Are you leading a Seder for the first (or second) time? Feeling slightly overwhelmed at the thought of getting everything together in time? Have no idea what to do when? Here is your easy-to-use guide containing everything you need to know.

Note: Each of the holidays, and especially Passover, have a myriad of different customs and traditions associated with them. We at, understandably, follow the Chabad custom. However, do try to keep to your family customs when possible.

Seder Prep

What you will need to get going:

Kosher Wine or Grape Juice—enough for four cups. (It is preferable to use wine if possible.) Choose lighter wines, at least for the first cup.

Kiddush Cup—the cup should hold at least 3 fluid ounces.

Matzah—3 whole for Seder plate + additional 2 for each participant. Ideally handmade shmurah matzah should be used.

Seder Plate—In a pinch, napkins can be used. Layer the 3 matzahs between napkins and place the other components (charoset in a dish) atop a napkin placed over the top matzah.

Components of Seder Plate

Egg—hard boiled + additional for Seder participants

Zeroah—the Chabad custom is to use a roasted chicken neck, with most, but not all of the meat taken off.

Maror—We use horseradish and romaine lettuce + additional for seder participants.

Chazeret—horseradish and dry romaine lettuce + additional for seder participants.

Charoset—walnuts, apples, red wine, pears. Shell nuts and peel apples and pears, chop finely. Mix together and add a small amount of wine.

Karpas—a small piece (not more than half an ounce) of vegetable. This can be any vegetable, as long as it is eaten raw in your locale. The Chabad custom is to use cooked potato or raw onion; others use celery, parsley or radish. Make sure you have enough for all participants.

See for more detailed instructions.

Salt Water—mix 1-2 tablespoons of salt into 2 cups of water

Haggadah—If you do not have enough for all participants, order online or you can print more here:

Elijah’s Cup—an additional goblet to be filled for Elijah

Seder Set Up

The Seder plate is set up after praying the evening service. Before you begin, make sure the holiday candles are lit (from a flame that was ignited before sunset) by the women and girls of the household. If no women are present, a male should light the candles. Two blessings are recited, Leh-had-leek ner shel yom tov and the blessing of Shehecheyanu. Make a point to set up the Seder plate yourself and involve all participants, as this marks the beginning of the Seder. Most Haggadot include instructions on how to do this. For your convenience, we have outlined the basics below.

● Make sure every participant has a cup for wine and a saucer.

● Lay the 3 matzahs one atop the other, starting with the bottom one (called yisrael) followed by the middle one (levi) and finally the third (kohen).

● Atop the matzahs,lay the other components of the Seder plate—the simanim. Start with the zeroa on the top right; opposite it, on the left, place the egg. Position the maror in the center; below the zeroa, near the bottom, place the charoset;and opposite it, below the egg place the karpas. Finally, place the chazeret below the maror. That's your Seder plate setup! You are now ready to begin.

Seder Guide

While we are not going to enumerate every single step—since your Haggadah will do that—we will provide some tips and pointers.

Kadesh—On the two Seder nights (one in the land of Israel), each individual should have a full glass of wine over which the kiddush is recited. The Seder leader recites the blessings and all respond amen (if participants wish, they may recite the kiddush themselves). This is the first of the four cups of wine you will drink over the course of the evening. Make sure the cup is full and that the majority of the glass is drunk by all participants. We recline to the left while drinking the four cups.

Urchatz—Each participant washes his or her hands, as when washing for bread, except that no blessing is recited afterward.

KarpasEveryone partakes of karpas. Ensure that less than half an ounce of karpas is consumed.

YachatzThe Seder leader breaks the middle matzah in two. The larger piece (Chabad custom is to split this into 5 smaller pieces) is stashed away for the afikoman.

Reciting the Haggadah—This is the exciting part; the focal point of the evening. There is a biblical obligation to tell the story of the Exodus contained in the Haggadah to ones children. Ideally, the Haggadah should be read in its entirety in Hebrew if possible, led by the Seder leader. In between paragraphs, it’s your role to stimulate discussion and share insights, making the experience an interactive one. Prepare in advance, visit, and peruse our vast selection of insights. Print ones that catch your eye in advance and encourage your family members to do the same. If your Hebrew is less than fluent, you may recite the Haggadah in English.

Mah Nishtanah—The second cup is filled before the recitation of the Mah Nishtanah. The Mah Nishtanah is recited by a child. If no child is present at the Seder, who is able to ask the questions, one of the adults asks. And if a person is all alone—he/she recites the questions themselves. The Chabad custom is for all the participants to recite the Mah Nishtanah, after it is recited by the child.

MaggidPay attention to the instructions for when to uncover/cover the matzah, and when the cup is raised. All participants should raise their cups where indicated.

Matzah—While this may seem like one of the simpler elements of Seder night, things are not quite so straightforward. There are many details that are imperative here. Specific amounts of matzah must be eaten within certain timeframes. Ideally, to fulfill one's full obligation one should eat two olive-bulks, which is equal to about 2 ounces. We take a kezayit (olive-bulk) from the top and middle matzahs and eat these together. If this is a struggle, make sure to eat at least one olive-bulk (See notes at the end for more specific measurements.) Additionally, this should be eaten, while reclining, within 4 minutes. If this too is difficult, this may be stretched to 6 minutes.

Maror—The maror is dipped in the charoset dip, the charoset is not to be served as a separate dish. In fact, the Chabad custom is to shake most of it off, so as not to lessen the bitterness of the maror. Again, one should make sure to consume a kezayit of maror within 4-6 minutes. Although the custom is to consume horseradish with romaine lettuce, romaine alone is perfectly acceptable.

Korech—We use the third matzah for this sandwich. Only one kezayit each of matzah and maror is necessary.

Shluchan Orech—Our custom is to begin the meal by eating the egg dipped in salt water.

TzafunAfter the festive meal, it is time for the afikoman. Ideally, two kezaysim are eaten, but if it’s difficult to consume that much, one is sufficient. After this point, nothing else should be eaten or drunk, save for the last two cups of wine and some water if one needs. Again, this is eaten reclining. On the first night, one should ensure that this is eaten before halachic midnight. Check for the exact time in your locale.

BeirachThe Grace After Meals is recited over the third cup of wine. Don’t forget the inclusions for the festival of Passover. The Chabad custom is to hold the cup of wine until after the blessing beginning “Uvnei.

Elijah's Cup—Elijah's cup and the fourth and final cup are poured at this point. The Chabad custom is to take some of the lit candles to the front door, and to leave the front door open while the passage “Shefoch chamaschah” is recited.

Hallel Nirtzah—We conclude the Seder on a jubilant note, with verses of praise. After the final cup is drunk, we proclaim, “Next Year in Jerusalem!” This year, this takes on an added level of meaning. May we indeed merit a complete and true redemption—corona-free in Jerusalem!

A note on specific measurements required for matzah:

Firstly, it is important to know that there are in fact two levels of obligation, biblical and rabbinic. Therefore, ideally, to fulfill one's full obligation one should eat two olive-bulks, which is equal to about 2 ounces. The size and thickness of the various varieties of matzah differ greatly; therefore, it is near impossible to give an accurate estimation of how much of a matzah is equal to one ounce. A kezayit can be anywhere from half a matzah (if it is thin) to one sixth of a matzah. If one has difficulty consuming such an amount, one can eat a smaller amount for the second kezayit, about two thirds of an ounce, or about a quarter of an average matzah. If one really struggles with matzah consumption, one should eat at least one kezayit— the basic biblical obligation.