The 15 Steps of the Seder (with videos!)

Return to the Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families

The Hebrew word “seder” means “order,” as in order of events—so rest assured there are many traditional steps to a seder. And although pretty much everyone’s seders look different, they are all likely to (roughly or diligently) follow the steps below.

For fun, the 18Doors staff created a short video for each of the steps (sometimes with their partners and/or kids). We hope that you will find these videos helpful as you prepare. And at the very end of the seder, in the final section of “Nirtzah,” instead of or in addition to concluding with the traditional phrase “Next year in Jerusalem!” you may want to say “Next year together!” We at 18Doors wish you a meaningful holiday.

To view a how-to video, click below. (And don’t forget to check out the blooper reel!)

1. Kiddush: The blessing over the first cup of wine/grape juice (There are a total of four cups during the seder—so pace yourself accordingly!)

2. Urchatz: The ritual handwashing (without a blessing)

3. Karpas: Eating a vegetable, usually parsley (sometimes a boiled potato) dipped in salt water

4. Yachatz: Breaking the middle matzah

5. Maggid: Telling the Exodus story—longest section of the seder, can be condensed to 15-20 minutes or stretched out up to several hours!

6. Rachtzah: Ritual handwashing before the meal (this time with a blessing)

7. Motzi: Blessing over matzah, the same one said over challah on Shabbat

8. Matzah: Another blessing over matzah, emphasizing the focus on eating matzah on Passover

9. Maror: Eating bitter herbs, usually horseradish or Romaine lettuce

10. Korech: Eating a sandwich of matzah and maror in remembrance of the Temple sacrifices

11. Shulchan Orech: The festive meal (many people’s favorite part)

12. Tzafun: “Dessert,” but actually just eating another piece of matzah which has been set aside as the afikomen

13. Barech: Grace after meals

14. Hallel: Singing psalms of praise

15. Nirtzah: Conclusion of the seder

And one of the traditional Passover Songs: “Echad Mi Yodea” (“Who Knows One”)

For a very accessible overview of each of these steps of the seder, including a description of what happens and the symbolic meaning of each element, click here.

Some of the most well-loved ritual elements of the seder take place within some of the 15 steps listed above. These include:

Other notable seder rituals include:

  • The Four Questions, usually sung by the youngest child
  • Discussing the four children, often seen as archetypes of personalities, or characteristics we all experience at different times in our lives
  • Reciting the 10 plagues with a drop of wine/grape juice from our cups for each plague symbolizing reducing our own joy in the face of others’ suffering—why not make a masterpiece on your plate?
  • Singing Dayenu, a catchy song that expresses gratitude for all the miracles of the Exodus and the love God showed the Israelites
  • Opening the door for the Prophet Elijah, who—according to legend—will foretell the coming of the Messianic age


Passover Video Outtakes

Return to the Guide to Passover for Interfaith Families


18Doors

18Doors is here to support interfaith couples and families exploring Jewish life. We offer educational content; connections to welcoming organizations, professionals and programs; resources and trainings for organizations, clergy and other program providers; and our Rukin Rabbinic Fellowship provides offerings for couples in cities nationwide. If you have questions, please contact info@18doors.org.

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Author: 18Doors