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Passover - Laws of the Seder

Passover - Laws of the Seder

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Published by bgeller4936
passover,pesach, seder,judaism
passover,pesach, seder,judaism

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Published by: bgeller4936 on Apr 17, 2011
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From:
"Aish.com" <newsletterserver@aish.com>
Subject:Passover - Laws of the SederDate:
April 16, 2011 11:01:47 PM CDT
To:
bgeller@mts.net
by Shraga Simmons
A practical guide to the Seder night.
The 8-day Passover holiday begins with the Seder on Monday evening, April 18th, 2011.Visit Aish.com's complete Passover site, featuring How To's,Seder Guides. inspiring essays, family activities, recipes, and more:Passover at Aish.com 
Seder Plate
The items on the Seder plate are placed in a very specific order. Startingfrom the bottom, and going clockwise, the order is: Chazeret (lettuce),Karpas (vegetable), Beitzah (roasted egg), Zero'ah (roasted bone),Charoset (nuts and dates). And in the center is Marror (bitter herbs).If this diagram does not match the plate you have, that is becauseopinions vary slightly -- but this is how it is stated in the Code of JewishLaw.Thereason for this order? The Talmud states a concept of 
 Ain ma'avrinal hamitzvot 
-- we shouldn't "pass over" any mitzvah that is in front of us.For this reason, the Seder plate is arranged to follow the order of theHaggadah, so that whatever you need next will be located closest to you,to avoid having to "skip over" any other item.The Seder plate should be located to the right of the leader.A bowl of salt water should be placed on the table, near the Seder plate.The salt water should be prepared prior to the start of the holiday.In fact, since the Seder cannot begin before nightfall, and since it can berather long, it is important to have everything ready ahead of time so that
 
one can start as soon as synagogue services are completed.Additionally, three matzot should be placed on the table -- either under or in front of the Seder plate. They should be covered and separated fromeach other by a napkin or cloth.For the Seder, it is traditional to use round, handmade
shmurah
matzah.This type of matzah has been carefully guarded against any contact withwater from the time of reaping, grinding, kneading and baking. Thesource for using
shmurah
matzah at the Seder comes from the Torahverse,
Ush'martem et hamatzot 
-- "And you shall guard the matzot.""Seder" literally means "order." The activities and mitzvot of Pesach nightwere codified into a specific order, because otherwise we could getconfused and forget!There are actually seven different mitzvot that we perform at the Seder.Two are from the Torah:1) telling the Exodus story2) eating matzahThe other mitzvot are rabbinical:3) eating Marror (bitter herbs)4) eating the Afikomen (an extra piece of matzah for dessert asa reminder of the Passover offering)5) saying Hallel (Psalms of praise)6) drinking the Four Cups of wine7) demonstrating acts of freedom and aristocracy -- e.g. sittingwith a pillow cushion and leaning as we eat and drink, andbeginning the meal "with a dip."The 15 steps of our Seder were composed in the 11th century byTalmudic commentators, either Rashi or Tosfot.
Laws of the Four Cups of Wine
At the Seder, every Jew should drink four cups of wine corresponding tothe four expressions of freedom mentioned in the Torah (Exodus 6: 6-7).Since we are free people this evening, nobody should pour their ownwine, but rather each person should pour for another -- as if we areroyalty who have servants.It is best to use red wine, since this alludes to the blood spilled by
 
Pharaoh, the blood as part of the Ten Plagues, and the blood the Jewsput on their doorposts.Someone who has difficulty drinking wine may use grape juice, butshould add a little wine so that the taste of alcohol is detectable.Everyone should have their own wine cup, which holds a
Revi'it 
-- i.e. aminimum of 98cc (3.3 oz.) according to Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, or 150cc(5.1 oz.) according to the Chazon Ish. When Passover falls on Shabbat,the minimum amount for the first cup is 4.42 oz., even according to RabbiFeinstein.It is preferable to drink the entire cup of wine for each of the Four Cups.Otherwise, you should at least drink a majority of the cup.Jewish law defines an act of "drinking" as two swallows without pausing.This is the preferable way to consume the Four Cups. Otherwise, youshould at least consume the wine within four minutes.As an expression of freedom, the Sages enacted leaning to the sidewhile drinking the Four Cups of wine. Everyone should lean to the leftand back!
The Blessings
Kiddush should be recited while seated. You should have in mind to fulfilltwo mitzvot:1) the mitzvah of Kiddush that we say on every Shabbat andYom Tov2) plus the special mitzvah to drink Four Cups of wine at theSeder When saying the
Shehechianu 
blessing, you should have in mind that itapplies to all the various mitzvot of Seder night.When the Seder falls on Saturday night, you should also make theHavdallah blessings as listed in the text, using the Yom Tov candles asyour Havdallah candle.
Urchatz
Everyone at the Seder now washes their hands in the manner of washingfor bread -- pouring water from a cup, covering each hand up to thewrist.This is done WITHOUT a blessing.We do this because any detached food that has become wet with certainliquids (water, wine, blood, dew, milk, olive oil and honey) makes thefood susceptible to spiritual uncleanliness and requires washing of hands

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