Chapter: 16 – Seder Night

1. Introduction

Before detailing the laws of the Seder, let us briefly survey the mitzvot we fulfill on the Seder night. Two elements constitute the foci of the Seder: The first is commemoration of our Exodus from Egypt and emancipation from slavery … Continue reading

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2. Preparing for the Seder

As noted, one of the two key objectives of the Seder is to transmit the tradition of the Exodus to our children. In order to keep younger children alert, we do many unusual things at the Seder: we dip vegetables … Continue reading

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3. The Seder Plate

Before the Seder, one must prepare the Seder plate, on which all of the special Seder foods are arranged. Setting the Seder plate is not merely to keep the foods close by and at the ready, but also because each … Continue reading

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4. Arranging the Seder Plate

The Talmud does not mention the Seder plate, but it does say that “matza, lettuce, ĥaroset, and two cooked foods” are served to the person leading the Seder (Pesaĥim 114a). The Rishonim and SA (473:4) state that all of these … Continue reading

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5. Kadesh – Kiddush

The Seder begins with kiddush, which expresses the sanctity of the Jewish people and of the Pesaĥ holiday. The kiddush of Shabbat and other holidays contains the phrase “in commemoration of the Exodus from Egypt,” for the source of Israel’s … Continue reading

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6. The Four Cups

The Sages instituted drinking four cups of wine on the Seder night in order to increase the joy of redemption and give expression to our freedom. On every Yom Tov there is a mitzva to rejoice by drinking wine, but … Continue reading

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7. The Wine

The Sages stated (Pesaĥim 108b) that in order to fulfill the mitzva of the four cups properly, one must dilute the wine with water, because otherwise it will be too strong and cause intoxication. Though the alcohol in such wine … Continue reading

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8. The Amount of Wine and Cup Size

In order to fulfill the mitzva of the four cups, or any other mitzva that involves drinking wine (such as kiddush, havdala, Birkat Ha-mazon, and wedding ceremonies), there must be a significant amount of wine in the cup. The Sages … Continue reading

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9. How Much Wine?

Optimally, one should drink all of the wine in the cup, which means at least a revi’it. If one uses a large cup that contains more than a revi’it, he should, le-khatĥila, drink all of the wine in the cup. … Continue reading

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10. The Mitzva of Reclining

The Sages ordained that one recline while eating matza and drinking wine at the Seder, because in every generation one must give the appearance of having just been freed from Egyptian bondage, as it is stated: “He rescued us from … Continue reading

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