These Halachos (except for passages found in [* ]) are copied from Rabbi Blumenkrantz's book

"The Laws of Pesach"


"The Seder Plate"

Chapter Nine

The Order of The Seder

B. The Order of the Seder

Introduction to The Seder

The word Seder means order, indicating that all the commandments and rituals of this evening are to be performed in a specific order. In every Hagadah we find the traditional sequence of various steps of the Seder outlines by the terms Kadesh Urchatz etc.

There were fifteen steps leading to the Temple, corresponding to the fifteen Shir Ha’ma’alos (songs of Ascent) found in Psalms. Similarly, the Seder follows a fifteen stage-process of ascent.

Kadesh -the recitation of Kiddush.
Urchatz -washing the hands.
Karpas -eating a vegetable dipped in salt-water.
Yachatz -breaking of the middle matzo.
Maggid -the recitation of the Hagadah.
Rachtzah -washing of the hands a second time.
Motze -the recitation of the blessing hamotzi.
Matzah -the recitation of the blessing al Achilas matzo, eating the matzo.
Morror -eating the bitter herbs.
Korech -eating a sandwich of matzo and bitter herbs.
Shulchan Oruch -eating the festive meal.
Tzafun -eating the afikomen.
Bayrech -the recitation of grace.
Hallel -the recitation of Hallel psalms of praise.
Nirtzah -our prayer that G-d accepts our service.
The names for each of these different stages are referred to as Simanim, - signs. Many different Rebbeim stress the importance of reciting these signs aloud before the Seder and at each stage of the Seder as it progresses.

The use of the term Simanim -"signs" is significant. Signs of identification are necessary for the return of a lost article. Similarly, all the spiritual qualities which we have lost" - can be restored through the "signs" of the Passover Seder.

Furthermore, our Sages teach "the Torah is acquired by signs." G-d promised Moses "When you take the people out of Egypt, you will serve G-d on this mountain (Sinai, exodus 3:12)," connecting the exodus from Egypt with the giving of the 'Torah. Similarly, each year, the personal experience of the exodus at the Seder prepares us to receive the Torah on Shavuos.

The Maggid of Mezeritch. interprets Psalms (116: 10): "I believed when I spoke" to mean that talking about G-d's wonders, leads to faith.

Rebbe Avraham Yaakov of Sadigora added another dimension. The letters of the Hebrew for Pharaoh, can be rearranged as Peh ra - "a bad mouth."
Through peh sach, our description of Passover's significance, we can negate the influence of Pharaoh and all his spiritual heirs.

The name Seder means "order." The Maharal explains why the first night of Pesach is called the Seder. The name, he tells us, is intended to suggest that the things that have happened to the Jewish people since the Exodus, when we became a people, until this very day, are no mere string of haphazard occurrences, but an ordered series of events under Divine supervision. Everything that happens to us has significance, and the sequence of events that we experience shows forth the designs of Providence.

R. Yehuda Arieh Leib of Gur explained that the name Seder Pesach implies that even during Pesach a time of transcendent miracles, there is also "an order." Alternatively, It implies that the entire process of exile and redemption is ordered and planned by G-d.

Rav Aaron of Karlin offered a different explanation. Implied by the name Seder, "order" is that the order of all the events of the coming year is dependent on our behavior this night.

Before complying with every step of the Seder, the steps of the Seder should first be introduced. Therefore, say "Kadesh" before saying Kiddush.

LIGHTING CANDLES:

1st Seder
The candles should be lit as we do on a regular Friday night 18-20 minutes before sunset (in Yerushalayim. it is 30 minutes before sunset), or when the men return home from Shul. The Brocho "l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov" should then be recited

Then add the Shehecheyanu. When making the Shehecheyanu, the woman should have in mind to be grateful to be alive to celebrate the Yom Tov. Then at Kiddush when Shehecheyanu is again recited, she should have in mind how grateful she is to be alive to perform the other mitzvos (hagadah, matzo). This way she can recite Shehecheyanu when she makes Kiddush and/or she can answer, "Omain" to the Shehecheyanu of the one who is making Kiddush.
The Seder should begin as soon after Synagogue services as possible, so that the children can fully participate in the Seder. However, not before nightfall.

