The Seder Checklist

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The Seder Checklist

Erev Pesach Seder preparation list:

  • The leader of the Seder is to review the Haggadah and story of the exodus with the Mefarshim and contemplate the best ways of giving over the information to the participants, each on his level.
  • It is strongly advised for the Seder participants to take a nap on Erev Pesach. This is especially imperative upon the leader of the Seder and upon the children of the home, in order so they have strength to stay awake.
  • Immerse new vessels in a Mikveh
  • Don’t eat lettuce; apples; pears; nuts
  • Wash and clean the lettuce. Don’t soak the lettuce that will be used for Maror, in water, for 24 hours.
  • Those who follow the custom of abstaining from eating Gebrochts, are to make sure to dry the lettuce that will be used for the Koreich sandwich.
  • One is to grind the horseradish before Yom Tov and keep it in a closed container.
  • Roast the Zeroa-neck of the chicken.
  • Prepare the Charoses: The Charoses is made from apples, pears, walnuts or hazel nutsm, and wine. It is our custom to only add the wine later on during the Seder. In years that Pesach falls on Shabbos, place wine in the Charoses before Shabbos.
  • One is not to say regarding meat or poultry, that “This meat is for Pesach” or “Buy me this meat for Pesach.”
  • Do not roast any meat or poultry to be eaten for Seder night. One may roast fish. Don’t cook the meat in a pot without liquids, even if it will simmer in its own juice. One may roast the meat and then cook it.
  • Set up the Seder table.
  • Prepare cushions on seat for leaning. Women don’t lean.
  • Check the Matzos for Kefulos and Sheleimos.
  • Separate Challah from the Matzos, if needed.
  • Prepare the bags of Kezayis of Matzah and Maror for all participants. Weigh/measure the Kezaeisim beforehand.
  • Prepare the Karpas
  • Make salt water.
  • Cook the egg for Beitza.
  • If you don’t have a broken plate for the spilling of the wine by the Makos, then chip a plastic bowl before Yom Tov.

Upon coming home:

  • One is to return home immediately after the conclusion of Maariv in order to begin the Seder right away.
  • Prepare vessels of gold and silver and wear silk and expensive garments of all that Hashem has made available for one’s family.
  • One may feed the kids a little food before the Seder. Children below Chinuch may be given Matzah.
    • One is to distribute nuts to the kids prior to the Seder.
    • One is to begin the Seder as soon as he comes home, without delay.
    • When Pesach falls on Shabbos one is to recite Shalom Aleichem and Eishes Chayil in an undertone upon returning from Shul.

Setting up the Kearah:

  • Take three curved shaped Matzas. Verify that the Matzas are complete [Shaleim] and do not contain any folded [Kefulos] areas.
  • Place a plate on bottom, and place the Matzas on top of the plate.
  • First place the Yisrael and then the Levi, and then the Kohen. The Matzas are separated from each other with a cloth. The largest of the Matzas is to be used for Levi.
  • Place the Simanim directly on top of the Matzah cover. We do not use small bowls to place it in.
  • Dry the Maror prior to placing it on the cover.
  • One is to use romaine lettuce and horseradish for both Maror and Chazeres. This means that both vegetables are to be placed by the area of Maror and likewise by the area of Chazeres. If the leaves of the Chazeres became dry, then one cannot fulfill his obligation with them.
  • The Rebbe used an egg with a shell.
  • Set the plate up in the following order:

General Directives:

  • One is to have all the children of the family, including babies, present by the Seder.
  • Look inside the Haggadah prior to each step and read the Siman of that step.
  • One is to read the Haggadah out loud and with a Niggun.
  • One is to guard his speech throughout the Seder, and not talk of matters unrelated to the Seder.
  • Throughout the Seder one needs to concentrate on being a Mentch.
  • Always drink each of the 4 cups entirely in one shot.
  • Lean by Matzah, Korech, Afikoman, 4 cups of wine. Lean to the left. This includes lefties. If one forgot to lean by the above required parts then by Matzah of Motzi Matzah [not Afikoman or Korech] and by the second cup of wine, one is to repeat the eating/drinking.
  • Women do not have to lean.
  • The Shiurim:
    • Matza 28.8 grams. By Koreich and Afikoman, in time of need may take 21.2 grams
    • Maror 27 grams Lechatchila if unable than 21.2.
    • Achilas Pras: 4 Minutes.


Girls and boys who have reached the age of Chinuch, that can understand the story of the exodus, are obligated in the following:

  • 4 Kosos
  • Maggid
  • Birchas Hamazon
  • Hallel
  • Hallel Hagadol
  • Nishmas


  • Before Kiddush read each one of the Simanim.
  • The Kiddush cup is to be rinsed with water inside and outside prior to making Kiddush.
  • One may pour the wine for himself.
  • Have in mind by Kadesh to drink more wine before the second cup.
  • One stands for Kiddush.
  • Prior to starting the Kiddush, it is proper to look at the candles. However, once one begins the blessing of the Kiddush, he must look at the cup.
  • The cup is lifted with one’s right hand and handed over to one’s left hand, and is then lowered from above to below into the palm of the right hand. The right hand is to be formed into a cup form, lifting one’s four fingers in an upright position, with the thumb resting to the side. The cup is to be lifted three Tefachim from the table.
  • One is to try to drink the entire cup of wine, in one shot and in one gulp.
  • Men are required to lean to their left side upon drinking.
  • Don’t drink wine or any alcohol until after Maggid and 2nd Kos [unless needs to]. May drink other beverages.

