Why is this night different from all other nights?
Need a copy of the Four Questions?
Click to the right >>>>
Pesah starts at sundown on the 15th of the Hebrew month of Nissan.
In all the videos, a full moon is used to represent "this night" - the night of the first seder. Pictures of the moon at other times of the monthly cycle are used to represent "other nights."
Hebrew months are "lunar months." Use this chart of moon phases to help you figure out what the moon looks like on "this night" - the first night of Pesah - and why we use the pictures we do!
On all other nights we eat either hametz or matzah.
On this night, only matzah.
On all other nights we eat all kinds of vegetables.
On this night, only bitter ones.
Horseradish is a "root vegetable" that grows in the ground just like carrots. As a bitter vegetable (in Hebrew: maror), eating horseradish a perfect way to remember how hard it was to be slaves in Egypt. Many people use the kind of horseradish that comes in a jar - it's often colored red, like what you see in this video!
On all other nights we don't even dip once.
On this night we dip two times.
The Four Questions note that we dip twice at the seder. Most people know that the first dip is at the beginning - vegetables (karpas) are dipped in salt water.
The second dipping happens right before dinner when we "dip" maror (the bitter herb - horseradish) into haroset (the mixture that reminds us of building mortar). Seems a bit strange, yes? Some put haroset on a bitter lettuce. The bitterness of the maror which reminds us of slavery, is mixed with the sweetness of haroset, of living as free people. [This article has more info]
On all other nights we sit either sitting straight or reclining.
On this night everyone reclines.
"Sit up straight!" How many times do you hear that at dinner time?
At Pesah, we are encouraged to recline or lean to the left and many people use pillows during the seder. All this leaning and reclining (m'subin) shows that we are free people!
Jewish Education Center of Cleveland