The Pesach edition of Generation Sinai is in a novel format- an array of cards with questions, answers and interesting facts. Download your pack of cards below, cut them out and engage with Torah by asking questions, which are a crucial part of the Seder itself. Gather your children, share and discuss the ideas around your Seder tables and never stop encouraging your children to ask questions!
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WHAT’S ON THE SEDER PLATE AND WHY?
Maror (Horseradish) & Chazeret (Romaine Lettuce)
This represents the bitterness of our slavery in Egypt.
This reminds us of the sacrifices brought
to the Temple on Pesach, Shavuot and Sukkot.
Z’roa (Roasted Bone)
This reminds us of the Pesach sacrifice
Charoset (A delicious mixture of apples, walnuts,
red wine and cinnamon)
This looks like the cement which the Jews
used to do heavy labour in Egypt.
Karpas (Parsley or Potato)
We dip this in saltwater to remember the tears the
Jews cried when we were slaves.
WHAT LANGUAGE IS THE PARAGRAPH
“HA LACHMA ANYA” WRITTEN IN?
This was the language everyone
understood at the time.
This section in the Hagaddah is an open
invitation for anyone to join the Seder.
But what would be the point of inviting people in
Hebrew if no one could understand what was said?
So that’s why it is written in the most widely
understood language of that time – Aramaic.
WHY DO WE BEGIN THE STORY OF THE HAGADDAH
BY INVITING ANYBODY TO OUR SEDER SAYING:
‘WHOEVER IS HUNGRY, LET THEM COME AND EAT’?
On Pesach we open our homes to those in need,
including strangers because once we were strangers too.
When Bnei Yisrael got to Egypt,
we were described as “strangers in the Land of Egypt.”
The Ramban (Spain, 1194-1270), explains that the word “stranger”
means we were totally helpless to defend ourselves against the Egyptians,
and yet Hashem came to our defence.
Now that we are a free and powerful nation,
we remember what it was like when we didn’t have these luxuries,
and open our hearts, and our homes to those that need our help.
WHO WAS MOSHE’S WIFE?
Moshe fled from Egypt to Midyan, frustrated with
the harsh way the Egyptians were treating
the Jewish slaves.
One day, while Moshe was sitting by the well
in Midyan, Yitro’s daughters arrived to draw water for their father’s sheep.
Suddenly, other shepherds arrived, and tried to drive the girls away.
Moshe then stepped in, saved the girls and helped them water their flock.
When the girls returned home, they related the story back to their father Yitro,
who then invited Moshe to be a guest in his home.
Eventually, Moshe married Tzipporah, one of Yitro’s daughters.
They had two sons, Gershom and Eliezer.
Can you think of a situation when you
have had to act like Moshe,
to stand up for and defend a friend?
The oldest existing Hagaddah dates back to the
year 1 000 and comes from the Cairo Geniza.
Between 1896-1897, explorer Solomon Schechter
and his team uncovered thousands of letters,
documents and stories in the Ben Ezra Shul
in Old Cairo, Egypt.
Can you imagine a family in Cairo reading
the same words we are reading tonight,
over 1 000 years ago?
FOUR SONS, FOUR CUPS OF WINE,
FOUR QUESTIONS IN MA NISHTANAH – WHY IS
THE NUMBER FOUR SO IMPORTANT?
In the Torah, we see Hashem taking us out of
Egypt is expressed by four phrases:
The four phrases of redemption show us that there are four steps
or processes we need to go through on Pesach in
order to fully understand or appreciate our freedom.
It is for this reason that the number
four recurs throughout the Hagaddah.
How do you understand the different
meaning of each of the four phrases?
All over the world, the youngest child
in thousands of Jewish homes will
be singing Ma Nishtanah tonight.
Afrikaans: Hoe verskil die nag van alle ander nagte?
Dutch:Wat is het vershchil tussen deze avond en alle andere avonden?
Farsi: Cherah een shab ba’ah shab hayeh deegar fargh dareht?
French: Pourquoi cette nuit se distingue-t-elle de toutes les autres nuits?
German: Was macht diese Nacht anders als alle ander- en Nächte?
Hindi:Ye shaam dusre shaamo se kyon aalag hai?
Italian: Che differenza c’è fra questa e tutte le altre notti?
Japanese: Kon yá wa hokano toru to ciou chigaimasuka?
Ladino: Kuanto fue demud’ ad’a la noçe la esta, mas ke tod’as las noçes?
Urdu: Yeh raat baaqi raaton se mukhtalif kyun hai?
Yiddish: Vee azoi iz di nacht fun Pesach anders fun alle necht fun a gantz yor?
