The Five Minute Seder

Some people want to have a very fast seder. This guide is for them.

A few years ago a non-observant friend asked if I could put together a five minute seder. I pared down the Beyond BT Guide to the Seder and produced the instructions below. Pass it on to anyone for whom it might be helpful.


1) Kaddesh – Sanctify the day with the recitation of Kiddush
*Leader says

On Shabbos add:
Vay’hi erev vay’hi voker yom hashi-shi. Vay’chulu hashamayim v’ha-aretz v’choltzva’am.
Vay’chal Elohim bayom hashvi’i, m’lachto asher asah, vayishbot bayom hashvi-i,
mikol-mlachto asher asah. Vay’vareich Elohim, et-yom hashvi’i, vay’kadeish oto,
ki vo shavat mikol-mlachto, asher-bara Elohim la-asot.

On all days continue
Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ha-Gofen.

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, asher bachar banu mikol’am,
v’rom’manu mikol-lashon, v’kid’shanu b’mitzvotav, vatiten-lanu Adonai Eloheinu
b’ahavah (shabatot limnuchah u) moadim l’simchah, chagim uz’manim l’sason et-yom
(hashabat hazeh v’et-yom) chag hamatzot hazeh. Z’man cheiruteinu, (b’ahavah,)
mikra kodesh, zeicher litziat mitzrayim. Ki vanu vacharta v’otanu kidashta mikol
ha’amim. (v’shabat) umo’adei kod’shecha (b’ahavah uv’ratzon) b’simchah uv’sason
hinchaltanu. Baruch atah Adonai, m’kadeish (h’shabbat v’) Yisrael v’hazmanim.

Ba-ruch A-tah A-do-noi E-loi-hei-nu Me-lech ha-o-lam
she-he-chee-ya-nu v’ki-yi-ma-nu vi-hi-gi-ya-nu liz-man ha-zeh.

*Drink the 1st cup of wine. Lean to your left while drinking.

2) Urechatz, – *Wash your hands before eating Karpas.

3) Karpas – *Eat a vegetable dipped in salt water.
*Leader says Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ho-adomah –
*Everybody eats the vegetable. Lean to your left while eating.

4) Yachatz. -* Break the middle Matzah. Hide the larger half for Afikoman.

5) Maggid – *Tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt
Here is a summary of the story. (Alternatively go around the room reading in English from a translated Haggadah.)

The main mitzvah of the night is telling about the Exodus from Egypt.
*Pour the 2nd Cup of Wine
*Four Questions are asked

*The answer to the four questions is given.

According to one commentator, it’s broken up into 6 parts based on the verse in the Torah which describes the mitzvah of telling the story at the Seder:
“And you shall relate to your child on that day saying: it is because of this Hashem acted for me when I came forth out of Egypt.”

a)– And you shall relate to your child – four types of chidren/people with different belief levels are discussed.

b)– on that day – explains that we should tell the story on Passover night and not earlier in the month,

c)– saying – the actual story:
Our ancestors were idol worshippers;—– through Abraham;—– Egyptian Enslavement;—– We cry out;—– G-d hears our cries
G-d saves us with the 10 plagues;—– We express our thanks for G-d saving us
Dip your finger in the wine for the 10 plagues
1) Water, which turned to blood and killed all fish and other aquatic life
2) Frogs
3) Lice
4) Wild animals
5) Disease on livestock
6) Incurable boils
7) Hail and thunder
8) Locusts
9) Darkness
10) Death of the first-born of all Egyptian humans and animals. To be saved, the Israelites had to place the blood of a lamb on the front door of their houses.

d) — It is because of this — “Rabban Gamliel explains why we use the Passover offering, Matzah and Maror.
The Passover lamb, represented in our times by the roasted bone, recalls the blood on the doorposts and the terror and anticipation of the night of the plague of the first born.

Matzah is what we ate in the morning when Israel was rushed out of Egypt with no time to let their dough rise.

Maror captures the bitterness of the enslavement.

e) — Hashem acted for me…” – “In every generation, we should see ourselves as if we had gone out from Egypt.

f) – when I came forth out of Egypt.” –We recite 2 songs of praise to G-d similar to the songs recited when we left Egypt.

*Leader of Seder recites Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ha-Gofen.
*Drink the 2nd cup of wine. Lean to your left while drinking.

6) Rachtzah – *Wash the hands prior to eating Matzah and the meal.
*After washing and before drying say
*Say Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melcch Ho-olom Asher Kidshonu B’mitzvosov V’tzivonu Al N’tilas Yodoyim.

7) Motzi – *Recite the Hamotzi blessing over eating Matzah before a Meal
*Say Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Hamotzi Lechem Min Ho-oretz.

8) Matzah – *Recite the blessing over eating Matzah
*Say Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Asher Kidshonu B’mitzvosov Vtzivonu Al Achilas Matzah.

*Eat the Matzah. Lean to your left while eating.

