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Declare the holiness of the day over a cup of wine;

Wash our hands (without a blessing);

Dip a green vegetable in salt water;

Break the middle matzah;

Tell the story of the Exodus;

Wash our hands (with a blessing);

Blessings for bread and matzah;

Blessing for bitter herbs;

Eat the Hillel sandwich;

Eat dinner;

Find and eat the Afikoman;

Chant the birkat ha-mazon, the blessing after meals;

Chant Psalms and songs of praise;

Ask God’s acceptance of our Seder ritual.


The Passover Seder is one of the most time-honored and beloved of all our observances. Just as the Israelites gathered in their homes so many centuries ago on the eve of their departure from Egypt, so do we their descendants gather in our homes, “with our young and our old” in anticipation of that great deliverance for all humankind of which the Exodus has been viewed as a foreshadowing.

No matter how alienated a person may have become from his people or his family during the year (for instance the בן הרשע ben ha-rasha, the wicked son of the הגדה של פסח Hagada shel Pesach, who asks derisively, “What does all this mean to you?), he still participates—however reluctantly—in a Seder.

The הגדה של פסח Hagada shel Pesach is the book that contains all the prayers, stories, Biblical interpretations and songs that are used at the Seder. The TaNakh and the Sidur—unlike their Christian counterparts—were not illustrated, owing to a literal interpretation of the Torah’s prohibition of graven images{Exodus 20:4}. But the Hagada, although holy, was of a lesser degree of holiness than the TaNaKh or the Sidur, and therefore we find a treasure-trove of illustrated Hagadot, beginning in the earliest Middle Ages and continuing to our own time.

The word סֵדֶר Seder itself means “order”—from the same root as the word סׅדוּר Sidur. The Pesach celebration is conducted in a prescribed order, set forth in the above list that appears at the very beginning of the Hagada. Some families chant it just once, as the Seder begins; others repeat it as an introduction to each section of the Seder.

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