On the eve of Pesah, I thought that I would share with you a little helpful companion for your Seder.  Here are the 15 steps to Seder with some thoughts and questions to share.

 1) Kadesh/Holy, special, separate, different, Sacred: What is holy to you? How do you show that something is special.

There once was a family who had received a beautiful, special gift. They kept it in a magnificently jeweled box. They would bring it out to show friends and special occasions. They spoke of the box to their children, telling them how important it was. The parents passed the special gift in the bejeweled box to their children. The children put the box in a very special place and brought it out for special occasions. They were very proud of their box. They told their children of the beautiful box. When they passed on, they left the box to their children who put the box on the mantel and showed their friends at parties and celebrations. Their children inherited the box but it was just an old outdated box and it was lost in a move. As you might have guessed the box is our Jewish identity. The gift, inside the box of Jewish identity is the essence of Jewing, the challenge and joy of seeking holiness, of Kadesh.

We keep something holy by doing it, by living it.

2) Urhatz/washing: What do you wish to wash away this year. There is no blessing other than the blessing of letting go.

3) Karpas/parsley or celery {veggie finger food}: We celebrate spring and bounty. Spring time is the new year of new growth and new hope.

4) Yahatz/dividing: There is a duality to Matzah; We recognize it as the bread of affliction and, at the same time, the bread of freedom. We ate our first ritual matzah in Egypt the night before fleeing for freedom.

5) Maggid/storytelling: What story do we tell. Ask everyone to share part of the story of the Exodus.

4 questions: Questions are more powerful than answers. Questions open the door to discussion. Questions open our minds to new ways of seeing. There is a 5th question as well. “Why do we ask those 4 particular questions”? The 4 questions speak to ritual, to form. Ask your own questions, questions of content.

4 kids: We define the 4 types of children by their questions . What makes the wicked child wicked? Is being simple a negative? Who is the one who cannot even ask a question?

10 Makot: What are some modern plagues? Do we bring them on ourselves as Pharaoh did?

Dayainu: What would have been enough for you in life?

What does Pesah, Matzah, Maror, mean to you?

Pesah=our sacred past in Israel (the Temple).

Matzah=the yin/yang of slavery and freedom.

Maror= a small amount of sadness is a condiment, a lot is a challenge. My grandson told me of an insane challenge; eating a teaspoon of cinnamon. As an addition to food and drink it is tasty. Alone it is horrible.

6) Rahatzah/Washing: This time we wash with a blessing. But the blessing isn’t for washing, it is for elevation.  The entire Seder is a process of elevation. We elevate our eating and drinking, washing, discussing and sharing stories.

7) Motzi/Bring out: This blessing is an awesome recognition that bread comes from the earth. This is an awareness that G is continually creating.

8) Matzah: The mitzvah of eating history. As we taste the Matzah, taste our history of sorrow and joy, helplessness and hopefulness.

9) Maror/Bitter Herb: Tasting the sorrow. Looking back in melancholy and the painful parts of our past

10) Korech/Sandwich: The first sandwich; eating history mixed with sorrow and hope.

11) Shulchan Orech/The prepared table: Who from history would you invite to Seder. What would you like to ask them?

12) Tzafun/Hidden: The Afikomen symbolizes the search for meaning. The opening of the door for Elijah has a double meaning. We open the door as a symbol of hope and faith in the future. Who is Eliyahu? He is that symbol. But opening the door has a more tragic meaning. It has the meaning of trying to dispel distrust and fear.

13) Berach/Blessing: Being thankful for the material and spiritual blessings in our life.

14) Hallel/Praise: Praises for each other, for our people, for G

15) Nirtzah/Longing: What do you want for this coming year?

Hag Pesah Sameah