Translation:Arukh ha-Shulchan/Orach Chaim/473

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This chapter contains twenty six sections:

Section 1[edit]

“In the beginning of the Seder the first cup is diluted for him.”

This was written regarding wine in the era of the Mishna and Talmud, which was stored in concentrated form. The term ‘for him’ that is found in the Mishna (Gemara Pesachim, 114.1) implies that others dilute for him, as though he is being served by others, in the manner of free men. He then pronounces the ‘Kiddush’ over it, using the blessing “Borei Pri Hagafen” (‘He who created the fruit of the vine’), followed by the [blessing over] sanctification of the day and then the ‘Shehecheyanu’ blessing. After this he drinks from the first cup. If he had omitted the ‘Shehecheyanu’ on the first night he should say it on the second night. If he omitted it on the second night as well he may recite it at any point during the entire festival, even without a cup of wine, since this blessing does not require wine (Gemara Eruvin, 40.2)

Similarly, if one said the ‘Shehecheyanu’ blessing on the first night but omitted it on the second, he still must say it at some point afterward during the festival, because of the concept of the ‘Uncertain Calendar’ (Heb. ‘Sefeika D’Yoma’) (Magen Avraham, comment 1). If, however, one omitted this blessing on the first day but recited it on the second he is no longer obligated to recite this blessing again on behalf of the first night’s obligation, since if the second night is the correct date he has fulfilled his obligation, and if the first night was the correct one he has already rectified the omission by reciting it on the second (which is not worse than reciting it any other night of the festival) (Chok Yaakov, comment 1).

Obviously, if one omitted this blessing during the Kiddush of the Seder he may say it at any point he remembers during Seder, since it does not require wine. Therefore, if one has no wine he still recites the ‘Shehecheyanu’.

Regarding the Hagadah itself, if one does not recite it on the proper nights there is no way to rectify this situation (see there). Similarly, if one does not eat the Matza and Maror there is no way to rectify the missed opportunity on another day or night, for their obligation only exists on the two Seder nights.

Section 2[edit]

The Tur writes:

”...One does not say the blessing of ‘Who performed miracles’ (heb. ‘Sheh-asa Neesim’), since he will recite it later in the Hagadah.”

Until here is the quote. His imtention here is that just as this blessing is recited on Channuka and Purim it should likewise be recited on Peasach. However, since the Haggadah itself will recount the miracles and wonders performed, concluding in the blessing ‘Who redemed us’ (heb. ‘Asher Gi’olainu’), it has already functioned in place of the blessing ‘Who performed miracles’, and what need is there then for two of the same blessing?

Truthfully, for me this answer does not suffice, for if the Megillah on Purim has blessings before as well as after it, why not for Peasach as well, whose miracles are even greater?

Section 3[edit]

I have seen another reason as well offered in the name of the Maharil, which is that Peasach is a Biblical Mitzvah, and the blessing of ‘Who performed miracles’ was only enacted for Rabbinic festivals such as Channukah and Purim (Prishah). On the surface this reason seems hard to understand, though here is the meaning: In truth, all blessings were enacted by the Rabbis as praise to G-d that he commanded us to perform the mitzvah at hand, whether it be to eat Matzah, sit in a Succah or blow the Shofar. The blessing, however, should not function as fulfilling the Mitzvah itself. Since we are Biblically enjoined to relate the miracles of Peasach on this night, and it is a positive commandment, how could one bless ‘He who performed miracles’? That blessing itself is a fulfillment of the mitzvah, and is rendering the Hagadah redundant.

Note that the blessing ‘Who redeemed us’ (Heb. ‘Asher Gi’alanu’) is mainly on the eating of Matzah and Maror, as the text of the blessing states ‘...and we have reached this night, to eat on it Matzah and Maror...’ [and not on the recounting of the miracles]. Conversely, the blessing ‘...who performed miracles...’ would actually be performing the mitzvah of relating the story of the Exodus, and it is only regarding the Rabbinic mitzvahs where they would be allowed to install a blessing as fulfillment, and not for a Biblical command.

(In addition, The Prisha writes in the name of Rabbi Akiva [?] that the reason is because “this is a day of salvation, which is of greater significance than a miracle”. These are his words, though I do not know their explanation.)

Section 4[edit]

Should Shabbos fall out on this night one says ‘Va-Yichulu’ [in the Kiddush, as is usually said on Shabbos], and should the end of Shabbos fall out on this night one recites the Havdalah sitting down. Even though Havdalah is usually reciting standing, since it is now said with the Seder’s Kiddush it is said while sitting. This is no Bקsamim (smelling spice) in this Havdalah, since Besamim is used to ‘restore the soul’ upon the Shabbos’ departure, which only applies when the Shabbos leads in to the weekday. When the Shabbos leads into a festival the soul is still in its strength, and is further enlivened by the festive foods.

