Starting at sundown tonight Jews will open the doors to the fantastic holiday of Pesach(Passover). In Mason City, Iowa members and friends of Adas Israel will hold the first Seder in their homes. On Saturday evening we will have a Community Passover Seder starting at 6:00PM. Seder means "order" and unlike other meals the Passover Seder has a specific order to the service. If you are new to the celebration, here is a quick guide to the essentials:
Kiddish - The First Cup - During the course of the Seder we will drink four cups of wine. Taking of the First Cup along with the appropriate blessings starts the service. The First Cup also reminds us of this verse, "I will free you from the burden of the Egyptians"
Maggid - The Narration- This is the telling of the story of how our people were enslaved and the bitterness they had to endure. We then travel through the book of Exodus telling the story of Moses, Pharaoh the Ten Plagues and the final redemption.
The Second Cup - This recalls G-d promise of redemption and this verse: "I will deliver you from bondage."
The Symbolic Foods - Matzah, the unleavened bread or the "bread of affliction" we are commanded to eat during the holiday. Maror the "bitter root" that reminds us of the bitter slavery our people endured. Korekh- A "sandwich" with some Maror placed between to pieces of Matzah a reminder of the Temple. The Egg - A reminder of life. Greens - A reminder of spring. Roasted Shank Bone - Remembering the sacrifices.
The Meal - The family and guests sit down to a holiday meal and share stories about the holiday and their lives.
Birkat Hamazon - The Third Cup - We are reminded of the promise, "I will redeem you with an outstretched arm and through extraordinary judgements" (Ex. 6:6)
Hallel - The reading of several Psalms which speaks to the blessings we have received and offers praise to G-d.
The Fourth Cup - Recalling the promise, "I will take you to be My people and I will be your G-d."
Of course between the First Cup and the Fourth Cup there are songs, stories and instruction. While some seders last hours and hours. Our Adas Israel Seder which will take place on Saturday evening will begin at 6:00PM and conclude around 9:00PM. We hope you can attend.
Chag Sameach to you and your family.