Farvoss iz di nacht fun Pesach anderish fun alle nacht fun a gantz yahr?
Zulu: Kugani lobubusuku behlukile kobunye na?
WHICH IDOL-WORSHIPPING PRIEST
DESCRIBED HASHEM AS “THE LORD [WHO IS]
GREATER THAN ALL THE GODS”.
Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law.
After Yitro heard the miraculous way in which Hashem
took us out of Egypt, Yitro exclaimed with joy,
“Blessed be the Lord. Now I know that
the Lord is greater than all the gods”.
He found the Exodus from Egypt as
a source of faith in Hashem.
How does telling the story of our leaving
Egypt deepen your faith in Hashem?
WHAT DOES THE WORD PAROH (PHARAOH) MEAN?
In ancient Egypt ‘pr-aa’, literally meaning
“Great House”, refers to the king’s
palace, and was used by Egyptians
when speaking about or to the king.
The name Paroh is Hebrew, can be read as an abbreviation
of the words peh rah, evil mouth, since the Egyptian ruler
called out mockingly “Who is this Hashem that I should listen to?
Why should He be the one to tell me to let Israel out?
I do not know Hashem, neither will I let Israel out.” (Shemot 5:2)
Hebrew names often have deep meanings.
What does your Hebrew name mean?
WHY IS THERE A COMMANDMENT TO TELL
THE STORY OF THE EXODUS EVERY YEAR?
SURELY WE KNOW IT ALREADY?
This could be understood as being similar to the saying: “out
of sight, out of mind”. The Ramchal (Italy, 1707 –1746) explains
that ideas which are not reviewed again and again can easily
By constantly reminding ourselves about the miraculous way
that Hashem took us out of Egypt, we ensure that the Exodus
is not only remembered, but helps us be grateful to Hashem for
all that He does for us. Each time we experience the seder,
we deepen our understanding of what happened by discovering
and discussing new thoughts and ideas.
We praise Hashem before and after we eat.
How is this connected to the
Ramchal’s idea above?
WHO WERE THE MIDWIVES WHO WENT AGAINST
PAROH’S ORDERS AND SAVED THE JEWISH BOYS?
Yocheved & Miriam, Moshe’s mother and sister!
Yocheved was the daughter of Levi, who was
Ya’akov’s son. She was also known by another name.
In the beginning of Shemot, the Torah refers to two
midwives who would deliver Jewish babies
in Egypt named Shifrah and Pu’ah.
The Midrash tells us that Shifrah and Pu’ah
were actually Yocheved, Moshe’s mother,
and Miriam, Moshe’s sister.
Even though Paroh commanded Miriam and Yocheved
to kill all Jewish boys at birth, these two heroines disobeyed
Paroh and were therefore blessed by Hashem with dynasties
that would be Kohanim, Levi’im and Kings.
Rabbi Eliezer, Rabbi Yehoshua, Rabbi Elazar Ben Azariyah,
Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Tarfon were all at a seder together.
These leading Rabbis lived in the aftermath of the destruction
of the Temple being burned to the ground and their people exiled.
Despite all of this, these faithful men gathered in the home of
Rabbi Akiva in Bnei Brak and spoke about Pesach until they saw the
light of dawn.
This reminds us that in times of darkness, we must
know that we will always be redeemed by Hashem,
and there is always hope for better times.
WHAT DOES THE HEBREW WORD Z’ROA MEAN?
This reminds us that with an “outstretched arm”,
Hashem took us out of Egypt.
HOW LONG AFTER MIXING FLOUR AND WATER
DOES THE DOUGH BECOME CHAMETZ?
A 30 MINUTES
B 42 MINUTES
C 18 MINUTES
D 2 HOURS
C 18 MINUTES
The matzah-dough must be in the oven
before the 18 minutes are up.
WHO WENT WITH MOSHE TO ASK PAROH
TO LET THE JEWS GO FREE?
Aharon, Moshe’s older brother!
He was born three years before Moshe and before Paroh
made a ruling to kill all the male Jewish children.
From the moment Moshe returned from the deserts of Midyan
to a role of a leader, Aharon did not grudgingly step aside
for his younger brother, but did so with ‘joy in his heart’.
Aharon was the first Kohen Gadol that served
in the Mishkan when we left Egypt.
Have you had an opportunity to wish someone well
for their success, without feeling jealous?
In 1838, a Frenchman named Isaac Singer invented
a matzah-dough-rolling machine that cut down
the preparation time and made mass production possible.
In 1973, Apollo 17 astronaut Gene Cernan shouted,
“Man, oh, Manischewitz”, the matzo company’s slogan,
in the middle of his moonwalk.
