The very last thing that is eaten at the Seder is a piece of matzah called the "Afikoman."

In order to keep the children awake and attentive, it is customary for them to "steal" it and refuse to give it back unless the parents promise them a small gift. Sometimes the parents hide it and offer a reward to the child who finds it.

Bedikat Hametz (The Search for Leaven):

Because it is forbidden to have any hametz in the house during Passover, the house is thoroughly cleaned and checked beforehand.

On the evening before the holiday, it is customary to search through the house (traditionally, with a candle) to make sure that all the hametz has been removed. Whatever is left is set aside to be destroyed, usually by burning, the following morning.

In Hebrew this checking for hametz is called "Bedikat Hametz."

Ben Zoma:

An ancient Jewish teacher who found a place in the Bible that speaks about reciting the Passover

story at night.


At the beginning of the Seder meal different foods are eaten by dipping them in other items (celery in salt water, Maror in a sweet paste called "Haroset"). In ancient times this was done only at fancy feasts attended by free people, and therefore it symbolizes freedom.

Rabbi Eleazar ben Azaria

An ancient Jewish teacher who tried to find a source in the Bible that said we should tell about the liberation from Egypt at night. He did not find it, but Ben Zoma did.

It is said that when Rabbi Eleazar was chosen for an important position, he became so worried that his hair turned white like a seventy-year-old man, even though he was really only twenty years old at the time.

Elijah the Prophet (in Hebrew: Eliyahu Ha-Navi):

Elijah was one of the most beloved prophets of the Bible. He delivered messages from God, and miraculously helped many people.

Elijah never actually died, but was taken up to Heaven in a flaming chariot. Therefore it is believed that he still travels around carrying messages between Heaven and Earth.

The Bible also says that Elijah will be sent to announce the coming of the final redemption, when we will all live in a perfect and peaceful world.

It is customary to leave a special cup of wine for Elijah on the Seder table, and it is believed that he takes a sip from it as he visits every house on Passover.


When the Israelites left the slavery of Egypt.

The first of the month:

The Rabbis in the Haggadah discuss why the Passover story must be recited at night at the Seder, on the fifteen day of the Jewish month of Nisan, rather than during the day, and from the first of the month.

The Four Cups:

At each of four important parts of the Seder it is customary to drink a cupful of wine or grape juice.

The Four Questions:

At the Seder it is customer for the youngest child to begin by asking a series of questions about four unusual features of the meal: Why matzah and bitter herbs are eaten, that people dip their food, and lean when they sit.

The Four Sons:

Different places in the Bible use different expressions when talking about how one is supposed to tell their children about the Passover story.

This is understood to mean that the story must be told differently to four different kinds of people: The wise one, the wicked one, the simple one and the one who does not even know to ask.

Grace after meals:

After every meal it is customary to recite a blessing to thank God for the food. In Hebrew this is called "Birkat Ha-mazon." At the Seder, Grace is sung over a cup of wine.


On festive holidays like Passover a series of thanksgiving Psalms (from the Book of Psalms in the Bible) are recited. At the Seder they are sung over a cup of wine.


Jews in each generation are commanded to tell the wonderful story of their liberation from Egyptian slavery, especially at the "Seder." The traditional text that is used for this is called the "Haggadah" ("telling").

Ha Lachma:

A section at the beginning of the Haggadah where we point to a piece of matzah and invite people to the Seder.


When the Israelites left Egypt, it was so sudden that the dough that they took with them to make bread did not have time to rise (leaven) and become ordinary bread.

To remember this, everything that contain bread, yeast or any other leavened items must be carefully removed from Jewish homes before Passover, and cannot be eaten or used during the holiday. In Hebrew leaven is called "Hametz."

Instead of regular bread, Jews eat Matzah during Passover.

Hillel and his sandwich:

Hillel the Elder was one of the gratest Jewish teachers and leaders of ancient times. He tried to observe literally the Biblical command to eat the Pesah offering together with matzah and maror by combining them all together in a "sandwich."


Every Jewish holy day is officially introduced by reciting a special blessing called the "Kiddush" over a cup of wine.

The Hebrew word "Kiddush" means "sanctification," "making holy."

On Passover it is recited at the beginning of the Seder, and it is the first of the "Four Cups.

Bitter Herbs (in Hebrew: "Maror"):

To remember the bitterness of slavery, bitter herbs (usually lettuce or horseradish) are eaten at the Seder.


When the Israelites left Egypt, their dough did not have time to rise and make real bread. All they took with them were flat, dry unleavened cakes called "matzah." In order to remember this, only matzah may be eaten on Passover, not hametz.

Opening the Door:

At the end of the Seder meal it is customary to open the door and welcome in the Prophet Elijah.

Passover (in Hebrew: Pesah):

The week-long Jewish holiday, occuring during the Spring season, that recalls when the Israelites, the ancestors of the Jews, were miraculously freed from centuries of slavery in Egypt.

The name refers to the last of the ten plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptians. All their first-born children were put to death, but God "passed over" the houses of the Israelites. Immediately afterwards they were set free.


The original Hebrew word for Passover.

Also refers to the lamb that was sacrificed and eaten in ancient times on the first night of the holiday.


The name given to all ancient Egyptian kings, especially the wicked one who refused to allow the Israelites to go free.

Rabbi Akiva:

An ancient Jewish teacher who stayed up all night telling about the wonders of how the Israelites were freed from Egypt.

Reclining, Leaning:

In ancient times people at fancy feasts used to lie down on couches when they ate. Because this is the custom of free people, it is customary at the Seder to lean to one side during the meal.


The festive meal held on the first nights of Passover. The participants recite the Haggadah, as they symbolically relive the experiences of slavery and the joy of being free people. The traditional ceremony is very complicated, so it is done according to a detailed order. The Hebrew word "Seder" means "order."

The Temple:

The great Jewish Temple of Jerusalem was the center of Jewish worship until it was destroyed by the Roman army in the year 70 C.E. Since then Jews have not offered sacrifices, including the Pesah offering.

The Ten Plagues:

The Bible tells that Pharaoh did not give in and allow the Israelite slaves to leave Egypt until after God had inflicted upon them ten terrible plagues:

  1. The water turned to blood.
  2. Frogs.
  3. Lice.
  4. Wild animals.
  5. Cattle disease.
  6. Boils.
  7. Hail.
  8. Locusts.
  9. Darkness.
  10. The deaths of all the Egyptian first-born.

Urgent Warning about Tigers!!

Please be advised that in spite of the impression created by this poem, Tigers are not kosher animals, and may not be eaten according to Jewish religious law (even on rye)!
(They are also extremely dangerous.)

The reference here was apparently inserted by an unscrupulous prankster,
or is to a vegetarian imitation, or an ice-cream flavour, etc.