Purpose: Kiddush and Corresponds to the first of the four Geuloas “Vehotzeisi”.


  • Before washing say the Simanim of Urchatz and Karpas.
  • Wash just like for bread but without a blessing.
  • Don’t speak until after the Karpas is eaten.

Purpose: So children wonder and ask and begin questions of the order of the Seder.


  • Use onion for Karpas.
  • Dip entire piece in salt water.
  • Dip before saying the Bracha.
  • Hold in right hand
  • Have Kavana to be Moitzi the Maror.
  • Eat less than 14 grams.
  • Don’t say Bracha Achrona even if ate a Kezayis of Karpas.
  • Don’t lean.
  • Don’t return the remaining onion to bowl.

Purpose: So the children ask questions; Represents the slavery in Egypt; Samech Perech


  • Break the middle Matzah [Levi] inside the cloth without seeing,
  • Take the larger piece and break to 5 pieces and use for Afikoman
  • Place Afikoman between two pillows
  • The smaller half is placed back in between the two matzos. There should be at least a Kezayis remaining in the middle Matzah that is placed back, [and if there is not, then one should add Matzah to it].

Purpose: Poor man’s bread; Three Matzos are Avraham; Yitzchak and Yaakov; The reason we break the middle Matzah is because Yitzchak has two sides, laughter and severity.


  • Prior to reading the Haggadah, one is to explicitly intend in his mind, or verbalize, that he is doing so for the sake of fulfilling the Mitzvah of telling of the story of the Exodus.
  • The saying over of the story of the exodus must be done in a way that one begins to experience the emotions associated with the exodus, and that he actually feels as if he was taken out of Egypt.
  • Each person is to say the Haggadah to themselves.
  • Say the Haggadah with a Niggun and loudly.
  • Uncover all three Matzos throughout Maggid except for when the cup of wine is raised.
  • Explain the Haggadah to the women and children in a way that they all understand.
  • Hei Lachma Anaya: The Matzah is to be lifted while this paragraph is said. [However, the custom of the Rabbeim is to only reveal the matzos and not to actually lift them.]
  • Mah Nishtana: Pour the 2nd cup of wine prior to Mah Nishtana.
  • Before Mah Nishtana move the Kearah to the side [and cover it].
  • Youngest son asks Mah Nishtana. If there is no son, then the youngest daughter is to ask.
  • Each person is to repeat the Mah Nishtana after the children say it.
  • After Mah Nishtana one returns the Kearah and reveals the Matzas.
  • Vehi Sheamda: Cover Matzos and then lift Kos. After the conclusion of the paragraph, put the cup down and once again reveal the Matzos.
  • Spilling wine:
    • Spill the wine with the cup itself.
    • Use a broken dish to pour the wine into.
    • Have intent to spill the wrath when spilling the wine.
    • Refill the wine after all spills are finished.
  • Dayeinu: One is not to make a Hefsek by Dayeinu.
  • Matza Zu: Hold onto the middle [and bottom] Matzah within the covering
  • Maror zu: Place two hands on the Maror.
  • Men are required to lean to their left side upon drinking the cup of wine.

Purpose: Fulfilling Biblical command of Vihigadita.


  • Prepare the Matzos for all the participants before the washing.
  • One is to read the Simanim of Rachtzah, Motzi Matzah, Maror and Koreich prior to washing.
  • One now washes for the Matzah just as he would wash before eating bread. A blessing is recited prior to the washing.
  • Starting from the washing, until after Koreich, one is avoid talking of matters unrelated to the meal

Moitzi Matza:

  • Everyone is obligated to have in mind upon eating the Matzah to fulfill the Mitzvah of eating Matzah on the night of the 15th.
  • Holding the Matzas: Upon saying the blessing of Hamotzi one takes hold of the two whole Matzas and the middle broken Matzah. Immediately after this blessing one drops the bottom Matzah, and says the blessing of Matzah with only the top and middle Matzah in his hand.
  • Having in mind: When saying the blessing over the mitzvah of eating Matzah one should also have in mind the Matzah eaten by Korech, as well as the Matzah eaten by the Afikoman.
    • The leader of the home is to give a piece of both the middle and upper Matzah to all the participants.
    • Each participant says both blessings themselves on their Matzah.
    • Salt: One does not dip the Matzah in salt. However one is to have salt on the table.
    • How much to eat: One is to break off a Kezayis from both the whole and split Matzah and eat a Kezayis of each at the same time. One is to enter both kezeiysim into his mouth at the same time.
    • Every participant is to eat 27 grams of Matzah within 4 minutes.
    • Leaning: One must lean upon eating the Matzah. This applies to both Kizeisim eaten by the leader of the table. If one did not lean then he must re-eat another Kezayis of Matzah.
    • Eat within Achilas Peras which is 4 minutes.
    • Hefsek: Don’t talk of unrelated subjects until after Matzah of Korech
    • An old or sick person may dip Kezayis Matzah in water to eat.

