Tonight we gather to experience the redemption from Egypt as we retell the story of the Exodus. The more we get into the mindset that we are also being redeemed from slavery, the more tonight can be a time of personal and communal transformation.
Here is something to think and pray about: We got rid of our physical chametz -- the bread and whiskey and grain products -- but we have to pray that God helps us remove our spiritual chametz and the external chametz too. We pray to God to purify our hearts with good intentions and fill our hearts with love so we can serve God with joy. We also pray that God rids the world of the all impurity and evil.
"May it be Your will Hashem, God of our Ancestors, that our Seder is elevated and Holy and filled with wonder and delight. Please grant us insights tonight to help us follow in Your ways, and open our hearts and minds to You always. Help us to strengthen the forces of Good here and everywhere, to protect the innocent, feed the hungry, and show kindness to the orphan and the widow. Let us serve You with joy and gladness, from a healthy place, mind and body. Please open our hearts to our brothers and sisters everywhere. May we join together next year for Passover in the Jerusalem, Your Holy City, in a time of peace, with the Jewish people united "K'ish echad, v' lev echad" as one person with one heart. Amen!"
Chag Kasher v Samaech and Shabbat Shalom!
A few important Seder Notes!
First Night - Friday Night, April 3, 2015
When Friday Night and Yom Tov coincide, Rabbi Chaskel Besser ZZL would say Aishet Chayil and Shalom Aleichem quietly.
We are required to drink four cups of wine (or grape juice if you are not able to drink wine) at the seder -- each one corresponding to one of the ways that God liberated us from Egypt. But how much is a cup? My suggestion based on Rav Moshe Feinstein is that you use a cup for Kiddush on Friday Night Yom Tov which holds at least 4.4 oz and then for the rest of the cups at least 3.3 oz.
We say Kiddush AFTER dark which starts 40 minutes after candle lighting, or starting at 7:39 in L.A. but you can sit at the table and talk and get the party started after candle lighting. Remember to include mentions of Shabbat in Kiddush and prayers!
Eating reclining is an art and a mitzvah. If you don't have a chair with an armrest, here is a technique you can use: Slide forward on the chair and lean back and left onto the back-rest with your left arm support by the back of the chair.
Second Night - Saturday night, April 4, 2015
Second night Kiddush co-incides with Havdallah! We do something called yaknehaz, which explains the order of how to make Kiddush this Saturday night! Try to find short candles for this because you can't blow them out!
This is usually printed in all copies of the Haggada: First you say the blessing of Yayin (over wine, "borei peri ha-gafen"); then Kiddush (over wine, blessing for Pesach); then Ner (over Havdalah candle, "borei me'orei ha-eish"); then Havdalah ("ha-mavdil bein kodesh le-kodesh"); last but not least is Zeman ("she-hechiyanu"). No spices are used until next Saturday night!