Thursday, March 21, 2013

PESAH: The Night of the Seder

We previously explained the first step of the Seder, qaddesh (see here).

2. Urhatz
We wash our hands ( netilat yadayim ) without saying any Berakha. It is customary that children help with the netilat yadayim bringing a bowl of water and a towel to the parents and grandparents. This netilat yadayim is done in order to eat the Karpas dipped in vinegar. Our sages instituted that the night of the Seder we should dip the Karpas not once but twice to awake the curiosity of the children and provoke their questions. These questions are already integrated into the famous text: Ma Nishtana. One of the questions refers to the double dipping of the Karpas.
3. Karpas
We eat a small piece of Karpas (celery).  In ancient times it was common for affluent people to have an aperitif (celery or another vegetable) before the main course to stimulate the appetite (poor people did not need appetizers!). The night of the Seder we should feel that we are free and affluent in the sense that all our needs are covered by HaShem, as if we were royalty. This is also the reason why we sit leaning in our chairs: the slaves use to eat sitting on the floor, while the freemen and nobles would rest in comfortable chairs or couches.  Now, we also dip the Karpas in vinegar (or salted water) to remind us of the misery of our slavery and the tears we shed in captivity. As you can see once and again: the Seder is a balanced act of memory, between remembering our past as slaves and celebrating our God-given freedom, for which we should be thankful to HaShem.   Before eating the Karpas we recite the blessing Bore Peri haAdama. As we have explained, all these deviations from the ordinary dinning habits are meant toward one single goal: to motivate the children to ask questions in order to ensure their active participation during the entire Seder.

To see the rest of the Seder click HERE

To download the list of Products for Pesah 2013 click here

I would like to thank Mrs. Esther Livi, wife of Mr. Bernard Livi, for her help and assistance to 
elaborate this list.