SEDER: Act 1
The table is set and the candles are lit. The table
has, in a central place, the Seder Plate.
MATZAH: unleavened, cracker-like, bread; also known
as "the bread of affliction."
Making the Kiddush
MAROR: bitter herbs symbolic of the bitterness
of slavery. Horseradish is often used.
EGG: a slightly singed hard-boiled egg, symbolic
of fertility and rebirth.
KARPAS: parsley, radishes or boiled potatoes
eaten with salt water; symbolizes both spring and the
poor diet of slaves.
SALT WATER: Symbolizes the tears of oppression
and slavery as well as liberation and its tears of joy.
HAROSETH: a mashed concoction of apples, nuts,
wine, honey and cinnamon; eaten as a reminder of the
mortar that the ancient Israelite slaves used in construction.
Z'ROAH: a charbroiled piece of meat, symbolizing
the paschal lamb; literally means "outstreched arm"
in reference to God's deliverance of the Israelites
in the Hagaddah.
Haggadot are placed on every setting as well. The word
"Haggadah" refers to the text of the seder. It is part
poetry, part liturgy, and part didactic conversation.
There are literally hundreds of Haggadot because, although
each one tells essentially the same core story, Jews
throughout history have exercised the imaginations in
embellishing the story of Passover.
- The Kiddush is recited by the leader of the seder.
It consists of the traditional blessing over wine
(Blessed are you God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates
the fruit of the vine), supplemented with blessings
recognizing the sanctity of Pesach.
- The washing of hands by the seder leader.
- The Karpas is dipped in salt water, blessed and
- The leader breaks the middle matzah into two uneven
pieces. This recalls the splitting of Sea of Reeds.
The larger piece, the Afikomen, is put under a napkin
(it will a reappearence later in the Seder) while
the smaller is placed between the two other matzahs.
- An invitation: let all who are hungry come and share
with us a piece of the bread of affliction.