Regarding the liturgy of Havdalah:

“He who separates...between the holiness of the Shabbos and the holiness of the festival, and sanctified the seventh day from among the six days of work. You separated and hollowed Your nation Israel with Your holiness.”

Rebbeinu Tam writes a reason for this lengthy liturgy in Tosfos on Pesachim (104.1) : Since we have learnt there that in Havdalah “one who decreases should not decrease less than three, and one who adds should not add more than seven”, due to the obligations of the day it is appropriate to mention seven types of Havdalah (separation), which are:

“Between the holy and profane” - one. “Between light and dark” - two. “Between Israel and the nations” - three. “Between the seventh day and the six days of work” - four. “Between the holiness of Shabbos and the festivals”, in that the festivals allow work to prepare food - that’s five. “You separated and hollowed Your nation Israel” - Here are two separations: one between Israel and the tribe of Levi, as it is written “At that time G-d separated the tribe of Levi...”, and one between the Leviim and Kohanim, as it is written “He separated Aharon to sanctify him.” These are six and seven.

Section 5[edit]

The order of Havdalah (the blessings said at the conclusion of Shabbos), when it occurs on the night of Peasach, is known by the following acronym: YaKNaHaZ.

This stands for: Y - ‘Yayin’ (the blessing over wine)

K - ‘Kiddush’ (sanctification of the festival)

N - ‘Ner’ (the blessing over a Havdalah candle)

H - ‘Havdalah (the blessings over the conclusion of Shabbos)

Z - ‘Zman’ (the ‘Shehecheeyanu’ - a blessing said over a special occasion in time)

This is the order of the blessings as laid down in Gemara Pesachim (103.1), that Kiddush precedes Havdalah, and Zman is always placed at the conclusion (see there).

If one forgot to recite the Havdalah, and remembered only after the beginning of the Hagadah, he should complete the Hagadah until “Guh-Al Yisroel” (‘...Who redeems Israel...’), and then recite the Havdalah. As to why one should not simply interrupt the Hagadah and recite Havdalah at that point, the reason is not because it is forbidden to interrupt, but rather because Havdalah requires wine, which places a person in a quandary, for if he drinks now he is adding on to the proper amount of cups, which is not appropriate even between the first two cups. If, on the other hand, he waits to drink until he reaches the second cup (at the end of the Hagadah) he will have interrupted between the Havdalah and the drinking of the wine (Chok Yaakov, comment 5). Finally, to drink a cup at his current point in the Hagadah and consider it also the second cup of the Seder is likewise prohibited, as I have explained in the previous chapter in section 11. Therefore, one should wait until “Guh-Al Yisroel”, and then afterward say Havdalah and drink. There is no downside at this point, for one does not eat or drink until after this point, so there is even no danger of violating the law that one may not eat or drink before Havdalah [once it has reached the time for its recitation].

If one has forgot to recite Havdalah and has started the meal he should interrupt at once and recite Havdalah.

As a related point, if one had in mind to drink wine during the meal he need not make a blessing over it [as it was already said in the Havdalah]. If, however, he did not have this in mind he must make a blessing over it. If one had forgotten until after grace after meals (‘Birchas Hamazone’) he makes Havdalah afterward and drinks the third cup of the Seder, which fulfills the Seder and Birchas Hamazone obligations. The law is the same if one forgets until after the Hallel, though in the middle of Birchas Hamazone and Halllel one should not interrupt. [Regarding the dual use of the third and fourth cups], though two sanctificationד are not usually said over one cup, when it is impossible otherwise the law is different.

Section 6[edit]

Washing of the hands never takes place before Kiddush. Even those who customarily wash their hands before Kiddush, as I have written about in chapter 271, do not do on Peasach since there is a large interruption caused by reciting the Hadagah. One is therefore forced to wash directly before the meal. Though washing is required before the Hagadah for dipping the ‘Carpas’, this washing is not placed before Kiddush, so that people will not think that Kiddush requires washing. Though throughout the year this mistake will not be made, as all know that washing is for the meal, on Peasach the washing will not be recognizably for the dipping of ‘Carpas’. Even if one’s hands are dirty he should only wash a bit [to avoid giving the wrong impression]. If one had washed before Kiddush he is not required to wash again for the dipping of ‘Carpas’ (Rashal). There is a dissenting opinion that requires washing again (Bach). The settled law is as the first opinion. (Magen Avraham, comment 3, and see the Taz, comment 1. Attend to the sources and it will be clear.) Know further that when we wrote that one may wash a bit if his hands are unclean he may not recite the blessing “Al Nitelas Yadayim” [the blessing on washing the hands].

