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Mitzvah of Sippur Yetsiat Mitzrayim

  1. There is a positive mitzvah from the Torah to explain the story of the Jewish people leaving Egypt (Sippur Yetziat Mitzrayim) on Pesach night.[1] Some suggest that if no one asks any questions, there is only a rabbinic mitzvah to discuss the story of Yitziyat Mitzrayim.[2]
  2. One should have intent before beginning Maggid that is fulfilling the mitzvah of Sippur Yetsiat Mitzrayim. [3]
  3. One should only start the Haggadah after Tzet HaKochavim. [4]
  4. The mitzvah of Sippur Yetsiat Mitrayim is to explain to one’s sons and daughter according to their understanding.[5] It is important that those in attendance understand what they are being told. Therefore, some recommend translating into English for the benefit of those who do not understand Hebrew..[6]
  5. The entire Haggadah from Ha Lachma Anya can be said in the common language so that everyone understands.[7]
  6. One’s son should ask the questions in order to explain Yetsiat Mitzrayim. If one doesn’t have a son, one’s daughter should ask. [8] If one doesn’t have children, one’s wife should ask. If two people are together, they should ask one another. If one is alone, one should ask oneself. Grandchildren are like children regarding this mitzvah.[9]
  7. Not everyone at the table must say over the story of Yetsiat Mitzrayim or read the entire Haggadah but rather it’s sufficient that one person at the table explains the story of Yetsiat Mitzrayim and reads the Haggadah while everyone else listens and pays attention. [10]
  8. Women are also obligated in Sippur Yetsiat Mitzrayim, yet they shouldn’t fulfill the obligation of men by reading it aloud and having men listen, nonetheless after the fact men have fulfilled the obligation.[11]
  9. Blind people are also obligated in reading the Haggadah.[12]
  10. Even if one doesn’t have Matzah and Maror should still recite the Haggadah.[13]

Someone who has Small Children

  1. Someone who doesn’t have time and has to say Maggid in a big rush should say the paragraph of Avadim Hayinu עבדים היינו which fulfills the mitzvah Deoritta of Sippur Yetsiat Mitzrayim.[14]
  2. If one has little children who can’t stay up too late, one should go through the Haggadah quicker so that the children are able to participate in the other מצות of the night.[15]

Ha Lachma Anya

  1. The smaller piece of the broken matzah should be placed between the other two Matzot and put it back on the Kaarah.[16]
  2. One should raise the Kaarah for Ha Lachma Anya. Some have the custom just to raise the broken piece of Matza.[17]

Mah Nishtana

  1. One should remove the Kaarah from the table before Mah Nishtana to get the children to ask.[18] Some have the custom only to remove the broken piece of Matzah. Others have the custom to announce the removal of the Kaarah but not actual do so. [19]
  2. When the children ask why is the Kaareh being removed one should answer that this is to show that one is not to eat before fulfilling Sippur Yetsiat Mitzrayim. [20]
  3. Nowadays when it’s unclear from our actions of dipping the food and by leaning while eating that we are displaying actions of royalty, the after should answer the child’s recital of the Mah Nishtana with an explanation of such. [21]
  4. If the child said Mah Nishtana, some say that the one running the Seder doesn’t have to repeat the Mah Nishtana [22], while others suggest that one should do so. [23]
  5. Even if the child asks a question related to the seder the one running the Seder should still read the Mah Nishtana. [24]
  6. The second cup is poured after the Mah Nishtana to get the children to ask.[25]
  7. The captions underneath the pictures on the side of the Haggadah is permissible to read on Yom Tov.[26]

Avadim Hayinu

  1. From Avadim Hayinu to the end of Maggid, the matzot should be exposed. This duration is considered the primary recital of the Haggada.[27]

Vehi She'amda

  1. During Vehi She’amdah and Lefikakh, one should raise the cup of wine and cover the matzot.[28]

Ten Macot

  1. For each word of dam, aish, ve-timrot ashan, the ten plagues, and its corresponding acronym, the custom is take a drop of wine out of the cup.[29]Some say that one should spill it out into a broken vessel [30], while others have a minhag to spill it onto plates. [31]
  2. Some say that it’s preferable to spill the wine from a cup and not to dip one’s finger in the cup and then drop in onto a plate. [32]
  3. Some say not to drink the wine after it was spilled out of the cup [33], while others permitted drinking the wine which one spilled. [34]
  4. The Matzah should be revealed during Maggid except for VeHiy SheAmda until Matzilenu Meyadam when the cup of wine is raised and again from Lifekach when one should raise the cup of wine. [35]
  5. Some say that one shouldn’t spill or drop with one’s finger wine for the Ten Macot if one is using Shemittah wine. [36]
  6. When one says to Matzah Zeh one should raise the Matzah, when one says Maror Zeh one should raise the Maror, but when one says Pesach Zeh one should not rasie the Zeroah. [37]


