Wednesday, April 9, 2014

PESAH, The night of the Seder (Part 2)

Yesterday, we began to explain the steps of the Seder.  We discussed only the first part: 1. Qaddesh. 

2. Urhats
We wash our hands (netilat yadayim) without saying any Berakha. It is customary that children help with this 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, as it was normally done, 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 other green vegetable) before the main course to stimulate the appetite (poor people did not need appetizers to stimulate their appetite). 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. 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.  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 again: the Seder is a balanced act of memory, between remembering our past as slaves and celebrating our God-given freedom.   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 Seder.

From the three Matsot set on the table, we take the middle one, and we split it into two unequal parts. The smallest portion is returned to its place, between the two whole Matsot, and the biggest portion is kept for the Afiqoman.

For the rest of the Seder click HERE


Recommended list of foods for Ashkenazi Jews from cRc, Chicago, rabbi Gedaliah Shwartz. Click here

Recommended list of foods for Sephardic Jews. By Rabbi Yehudah Boroosan.   Click here

From Rabbi Yehudah Boroosan:  " objective in preparing this list is to make known the products that are L'chetachila qualified for Sefaradim on Pesach. There are so many people who are unable to obtain Kasher L"Pesach approved products and/or could not afford or are unwilling to purchase specifically marked items due to its higher price. I am fully aware of the kashruth issues and have therefore carefully included in this guide also those products that their kashruth status is more subject to policy that actuality and take full responsibility to make sure that every one is able to have a chag Kasher V'Sameyach." 


Click here to download an ancient Spanish (not "Ladino") Hagadda, published by rabbi Ytshaq Yehuda Leon Templo, in Amsterdam, 1728