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Haggadah – 5 and Symbols

5. Maggid – Recitation of the Service


Leader begins by talking about the representative “four children” (wise, thoughtless, simple, and quiet) and the need to relate the Passover story in such a way that people of all ages and abilities can understand its significance. The Four Questions or Ma Nishtana (מה נשתנה) are recited, along with brief answers. The Recitation then proceeds to tell the story of God’s dealings with the Israelites and Egyptians at the time of the Exodus, drawing parallels with the way God is dealing with His people and those who surround them in the world today. The Leader concludes by sharing about the finished work of the Messiah in fulfilling the Passover sacrifice by becoming our Paschal Lamb, and then may draw a parallel between God’s judgment of Egypt and the coming judgment of the world.


Our Four Questions all relate to one big question: Why is this night different from all other nights?


1). On all other nights we eat leavened or unleavened bread. Why on this night do we eat only matzah, the unleavened bread? (The Israelites left Egypt in a hurry before bread could rise.)


2). On all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs. Why on this night do we eat especially maror, the bitter herb? (In remembrance of the bitterness of slavery)


3). On all other nights we do not dip herbs even once. Why on this night do we dip twice, first the greens into salt water and then the bitter herbs into haroset? (To remember that the tears of the slaves have been replaced by sweet gratitude)


4). On all other nights we may eat at the table either sitting up or reclining. Why on this night do we recline? (In olden times free people reclined during mealtime, while slaves and servants stood and waited on them.)

The wine cups are refilled in preparation for a recitation of the Ten Plagues.


When Pharaoh defied the command of God and refused to release the Israelites, he brought judgment upon himself and his people, for the Lord afflicted the land of Egypt with plagues.


These plagues came upon the Egyptians because of their evil disobedience; yet we do not rejoice over their downfall and defeat.


The Bible teaches that all people were created by God, even our enemies who would seek to destroy us.


We cannot rejoice when any person needlessly suffers, so we mourn the loss of the Egyptians and express grief over their destruction.


At this point in the service we spill wine from our cups at the mention of each of the ten plagues. Meditating upon the pain and suffering of these catastrophes, we cannot allow ourselves to drink the full measure. We express anguish that those who resist the will of God bring such terrible judgment upon themselves.

Each person spills out a drop of wine from his cup into a saucer at the mention of each of the plagues, a symbol of sadness that the victory had to be purchased through suffering.


1) Blood. 2) Frogs. 3) Gnats. 4) Flies. 5) Cattle disease. 6) Boils. 7) Hail.   8) Locusts. 9) Darkness. 10) Slaying of the First Born.


Is it for judgment that we praise God?


No, it is for His mercies that we praise Him.


Then let us praise God for His mercies.

People (singing Song #1 “In the Presence of Your People” below* or more complicated traditional Dayenu דינו):

In the presence of your people, I will praise your name,

For alone you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.

Let us celebrate your goodness, and your steadfast love,

For your name is exalted, here on earth and in heaven above.

Lai, lai, lai, lai, lai, lai….



The Passover Symbols

Leader (pointing to the shank bone on the Seder plate):

This shank bone reminds us of the Passover Lamb, slain for our redemption. Just as the blood of the sacrificial lamb applied over the doorposts of their houses in Egypt assured our forefathers that the death angel would pass over them, so the blood of Jesus, our Passover Lamb, applied by faith over the doorposts of our hearts assures us that we have entered into eternal life in Jesus, our Messiah and Lord, and that the death angel will pass over us.


For since the law has but a shadow of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices that are continually offered every year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have any consciousness of sins? But in these sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins… And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.        Hebrews 10:1-4, 11-13


The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”        John 1.29-34

Leader points to the matzah.


This reminds us how, in the haste of their departure from Egypt, our forefathers had to take along unleavened dough. As we read in the Bible,

And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough that they had brought out of Egypt, for it was not leavened, because they were thrust out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared any provisions for themselves.     Exodus 12.39


Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.       1 Corinthians 5.6-8

Leader points to the bitter herbs.


This bitter herb reminds us of how bitter the Egyptians made the lives of our forefathers in Egypt. For we read,

And they made their lives bitter with hard service, in mortar and brick, and in all kinds of work in the field. In all their work they ruthlessly made them work as slaves.      Exodus 1:14

In each following generation, every person who has been born of God is called upon to reflect with gratitude upon his deliverance from the bondage of the world. For we read in the Scriptures,

You shall tell your son on that day, “It is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.”       Exodus 13.8 

It was not only our forefathers that the Holy One, blessed be He, redeemed; He redeemed us too, the living, together with them.


I consider that the present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. The creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.          Romans 8.18-21

People (with cups of wine uplifted):

It is our duty, therefore, to utter thanks and prayer, to sing praise and adoration, to Him who performed these wonders for our fathers and for us. He led us out of slavery into freedom, out of sorrow into joy, out of mourning into festivity, out of darkness into light, out of bondage into redemption. We shall sing Him a new song, Hallelujah!

People (setting down wine cups and singing Song #2, “I will sing unto the Lord” – Exodus 15*):

I will sing unto the Lord
For He has triumphed gloriously,
The horse and rider has thrown into the sea. (Repeat)


The Lord, my God, my strength, my song,
Has now become my victory. (Repeat)


The Lord is God, and I will praise Him,
My Father’s God, and I will exalt Him. (Repeat)


(or as an alternate “A Shield About Me” – Psalm 3:3†):

Thou, O LORD, art a shield about me!
You’re my glory and the lifter of my head! (Repeat)


Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah,

†Music: or


There is none like you among the gods, O Lord,

    nor are there any works like yours.

All the nations you have made shall come

    and worship before you, O Lord,

    and shall glorify your name.

For you are great and do wondrous things;

    You alone are God.                              Psalm 86.8-10


Great and amazing are your deeds, O Lord God the Almighty! Just and true are your ways, O King of the nations! Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify your name? For you alone are holy. All nations will come and worship you, for your righteous acts have been revealed.      Revelation 15.3-4

People (singing Song #3 “Praise Adonai”*):

Who is like Him, the Lion and the Lamb seated on the throne?

Mountains bow down, every ocean roars to the Lord of hosts.

Praise Adonai, from the rising of the sun ‘til the end of every day.

Praise Adonai, all the nations of the earth, all the angels and the saints sing praise. (Repeat)


(or as an alternate “Behold, God Is My Salvation” – Isaiah 12:2†):

Behold, God is my salvation, I will trust and not be afraid,

For the LORD my God is my strength and my song;
He also has become my salvation. (Repeat)

La, la, la . . .


People (with wine cups uplifted):

Hallelujah! Blessed are you, O Lord our God, Ruler of the universe, Creator of the fruit of the vine and Author of our redemption.

Everyone drinks the second cup of wine (the cup of deliverance).