During the Seder 4 glasses of wine are poured to represent the 4 stages of the exodus: The Four Questions
A fifth cup of wine is poured and placed on the Seder table. This is the Cup of Elijah, an offering for the Prophet Elijah. During the Seder the door to the home is opened to invite the prophet Elijah in. After the meal is eaten, the children search for the Afikomen. The Seder is finished when the children have found the Afikomen and everyone has eaten a piece.
It is said that the Seder is celebrated especially for the children. It is important for Jewish children to be and feel involved in the celebration of Passover. Much of the ceremony is based on the commandment in the Bible that says, "And thou shalt tell thy son". At the Seder the Haggadah, the Book of Exodus, is read and the history celebrated with its stories, songs and prayers. Why? Why? Why?
Why is this night different ? Why do we eat such unusual foods as Matzoh, the unleavened bread, and Maror, the bitter herbs? Why do we dip green herbs in salt water? Why do we open doors? Why do we hide and then eat the Afikomen?
Why? Why? Why? At the Seder it is the youngest child at the table that answers the 4 questions asked at Passover. On all other nights we eat all kinds of breads and crackers. Why do we eat only matzoh on Pesach ? Matzoh reminds us that when the Jews left the slavery of Egypt they had no time to bake their bread. They took the raw dough on their journey and baked it in the hot desert sun into hard crackers called matzoh. On all other nights we eat many kinds of vegetables and herbs. Why do we eat bitter herbs, maror, at our Seder? Maror reminds us of the bitter and cruel way the Pharaoh treated the Jewish people when they were slaves in Egypt.
On all other nights we don't usually dip one food into another At our Seder we dip the parsley in salt water and the bitter herbs in Charoset. Why do we dip our foods twice tonight? We dip bitter herbs into Charoset to remind us how hard the Jewish slaves worked in Egypt. The chopped apples and nuts look like the clay used to make the bricks used in building the Pharaoh's buildings. We dip parsley into salt water. The parsley reminds us that spring is here and new life will grow. The salt water reminds us of the tears of the Jewish slaves. On all other nights we eat sitting up straight
Why do we lean on a pillow tonight? We lean on a pillow to be comfortable and to remind us that once we were slaves, but now we are free. The Haggadah itself stresses the importance of the Seder as "a spectacle meant to excite the interest and the curiosity of the children." Everything in the Seder is meant to make the children (and adults!) curious and to ask questions.
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