We have already written that the head of the household does not dilute the wine for himself, rather having another perform this service, so as to display his free state. We, however, are not particular in this practice, for it appears arrogant for a man to order his wife to dilute this cup, as he is no better than she. Therefore, we have a custom that one dilutes for himself, and there is nothing to protest in this.

Section 7[edit]

After Kiddush one drinks the wine while reclining. There is no blessing said afterward, for we rely on the concluding blessing over wine said after Hallel, as all the cups spring from one cause and why should unnecessary blessings be increased? In reality, the blessing before wine is also not needed for the second cup, though the reason why we do say it will be explained in chapter 274 (see there).

If one drank without reclining the Tur rules that he must re-drink while reclining. This was discussed in the previous chapter (see there). If one wishes to drink many cups he may do so, as the Mishna states in Gemara Pesachim (117.2): “Between these two cups one who wishes to drink may do so. Between the third and fourth cups one may not drink.” The Yirushalmi explains the reason: “So he should not become drunk. However, wine consumed before the meal does not make one drunk.” (see there). The Tur recommends that one who will drink more should “have that in mind when he says the original blessing, so that he does not have to say the blessing again and give the impression that he is adding more cups to the requirement of four.” That is his language, and it implies that a blessing causes the appearance of officially adding a cup on to the four. If this is so, we, who do pronounce a blessing on each cup, would not be allowed to add any cups. The Tur and Shulchan Aruch, however, adhere to the position that there is no need for a blessing on the second cup, as I will write in the next chapter. This is not our position (see there).

Therefore, according to our position we are proscribed from drinking any extra cups between the first and second, unless there was intent to drink more at the outset (Chok Yaakov, comment 10). Also, the Beis Yosef has written regarding this in section 3 that “nevertheless one should be careful not to drink wine between the first and second cups if there is no great need, in order that he not become drunk and be unable to fulfill the Seder and read the Hagadah.” This is his language. Though we have previously mentioned that wine before the meal does not cause intoxication, that was the experience of earlier generations. In our generations we are of weaker constitutions. Even other non-intoxicating drinks should be avoided. It appears to me that water alone may be drunk if one is thirsty, and it does not require a blessing, as wine exempts all other beverages from needing a blessing. (So it seems in my humble understanding. See Chok Yaakov, comment 11).

Section 8[edit]

Know that the opinion of the Rif, Rambam, and Rashbah is that only two matzahs are needed for the Seder plate, and when one is broken according to the Seder ritual, one remains partial and the other whole. In fact, there is no mention in the Talmud of the need for three matzahs. Neither is it found in the Yerushalmi’s chapter of ‘Arvei Pesachim’, according to the text presented by the Ohr Zerua (chapter 252). The same appears to be the implication in Gemara Brachos (31.2?), where it says that on Peasach one places the partial within the whole piece and breaks bread [IS THIS THE RIGHT TRANSLATION OF THE QUOTE?]. This implies that there is only one whole matzah.

The Bahag distinguished between Shabbos and the weekdays, requiring three matzahs when Peasach falls out on Shabbos. However, the Rosh in chapter ‘Arvei Pesachim’ (section 30) argues against this position, saying, “Is Peasach any less of a festival than the others, which require two loaves of bread (Heb. ‘Lechem Mishna’)? Tosfos writes likewise, and the Ohr Zeruah states in the Rasbam’s name that this is a remembrance of the ‘Todah’ sacrifice, which required three loaves of bread made from one ‘Issaron’ weight of flour. They therefore support the use of three matzahs for the Seder, and such is the widespread general custom.

Section 9[edit]

A plate is brought before the head of the household containing three matzahs, Maror, Charoses, Carpas (or some other vegetable), vinegar or salt water, and two cooked foods - one as a remembrance of the Peasach sacrifice and one as a remembrance of the Chagiga sacrifice. The general custom is to use meat and an egg.

It is preferable that the meat is from the animal’s ‘arm’, which is its foreleg, as a remembrance of the phrase “and with and outstretched arm”. We do not have this custom, however, as this piece of meat has become difficult to procure. We tend to use the meat found on the bone instead. Our teacher the Beis Yosef writes in section 4 that the custom is to use meat roasted on coals, and the egg should be cooked, whereas our teacher the Rema writes that the meat may also be cooked and that that is the custom in his city. Regardless, it is prohibited to eat the meat at night as roasted meat is not eaten on the Seder night. At any rate, the reason for the meat is a remembrance for the Peasach sacrifice, which was roasted, and the egg is a remembrance of the Chagiga sacrifice, which was eaten cooked. The fact that there is a custom to roast the egg might very well be based on the opinion of Ben Tema’s, that the Chagiga was only eaten roasted. (Pesachim, 70.1)

Then there are those who posit that it is much preferable to cook both the meat and the egg, so that they may be eaten on this night. Their concern is that if they are roasted on the first night they will be left over until the second [since roasted meat cannot be eaten on the first night], and one would run afoul of the prohibition preparing from one day of a festival for the next. Though this may be, it seems roasting the egg would still be permitted. Either way, our custom is to cook the meat and the egg.