Those who say Askeenu Seudoso should say it before Kiddush.

SECOND SEDER
Light candles just before Kiddush. Say Shehecheyanu (see note about what the woman should have in mind when saying Shehecheyanu).

In Shul, Maariv should be said when it is fully dark. However, whatever scrupulous behavior people have on a regular Shabbos to wait 72 minutes or later before "davening" Maariv, should not be practiced this night. Rather, Maariv should be "davened, " even by the most scrupulous, so as to be finished by 72 minutes after sunset. The reason is so that the children be awake when the Matzo and Morror are eaten.

The Seder should begin as soon after Synagogue services as possible, so that the children can fully participate in the Seder. However, not before nightfall.

Those who say Askeenu Seudoso should say it before Kiddush.

Some General Halachos related to Candle Lighting on Yom Tov.

Just as one is obligated to light candles for Shabbos, so too, must one light for Yom Tov. The laws for the Yom Tov candle-lighting are basically the same as those for Shabbos.

When the first night of Yom Tov or the first night of the last days of Yom Tov falls on a weekday, some women light the candles the same time they do on Erev Shabbos.

Others wait until nightfall, when men return from Shul.

The Brocho over the candles is:

"Asher kidshanu b’mitzvosov v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov".
When the first night of Pesach is Friday night, the Brocho over candles is:
"Asher kidshanu b’mitzvosov v’tzivanu l’hadlik ner shel Shabbos v’Yom Tov"
When lighting the candles on Yom Tov, it is customary for women to recite the Brocho "Shehecheyanu" after reciting the Brocho on the candles. This is done on both nights of every Yom Tov except for the last days of Pesach. On Shabbos Chol Hamoed, "Shehecheyanu" is not recited.

When making the Shehecheyanu the woman should have in mind to be grateful to be alive to celebrate the Yom Tov. Then at Kiddush when Shehecheyanu is again recited she should have in mind how grateful she is to be alive to perform the other mitzvahs (haggodah, matzo). This way she can recite Shehecheyanu when she makes Kiddush or answer "Omain " to the Shehecheyanu of the one who is making Kiddush.

A man (or a woman who must recite her own Kiddush) who lights candles should not recite the Brocho "Shehecheyanu" at candle-lighting but rather should have in mind that the "Shehecheyanu" which he recites during Kiddush should also apply to the candle-lighting. Therefore, it is preferable that he light the candles just prior to making Kiddush so that the "Shehecheyanu" will apply to it as well. If he did say it inadvertently at candle-lighting, he could recite it at Kiddush again.

Similarly, if a woman must recite her own Kiddush on Yom Tov, it is preferable that she reserve her "Shehecheyanu" for Kiddush rather than say it at candle-lighting. In this instance, she too should light candles immediately prior to reciting Kiddush. she did say it inadvertently at candle-lighting, she could recite it again at Kiddush.

As soon as the woman makes the "Shehecheyanu" Brocho at the candle-lighting, it is Yom Tov for her and she may not do any of the activities which are forbidden on Yom Tov.

Even though a woman who lights Shabbos candles may stipulate when lighting them that she is not accepting Shabbos, this is not the case on Yom Tov. As soon as she says "Shehecheyanu", it is Yom Tov for her and no prior stipulation can alter that fact.

Even though the mitzvah of candle lighting is an obligation which applies to both men and women, it has become tradition to entrust the women with this mitzvah. Thus, wives and mothers fulfill the mitzvah on behalf of the entire household. It is nonetheless praiseworthy for husbands to take some part in the mitzvah, such as setting up the candles or preparing the wicks.

The minimum amount of candles should be (2) candles (one for Zochor and one for shomor). However, on Erev Shabbos, the custom in most homes, is that they light as many candles as there are members of the immediate family. i.e. Father, mother and children. In some communities single girls including those below Bas Mitzvah, light their own candles. Only one candle is necessary and should be lit before the mother lights her own" (see Oruch HaShulchan OH 263:7).

