Ask The Rabbi

For the week ending 23 April 2011 / 18 Nisan 5771

Seder Order

by Rabbi Yirmiyahu Ullman - www.rabbiullman.com
The Color of HeavenArtscroll

From: Joshua

Dear Rabbi,

I understand “Seder” means order, but I must admit, I find it very difficult to understand the order of the Seder. Could you please outline what it’s all about?

Dear Joshua,

Sure, you’re not the only one. In fact, the first part of the Seder includes an “outline” for people just like you and me. This is a list of 15 terms that refer to the main parts of the Seder as it progresses. Here’s the list with a brief description of each:

  • Kadesh: Recital of the Kiddush and the drinking of the first cup
  • U’rchatz: Washing of the hands without a blessing for the eating of the vegetable dipped in salt water
  • Karpas: The dipping of the vegetable in salt water
  • Yachatz: The breaking of the middle of the three matzot, half of which is hidden for the afikomen
  • Maggid: The recital of the Haggadah, which is the primary mitzvah of the Seder retelling the story of the Exodus; it includes the second cup
  • Rachtzah: Washing of the hands with the blessing for eating bread
  • Motzi: The recital of the blessing for bread
  • Matza: The recital of the special blessing for eating matza.
  • Marror: The special blessing over, and partaking of, the bitter herbs dipped in charoset
  • Korech: The “Hillel Sandwich” commemorating the Pascal roasted lamb sacrifice that was eaten with matza and maror
  • Shulchan orech: The table is set and the festive meal is served
  • Tzafun: The presenting and eating of the hidden afikomen matza
  • Barech: The Grace after Meals concluded with the third cup.
  • Hallel: The special praise and thanksgiving Psalms and prayers recited over the fourth cup
  • Nirtzah: Concluding songs such as “Chadgadya” and “Ecad mi yodea”.

Sources:

  • The Book of Our Heritage, Rabbi Eliyahu Kitov

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