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Seder Insights

Inside the Passover Meal

The seder is chock-full of customs, traditions and laws. Examine the spiritual message behind this night's hallowed practices.

8 Exodus Insights From 8 Ukrainian Rabbis
Culled from the writings of the Chassidic masters
Why Shabbat Doesn’t Cancel the Seder
When festivals occur on Shabbat, the rituals are not be practiced by individuals. Why is matzah different?
Why Celebrate Passover?
Why go to a Seder?
Maybe identity is not such a bad idea after all.
The Passover Seder Is a Disruptive Ritual
On the magnificence and agonizing beauty of the Jewish heritage of freedom
Haggadah! The
The Haggadah, the book we use to recount the Exodus from Egypt and the whole episode of Passover, is the "bible" on education—and, in fact, contains about a zillion lessons on how to truly be a good teacher.
Why the Egg (Beitza) on the Passover Seder Plate?
I know all about the reasons for the matzah and maror (bitter herbs), but why an egg?
The (Not) Lost Art of Storytelling
Whatever happened to articulation, detail and nuance?
Seder Plate Kabbalah
There are many ways to tell a story. The obvious way is with words. Yet there is another, non-verbal, method of telling the same story. The items of food on the Seder table tell their story too, for they are not only things to be eaten.
A Full Page on Half a Story
But why do we take a good whole matzah and intentionally break it apart? Is it appropriate to use a damaged and broken matzah as the Seder’s centerpiece?
Telling Stories
Once upon a time, many years ago when we were little, we knew the importance of the story
Matzah After Midnight
First you had faith. Then you grew up. Then you discovered truths you always knew you knew but which your knowledge obscured. That's why we have pre-midnight matzah and post midnight matzah
Lost at the Seder?
If you feel lost at the seder table, that is exactly why you are there...
Hillel's Paradox
"If I am not for myself, who is for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I?" The laws of the Passover Offering contain an important insight into the eternal question, conflict and symbiosis of self and community
Passover: A Matter of Taste?
The seder's menu features many different foods. The taste of each entry on the menu alludes to a path to redemption.
A Night of Questions
I've personally never observed the Seder as a newcomer, but if I had, I'd have lots more than four questions to ask. You see, an intriguing pattern, or a pattern of intrigue, makes its silent way through the program...
The Fifth Cup
Why pour a cup if we lack the ability to drink it? In the course of the Passover Seder we drink four cups of wine, corresponding to the four "expressions of redemption" in the Divine declaration (Exodus 6:2-8).
The Third Seder
Last Days of Passover
Memory is a victory over time; but to truly free ourselves of time's tyranny requires the ability to not only relive the past, but also remember the future
A Youthful Holiday
While the importance of transmitting the message of Passover to our children is self-understood, why is Passover's message deemed more important for the children than the messages carried by other festivals?
The Egg in Exodus
Until Sinai, we were all dressed up with nowhere to go. On Passover we emerged from the confines of Egypt like the egg that drops out of the hen. But only at Sinai were we hatched and born properly . . .
A Bread with a History
Why eat matzah altogether? Ditto for bitter herbs. Why, when marking an event, do we always have to do things? Can't we just get together and tell over the story like intelligent people?
The Story of Our Lives
The Haggadah weaves together historical facts to compose a narrative. It’s a story of an imperfect people who suffer great challenges. It’s a story of our ancestors. And it’s a story of our own...
The Salted and Purified Rebuke
We all have something to say about what everyone else is up to. We are quick to criticize and rebuke our friends, neighbors, educators, and leaders...
Become a Leader
Passover Leadership and Responsibility
Up until now, the Staff Sergeant had been dealing with us directly for over 18 hours a day. Now, things were changing. Tonight we were voting, by secret ballot, for our “leader” – the person who would represent us to the brass, the upper echelons of the military...
A Tale of Two Matzahs
Why Shemurah Matzah?
The baking of the matzah is the beginning of the mitzvah. Mixing the dough, rolling and shaping the matzah and putting the dough into the oven to bake—are all activities that must be performed by adult Jews.
Why the Sandwich?
Why do we first eat matzah on its own, followed by plain maror and only then the matzah-maror sandwich? Isn't that a bit like sampling bread and peanut butter separately and only then putting them together?
The Shank Bone (Zeroah)
A piece of roasted meat represents the lamb that was the special Paschal sacrifice on the eve of the exodus from Egypt, and annually, on the afternoon before Passover, in the Holy Temple . . .
Passover's 4 Steps to Breaking Bad Habits
The rabbinic instruction to drink four cups of wine (or grape juicel) during the Seder are a framework for achieving personal freedom.
What Is the Meaning of the Charoset on the Passover Seder Plate?
The Talmud gives several reasons, which serve as the basis for the recipe and texture of this Passover paste.
The Traditional Passover Counting Song About a Baby Goat
Learn the lyrics and the meaning of one of Passover's most famous songs!
What if I did not Recline on Seder Night?
Mishneh Torah, Hilchot Chametz Umatzah.
Who Composed the ‘Kadesh Urchatz’ Rhyme?
On the inner significance of the simple-seeming 15-step Seder song
This classic poem is attributed to Rashi. The Kabbalists, including Rabbi Yitzchak Luria (Arizal), saw deep, esoteric meanings and lessons embedded in its seemingly simple words.
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