A man who lives alone must light candles himself.

If a wife is away, then the husband lights.

On a regular Friday night, the woman first lights candles, covers her eyes, recites the blessing, says a small private prayer and uncovers her eyes This is so, because women accept upon themselves the holiness of Shabbos as they recite the blessing. Men, however, recite the blessing first, then light the candles, because they accept the Shabbos in Shul. Making the blessing first and then lighting the candles is an act which, whenever possible should be performed, because a blessing is always said before the performance of a mitzvah.

On Yom Tov night, when Yom Tov falls during the week (not on Shabbos), both men and women (whoever lights the candles) first makes the blessing, then the candles. This is done because even if one accepts the Yom Tov with a blessing one may still light a fire from a pre-existing flame.

The mitzvah of lighting candles includes not only the arranging of lights at or near the dinner table, but also ensuring that there is sufficient light in all parts of the house normally used, including bathrooms.

This adds to the menucha (pleasantness and restfulness) and Shalom Bais of Shabbos and Yom Tov, because it will prevent an accident caused by tripping over something in the dark. In our day electric lights are more commonly used than candles to fulfill this latter requirement. However, the candles which grace the dinner table are considered the most important; it is with the lighting of these candles that the blessing is made.

If a woman forgets to light candles on Erev Shabbos, she must add an additional candle on Erev Shabbos for the rest of her life, This is true even if she lit but did not light the amount of candles she usually does (Eliyahu Rabboh O"H 263). The same goes for Yom Tov. If she forgot to light the Yom Tov candles. she will have to light an additional candle every Yom Tov.

If she forgets many times, she has to light an extra candle for every S'hahbos she forgot to light (Mogen Avrohom O"H 263). If she cannot afford so many candles every Shabbos, she should light one candle a bit larger than the other candles.

The, S'eder should begin as soon after Synagogue services as possible so that the children can fully participate in the Seder. However, not before nightfall. Those who say Askeenu Seudoso should say it before Kiddush.

After filling up
the first cup
Kiddush is said.
Fill the first cup. (It is preferred that each participant's cup should be poured by someone else to symbolize the majesty of the evening, as though each participant had a servant). As is the custom every Friday night, it is proper on the night of the Seder for the father or the head of the household, or the one who will be making kiddush) to bless the children after pouring the wine and just before making Kiddush.

There are those who have the custom to recite the Kabbalistic Declaration of Intent (Leshem Yichud.. Hineni Muchan...) which is printed in many Haggados, before actually doing the specific step of this Seder.

It is customary, especially among Chassidim, to add three (3) drops of water to the wine bottle before pouring wine into the cup. Two reasons are given for this custom:

1 . If someone drank Tom a bottle of wine, the wine within becomes yayin pogum and cannot be used for Kiddush or any Kos Shel Brocho. The p'gima ("blemish") can be removed by adding some water to the bottle.

2. Wine symbolizes the attribute of g'vurah (harsh approach) and din (judgment). Through it (i.e. through the wine which Chava (Eve) gave to Odom (Adam), death and weeping were introduced to the world).

Water, on the other hand, symbolizes the attribute of Chesed (kindness). By pouring water into the wine, we symbolically express our prayers to the A-mighty that the wine we drink should bring blessings of Chesed upon us. This custom is only practiced with wine used for Kiddush, not with wine used for Havdolo or Grace after meals.

Wash and rinse the cup inside and out before pouring in the wine (shtifo and hadocha). The cup should be set with a plate underneath, since Kos Shel Brocho requires atara - crowning. The cup should be of solid material (Kos Choshuv) and free of cracks (Kos Sholem). The wine cup should be picked up with both hands to a height of at least a tefach (three (3) to four (4) inches) above the table. (In my father's zt"l home, every child would get the opportunity to pick up the cup of wine with both hands.) Place the cup on your right hand. A left handed person should hold it in his left hand. According to Kabbalah (and many are accustomed to doing this) the cup should be held on the palm of the right hand some say on the fingers, with the fingertips bent over a little around the cup, others say on the palm, with the fingers bent over the cup (The free fingers of the hand are described as holding the cup like the Sepals at the base of a rose, curving up and around it).