The reason why an egg was chosen to represent the Chagiga sacrifice is because eggs are already eaten as part of the Seder custom. (See the Magen Avraham, comment 8, and the Taz, comment 4)

Section 10[edit]

For ‘Carpas’ we have the custom to use onions, radishes, potatoes or any vegetable whose blessing is ‘Ha-Adama’. The Later Authorities (‘Acharonim’) mention the custom of using something called ‘Patreezlin’, though we do not know what that might be. The purpose of Carpas is to remember the agonizing work the six hundred thousand were made to do, for the letters of ‘Car-Pas’ stand for 60 [the letter samech in Hebrew] and ‘Perach’ [crushing labor].

If the Seder falls out on Shabbos, the salt water should be prepared before the onset of Shabbos, for it is prohibited to make a salt water solution on Shabbos, as I have written in chapter 321. However, it is explained there that if it is needed for an immediate meal it is permitted. Therefore, if it was not prepared before Shabbos it may be prepared on Shabbos, though a large amount should not be made.

Section 11[edit]

The Seder plate should be arranged in such a way that one does not have to ‘pass’ over Mitzvos. This means that the Carpas should be closest to the leader of the Seder, and that will be the first item needed. Following that is the salt water, which should be placed closer to him than the Matzah, though it should be noted that nowadays we do not place the salt water on the Seder plate. The Matzah in turn should be closer than the Maror, because it is eaten before the Maror. Finally, the Charoses should be closer than the meat and the egg, since they are only eaten later in the middle of the meal itself.

In our communities, the custom that has become established is to arrange the Seder plate so that the shank bone (the meat) is on the top right, the egg on the top left, and the Maror in the middle below them. Then the Charoses is in the bottom right, the Carpas in bottom left, somewhat closer that than Charoses, and the Maror used for Korech (the sandwich) is between them. This is also the order preferred by the Kabbalists, as is explained in the work Pri Etz Chaim.

Section 12[edit]

The Rabbis have taught in the Mishna (Pesachim 39.1):

”These are the vegetables that one may use to fulfill the obligation [of Maror] on Peasach: ‘Chazeres’, ‘Tamcha’, ‘Charchavina’, ‘Ulshin’ and ‘Maror’.”

‘Chazeres’ is commonly translated as lettuce [Heb. ‘Salata’], and the Aruch dictionary lists it under the heading ‘Chuzur’. The Talmud asks “What is Chazeres? It’s Chasa.” In the Aruch, ‘Chas’ is translated as ‘Laitich’ (see there).

“Tamcha” is commonly translated as ‘Chrain’ [horseradish]. The Aruch lists it as ‘Eiin Papalantza’, though I do not recognize this name.

“Charchavina” I am unsure of, though the Aruch translates it as a ‘type of bitter grass’. The Talmud translates it as ‘Atzvasa d’Diklah’, which Rashi understands to be the outer fibrous material that is found wrapped around the date palm tree. The Aruch also mentions this explanation [on the Talmud’s words], so that one must suppose that the ‘bitter grass’ referred to is this material that is wrapped around the date palm (see Tosfos there). For his part, Rav Hai Gaon explains that it is a ‘ very thick plant, with spiky leaves’ [IS THIS CORRECT?] (see there).

“Ulshin” is explained by the Talmud to be ‘Hindivah’. The Aruch translated this according to the spoken language of his time and place, though it differs from Rashi’s translation, so perhaps they were using different languages or dialects.

“Maror” is translated by the Talmud as ‘Mireerasah’. Rashi explains this according to the language of his time, and as such I do not know what he is referring to. In addition, this word has not been found in the Aruch. The Rav mi’Bartenura calls it a ‘type of Kusbarta, which is exceedingly bitter’. I do not know what this refers to either, and I have not found this word listed in Aruch.

Section 13[edit]

The choices for maror listed in the Mishna are in the preferred order of use. Therefore, ‘Chazeres’ precedes all the others, if available. The following is the language of the Talmud there [in Pesachim]: “The obligation is to use ‘Chazeres’. What is ‘Chazeres’? It’s ‘Chasah’. What is meaning of ‘Chasah’? It intimates that the Merciful One had pity [‘Chas’ in Hebrew] on us”. Therefore, even though it is not bitter, its use is more appropriate in terms of fulfilling the obligation. In its absence, ‘Tamcha’ may be used, and so on. In our countries we use ‘Tamcha’, since ‘Chazeres’ is not yet readily available before Peasach, except in the houses of the elite.