Purpose: Fulfilling Biblical command of eating Matzah.


  • The Maror is to be eaten immediately after eating the Matzah.
  • Lettuce and horseradish: For Maror we eat both from the lettuce leaves and horseradish that was placed for the top Maror.
  • How much Maror: Try to eat 27 grams of Maror within 4 minutes. If this is difficult eat 17 grams worth of leaves which is approximately one large leaf or two medium leaves. Both the lettuce leaves and horseradish combine to make up this amount.
    • Dipping the Maror in the Charoses: Before eating the Maror it is to be partially dipped into the Charoses. After the Maror is dipped into the Charoses one is to immediately shake it off.
    • If the Charoses did not have wine added to it before Shabbos then: Dip some [not all] Charoses to a large amount of wine and mix it with ones hand or with the vessel itself, through shaking it.
    • First dip the Maror in the Charoses and then say the Bracha.
    • Have in mind: Have in mind the Maror of Korech upon saying the blessing over the Maror.
    • How much time to eat: Eat the above amount within 4 minutes.
    • Leaning: One does not lean.


  • For the Maror of Korech we eat both from the dry lettuce leaves and horseradish of the second Maror [Chazeres].
  • Eat a Kezayis of Matzah and a Kezayis of Maror simultaneously. Initially eat 27 grams of Maror and 27 grams of Matzah within 4 minutes. If this is difficult eat 17 grams of Maror, and 17 grams of Matzah within 4 minutes. Both the lettuce leaves and horseradish combine to make up this amount.
  • Don’t dip Maror onto the Charoses. Simply dab on it some dry Charoses [without wine]. The custom is to then shake it off afterwards.
  • Eat Leaning
  • Eat within 4 minutes.

Shulchan Orach:

  • Begin with eating the egg dipped in salt water.
  • It is proper to eat fish during the meal.
  • One may drink any beverage, including wine, without restriction.
  • Some have a custom not to dip any foods during the meal.
  • Check the plates to avoid crumbs of Matzah prior to placing food on it.
  • Don’t eat too much before Afikoman.
  • We do not lean.
  • Make sure to drink enough within the meal prior to eating the Afikomen.

Purpose: Fulfill Mitzvah of Seudas Yom Tov and freedom.


  • Eat the Afikoman before Chatzos. On the second night in the Diaspora one can eat it until morning.
  • Eat two Kezeisim [54 grams] of Matzah within 4 minutes. If this is difficult, eat only one Kezayis [27 grams] and intend that the Kezayis serve to commemorate whichever subject requires commemoration. Try to eat 27 grams of Matzah within 4 minutes. If this is difficult then eat 17 grams.
  • Stipulate if can only eat one Kezayis that the Kezayis serve to commemorate whichever of the above two matters is ultimately the one requiring commemoration, whether the Pesach lamb, or the Matzah eaten with the Pesach lamb.
  • Prepare a Kezayis for each participant.
  • Distribute Afikoman Matzah to one’s family and participants.
  • Eat leaning. Bedieved no need re-eat.
  • Eat on same table. Don’t switch tables.


  • Pour the cup of Eliyahu.
  • After pouring the cup of Eliyahu pour the third cup before Birchas Hamazon.
  • Don’t place the Mayim Achronim on the lips.
  • No drinking after 3rd cup, not even water.
  • One may drink entire 3rd cup even if has much more than Revius.

Hallel Nirtza:

  • Pour the 4th cup
  • Open all doors to the public.
  • Shefoch Chamascha is very auspicious time to ask Hashem for one’s requests. One is to request to be a Mentch
  • The Chabad custom when Pesach falls during the week, is to bring lit candles to the doorway.
  • Leave the doors unlocked throughout the night.
  • There is no need to finish Hallel before Chatzos.
  • One may finish Hallel in a different house.
  • One is to make a Zimun for Hallel.
  • One is not to speak in middle of Hallel until its completion, with exception to words of Torah.
  • Don’t make an interval between the end of Hallel and drinking the 4th cup.
  • Pour the wine of the Kos Shel Eliyahu back into the bottle. One sings Keili Ata of the Alter Rebbe upon doing so.

After the Seder:

  • Do not eat or drink anything, including water, after having drunk the 4th cup, until one awakens from sleep of that night.
  • Discuss and deal with the laws of Pesach and the story of the Exodus until morning.
  • Say an abridged version of Kerias Shema. One only says the 1st paragraph of the Shema and then goes straight to Hamapil. On the 2nd night of Pesach however one says the regular paragraphs as is said on any Yom Tov.

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