The cup should be filled to the brim. Kiddush is said in the same way one normally says it -i.e. standing, sitting or both, part standing and part sitting. There are some authorities who feel that on Pesach night the Kiddush should be said only sitting, even for those who normally stand.

One should wear his hat when making Kiddush since Kos Shel Brocho requires atifo -(covering). It is preferred to stick to one kind of wine at the seder at least in the first three cups so as not to get involved with the question of the Brocho of Hatov vehameitiv. The Birchas Hamazon cup he may change since in Birchas Hamazon he already said Hatov vehameitiv.

Another suggestion would be to mix all the wines intended to drink into the first cup of wine.

Before saying Kiddush, gaze a moment at the candles. Then, while making Kiddush, gaze at the wine. This act becomes a Segulah (remedy) to regain some of the eyesight lost due to running or walking at a fast pace during the week, or in taking long steps.

When saying Shehecheyanu one should have in mind not only being grateful and joyous for being alive to celebrate the Yom Tov, but also, to express gratitude for being alive to perform all the mitzvahs (Hagadah, Matzo) of the night.

The women, when reciting Shehecheyanu at the time of lighting candles, both nights, should only have in mind to express gratitude for being alive to celebrate the Yom Tov. Then, when the head of the family will recite Shehecheyanu after Kiddush they (the women) should have in mind thanking HaSh-m and being grateful for being alive to perform the other mitzvos (Hagadah, Matzo) of the night. This way she can answer Omain to her husband's Shehecheyanu without hesitation.

After Kiddush one should drink the entire cup [*while reclining to the left] in two sips, having more than 1/2 of the cup in one sip. (A sip may include a few gulps).

If one did not do so, he will have fulfilled the Mitzvah, as long as he did not take longer than 3 minutes to drink the cup.

Wash your hands
without a Brocho
in preparation for Karpas.

As for hamotzi, we pour water three times over the right hand and then three times over the left (some pour only twice over each hand and some pour only once if the vessel has a lot of water), from a smooth lipped, free-standing vessel without a raised spout.

The Halacha is that washing hands in this way, before eating food wet from water, dew, wine, honey, olive oil or milk (even when holding the dry end) is obligatory as it is before eating bread. However, since there is a minority opinion that the obligation does not apply nowadays we do not say the blessing. (This Halacha applies throughout the year.)

If all participants have to leave the room to wash hands they should do so in turns, so that there is always at least one person sitting at the table. In this, way the blessing recited for the first cup of wine may also be applied to the second, and to any wine drunk during the meal. (SH"A 0"H 178:2, M"B Ibid.: 14)

If by mistake one recited the Brocho of Netilas Yadayim, one should nevertheless say the Brocho again when washing for matzo. In such a case, one should, for example, scratch one's head, before washing for the matzo. Additionally, if one did err and recite the Brocho when washing for karpas. he should make sure to eat a Kazais of the karpas.

It is preferable not to speak between the washing and the blessing for karpas.

Take a piece of vegetable
(smaller than a nits)
and dip it into salt water.
Say a Brocho. Eat.

(When reciting the Brocho, one should intend to include the Morror that will be eaten later.)

[*There are various customs whether or not reclining is necessary when eating karpas. Everone should follow his respective custom.]

See A5 above concerning which vegetable to use. The reason we dip the Karpas into salt water is to evoke questions from the children. This is based on the fact that in days of yore people would always have at least 1 dip at every meal. On the night of Pesach we have two dips. One in salt water the other in Charoses. In reality the child's curiosity is evoked by the second dip which is not common. (See third question of Ma Nishtanah). So now we have to understand why it was instituted before making hamotzi: The two dips could have been instituted during the meal and it would have evoked the same curiosity. The Bach gives 2 answers. l) To tide us over the long recitation of. the Hagadah, and 2) it is an appetizer causing us to eat the matzo of mitzvah heartily.

A token amount of karpas should be left in the Seder Plate so that it remains complete. (After the morror and chazeres you do not have to leave any morror or chazeres in the Seder Plate).