Our teacher the Rema writes in section 5 of this chapter “if one is unable to procure any of these vegetables he should buy ‘LaAnah’ (wormwood), or some other bitter vegetable.” Until here is the quote.

It seems that he is of the opinion that when the Mishna states ‘Maror’, which the Talmud translates as ‘Mararisa’, that term means ‘any bitter vegetable’. There is another opinion, however, that defines it as wormwood, and not any other vegetable. Therefore, if one eats another vegetable in its place, no blessing would be made. This is the correct approach (See the Magen Avraham, comment 15, and the Chok Yaakov, comment 24). They also write that ‘LaAnah’ is what is called ‘Varmit’ (Wormood).

A Jewish person should not uproot the Maror himself from the ground, for we [IN HIS COUNTRY?] cannot trust that land titles are accurate, and the land may be illegally occupied [and a Mitzvah can not be done with misappropriated objects]. Rather, purchase this from a non-Jewish person, so at least there was ‘Yiush’ (relinquishment of right) and ‘Shinui Reshus’ (a change of possession). (See later in chapter 549 and the Magen Avraham in comment 14.)

Section 14[edit]

The five vegetables can combine for the necessary minimum olive-sized amount. Therefore, there are those among us who buy a bit of ‘Chazeres’ and a bit of ‘Tamcha’, for they are better when eaten together. As long as they total an olive-sized amount the obligation has been fulfilled.

One fulfills the obligation with either the leaves or the head, although not with the roots, that is the thin little roots that shoot out from either side. However, the main root, where the leaves branch out from is considered part of the ‘head’, though it is hidden within the ground. Nevertheless, it is much better to use the leaves and the head that are above ground, for there is an opinion that whatever is under the ground is called the ‘roots’. Even so, the accepted position is as the first opinion (Graz in section 25).

Know that there is one that states that ‘Tamcha’, which we call ‘Chrain’ (horseradish), should only be eaten whole, and not grated, which is called ‘Riv Eizen’, which is eaten as a dressing to meat in a finely grated form. It is a wonder to state this, for its usual consumption is in grated form, and eating it whole is known to be a health risk. In addition, the custom of all the great Rabbis is to eat it grated.

One who finds it difficult to eat horseradish because of a weak constitution must procure ‘Chazeres’, though it costs far more. An alternative would be to use the leaves of the horseradish, which is only slightly bitter, as we have explained that the use of leaves is acceptable.

One who is sick and unable to eat Maror should not eat Maror. Afterall, Matzah in this day and age is still a Biblical commandment, whereas Maror is Rabbinical (Gemara Pesachim 120.1), for it is written “with Matzah and Maror you should eat the Paesach sacrifice” - when there is a Paesach sacrifice there is a Biblical obligation to eat Maror - otherwise there is not. If should should ask, ‘Doesn’t the verse also mention Matzah?’ - Know that Matzah has its own verse: “In the evening you should eat Matzah...”, which is true even when there is no Peasach sacrifice.

Section 15[edit]

Leaves are only to be used when they are still moist. If they are withered (called ‘Tzuvailat’ [WHAT IS THIS WORD?] or dried up, they should not be used. However, the head can be used whether moist or dry, and certainly if it is withered. Since the head is thick, the bitterness is not lost even when it is dry. Still, one can not fulfill the obligation with a cooked head of vegetables, since that will cause the bitter taste to be completely lost. Now even though it is true ‘Chazeres’ is not bitter, that is because that is its nature. However, any vegetable that is naturally bitter and looses its taste is not considered ‘Maror’ at all, for it has changed from the way its nature.

Pickled vegetables have the same status as cooked, and one can not fulfill his obligation with them. There are two types of pickling:

1) Pickled by vinegar or brine. The time it takes for this process is short, about the time it takes to bring to a boil on the fire. 2) Pickling in water. This type of process requires 24 hours. Therefore, one should not keep ‘Tamcha’ (horseradish) soaking in water for 24 hours.

There are those who insist that ‘Tamcha’ does not pickle when left in water for 24 hours, though this is not the accepted position. Either way, if any vegetable is left in water for 24 hours one can not fulfill his obligation with it. The great legal authorities are in agreement regarding this. (See the Magen Avraham in comment 14, and the Chok Yaakov in comment 20, who appears to struggle to find validation for the custom that ignores the ruling above, though his rationale does not seem convincing [NOT SURE OF THE REST OF THIS SENTENCE]. See also the Graz in section 29. One who attends to the sources will find that this is all in order.)

Section 16[edit]

All the various laws that apply to Matzah apply to Maror. For example, one may use produce that is categorized as ‘Demai’, or produce of the first tithe that has had the priest’s share removed, or produce of the second tithe that had been redeemed, all as described in chapter 453. Anything listed there that is invalid for use as Matzah is invalid for use as Maror as well. Even though Matzah is a Biblical commandment and Maror is Rabbinical, they Rabbis always patterned their laws after the details of the Biblical command they used as a template, as the Talmud notes in Pesachim 39.2.

