breaking middle matah)

Materials: Matzah (preferably shmurah matzah)

How to: 

  • Hold onto the middle of the 3 matzahs
  • Break it into 2 pieces
  • Leave the smaller piece in the middle of the other two matzahs, and take the larger piece and hide it for later

Deeper: There’s a concept that a full, complete absolute vessel (like a cup) can only hold so much, but a broken vessel (or cup) can hold an infinite amount. Breaking the Matzah symbolizes the broken spirit and bodies of the Jews in Egypt. It also symbolizes the fact that we sometimes need to break parts of ourselves (such as bad habits or negative thinking patterns) in order to rebuild ourselves into someone bigger and better. So just like a vessel (or cup), we hold so much if we break parts.

Step 5: Maggid (Tell the story of the Exodus)

Materials: Haggadah, Grape Juice/ Wine, Cup (3.2oz+)

How to:

  • Fill up second cup with your grape juice/ wine
  • Children recite the four questions
  • Continue telling the story
  • Stand
  • Recite the prayer together for the wine
  • Sit and drink your second cup while leaning to the left

*2 cups down, 2 more to go 🙂

Deeper: The way our ancestors left Egypt — years ago, we should continue to leave our personal Egypt today. We’re all bonded by something. There’s something keeping us from reaching our fullest potential, maybe its school problems, maybe it’s family issues, whatever is holding you back from being best self is synonymous with your personal Egypt. So, how can you leave your personal Egypt the way our ancestors left literal Egypt?

Step 6: Rachtzah (Wash Your Hands Again)

Materials: Washing cup, water (No washing cup? No problem! Use a regular one)

How to:

  • Fill cup with water
  • Pour completely over your right hand (don’t use all of the water)
  • Pour completely over your left hand
  • Repeat alternating hands for a total of six times

Deeper: One aspect of freedom is the ability to elevate ourselves above the lowest common denominator on the street. At the Seder we wash our hands as a preparatory step before the Matzah, in order to carefully consider what it is we’re about to eat. We “wash our hands” to cleanse and distance ourselves from unhealthy influences.

Step 7: Motzie – Blessing Over Bread

Materials: Matzah

How to:

  • Grab all three matzahs (the top one, the broken middle one and the bottom one) and pick them up a little.
  • Say the blessing 

*More instructions to follow in the next step

Deeper: Recite the blessing “Hamotzi” over the Matzah. In this blessing we thank G-d for the food we are about to eat, and recognize that He is the Source of our sustenance.

Step 8: Matzah

Materials: Matzah

How to:

  • Take the bottom matzah
  • Recite the blessing
  • Break off a piece of the matzah for everyone at the table
  • Recline to the left while you eat

Deeper: We eat Matzah while leaning to the left, just as we reclined while drinking each of the four cups of wine. We eat Matzah on Passover instead of regular bread to recall the haste in which our ancestors left Egypt; they left in such a haste that their dough did not have enough time to rise. Just as our ancestors’ redemption from Egypt happened so quickly, our Sages teach that “G-d’s salvation comes in the blink of an eye.” Even when our personal challenges seem insurmountable, or we are faced with adversity, we should never give up hope that G-d can change our circumstances and save us in a split second.

Step 9: Maror (Bitter herbs)

Materials: Bitter Herbs, Charoset

How to:

  • Grab some bitter herbs
  • Dip it in charoset
  • Say the blessing
  • Eat it

Deeper: We eat bitter vegetables (customarily horseradish or romaine lettuce) to recall the bitterness of the Egyptian exile. The Gemara explains that lettuce is particularly appropriate for Marror because the Hebrew word for lettuce (“chasah”) is similar to the Hebrew word for pity (”chas”). God took pity on our ancestors in Egypt by saving them from their Egyptian oppressors.