Divide the middle matzo,
putting away the bigger part
for the Afikomen

According to Halocho, the bigger portion is set aside for Afkomen and the smaller portion is to be eaten after Motzoei Matzo. each must have a K'zais. This, sometimes cannot be accomplished, especially if one uses a stricter measure of the K'zais To overcome this problem do the following. After breaking the Matzo -add some broken Matzos to the broken Matzo left for Motzoei Matzo and some broken Matzos in the Afikomen bag. The amount of broken Matzos to be added should be enough to give a Kazais to each member of the family (or guests) participating at the Seder.

Some are particular to break the matzo in such a way that the smaller piece is the shape of the letter 'dalet' s and the larger of a 'vav

It should be broken by hand rather than cut since such is the way of the poor.

Some have the custom of wrapping the larger piece (which is to be set aside for the afikomen in a napkin or Afikomen bag which one of the participants carries over his shoulder. In our home we have this custom. I then take the Afikomen bag, put it over my shoulder, and together with all the children we go around the table singing Betzeis Yisroel m’Mitzrayim.

(Others have the custom that the one that heads the Seder after putting the Afikomen bag over his shoulder is asked "Where have you come from?", and answers: "From Egypt".. "And where are going?" "To Jerusalem."

Fill the second cup.
We recite the Hagadah,
and thereby fulfill
the Mitzvah of telling
the story of Exodus.

The Hagadah should be said aloud, with a pleasant tune. [* After saying "Ha lachma anya" fill the second cup and place the seder plate at the end of the table. (This will cause the child to ask questions. Why are we removing the Matzos and filling a second cup before eating?) The child should then ask The "Ma Nishtana". After the "Ma Nishtana" is asked, the seder plate is returned to its original location. Our reply to the questions asked is "Avadim Hayinu" etc. and the rest of Magid. (It's important to have the child who asked the questions, present when reading the Hagadah. Sending him to bed after asking the questions, without letting him hear the answers, defeats the purpose.)

When reading the Hagada the matzos are to be uncovered, except when the cup of wine is being lifted. Lift the cup when saying "v'hi she'omdah" and from "Lfikach" until the drinking of the cup.

When saying the words "Dam, v'aish and v'simros ashan, we spill three drops from the cup of wine. This drops are removed either by means of our finger, or by spilling them out form the cup. We also remove a drop when reciting each of the ten makos (plagues), and when sayin "Dtzach Adash and b'achav". In total 16 drops are removed.]

'The Hagadah is now recited; one should bear in mind that he is fulfilling the commandments "And you shall tell your son on that day saying. . ." (Exodus 13:8) The mitzvah applies primarily to one's pre-Bar Mitzvah children, even those too young to ask.

The mitzvah is fulfilled either by speaking about the exodus or listening to others. The obligation applies to both men and women, so the Hagadah should be recited in a way that everyone can understand and appreciate.

In the wording of the blessing "Asher Geolunu" we usually praise the A-mighty for giving us the opportunity of eating Min Hazvochim umin HaPsochim -from the regular sacrifices first and then from the Pesach sacrifice. This is so because on a regular Erev Pesach we are able to sacrifice regular sacrifices and we can partake of them at the Seder. The actual Pesach sacrifice comes at the end just as "dessert'. However, when the Seder is on Motzoei Shabbos, we say Min HaPsochim umin Hazvochim - Pesach first and then the other holy sacrifices. This is so, because on Shabbos we are not permitted to sacrifice any Holyday sacrifices except for the Korban Pesach (the Pesach sacrifice), So, the only holy meat we may eat on the Seder night would be from the Pesach sacrifice. The Holyday sacrifice will be sacrificed during the Holyday and they will be eaten on the subsequent days of Pesach therefore, we speak first of the Pesach sacrifice and then the Holyday Sacrifice, (MG"A - TA"Z (0"H 473:72) SH'A Harav (473:49) and others. There are, however, some authorities who recommend not to change the wording and leave it as is. (PM"G Mishbetzos (O"H 444:3) Shaarei Tshuvo (end of O"H 473), and others. [* Say Borei Pri Hagefen (Sefardim do not say the brocha on the second cup) and drink the wine while reclining to the left, in the same manner and time span described in Kaddesh.]