Finally, when considering ‘Maror’, do not wonder why ‘Chazeres’ should be the preferred choice, apparently in spite of the Torah’s use of the word ‘Maror’, which means ‘bitter’. The truth is there are two senses to the word ‘Maror’, one being a bitter taste and the other an increasing embitterment. This is in line with the story of the Exodus, where the slave labor in Egypt was at first moderate and then increasingly hardened, as Rashi explains in his commentary on the Torah. Since the taste of ‘Chazeres’ is at first easy to eat and then becomes difficult it is the preferred food to use as a metaphor. This is the intent of the Talmud (Pesachim 39.1). (Attend to the source and this explanation will be clear.)

Section 17[edit]

‘Charoses’ should be thick, as a remebrance of the work with mortar that our forefather were burdened with in Egypt, as the verse states: “...with mortar and with bricks...”. Afterward it should be softened with some liquid, as a remembrance of the blood of the Jews spilled by the Egyptians, as the verse states: “Every son that is born - into the Nile he should be thrown!”. Moreover, they were buried in the walls of the structures they were forced to build, as is explained in the Midrash.

‘Charoses’ should be made of fruits that the Jewish People are compared to, such as figs, nuts, dates and pomegranates. In our communities, where we do not eat dried fruits, one should use almonds and other nuts, since almonds (Heb. plural - ‘Shekaydim’) is a homophone of a word in the phrase “The Holy One Blessed Be He was ‘eager’ (Heb. ‘Shekad’) to bring the redemption”. Apples are also used, as the allude to the verse “Underneath the apple tree I aroused you”, for they gave birth to their children in the fields [for fear of them being taken], as is explained in the first chapter of Gemara Sotah (11.2).

In addition, an ingredient that adds sharpness should be placed therein, like wine or vinegar, as a remembrance of the hard labor and anxiety of the Jewish People, which “set their teeth on edge” [like a sharp taste in their mouths]. Furthermore, spices that are similar to straw should be added, like cinnamon or ginger, and they should not be well ground, so that they remain somewhat reed or thread like after the grinding, as a remembrance of the straw that was not provided to our forefathers [the raw materials needed to produce bricks], as is written in the Torah.

If Peasach should fall out on Shabbos, the ‘Charoses’ should be ground during the day [before Shabbos], since it is prohibited to grind on account of its similarity to kneading (which is prohibited on Shabbos). If one forgot to soften it during the day he may add liquid but he should not stir it with a spoon. Ideally, he should pour the liquid into the dish and then pour the thick mixture into the liquid [the opposite of the usual kneading process].

Section 18[edit]

After ‘Kiddush’, the hands are washed for the first dipped food and the blessing on washing the hands is not recited. Even one who is not careful all year to wash his hands before dipping food should was his hands on Peasach, for there are many purposeful departures from the usual custom on this night. The reason for dipping is to cause the children to ask why we dip before eating, which is not the usual practice. This is all again due to the Torah’s insistence that this night be centered around the children’s questions.

One should take a piece of ‘Carpas’ that is smaller than a olive-size amount and dip it in the vinegar or salt water and recite the blessing ‘Boreh Prei HaAdamah’ (the blessing on vegetables). One should intend with this blessing include the Maror later eaten in its scope, so that the Maror will not need its own blessing. This is true even though according to the laws of blessings Maror would not need its own blessing, since it is consumed within the meal and is a requirement, both conditions which allow it to be considered a food consumed as part of a meal, which does not require its own blessing. The reason for the blessing is because Maror is eaten as an obligation and not because it is desired to be eaten as part of the meal, which may take it out of the category of being ‘part of the meal’ (Heb. ‘Devarim Habaim Machmas HaSeudah’).

Section 19[edit]

The reason why one should avoid eating a piece that is larger than olive-size is to avoid the need to recite a blessing afterward, according to the opinion that an olive-size piece needs its own closing blessing. This would not be comparable to an appetizer before a meal, which is covered by grace after meals (Heb. ‘Birchas Hamazone’), since here the recitation of the Hagadah will interrupt for a long period of time. There is an opinion, however, that is not concerned for all this, and does not see the need for a blessing after the Carpas, since the Carpas is part and parcel of the Seder, and is in no sense interrupted by the Hagadah.

Therefore, the perferrable practice is not eat an olive-sized piece. If one did so he should not recite the blessing afterward, as a doubt whether a blessing is requited is always treated leniently.

