Participating shops will be listed in this post this week and you can search on Etsy with the keywords: "pesach" or "etsychai". Please remember to use the word "Passover" in Notes to Seller when shopping with EtsyChai members this week!
Thanks to April of agru.etsy.com for this great, informational post! (Part I is today, Part II will appear on Thursday.)
The above is a Hebrew rhyme to help people remember the content of the Seder (“Order” in English), a ceremonial meal to retell the story of the emancipation of the Jews from slavery in ancient Egypt. Seders are held on the first two nights of the holiday and can take anywhere from a couple of hours to over five. As an overview, the evening has four parts:
- The recitation of the first part of the Haggadah, a liturgy that describes in detail the story of the Exodus from Egypt. The Haggadah is the fulfillment of the biblical obligation to recount to our children the story of the Exodus on the night of Passover.
- The Shulchan Orech (Passover Meal).
- Completing the reading of the Haggadah, including several songs.
- Following the Seder, families will sometimes recite the Song of Songs, participate in Torah learning, or continue discussing the events retold during the evening.
Let’s go through each part of the Hebrew rhyme to understand in more detail the course of the evening.
This is the sanctification, or blessing, of the wine in honor of Passover. This is the first cup of several to be drunk over the course of the evening. The male head of the household traditionally says this. At some Seders it is customary for people to fill others’ cups, to indicate freedom and majesty.
This is the ritual washing of the hands before a meal. Unlike other Shabbat or festival nights, no blessing is said. Often homes have special ceramic or metal ewers and bowls that are taken around the table for this purpose.
Each participant takes a vegetable, traditionally parsley, and dips it into salt water or vinegar. This is representative of the tears our enslaved ancestors shed during their time as slaves in Egypt.
When we set up our table for Passover, we put three pieces of Matzah out on a special plate or in a special container. Yachatz is the breaking of the middle matzah in half. One half is returned to the plate/container, and the other is hidden and will be the afikomen (dessert) after the meal.
Maggid (the telling)
At this point in the Seder, the story of the Jews’ transition from slavery to freedom is retold. This begins with the youngest person at the table singing/asking The Four Questions asking “Why is this night different from all other nights?” and describing the obvious differences: the dipping of food, unleavened bread instead of leavened, the eating of bitter herbs, and the custom of leaning during the ceremonial meal rather than just sitting upright. A great example of this can be found here.
Then we read of how to tell the story to different types of people: the wise child, the wicked child, the simple child, and the child who is unable to ask.
Several verses from Deuteronomy are read along with interpretations and embellishments. This ends with a listing of the ten plagues visited upon the Egyptians:
Arov (wild animals)
Dever (death of livestock)
Makkat Bechorot (killing of the Egyptian first born)
As the plagues are recited, each participant removes a drop of wine from his or her cup using a fingertip. This is followed by songs of praise, including the song Dayenu (it would have been enough). Video here.
At the end of the maggid, a blessing is recited over the second cup of wine and it is drunk.
A second washing of the hands is done. This time a blessing is said, in preparation for eating the matzah.
Motzi (blessing over the matzah)
Lifting all the matzot, the regular blessing for bread is recited. Then we “release” the bottom matzah and eat from the top two. Usually additional matzot are on the table so there is enough for everyone. But we don’t use the bottom piece for now.