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Browse Zemanim: Pesah: The Seder
On the first two nights of Pesah it is incumbent upon each of us (men and women), to perform the following five basic misvot:

1) The eating of masah on the 1st and 2nd nights of Pesah, reclining on the left side. Masah Shemura is required on the first two nights of Pesah for the fulfillment of the misva. From the moment of harvest, the wheat used in these special masot are guarded from any water or moisture that would cause the wheat to puff and make it hames. The masah is then baked by hands of Jews who feel and know the importance of this misvah.

2) Relating the story of exodus of Egypt- as the Torah tells us: You should relate to your son [the story of Pesah] on this night." Women and children are required to perform this misva. Therefore, it is essential that the important sections of the Haggadah should be translated and explained for any who may not understand the context of the Haggadah.

3) Drinking four cups of red wine, while reclining to the left. If one's health does not permit the drinking of wine he may have grape juice.

4) Eating maror (romaine lettuce). Care should be taken that the lettuce leaves are checked very carefully for any bugs.

5) Reciting the Hallel.

The Seder Procedure

1) Qidoush is recited over the wine. At least half of the cup of wine should be drunk (minimal size cup is 3 oz). When drinking the cup, it is mandatory to recline as a show of freedom. The word "Qidoush" means to make holy; the first step of the Seder is to create an awareness of holiness and an atmosphere of joy.

2) The Washing of the Hands: wash your hands 3 times consecutively on each hand from a natlah (netilat yadayim cup). The blessing is not recited. The ritual of washing the hands parallels that of the priests in the temple. The intent is to purify oneself before eating.

3) The Eating of the Vegetables: less than an ounce of any vegetable dipped into salt water and then eaten. The blessing "Boreh Peri HaAdamah is recited before eating. When making the beracha one should have the intention of including the maror that is to be eaten later. The vegetable eating is a symbol of spring and regeneration- one of the name of Pesah is the Festival of the spring. The salt water represents the tears of the Jewish people who suffered in Egypt. The dipping process was instituted in the Seder to arouse the children's curiosity and stimulate them to ask questions.

4) The Breaking of the Masah: the middle masah is broken into two pieces, a larger and smaller piece. According to kabbalah, one should try to make the shapes of a letter "Yod" and the letter "Daled" in Hebrew. One should not use a knife, but rather try to do the best one can by hand. The larger piece is hidden and used later for the Afiqoman. The reason why we break the masah is to recall the hardships of our forefathers in Egypt and how all they had to eat was broken unleavened bread.

5) The recitation of the Haggadah no matter how knowledgeable we are about Pesah, the retelling of the story of the Exodus heightens our awareness and stimulates our consciousness. After the story is completed, the second cup of wine should be drunk.

6) The hands are washed ritually again as in item 2, but this time with the blessing.

7) Eating the Masah: Masah is called the bread of faith because it reminds us of the faith our forefathers displayed in journeying out of Egypt, without packing food, confident in God's help. Everyone must eat at least one ounce of masah. The masah is eaten in the reclining position.

8) The Eating of the Maror: the maror symbolizes the bitterness of our forefather's lives in Egypt. It is dipped into charoset, which in color and composition, reminds us of the mortar used to make bricks in Egypt. At least one ounce should be eaten (not reclining).

9) A sandwich of masah and maror is eaten, commemorati
Back to Pesah
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