(The Leader points to the Seder plate and declares)
Leader: Behold this Seder plate and these traditional symbols.
All: What do they mean, and of what do they speak?
Leader: The story of Passover is a story of our deliverance from bondage, and all of the elements of the Passover meal are part of the portrait of redemption.
All: What is the meaning of the karpas, or greens, and the salt water?
Fathers: The greens represent life, and the salt water represents the tears of life. Before we eat the greens, we dip them into the salt water, for truly...
All: A life unredeemed from sin and death is a life immersed in tears.
Leader: Let us eat the karpas. (All dip a piece of the parsley in salt water and eat.)
All: What is the meaning of the hazeret, the root of the bitter herb?
Fathers: This horseradish root reminds us that the root of life is often bitter, as it certainly was for the sons of Israel in the land of Egypt.
All: And what is the meaning of the maror, the bitter herb itself?
Fathers: As we partake of the freshly ground horseradish, we are reminded afresh of how bitter life is without redemption.
Leader: Let us eat the bitter herb. (All eat a small helping of horseradish with matzah.)
All: But what is the meaning of the haroset and why is it sweet to the taste?
Fathers: The haroset is a reminder of the mortar with which the Israelites made bricks for Pharaoh.
All: But why should such a sweet mixture represent such bitter toil?
Fathers: Even the bitterest labor is sweetened by the promise of redemption.
Leader: Let us eat the haroset. (All eat a small helping of haroset between two small pieces of matzah.)
All: And what is the meaning of the egg, the hagigah? And why is it brown?
Fathers: Hagigah was the name given to the daily Temple sacrifice in ancient Jerusalem. It is roasted to turn it brown, just as the daily offerings were burned with fire upon the altar of the Lord. The hagigah is a token of grief to the Jewish people, grief over the destruction of the Temple; and first before we eat it, we dip it into salt water - the tears of life.
Leader: Let us eat the Hagigah. (All dip a piece of the egg into salt water and eat it.)
All: And what is the meaning of the zeroah, the shank bone of the lamb?
Leader: Passover is also known as the feast of the Passover lamb, and yet in Jewish homes throughout the world, lamb is not served at any Passover table. Instead, we have this zeroah to remind us of those first Passover lambs which were sacrificed on the night of our redemption. As it is written:
All: "In one house shall it be eaten, neither shall ye break a bone of it."
Leader: "It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, who passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians, and delivered our houses."
All: But why do we no longer partake of the Paschal lamb as in the days of old when the ancient Temple stood?
Leader: Simply because the Temple stands no more. The Passover sacrifice, as well as all sacrifices, could only be offered upon the altar in Jerusalem. And so, since the Temple's destruction in 70 A.D., no sacrifices have been made, and no lamb is found on the Passover table.
All: But without sacrifices, how can we atone for our sins, for the Law declares, "It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." Does this mean that atonement and redemption are no longer possible?
Leader: May it never be! Those of us who know the Messiah, know too that God has provided a sacrifice for our sins: the Passover lamb who takes away the sin of the world.
All: The Messiah Jesus.
Leader: Blessed art Thou, 0 Lord our God, who offers redemption from death, and atonement for sins.