  1. Upon arriving at the paragraph of Dayenu, pandemonium breaks out in the Perisan household: the Persian custom is for everybody to grab scallions and whip each other with them each time the word "Dayenu" is said.[38]

Rabban Gamliel

  1. Some say that if one didn't say the statement of Rabban Gamliel one has fulfilled one's mitzvah of Haggadah (if one does speak about Yetziyat Mitzrayim) but not in the most preferable fashion.[39]

Pesach Zeh

  1. While saying “Pesach Zeh” one should not pick up the shank bone.[40]

Eating during Maggid

  1. If there’s a need, it’s permissible to eat vegetables or fruit or drink something which is invalid for the 4 cups of wine during the reading of the Haggadah (Maggid). [41]

Bracha at the end of Maggid

  1. The minhag is to say מן הזבחים ומן הפסחים in the Bracha of אשר גאלנו even on years where Pesach falls out on Motzei Shabbat.[42]
  2. One may recite the Bracha of אשר גאלנו even if one doesn’t have wine. [43]
  3. Those who wish to recite the Leshem Yichud before drinking the 2nd cup, should do so before before the beracha of Asher Gealanu or simply think about the content of these phrases instead of saying the words, rather than between the Hallel and the beracha on the 4th cup so as not to create a hefsek between the beracha and its corresponding borei pri hagefen.[44]


