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How To Celebrate

   Seder Essentials

Preparing the Seder

The Seder Guide

Preparing For The Holiday

Contract For Selling Chametz

Gebrokts - Soaked Matzah

Guarding The Matzo


The History of Passover

Thoughts & Essays

Letters From The Rebbe

Passover Anecdotes

Passover Stories

Children's Corner

Q & A

Last Days of Passover

Text of the Passover Haggadah

 Introduction Preparing the Seder

[Seder Elements]

The Four Cups
of Wine

"Wine," King David tells us,
"gladdens the heart."
One of the principal mitzvahs
of the Pesach Seder is to
drink four full cups of wine
(or grape juice).
No, this is not simply an
experiment in altered states
of consciousness;
the four cups actually have
profound Biblical significance.
Our Sages explain that
-- among many other
reasons -- the four cups
correspond to the four
expressions the Book of
Exodus employs to describe our
liberation and deliverance from
Egyptian bondage.


A "cracker".
A vegetable.
A glass of wine.
A roasted bone.

These are hardly the items one
would expect to figure
prominently in a re-enactment of
historyís grandest epic.
But so it is.
Because the spiritual adventure
we call the Pesach Seder is
experienced in our dining rooms,
at the table, with friends
and family and fine china.
On the Seder night,
Passover matzah, Kosher wine,
and bitter herbs are
our keys to freedom, and
the Haggadah -- the telling
and retelling of the story of
the exodus -- is our
road map for a journey
begun over
thirty-three centuries ago.

The Meaning
of Matzah

The mitzvah of eating
matzah on the Seder night
is of paramount importance.
In fact, we are commanded to
avoid even the minutest
amount of leavened
bread for the entire
eight days of the Festival.
What could be so significant
about any food -- especially
one so plain?
But the utter simplicity of matzah
is precisely the point.
Matzah is the humblest
of foods -- flat and
unpretentious, unadulterated and
unadorned. Eating matzah on
Passover actually helps us
to cultivate the trait of
humility... and humility is the
beginning of liberation.

The Bitter

Another basic mitzvah at
the Seder is the eating
of the bitter herbs, to remind
us of the bitter taste of slavery.
Though today we may live in
relative ease and
comfort, we must never forget
what it was like to live under
the whips of Egyptian taskmasters.
And we must remember that
many people still live in fear,
in captivity, or in need.

The Haggadah

The Haggadah is the story
of the origins of the Jews as
a People, told in the
form of a dialogue
between parent and child.
Questions are encouraged:
"Why is this night different?"
and "What does all this mean?"
In Judaism, a searching,
inquisitive mind is the key
to understanding,
growth, and fulfillment.
To get the most out of
your Seder, read the Haggadah
out loud. If you donít undertand
the Hebrew, say it in English.
And donít settle for
quick answers - thereís a
wealth of deeper meaning
within every word.

The Seder

Place three whole
matzahs on the table,
one atop the
On a cloth spread
over the matzahs,
or on a plate,
the special Seder foods
are arranged as
in The diagram...
[click here]

 Introduction Preparing the Seder

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