WHY DOES THE TORAH ANSWER THE FOUR
ISN’T ONE ANSWER ENOUGH FOR ALL OF THEM?
We learn from the Hagaddah that every person
is unique and learns in a different way.
In the book of Mishlei, Proverbs, Shlomo Hamelech writes,
“Educate a child according to his way” (Mishlei 22:6).
Each of us is different and each of us see things differently.
Imagine how boring the world would be if we were all the same?
WHEN THE JEWS LEFT EGYPT, HASHEM TOLD US TO BUILD
THE BEAUTIFUL MISHKAN MADE OF GOLD, SILVER AND
BRONZE AS WELL AS LUXURIOUS FABRICS.
AS POOR SLAVES, WE HAD ONLY WORKED WITH CEMENT AND BRICKS.
HASHEM KNEW WE WOULD BE ABLE TO CARRY OUT HIS WISHES, BUT HOW?
Rabbi Chaim Shmuelevitz (Poland, 1902–1979) explains that our
belief in our own potential is what inspired us to complete Hashem’s
task. We realised just how much Hashem wanted us to be His nation.
Seeing how much Hashem will do for us inspired the Jewish nation to
believe in our potential and all we could achieve. We may not have
known how to fashion gold and silver, we didn’t have any special skills;
but we were determined to try.
When we really believe in ourselves, we will be amazed at the
inner strength we have, and what, with Hashem’s blessings,
we can achieve when we take on a challenge.
THE TALMUD (PESACHIM 116A) SAYS THAT WE BEGIN THE STORY
OF THE EXODUS WITH THE GLOOMY YEARS OF OUR HISTORY
AND END WITH THE GLORIOUS PART.
IF IT ALL ENDED WELL, WHY DO WE HAVE TO
REMEMBER THE PAIN AND SUFFERING?
Pesach is a time of perspective; it is a time for looking back.
In doing so, we realise that the tough parts are important because they
make us a stronger, wiser nation, capable of overcoming any obstacle.
We don’t set aside or ignore this because it is an important part of
what made us the nation we became: We discuss how we got
to Egypt in the first place as well as what happened after we left.
We received the Torah at Mount Sinai, we entered the land
of Israel and built the Temple.
As Jews, we look at the full sweep of history,
not just at the events we like or are proud of.
WHO WAITED AMONG THE BUSHES WHILE MOSHE’S BASKET
FLOATED DOWN THE RIVER, WATCHING OVER HIM TO
MAKE SURE HE WAS ALL RIGHT?
Miriam, the older sister of Moshe and Aharon!
Miriam was a prophetess and knew that her parents would give birth to
the person who would bring about their people’s redemption.
When Paroh’s daughter drew Moshe out of the water, Miriam arranged
for her mother, Yocheved to nurse Moshe and raise him until he was
old enough to be on his own. It was in Miriam’s merit that a well of water
followed the Jewish people while they were in the desert.
Have you ever had to think quick to save a situation?
WHY DO WE DIP THE KARPAS?
A To show we were slaves
B To show that we are kings
C To remind us of the tears
D None of the above
B To show that we are kings
Slaves do not dip food. Dipping is a sign of luxury.
We dip in salt water to remind us of the tears.
WHAT DOES THE WORD HAGADDAH MEAN?
We tell the story of how the Jews
HOW WERE LAVAN AND YA’AKOV RELATED?
Ya’akov and Lavan were second cousins and
Lavan was Yaakov’s uncle and father-in-law.
WHICH OF THESE IS NOT A PLAGUE?
WHAT ARE WE FORBIDDEN TO DO WITH CHAMETZ
A EAT IT
B OWN IT
C USE IT
D BENEFIT FROM IT
*ALL OF THE ABOVE
WHO WENT HEAD-FIRST INTO THE RED SEA
BEFORE MOSHE EVEN HAD A CHANCE TO SPLIT IT?
Nachshon Ben Aminadav.
The Midrash tells us that when the Jews got to the Red Sea,
and the command was given to move forward, each of the tribes
hesitated with fear. Only the courageous Nachshon knew Hashem would
provide a solution as he walked right into the treach-erous ocean.
It was only after that, that Hashem made the sea split.
From Nachshon we learn the importance of having
faith in Hashem & living courageously!
FIRST IT SAYS THAT HASHEM TOOK THE JEWS OUT
OF EGYPT DURING THE DAY AND THEN, LATER ON,
THE TORAH SAYS WE LEFT EGYPT AT NIGHT.
SO WHICH WAS IT?
The Talmud (Berachot 9a) explains that both answers are true;
the redemption began at night but was completed by day.
