Passover is a festival of freedom and justice. A list of the many blessings of Pesach holiday has been provided in this article.
Blessings form an important aspect of the Passover Seder meal. They are recited during different times in the course of the meal. These blessings are acknowledgements of all the pain and sufferings that the Hebrews had to bear in the land of Egypt, for the sake of freedom of the mind, body and soul. They are statements of gratitude and realization, made by the thousands of believers and followers towards their Lord. A detailed description of the numerous blessings made during the Pesach holiday has been given below.
Passover Holiday Blessings
- The first step or the 'Kiddush' starts just after nightfall, with everyone around the sedar table chanting blessings by raising their first cup of wine (the Kadeish). Kadeish, in Armanic, means the 'cup of sanctification' or 'the blessing'. The main purpose of this is to execute the Lord's commandment of blessing the Jewish festivals, the Holy day of Passover and mostly, all the people who are celebrating the festival in His honor. Kiddush, actually, is an observation of a sum total of three blessings, the first one of which is the blessing over the wine (the Kiddush blessing). This is followed by the second blessing, which is over the festival of Passover and finally, the shehechayanu (means 'He Who has kept us in life' in Hebrew), which are praises for the Lord for enabling the Jewish people to reach the current year of Passover.
- The next blessing is recited during the third stage or the Karpas. Karpas, in Hebrew, means green vegetable that is taken by dipping into salt water, limejuice or vinegar. This is a symbolization of the spirit of hope for the future, as green is a color that represents the spring season. The dipping in the salt water or vinegar is like a reminder of the tears and the pain and sufferings that the Hebrews had to put up with, while they were enslaved in the ancient land of Egypt. Mostly, the green vegetable is a piece of lettuce, celery or parsley. As it is dipped in the salt water or limejuice, the customary blessings from the Haggadah (Borai pri haadamah) are recited. This means 'Blessed is the Source of Life, the Fountain of Being, by whose power the earth gives birth to vegetables'.
- This next blessing is said during the Maggid or the fifth step. It takes place after the completion of the story of Passover. The first two psalms of the Hallel (Psams 113 and 114) are recited at this time, which are an expression of appreciation and gratitude to the Lord, for being the source of salvation throughout generations. There is also an appeal to the Lord to bring about the Final Redemption, so that people get the chance to celebrate the festival again and again and also the other festivals in Jerusalem and the Holy Temple. This is done through the recital 'Blessed are You, O L-rd, Who has Redeemed Israel'. Following this, there is the blessing over the second cup of wine and its intake, by tilting slightly towards the left.
- An important step during the recital of the blessings during the Pesach meal is the sixth or the step of Rachtzah, which involves the blessing, and eating of the matzah. Before the matzah is eaten, it is mandatory for every follower to wash his hands for the second time, as per the Jewish law for matzah. While washing hands, a blessing called 'Al Netilat Yadayim' is recited ,which goes as follows: 'Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, asher kidshanu bemitzvotav vitzeivanu, al netilat yadaim'. The meaning behind this phrase is 'the blessing over the washing of hands before the meal'.
- Motzee or 'the blessing' is the seventh step and is the first part of the blessing of the Matzah (Motzee Matzah). Here, the leader of the sedar meal takes hold of three pieces of matzah and recites the 'Hamotzi' from the holy Haggadah. 'Hamotzi' or 'Ha-Motzi' is a Hebrew word for 'bringing forth' and refers to the bringing forth of the bread by the Lord. The exact recital of the blessing goes as follows: 'Baruch atah adonai eloheinu melech ha'olam, hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz'.
- The second part of the blessing of the matzah is the eighth step or the step of the matzah. Here, after the recital of the Hamotzi, the leader drops the bottom matzah back onto the plate, while holding the remaining two matzot in his hand. He then chants the next blessing called 'Al Achilat Matzah' from the Haggadah, which means 'the blessing over eating matzah'.
- The next blessing is the 'Al Achilat Maror', which means "The Blessing Over Eating Bitter Herbs". This takes place in the ninth step of the meal and is also called as the step of the Maror. Maror means the bitter herb that is eaten by dipping in an unclear sweet liquid, called charoset.
- The 13th step or the Barech involves the chanting of the 'Birkat HaMazon', which means 'Grace after Meals'. This is an expression of gratitude, awareness and realization that every person on the sedar table makes collectively and in unison. Here, the third cup of wine is poured and the blessing is recited together. This is also known as the Benching. After this, another blessing is said over the cup of wine, which is then drunk by tilting in a slight leftward direction.
- In the 14th step, after the readings from the Holy Haggadah are made, a blessing is made over the fourth cup of wine, following which the wine is drunk in a reclined position. After this, the Birkat HaMazon is recited again.
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