Interestingly, the Rambam, in chapter eight, writes that one should eat an olive sized piece, and that each partaking in the Seder should eat that size for himself, since less than that is not considered ‘eating’ (Magid Mishna). The Tur and the Early Authorities dispute him, arguing that this dipping is only for ritual purposes, and should not require an olive-sized piece. Additionaly, the Rambam writes that the dipping should be into the ‘Charoses’, while the Tur states this is not necessary. Our custom is as the Tur.

Section 20[edit]

After the dipping the middle of the three Matzahs is taken and broken in two, with one of the pieces being set aside for the ‘Afikomen’. Our custom is to place it under the cushion that is used for reclining, as a remembrance of of the verse “...with their baking troughs tied to their garments on their shoulders.” Therefore we add to our ritual the custom of placing this piece of the Afikomen on the shoulder for a moment.

Meanwhile, the other half is placed between the two whole Matzahs. Then either the plate holding the Matzahs or the Matzahs themselves are raised, and one announces the Haggadah text from “Ha Lachma Anya” until the “Ma Nisntana”. The accepted version of the text is “Ha Lachma...”, as I have written.

One should recite the Haggadah in a language that all present can understand, or at least explain to them the content. This is the practice of the great Rabbis.

Now that there are many printings of the Hagadah available , as well as translations, and all the women and children read for themselves, the custom to translate the text has fallen out of fashion, as they themselves can capably read and understand the account of the Exodus.

Section 21[edit]

“After announcing ‘(Ki)Ha Lach M’Anyah’, the Matzah should be removed from the table.” That was the custom in those generations [the era of the Mishna and Talmud], where they sat before small tables that were removed. Nowadays we cover bread [here the Matzah], which is in place of removing the table. This is also done in order to cause the children to ask “Why is the table being removed, we haven’t eaten yet!”

Immediately, the second cup is poured [Lit. diluted], so that they child will ask “Why are we pouring a second cup when we haven’t eaten yet?”. Nowadays, it is not usual for this to be asked, rather the child asks the ‘Ma Nishtana’ questions [in the Hagadah].

The emotional sense that ‘Ma Nishtana’ should access is one of wonder and exclamation, seen the verses “How great are your works, o L-rd!” and “How goodly are your tents, Yaakov!”. The question could be expressed as “What strange and unusual changes are taking place on this night!”

When the Mishna records the ‘Ma Nishtana’ question it lists one related to roasting, and leaves out the well known question about reclining. That’s because they ate the roasted Peasach sacrifice on that night and reclining during meals was normal custom in those days. Now there is no reason to ask about roasting [there is no roasted meat at the Seder], and a question about reclining is appropriate, as we do not usually recline.

If the son is not wise enough to ask these questions the father should teach him to ask them. If there is no son, the daughter should ask. If there is no daughter, the wife, or another sitting at the table, should ask. This is all due to the fact that the Torah is adamant that the retelling of the Exodus from Egypt on this night should take place in a question and answer format. Even if one is alone he himself should ask and answer his own questions. When there is one to ask there is no need for the responder to start with the ‘Ma Nishtana’ also, rather he starts from ‘We were slaves...” (Heb. ‘Avadim HaYeenu’).

(As a side note, in the ‘Ma Nishtana’ it is not necessary to say “...but on this night we only eat Maror”, as some texts, rather one should say “...but on this night we eat Maror.”) [IS THIS CORRECT?]

Section 22[edit]

When the questioner completes the ‘Ma Nishtana’ the Matzah is uncovered, and the recitation of ‘Avadim HaYeenu’ continues in a loud voice with emotion, happiness and joy. The core message to take from the recitation of the Hagadah should be that through being redeemed from Egypt we have become beholden to G-d and his Torah for all generations, and we are his servants. This is in fact accurate in legal terms, for although one cannot make a free man a servant against his will, if one should purchase someone who is already in a servile capacity he does not need the servant’s agreement to the sale, as is explained in Shulchan Aruch Yoreh Deah, chapter 267.

Now, since we were servants to Pharaoh, and the Holy One Blessed be He redeemed us from his hand, perforce we have become his servants. This is what the verse means when it states: “For to Me are the Children of Israel servants, they are My servants through My taking them out of the land of Egypt.” This means to say “The Children of Israel are My servants even against their will, because I took them out of Egypt, where they were in a state of servitude.” Therefore, in every generation one is obligated to feel as if he himself was taken out of Egypt, and acquired by G-d to serve Him forever, and he is not allowed to shake off the yoke of the Torah from upon his neck.

A proof to this can be brought from the verse of :”...because of what G-d did for me...”, which is going on the speaker of these words in every generation. Since one who wishes to be stubborn can insist that the verse is speaking of the people of the generation of the Exodus - as when the wicked son asks “What is this whole ritual to you?”, meaning “What are you recounting, you weren’t taken out of Egypt!” - we can therefore bring a proof from the verse “...and He took us out from there...”, which finishes with “... to give us the land...”. Now didn’t all those who left Egypt die in the wilderness, never having entered the land? Rather the verse is certainly speaking about and to every future generation. (This is what Rava means in Gemara Pesachim, 116.2, when he insists that we need to say “...And we were taken out.” Attend to the sources and it will be clear.)