6. Rachtzo
Before the next step Rachtzo, the next three, Steps should be recited. That is Rachtzo, Motze, Matzo. Also those whose custom is to recite the Kabbalistic Declaration of Intent before every step should now include all three steps in their Declaration of Intent. This is so because after washing and before we eat Matzo it would be considered an improper pause (Hefsek).

Wash your hands with a brocho
in preparation for the meal.

[* The brocha of "Al ahilas matzoh" and "Al achilas marror" also apply to the matzoh and morror eating together at korech. For this reason everone is to refrain from speaking (except things pertaining to the meal) from washing until after eating korech.]

Everyone now washes their hands in the manner prescribed for eating bread. If all participants have to leave the room to wash hands they should do so in turns, so that there is always at least one person sitting at the table. In this way the blessing recited for the first cup of wine may also be applied to any wine drunk during the meal. (SH"A O"H 178:2, M"B Ibid.: 14)

Despite the fact we washed earlier we wash again and with a Brocho. Since, however, the hands may still be clean (Tahor) from the first washing, this may create a question concerning the making of a Brocho. Therefore, there are people who would (prior to washing) scratch their head or touch their body (in those areas which must be covered for tznius purposes). This, however, is not necessary, because we rely on Hesech haduas. i.e. in the process of reading the Hagadah we were not watchful of our hands. This alone is a sufficient reason to wash with a Brocho.

First, recite the Brocho of Hamotzi then let the lower matzo down holding the top 1 1/2 matzos while saying the Brocho of AI Achilas Matzo.
and then eat
the matzo

In addition to the broken matzo. one must have Lechem Mishna -two whole matzos The matzos should be completely whole. If there is a partial crack, but no matzo is missing, and the matzo remains whole even when only the smaller part of the partially cracked matzo is held; then this matzo is considered whole. If less than 1/50 of the matzo is missing, the matzo may still be considered whole.

One should not eat any other food along with this matzo. If an elderly person cannot eat it dry, or anyone is finding it very hard to eat the proper amount of matzo in the proper amount of time, he or she may sip a little water (and if necessary even lukewarm water) or wine to help him swallow the matzo; otherwise he would not fulfill the Biblical requirement of eating matzo. If one is not scrupulous about eating gebrokt, if necessary he may dip this matzo in water or wine.

Someone who has less than a Kazais of matzo should not say the blessing "who has commanded us to eat matzo".

The matzo does not have to be dipped in salt. If every participant at the Seder does not have his/her own matzo, and there is not enough matzo in the Seder Plate to give a Kazais for everyone, other Shmurah Matzo from the side may be added to total at least a Kazais for each person.

[*According to the shulchan Oruch and Mishnah Brurah one is required to eat a total of two k’zaisim. One from the top matzoh, and one form the middle matzoh. Each k’zayis must be eaten bichdai achilas p’rass, (preferably 2-3 minutes). The matzoh must be eaten while reclining to the left.]

Eat a Kazais of morror
after you recite
the Brocho of
AI Achilas Morror.

[*The marror should be dipped in Charoses. Shake off the Charoses before eating. A k’zais of marror must be eaten bechdei achilas p’rass. If for any reason one will not eat a k’zais bechdei achilas p’rass, he should not recite the brocha "al achilas marror". Do not recline while eating the marror.]

Eat a sandwich of
matzo and morror

[*A k’zayis of Matzoh (taken from the bottom matzoh) together with a k’zayis of marror, must be eaten together bichdei achilas p’rass, while reclining to the left. According to the Mishnah Brurah (475:19) our custom is to also dip the morror of korech in the charoses. However those that have a custom not to dip it, should follow their custom.]

Eat the festive
Yom Tov meal

[*Many have the custom to begin the meal by eating the egg from the Seder Plate.]

'The Yom Tov Meal: The table is laid now and the meal served with joy and a feeling of freedom. Have in mind that we are doing the mitzvah of being happy on Yom Tov with this meal, as the Torah says, "You shall be joyful on your festival" (Devarim 16: 14). But we must be careful not to eat or drink too much, so as to leave room for the Afikomen, and not become intoxicated.

