ADDIR HU – “Mighty is He”, a (late medieval) Seder song. It praises God’s might through an alphabetical list of adjectives and prays for the rebuilding of the Temple.
AKIVA – 2nd-century rabbi from B’nei B’rak. He backed Bar Kochba’s revolt against the Romans; at Seder with 4 other rabbis, he discussed the chances of military success.
ARAMI OVED AVI – “My father was a wandering Aramean” (Deut. 26:5): understood by the Haggadah as “An Aramean – Laban – sought to destroy my father (Jacob)”.
AVADIM HAYINU – “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt” – the beginning of the Exodus narrative in the Haggadah.
B’DIKAT CHAMETZ – search for chametz on the night before Seder night; see CHAMETZ.
BI’UR CHAMETZ – the disposal of the chametz by a set time on Erev Pesach morning: see CHAMETZ.
B’NEI B’RAK – a town near modern Tel Aviv; the home of Rabbi Akiva. See AKIVA.
BREAD OF AFFLICTION (LECHEM ONI) – a name for matzah; in Egypt the slaves were given matzah to eat, not leavened bread.
CHAROSET – a sweet mixture of grated apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine; a contrast to bitter herbs on Seder night; symbolic of mortar used by Hebrew slaves in making bricks.
COMMUNAL SEDER – groups of people sharing a Seder; instituted in Biblical times.
DEW – see TAL.
ECHAD MI YODE’A (“Who knows one?”) – a song about 13 themes from 1 (God) to 13 (Maimonides’ Principles).
ELAZAR BEN AZARIAH – see RABBI AKIVA, B’NEI B’RAK.
EREV PESACH – a busy day; matzah is not eaten so as to create an appetite for matzah at the Seder ; special rules apply if Erev Pesach is Shabbat.
FIRST BORN – see TA’ANIT B’CHORIM.
FIVE RABBIS – see RABBI AKIVA, B’NEI B’RAK.
FOUR QUESTIONS (MAH NISHTANAH) – asked about special features of the Seder table; instead of a question about roast meat we ask one about reclining (see PASCHAL LAMB); the answers emerge through reading the Haggadah. (See also here, here, here and here.)
GEBROCHTS (“broken”) – matzah-based foods that have come into contact with liquid: not eaten on 1st 7 days of Pesach by some orthodox groups.
GOD – the Redeemer and Protector – see MOSES.
HEBREW – the Haggadah is in Hebrew but if necessary can be recited in any language.
HILLEL – iconic rabbi who made a “sandwich” of Pesach foods because the Torah says (Num. 9:11), “On matzah and bitter herb shall you eat it” (the paschal lamb).
IS’RU CHAG – “Bind the festival offering” (Psalm 118:27): a name for the day after a festival.
KASHERING – preparing the house for Pesach; some utensils can be “koshered” for Pesach use: ask a rabbi for details.
KARPAS – vegetable dipped in salt water, eaten as a prelude to the Seder.
KIDDUSH – recited at the beginning of the Seder; this is the first of the 4 cups.
KITNIYYOT (“LITTLE THINGS”) – grains or vegetables (e.g. peas) resembling the 5 species that must not be eaten on Pesach; Ashkenazim generally do not eat kitniyot.
KOS SHEL ELIYAHU (Elijah’s cup) – in theory a 5th cup should mark the promise “I will bring you in” (Ex. 6:8); we pour it but leave Elijah to solve the problem.
LAST SUPPER – Jesus’ final meal with his disciples might have been a Seder but probably wasn’t as essential features of a Seder were lacking.
L’SHANAH HABA’AH (“Next year in Jerusalem!”) – said at the end of the Seder; Pesach in Jerusalem is a stage in the messianic redemption.
MAH NISHTANAH – see FOUR QUESTIONS.
MA’OT CHITTIN (“money for flour”) – a fund to help the needy.
MAROR – bitter herbs (horseradish, bitter lettuce, etc.), an essential of the Seder.
MATZAH – the 3 matzot on the Seder table possibly stand for Kohen, Levi and Yisra’el and show that Pesach is for the whole Jewish people; almost every Jew has a Seder.
MATZAH ASHIRAH – “rich” (flavoured) matzah, sometimes made with fruit juice; it must not be eaten at the Seder and Ashkenazim do not eat it at all on Pesach.
MATZAH SH’MURAH – “guarded” matzah made of wheat that has been watched from the time of harvesting to keep it away from liquid; the scrupulous eat only this matzah.
MIDDLE MATZAH – part of the middle matzah is put aside for the afikoman (q.v.).
NIR’TZAH – a poetical paragraph declaring that the Seder has been concluded.
PASCHAL LAMB – the lamb’s blood on their doorposts saved the Hebrew first born from death; a bone on the Seder plate symbolises the paschal lamb offered in the Temple.
PESACH (Passover) – the angel of death passed over the Hebrew houses; see PASCHAL LAMB.
P’SACHIM (Talmudic tractate) – Rabbinic source on Pesach; the plural ending im may be because it deals with the annual series of celebrations.
SALT WATER – on the Seder table to symbolise the salty tears of the slaves.
S’FIRAT HA-OMER – from the 2nd night we count 7 weeks to Shavu’ot, linking physical freedom with moral responsibility.
SH’FOCH CHAMAT’CHA (“Pour out Your wrath”) – an imprecation on Israel’s enemies.
SH’MURAH – see MATZAH SH’MURAH.
SIYYUM – the joy at ending a tractate overrides the Erev Pesach fast: see TA’ANIT B’CHORIM.
TA’ANIT B’CHORIM – fast of the first born on Erev Pesach, showing sympathy with the Egyptian first born who died in the 10th plague.
TAL (“Dew”) – on 1st day Pesach the prayer for dew marks the coming of spring.
WINE – see FOUR CUPS.
WISE SON (CHACHAM) – 1st of the four sons, clever and a good character.
WOMEN – their moral qualities won freedom for the Hebrews.
Z’RO’A – bone on the Seder plate, symbol of the paschal lamb; see PASCHAL LAMB.