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    Posted on Apr 13, 2016

    The Entire Passover Seder Explained With Cat GIFs

    The festive Jewish holiday of Passover begins the evening of Monday, April 10th. The entire story of Passover seder, explained in the universal language of the web: Cats.

    So Passover is Coming

    Passover starts the evening of Monday, April 10th and that means another year at the seder.

    Words, customs, rituals . . . What does it all mean?

    Don't Worry!

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    What better way is there to understand a ritual thousands of years old than with cats?

    So follow along and become a Seder pro!

    The First Cup of Wine

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    The Seder service is all about freedom and what could be more free than reclining and drinking some vino? The first of the four cups is the kiddush cup, where we proclaiming the holiness of the holiday.

    Wash Your Hands

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    We wash our hands. If you're a pro, you notice it's without the customary blessing.

    Why?

    There's no ritual obligation to wash our hands now - but like many parts of the seder we choose less common observances to get people asking questions.

    Dip It Once...

    The karpas, a small piece of onion or boiled potato is dipped into saltwater and eaten.

    The saltwater represents the tears of our ancestors in Egypt.

    Break the Middle Matzah

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    The middle matzah on the Seder plate is broken in two. The larger part is put aside for later use as the afikoman, the dessert of the seder. Feel free to hide it and let others look for it.

    The smaller part of the middle matzah is returned to the seder plate. This broken middle matzah symbolizes humility as well as a reminder of the broken meals of the poor.

    It's Story Time

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    Now comes the heart of the seder:

    We pour the second cup of wine, children (and willing adults) ask the Mah Nishtanah, "Why is this night different from all other nights?"

    To answer those questions, the Haggadah, the telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt, begins.

    Pour Some Out

    Our answer to the Mah Nishtanah, why Passover is different, includes a brief review of history, a description of the suffering imposed upon the Israelites, a listing of the plagues visited on the Egyptians, and an enumeration of the miracles performed by G-d.

    When we recite the plagues, we pour out some of the wine from our cups.

    The Second Cup of Wine

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    We finish the Haggadah portion of the seder, lean back, and drink the second cup of wine.

    You're halfway there!

    Wash Your Hands . . . Again

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    We wash our hands the second time to prepare ourselves to eat the matzah!

    Matzah Time!

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    It's time for some matzah!

    Make the blessings and enjoy at least one ounce of matzah.

    (Don't) Be Bitter

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    Take at least one ounce of maror, the bitter herbs. Their bitterness reminds us of the affliction of the Jews in Egypt. Many people use romaine lettuce and horseradish for the maror.

    Dip the maror in charoset, an apple & nut paste that reminds us of the clay used by Jewish slaves in Egypt, make the blessing and eat.

    Yeah. Slavery sucks.

    The Hillel Sandwich

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    In the times of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, the great sage Hillel used to eat a special sandwich on Passover, wrapping roasted lamb and maror in his matzah.

    Today we can not bring the Passover offering, so there's no lamb at our seder, but Hillel's sandwich abides.

    Take at least one ounce of maror and dip them in the charoset, place it between the two pieces of matzah, recline and eat.


    Note: Your sandwich should not have celery, carrots or cats in it.

    Meal Time!

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    The holiday meal is now served. Some begin the meal with a hard-boiled egg dipped into saltwater.

    A rabbi was once asked why Jews eat eggs on Passover. “Because eggs symbolize the Jew,” the rabbi answered. “The more an egg is burned or boiled, the harder it gets.”

    We eat a full meal now - salads, soups, meat and more.

    You can drink more wine now.

    Afikoman

    It's time to find the "hidden" afikoman. The rest of the year we eat all kinds of dessert, but on Passover, we eat... Matzah.

    The afikoman symbolizes the Paschal lamb, which was eaten at the end of the meal.

    Everyone should eat at least 1½ ounces of matzah, reclining, before midnight.

    The Third Cup of Wine

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    A third cup of wine is filled and grace after meals is said. Afterwards we recite the blessing over wine and drink the third cup while reclining.

    The Cup of Elijah

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    Now we fill the cup of Elijah and our own cups with wine. We open the door and recite passages which of invitation to the Prophet Elijah, the harbinger of the coming of Moshiach.

    Sing-Along

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    Having recognized all the miracles, all the greatness and goodness of the Creator, we sing the Hallel, special songs of praise.

    After three cups of wine, you too may sound like an alley cat.

    The Fourth Cup of Wine

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    After reciting the Hallel, we again recite the blessing over wine and drink the fourth cup, reclining.

    "Next Year in Jerusalem!"

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    Having pulled off the seder like a pro, we then say “Leshanah haba’ah bee-rushalayim—Next year in Jerusalem.”

    Happy Passover!

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    The seder isn't merely a historical custom, but rather a journey that takes us out of our own personal Egypt - the forces of oppression, distraction and destruction in our own daily lives.

    May the journey always be sweet!

    To learn more about Passover or to find a Seder near you, go to chabad.org/Passover