In ancient times, a desert eaten at the end of meals, prohibited at Pesach. In our times: a portion of the middle matzah of the Seder, eaten after the meal. In many families it is "stolen" and restored in exchange for a "ransom". This game is designed to keep the children awake so that they will wait for the "finding" and eating of the Afikoman.


Four sons with different levels of understanding and attitudes towards Pesach and Judaism. The Haggadah provides didactic replies for each one of them.


The four cups of wine imbibed during the Seder.


The four questions asked on the Seder night.


A search for chametz, on the night before Pesach, "by candle light" (Pesachim 1:1). This is a didactic activity in which the children participate with great joy, searching for morsels of bread hidden by their parents and at the same time finding left-over chametz which might have been overlooked.


Ceremony of burning the chametz found on the eve of Pesach.


Leavened or fermented. By religious law, any food which contains leaven, starch or fermented grain, or which was cooked in utensils which may not be used on Pesach for this reason. Many families have special dishes for Pesach. Others "specially" purge their utensils in accordance with rabbinic instructions.


A mixture of chopped nuts, dates, apples and wine, used together with the maror. It symbolizes the mortar used to make bricks during the enslavement of the children of Israel.


intermediate days between the festival days, during Pesach and Sukkot.


A cup of wine which is poured out but not imbibed during the Seder. Its origin goes back to the Talmudic conflict on the number of cups to be imbibed during the Seder. Since it is thought that when the Prophet Elijah comes he will resolve this conflict, the fifth cup is named after him, "Elijah's cup".


A fast incumbent on the firstborn on the eve of Pesach, in memory of the last of the ten plagues. It is possible to break the fast by participating in a seudat mitzvah, a meal eaten to celebrate the completion of study of a Talmudical tractate.


Text containing the "narration" of the Exodus. It is based on the ritual consecrated from the time of the Second Temple, and contains passages from the Bible, midrashic and talmudic commentaries, prayers, blessings, psalms and songs. It is read on the first night of Pesach (in the Diaspora, on the second night as well) and an extract is also read on Shabbat Hagadol.

HAG HAMATZOT (the feast of unleavened bread, i.e. Pesach)

a festival which begins on the 15th of Nissan.


"The first month, on the fourteenth day at twilight will be Pesach of the Lord. On the 15th of this month you will celebrate the feast of matzot in honor of the Lord, during seven days you must eat unleavened bread. On the first day you will celebrate a festival; you will do no work therein. You will offer to the Lord an offering made of fire during seven days. The seventh day is a festival; you will do no work therein"


(Vayikra [Leviticus] 23: 5-8).


"Observe the month of aviv and keep the Pesach unto the Lord your G-d, for in the month of aviv the Lord your G-d brought you out of Egypt by night"..


(Devarim [Deuteronomy] 16: 1)


"During seven days you will eat unleavened bread; from the first day you will remove leaven from your homes. The soul of anyone who eats leavened bread from the first day to the seventh day will be cut off from Israel... You shall observe the feast of unleavened bread, for on that same day I brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Observe this day from one generation to the next by an ordinance for ever... You shall eat nothing leavened; in all your habitations you shall eat unleavened bread"...


(Shemot [Exodus], Chapter 12)


"On the fourteenth day of the first month is the Pesach of the Lord, and on the fifteenth day of this month is the feast. For seven days you will eat unleavened bread. The first day will be a festival; you shall do no manner of work therein... .. Thus shall you do for the seven days.. On the seventh day you will celebrate a festival; you will do no work".


(Bamidbar [Numbers], Chapter 28: 16-25)

Pesach is one of the pilgrim festivals.


Products and utensils of permitted use according to Jewish religious law during Pesach.


The Seder dish or plate, on which are placed the zeroa (bone); charoset (see above); karpas (greens); betza (egg); maror (bitter herbs).

MAOT HITTIN (wheat money)

Money collected to be distributed among the poor so that they can buy matzah and food for Pesach.

MATZAH Unleavened bread (see Shemot 12:39)

The grain used to prepare the matzah is corn (although any of the five species of cereal may be used: corn, barley, rye, oats and spelt). In the grounding, moisture and fermenting of the flour must be avoided. No salt, egg or yeast is added. The time between the kneading and baking must be less than 18 minutes. It is called the bread of affliction, "lechem oni".


Matzah specially supervised from the time of harvesting and prepared with the 'intention' of fulfilling the mitzvah.


"Matzah enriched" with eggs, honey, oil or wine. It is not used during the Seder. (Some rabbis do not allow it during the entire holiday).


Transfer of the chametz for the period of Pesach. The sale is carried out though a bill of sale, "Shetar Mechira". The ownership of the family's chametz is generally transferred to a rabbi, who sells all the chametz to a gentile.


In the scriptures, this is the name of the the sacrifice which the Children of Israel had to offer on their exodus from bondage in Egypt. Celebrated from Nissan 15 to 21 (in the Diaspora until the 22), it is the first of the three Pilgrim festivals (See Hag HaMatzot).


The second Pesach which is celebrated a month after the first Pesach. It was instituted in order to give those who could not celebrate Pesach on the actual date a second opportunity to bring their Pesach sacrifices. In our times it is recalled by eating a piece of matzah and by omitting Tachanun from the morning prayers.


"Order" of the family ceremonial of the first night of Pesach (the second night also in the Diaspora). Through the Seder we fulfill the mitzvah of teaching our children the meaning of the Exodus (Shemot 13:8). In the Seder we eat matzah, we recite the Haggadah, we eat bitter herbs - "maror", and we drink four cups of wine.

The order is:


  • Kadesh: the recitation of the kiddush
  • Urchatz: washing of the hands without a brachah
  • Karpas: eating of a vegetable dipped in salt water
  • Yachatz: breaking of the middle matzah and hiding its bigger part for the afikoman
  • Magid: recitation of the story of the exodus - the four questions and the narration
  • Rachtza: ritual washing of the hands for the meal
  • Motzi matzah: the brachot over the matzah which is the bread of Pesach
  • Maror: bitter herbs dipped in charoset
  • Korech: eating of bitter herbs with matzah
  • Shulchan orech: "table prepared" with Yom Tov meal
  • Tzafun: eating of the afikoman
  • Barech: recitation of birkat hamazon (grace after the meal)
  • Hallel: praises
  • Nirtzah: additional songs of praise, marking the end of the Seder.



Counting of the Omer which begins from the second night of Pesach and continues until Shavuot. It constitutes the link between the celebration of the physical freedom and the spiritual freedom obtained with the giving of the Ten Commandments.


The Shabbat before Pesach, called Shabbat Hagadol because of the miracles performed for the Jewish people on the Shabbat prior to the liberation from Egypt. Part of the Haggadah is generally read on this Shabbat.






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05 Jul 2005 / 28 Sivan 5765 0