  1. Sefer HaChinuch 21, Rambam (Sefer Hamitzvot Asin 157), Rambam (Hilkhot Chametz U-Matzah 7:1-2) explains that reading the Haggadah is a positive commandment from the Torah of telling the story of Yetziat Mitzrayim. The central part of the mitzvah, continues Rambam, is for a parent to tell his or her children the story
  2. Rabbi Yerucham Fishel Perlow (quoted by the Likkutei Shoshanim) based on the Teshuvat HaRosh 24:2, who discusses why there's no bracha on the mitzvah of sippur yetziyat mitzrayim.
  3. Mishna Brurah (Intro to 473)
  4. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 47)
  5. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 55)
  6. Rama 473:6, Rav Schachter on the Haggadah pg. 72
  7. Rama 473:6, Mishna Brurah 473:62
  8. Halichot Shlomo (pg 259 note 208), Chazon Ovadyah (pg 55)
  9. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 55)
  10. Halichot Shlomo 9:31, Rav Shimon Eider (Halachos of Pesach 24: note 6), Chazon Ovadyah (pg 47-51), Rav Schachter on OU Pre-Pesach Webcast 5771 between minutes 43:30 and 45:30 and there he says that the same is true of the section Rabban Gamliel Haya Omer. In Maaseh Rav 191, it says that the Vilna Gaon alone would recite the whoe haggada while everyone else listened.
  11. Mishna Brurah 473:64, Chazon Ovadyah (pg 52). Rav Yizchak Yosef (Motzei Shabbat Vayikra 5781, min 26) said that Rav Ovadia used to split up the maggid by giving everyone a paragraph to read including the women and it isn't a concern of kol isha. Rav Nevinsal in Byitzchak Yikra agreed that it isn't kol isha but added that if a woman is reading the men should read along since it isn't proper for a man to fulfill his obligation with the reading of a woman.
  12. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 58)
  13. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 53)
  14. Halichot Shlomo 9:32
  15. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 56). Rav Hershel Schachter (OU Pre-Pesach Webcast 5771 between minutes 46:30 and 50:30) says that the essentials of the Haggadah to be said are Kiddush, Ha Lachma Anya, Mah Nishtana, Avadim Hayinu, Metechila Ovdei Ovoda Zara, Baruch HaMakom, 4 sons, Arami Oved Avi, (Rabban Gamliel), the beginning of Hallel, Birkat HaMazon, and the end of Hallel.
  16. S”A 473:6
  17. S”A 473:6, Chazon Ovadyah (vol 2, p. 47)
  18. S”A 473:6
  19. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 47); Be’ir Hei-tev 473:22
  20. Mishna Brurah 473:66
  21. Halichot Shlomo 9:30
  22. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 55)
  23. Halichot Shlomo (pg 259 note 208)
  24. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 55)
  25. S”A 473:7
  26. Halichot Shlomo 9:33
  27. Shulchan Aruch 473:7; the Gemara (Pesachim 115b) explains that the matzah is called lechem oni since it is bread that we speak about, onin alav, during the Seder. Accordingly, Maharil (cited by Bet Yosef 473:7) writes that we leave the matzah exposed for the recital of the Haggadah since it should be present as we speak about Yetziat Mitzrayim.
  28. Shulchan Arukh 473:7. The Tur (473:7) writes that the Ashkenazic minhag is to raise the cup of wine at Lefikakh so Hallel can be said over a cup of wine. The Shulchan Arukh (473:7) agrees. Shl”ah (Pesachim, ch. “Ner Mitzvah” n. 41) writes that one should raise the cup of wine while saying Vehi She’amdah because Vehi She’amdah is a praise to Hashem for saving us time and again. This is cited by Mishna Brurah (473:73). Rabbi Yaakov Landau in the Agur (cited by the Beit Yosef 473:7) writes that while the cup is raised, the matzot should be covered to not “embarrass” the matzah that it is being consumed only after the wine is drunk (See Mishna Brurah 271:41).
  29. Rama 473:7
  30. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 58)
  31. Halichot Shlomo (pg 272 note 241-2)
  32. Halichot Shlomo (pg 272 note 241), Chazon Ovadyah (pg 58). Rabbi Moshe Isserles in Darkhei Moshe (473:18) explains that the custom to remove a drop of wine for each of the makkot and its related phrases kabbalistically represents the vengeance Hashem took against Egypt. For this reason, he writes that one should use the pointer finger, etzbah, in accordance with the verse etzbah Elokim hiy (Shemot 8:15). The Shaar HaTziyun (473:81) writes that obviously if a person is fastidious and will be disgusted to drink the rest of the cup of wine, and will have to spill it out, one should simply pour from the cup for each makkah and not use his finger to minimize a waste of wine. Rav Ovadia Yosef (Chazon Ovadia, Pesach p. 152), however, cites the opinion of the Rabbi Chaim Benveniste in Pesach Me’ubin (n. 261) who writes that under all circumstances, one should pour out the remaining wine, for after all the makkot were said over this wine.
  33. Chazon Ovadyah (Haggadah Shel Pesach pg 68)
  34. Halichot Shlomo (pg 272 note 242)
  35. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 57)
  36. Halichot Shlomo 9:35
  37. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 58)
  38. Minhagei Paras, part II, Pesach #8 by Hanina Mizrachi, An Iranian Seder in Beverly Hills, New York Times, March 10, 2010;
  39. Milchamot (Brachot 2b), Darkei Moshe 473:19
  40. Mishna Brurah 473:72. The Gemara (Pesachim 116b) writes that when one reaches matzah zeh one should raise the matzah, when one reaches maror zeh one should raise the maror, but when one reaches pesach zeh one should not raise the cooked meat set aside to represent the Pesach, to prevent the impression that one has made that animal a korban outside the Beit Ha-Mikdash. Rashbam (s.v. tzarikh le-hagbihah) writes that the reason we raise the matzah is in order to display it and make the mitzvah more dear to those present at the Seder. The Tur and the Shulchan Arukh (473:7) codify this as halakhah.
  41. Halichot Shlomo 9:34
  42. Halichot Shlomo 9:36, Rav Schachter on the Haggadah pg. 178
  43. Chazon Ovadyah (pg 60)
  44. Rav Schachter on the Haggadah pg 176-177
Time Topic
Before Pesach
Month of Nissan - Shabbat HaGadol - Bedikat Chametz - Biur Chametz - Bitul Chametz - Tanit Bechorot - Erev Pesach - Selling Chametz - Erev Pesach That Fell out on Shabbat - Candle Lighting on Yom Tov - Kashering the kitchen for Pesach - Which foods, medications, cosmetics, and toiletries are Chametz? - Kitniyot - Chametz of a non-Jew - Owning Chametz on Pesach
Kaddesh - Urchatz - Karpas - Yachatz - Maggid - Rachsa - Motzei Matzah - Maror - Korech - Shulchan Orech - Tzafun - Barech - Hallel of the Seder - Nirtzah - Kriyat Shema Al HaMitah
- Setting the Table (The Seder plate) - Arvit of the night of Pesach - Leaning during the Seder - Required Amount of Matzah and Wine for the Seder - The four cups of wine - Matzah
After Pesach
Issru Chag - Chametz which a Jew owned on Pesach - Pesach Sheni