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How Passover Works


The Seder: Steps 6 – 15
Members of the Samaritan community seal the oven after placing slaughtered sheep during the traditional Passover sacrifice ceremony at Mount Gerizim near the northern West Bank city of Nablu.
Members of the Samaritan community seal the oven after placing slaughtered sheep during the traditional Passover sacrifice ceremony at Mount Gerizim near the northern West Bank city of Nablu.
MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images

After Maggid, the Seder proceeds to the sixth step.

6. Rachtzah – The second washing of hands, this time with a blessing.

7. Motzi – This is the traditional blessing over bread; even though there is no actual bread at the Seder, the Motzi is recited as a blessing over the meal in general.

8. Motzi Matzo – The Motzi is recited again, this time with additional words that specifically apply to matzo. Each person eats a bite of matzo.

9. Maror -- A blessing is said over the bitter vegetable, often horseradish (or sometimes Romaine lettuce). Each person eats a bit of maror, and then eats another bit dipped in haroset (the "mortar").

10. Korekh – Each person eats a small sandwich of chazeret and haroset between two pieces of matzo.

11. Shulchan Orekh -- The meal! There are no specific foods required for Passover. They need only be free of forbidden grains in addition to the usual kosher laws. In the U.S., Passover meals often include items like brisket and matzo ball soup, both traditional to Ashkenazi Jews (those originally from Europe).

12. Tzafun – The half-piece of matzo set aside during step 4 becomes dessert (afikoman). In many homes, the afikoman matzo is hidden at some point during the Seder, to be found by the children during step 12 with the promise of a prize for the finder, in the hopes of keeping them engaged during steps 1 through 11 [source: Jewish Virtual Library].

13. Barekh – The traditional after-meal blessing is recited after drinking a third glass of wine. An extra glass of wine is set aside for the prophet Elijah (traditionally the forerunner of the Messiah), and the door is opened so he can (imaginarily) come in and drink it.

14. Hallel The Seder ends with a recitation of psalms. The fourth glass of wine is drunk.

15. Nirtzah – The leader of the Seder makes a simple statement concluding the meal. In homes outside Israel, the Seder typically ends with everyone at the table saying "L'Shanah HaBa'ah B'Yerushalayim," or "Next Year, in Jerusalem," which can either refer to the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem when the Messiah comes or, more broadly, a challenge to overcome personal struggles and enter the "Jerusalem" of freedom or to work for freedom for all peoples [source: Alperin].

During the remaining days of Passover, observers may attend services at synagogues; light more candles and participate in other holiday meals. On the last day of Passover, some people will also participate in a feast very similar to the Seder of the first day [source: Chabad].


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