Step 10: Korech (The hillel sandwich)

Materials: Matzah, Bitter herbs, Charoset

How to: 

  • Break off two pieces from the bottom matzah.
  • Take some of the bitter herb and place it in between those two pieces.
  • Dip the bitter herb in the charoset.
  • Lean to the left while you eat.

Deeper: In the times of the Temple in Jerusalem, the Jews were required to eat 3 key items on Passover eve: The Pascal Lamb offering, Matzah, and Marror. Today, we no longer eat the Pascal Lamb because we do not have the Temple any more, but we still eat Matzah wrapped together with Marror as the great Sage Hillel did. (”Koreich” literally means “wrapping.”) Symbolically, wrapping Matzah with Marror reminds us that pain and struggling (symbolized by the bitter Marror) are necessary in order to achieve personal growth and freedom (symbolized by the Matzah). Freedom, that is, from our own self-limiting beliefs and bad habits.

Step 11: Shulchan Orech (The Festive Meals)

Materials: Egg, Salt water, Passover meal

How to:

  • Begin the meal with the hard-boiled egg that was on your Seder Plate dipped in salt water.
  • Eat the Passover meal

Deeper:Eggs represent the ideal way to endure suffering. Most foods soften when cooked, but eggs harden when boiled. Similary, when we are faced with challenges, we strive to become harder and stronger. Our suffering in Egypt resulted in the formation of a strong unified Jewish nation, so too, when we overcome personal struggles it awakens our latent talents and we become aware of strengths and skills we never knew we had.

Step 12: Tzafun (Eat the Afikoman)

Materials: Afikoman

How to:

  • Find the hidden Matzah that you hid in step 4
  • Eat it reclining to your left

Deeper: In the Kabbalah, it is explained that there is something deeper than the soul. There is the body, the spirit, and then there is the essence. If the soul is light, then that essence is the source of light. On Passover night, we have that power. But only after all the steps before: Destroying our personal chametz, preparing our homes for liberation, the eleven steps of the Seder until now, that’s when that power comes to us. Whether we sense it or not, the matzah we eat now reaches deep and transforms us.

Step 13: Beirach (Grace after meals)

Materials: Grape Juice/ Wine, Cup (3.2oz+)

How to:

  • Fill up third cup with your grape juice/ wine
  • Say Grace after Meals
  • Stand
  • Recite the prayer together for the wine
  • Sit and drink your third cup while leaning to the left

*3 cups down, 1 more to go 🙂

Deeper: Grace after a meal should be said loud, with joy and sincerity. When we say this, we open ourselves up to Hashem and all his miracles. Why did miracles happen in Egypt? Because we believed they would. Those who didn’t believe in miracles saw only plagues. To see a miracle, you need an open heart and mind, this is the opening we make when we thank G‑d for the miracle of our food.

Step 14: Hallel (Psalms or Praise)

Materials:  Grape Juice/ Wine, Cup (3.2oz+), Haggadah

How to:

  • Fill up fourth cup with your grape juice/ wine
  • Fill up another cup 
  • Set it in the middle of the table for Elijah the Prophet
  • One person should open the door
  • Finish the hallel prayer
  • Sing your favorite Passover songs
  • Stand
  • Recite the prayer together for the wine
  • Sit and drink your fourth cup while leaning to the left

*Mazal tov! You finished all 4 cups 🙂

Deeper:Hashem told us to open our door on the night of Passover.  So, tonight, we open our door so Elijah the prophet can come to announce the arrival of the final Exodus. Regardless of what we have been doing all the rest of the year, tonight is the chance to reach to the highest of spiritual levels. 

Step 15: Nirtzah (Accepted)

Materials: None

How to:

  • Say “Next year in Jerusalem”

Deeper: For 3300 years we have been leaving Egypt. For 3300 years we have been doing our human job of transforming the darkness of Hashems’ world into light. And now it is His turn to lift us up, to banish the darkness forever, to make our work shine. So every year we end our Seder with “Next year in Jerusalem” because when Moshiach comes, we will be free in Jerusalem.