No roast meat may be eaten this night, not even roasted chicken. Even pot roast is forbidden. But roast fish and roasted eggs are permitted. In some places the custom is to eat eggs, but this is not obligatory. Some people's custom is not to eat any dish that involves dipping in a sauce, so as to fulfill precisely what it says in the Four Questions, that we dip food twice this night (and no more).

If someone falls asleep in the middle of the meal, even just for a few minutes, he must wash his hands again when he wakes up (without a brocha), but he may still eat the Afikomen, and he need not make another Hamotzi over it. It is important not to doze off against the pillow in which the afikomen is hidden, so as to avoid any question of the afikomen having become like food that was put under a bed.

Eating the Afikomen

When the meal is finished, each person at the table takes some shmura matzo, and the leader takes some of the half piece of matzo that he put away after Yachatz and gives a small piece of what is left to each person; and the matzo is eaten while we recline. This matzo is called the Afikomen, and it is eaten in memory of the Pesach sacrifice which was served at the end of the meal.

A k’zais of matzo is needed for this mitzvah and it should be eaten in a span of (preferably) 2 to 4 minutes, but not more than 9 minutes.

The afikomen should be eaten when everyone is well-satisfied with food but still able to enjoy the matzo; it should not be choked down grudgingly. The time for this matzo is preferably until midnight (see later in this chapter when midnight exactly is). All efforts should be made to assure that the afikomen is eaten before midnight. However, people who, for example, have small children, and finishing by midnight is difficult, may continue with the Seder in accordance to their pace.

[* It is also preferable to complete Hallel and drink the fourth cup before midnight.]

There are some Rabbis who suggest the following solution if one sees that midnight is approaching and the meal has not been completed. A K’zais of matzo should be eaten right away with the intent that it is for the afikomen. Then the company must await until midnight is past. After that, the meal may be continued, and when it is finished another k’zais of matzo must be eaten, once again with the intent that it is for the afikomen. According to this opinion, by doing so we avoid the prohibition of eating after the afikomen. (This opinion is not universally accepted.)

Say Bircas Hamazon

Wash and rinse your cups, both inside and out. Fill up the third cup (the cup of Birchas Hamazon). Say Bircas Hamazon

[* In the case of a m’zuman, the custom is for the head of the household to lead the zimun. After Bircas Hamazon, say Borei pri Hagofen and drink the cup while reclining to the left, in the same manner and time span as described in "Kaddesh".]

Say Hallel
over
the fourth cup

[* Fill a cup of wine for Eliyahu Hanavi. open the door and say "Sh’foch chmoscho".]

Fill the fourth cup.
Say Hallel. Complete the Seder.

[*After Hallel, say Borei pri Hagofen (the Sefardim do not say the brocha on the fourth cup) and drink the cup while reclining to the left, in the same manner and time span as described in "Kaddesh". If a r’vi’is was consumed bichdei achilas p’rass (either in the third or fourth cup), a brocha Acharona ("Al Hagefen etc.") should be recited.]

If you have followed the steps of the Seder accordingly, your deeds are accepted before G-d.

The Halocho requires that after the Seder, no foods or drinks be taken, so that the taste of matzo remains in our mouths. Some drinks are permitted because they do not affect the taste in our mouths. These would include water, seltzer, tea, and apple extract (i.e. the water from cooked apples, but not apple juice). There is controversy as to whether or not coffee can be consumed after the Seder.

It is known that there are some authorities who do not permit cigarette, cigar, or pipe smoking on Yom Tov'. (See Chapter 12). Those who do follow opinions which permit smoking on Tom Tov, do not allow it after the first Seder, because smoking "kills" he taste of the matzo. It is strongly preferred not to smoke after the second Seder. However, if there is a great need to smoke, some authorities do permit it.

Before going to sleep on the first two nights of Pesach only the first paragraph of Sh'ma and the Hamapil blessing need be recited.

"Some Important Information for the Seder"

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