Section 23[edit]

When the phrase “This Matzah” (Heb. ‘Matzah Zu...’) is reached one needs to lift the Matzah. At this point the important piece is the broken one, symbolizing poor man’s bread. It is raised and shown to all to stress the love of the commandment. When “This Maror” (Heb. ‘Maror Zu...”) is reached, the same is done with the Maror. When mention is made of the Peasach sacrifice, however, the shankbone is not lifted, so it should not seem as though one is actually sanctifying it for use as a sacrifice.

When one reaches the word “before you” (Heb. ‘L’fanecha’) all raise their cups until “Redeemer of Israel” (Heb. ‘Guh-Al Yisroel’) is reached. We have the custom to place the cup on the table when ‘Hallel’ is reached, and then raise it for the blessing until “Redeemer of Israel” (Heb. ‘Guh-Al Yisroel’). Similarly, when “V’He Sheamda” is said the cup is held in the hand.

There is in this a profound concept relating to our holy faith, for it is written “G-d is the L-ord”, and the Hebrew word L-ord is numerically equivalent to the word ‘Tevah’, which means nature. The explanation is that even the natural world we live in is not simply operating according to natural law, rather all follows the Divine Providence of G-d, Blessed be He. This is obviously a major pillar of religious belief, as is self-understood. That is the symoblism at work here, as the word cup in Hebrew is ‘Kois’, and is also numerically equivalent to ‘L-ord’ [and represents this important idea].

When one takes the cup he should cover the Matzah so that it is not ‘ashamed’, as is done usually with Kiddush. However, when the Haggadah is being recited the Mtazah should be uncovered so all see the poor man’s bread.

Section 24[edit]

When “Blood, fire, and a column of smoke” (Heb. ‘Dam, Esh, v’Simras Ashan’) is said it is custom to sprinkle a bit of wine with the finger, symbolizing “The finger of the L-ord”. This is also done for the reading of the ten plagues, as well as for the acronyms D’tzach, Adash, B’achav. There are all together sixteen sprinklings, which has kabbalistic overtones.

There are those who have the custom to pour wine from the cup. There are also those whose custom is to use the fourth finger, called the ‘Kimeetza’. Others use the fifth finger, called the ‘Zeres’ (see Magen Avraham, comment 28). Each should follow his own custom.

Section 25[edit]

In the Haggadah, when one says the text “I would think Peasach should be celebrated on Rosh Chodesh [the first day of the month]”, he should make sure to preface that with the verse “And you should tell your children...”, since this text relates to that verse, as the Mechilta makes clear.

Also, one should not say “...which is in reference to the four sons...”, continuing from the previous text. Rather, this Hagadah text is a new paragraph and subject: “The Torah has spoke regarding for sons...”

The phrase “And say before Him a new song” should have a segol [vowelization symbol that is a three dot triangle "ֶ"] on the letter vav in ‘V’nomar”, since this statement is connected to the previous text regarding the Exodus. (Magen Avraham, comment 27).

One says “from the festival sacrifices and Peasach sacrifices” (Heb. ‘Min Hazevachim u’Min Hapesachim’), since the ‘Chagiga sacrifice comes first, followed by the Peasach, which is eaten to satiety. On Saturday night one says “from the Pesachim” first, since the Chagiga sacrifice cannot be brought on Shabbos.

There is an opinion that claims that these words are actually talking about the year that has passed, and not Peasach of the coming year [when the text hopes that these sacrifices will bought in Jerusalem]. That is not true, as will be explained in a commentary on the Hagadah, with the help of Heaven.

Section 26[edit]

The recitation of Hallel is divided: Part is said before the meal, and part is after the meal, since no blessing is said on the Hallel. Therefore, part is said before, so that it is be included in the scope of the blessing as “Asher Guh-Aleinu. Until which point in Hallel is said? Until “L’Maanu Mayim”. The Tosefta explains a reason for the division there, and it will be explained with the help of Heaven in the commentary on the Hagadah.

There are those who have the custom to say Hallel in the ‘Beit HaKeneses’ (synagogue), following the direction of the Yirushalmi, and a beautiful custom it is. Therefore, there is no blessing on the Hallel that is said near the meal (during the Seder), as a blessing has already been made for it in the Synagogue’s Hallel. Those of us who do not say Hallel in the ‘Beit HaKeneses’ really ought to say the blessing for the Hallel of the meal as a matter of law, however the custom has become not to.

This ‘Hallel of the meal’ is said while sitting, even though when said in the synagogue one stands.


The Hebrew version of this page.