As the first born were struck at midnight, Paroh was grieving and angry,
so he raced to find Moshe. Paroh instructed Moshe that the Jews should
get out of Egypt immediately. But Hashem said no! He did not want us to
sneak out like thieves in the night.
So, Hashem told us to wait until daybreak – to leave
Egypt with our heads held high.
WHO FOUND MOSHE IN THE RIVER AND SAVED HIM?
Paroh’s daughter, Batya!
Growing up as the daughter of Paroh, Batya saw firsthand her fathers
cruelty and abuse of power. She didn’t follow in his ways but showed kindness
to the Jewish people and left Mitzrayim with them as a convert.
Moshe had seven names, but he was known by the name that
Batya gave him because of how brave she was.
Have you ever behaved kindly when others around you are being cruel?
PAROH WAS ACTUALLY THE FIRST BORN IN HIS FAMILY.
SO WAS HIS DAUGHER BATYA, WHO SAVED MOSHE FROM THE NILE.
WHY THEN DID THE LAST PLAGUE NOT AFFECT THEM?
Paroh was a firstborn, but Hashem saved him from the
tenth plague so that he would be able to tell the world
about Hashem’s power.
The daughter of Paroh, Batya, was also a firstborn,
but Moshe prayed for her, and in this merit,
she too survived the tenth plague.
MOSHE IS THE PERSON WHO IS MENTIONED THE MOST
IN THE TORAH, YET, HIS NAME IS ONLY MENTIONED ONCE
IN THE HAGADDAH .
Our miraculous exodus from Egypt did not happen because of Moshe;
it happened because of Hashem.
The one and only time Moshe is mentioned in the Hagaddah,
he is referred to as the servant of Hashem.
This is because without Hashem, Moshe could not have
performed any of the miracles we read about.
WHEN THE JEWISH PEOPLE CAME TO THE EDGE OF THE RED SEA,
HASHEM TOLD MOSHE TO STRETCH OUT HIS STAFF IN
ORDER THAT THE SEAS WOULD SPLIT.
WHEN THE JEWS GOT TO THE OTHER SIDE, HASHEM TOLD MOSHE
TO ONCE AGAIN STRETCH OUT HIS STAFF AND CLOSE THE
WATERS OVER THE EGYPTIAN ARMY.
SURELY THE WATERS SHOULD HAVE NATURALLY GONE BACK
TO THEIR REGULAR STATE WHEN THE MIRACLE FINISHED?
Rabbi Mordechai Gifter (America, 1915 – 2001) explains that these acts needed
a gesture from Moshe because both the split sea, and the regular sea
are equally miraculous.
When we look at the waters of the ocean, we must realise that they are in a constant state
of creation. Our world, as we know it, could change at any time. The stability
and order of nature is as wondereous as the most awesome of miracles.
That is why our Sages remind us to give thanks
to Hashem – not only for creating the world, but also
for sustaining it.
WHILE WE WERE STILL IN EGYPT, HASHEM EXPLAINED THE MITZVAH
OF THE JEWISH CALENDAR: THAT THE MONTH BEGINS WITH
THE APPEARANCE OF THE NEW MOON.
WHY WAS THIS MITZVAH GIVEN TO
US BEFORE THE TORAH WAS GIVEN AT MOUNT
SINAI A FEW WEEKS LATER?
The Sforno (Italy, 1475 – 1550) explains that Hashem wanted
to emphasise the importance of time. As slaves, our time was not our
own as we were controlled by the Egyptians. But when we left Egypt,
we became free people; people who were the masters of our own time.
The way we spend our time is our choice and we have to take
responsibility for those choices. This is what true freedom is all about.
During the British Mandate over Palestine, before the State of Israel was
established, Lord Peel was appointed as the chairman of the Peel Commission (1936), which aimed at solving the tension between the two nations after a series of Arab attacks against the Jews. David Ben Gurion, the first Prime Minister of what would become the State of Israel as we know it today, made the following speech in the midst of the commission:
“300 years ago, there came to the New World a boat, and its name was the Mayflower. The Mayflower’s landing on Plymouth Rock was one of the great historical events in the history of England and in the history of America. But I would like to ask any Englishman sitting here on the commission, what day did the Mayflower leave port? What date was it? I’d like to ask the Americans: do they know what date the Mayflower left port in England? How many people were on the boat? Who were their leaders? What kind of food did they eat on the boat?
“More than 3300 years ago, long before the Mayflower, our people left Egypt, and every Jew in the world, wherever he is, knows what day they left. And he knows what food they ate. And we still eat that food every anniversary.
And we know who our leader was. And we sit down and tell the story to our children and grandchildren in order to guarantee that it will never be forgotten. And we say our two slogans: ‘Now we may be enslaved, but next year, we’ll be a free people.’
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