9) Maror – *The Maror is dipped in Charoscs
*Say Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Asher Kidshonu B’mitzvosov Vtzivonu Al Achilas Maror.
*Eat the Maror.

10) Korech – *Eat a sandwich of Matzah and Maror.
*Eat the Sandwich.

11) Shulchan Orech – *Eat the festival meal

Find the Afikoman.

12) Tzafun – *Eat the Afikoman which had been hidden all during the Seder.
*Pour the 3rd cup of wine

13) Barech – Recite Birchas Hamazon, the blessings after the meal

*Leader of Seder recites blessing Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ha-Gofen.
*Drink the 3rd cup of wine. Lean to your left while drinking.

*Pour the 4th cup of wine;
*Pour the cup for Elijah

14) Hallel – Recite the praises of G-d
*Leader of Seder recites Boruch Atoh Ado-noy Elo-haynu Melech Ho-olom Boray P’ri Ha-Gofen.
*Drink the 4th cup of wine. Lean to your left while drinking.

15) Nirtzah – Pray that G-d accepts our praise and speedily sends the Messiah.
Sing the songs of the Haggadah

photo credit: dcJohn via photopin cc

14 comments on “The Five Minute Seder

  1. Boker Tov–
    Let me wish all of you a wonderful Passover. Because of this website, I am living a more meaningful religious life.

  2. Maybe 30-60 minute seder. This include Barech, Hallel, and Nirtza which can’t be done in 5 minutes (after doing everything else). Unless of course, you’re one of those who davens at the speed of a sneeze.

  3. I so thoroughly agree with Mark on this post and how he has presented it that I can’t believe he’s getting any grief about it at all.

    As a very bright and intense friend of mine once said, “Some of you folks really need to chill out about the BT stuff.”

  4. When people know something is short, it is more likely they’ll pay attention. Ideally all Jews should be spending 2-5 hours at their seder. But unfortunately some people are only willing to spend 5 minutes on the religion part at this point in their lives.

    The secular friends who I grew up, and who I reconnect with on a dedicated Facebook account, asked for a 5 minute seder. So I prepared it and named it to fill their request. They weren’t interested in Seder 101; they can already find that on the Internet.

  5. I would feel far more comfortable if this effort was described as “Seder 101” rather than as “The 5 Minute Seder.” That’s not just semantics. (I’ve already rejected the phrase “Seder for Dummies” as being too much of an insult to decent well-meaning people, as well as being a term trademarked by those folks who publish the line of “Dummies” books). “Seder 101” implies an introductory level course, with full explanations of what is going on. “Five Minute Seder” sounds more like “I gotta catch a plane, so make it super quick.”

    Also, the above sequence of events, however abbreviated, doesn’t sound as if it will take only five minutes. In my house at least, the arguments (especially with the kids but sometimes the adults too) about who sits where, and next to whom, can take a good fifteen minutes before we even start the Seder. Pouring wine…arguing about what wine to drink….drinking it….the matzah and marror eating, with everyone complaining about the amount of matzah handed out and who got served first….dinner….how in the world will even this highly abridged Seder take less than an hour to complete?

  6. I can’t see how a short seder with valuable content could possibly be considered negative when the alternative is either no seder or a longer seder without the valuable content (or with valuable content, but presented in such a way that the recipients can’t or won’t absorb it).

    Exactly who is the right crowd for the 5 minute seder and how one determines whom to present it to are legitimate questions that need to be addressed, but it’s clear to me that the idea is worthwhile for some of the people out there.

  7. Judy, AF – The 5 minute seder was written for non-observant people who will be having their own seder without the assistance of anybody who knows how to run a mesorah-based seder.

  8. I tend to agree with Judy that the best approach for combining legit/for-real with not-interminable is that of Chabad. When I have gone to Chabad seders, I have always found that I move along a bit slower because I am reading everything (and I can’t yet read at the blitzkrieg pace of Chabad shluchim). But the fact that the rest of the train is chugging along at 130% of my pace is never a problem. I just keep up as best I can and catch up as best I can where I was unable to keep up in the first place. The result is that there are people in the room who are doing everything really fast (the shaliach and his family), people in the room who are doing less than everything really fast (the more inexperienced folks), and people who are doing everything relatively slowly (me and other similar folks).

    Could that be shoehorned into a family seder context rather than a larger Chabad seder? I have no idea…

  9. People are asking for a short Seder because they have learned to intensely dislike it, so that the thought of having to sit through one has become about as appealing as undergoing a root canal.

    The key then is NOT to shorten the Seder, but to make it enjoyable. You’re talking about individuals who have no problem sitting through lehavdil a four-hour Super Bowl game show or a child’s graduation ceremony with all the speeches and presentations.

    I think that Chabad has done a very nice job of making community Seders which are meaningful without seeming interminable, and yes last a lot longer than five minutes. The Haggadah itself with its songs and participation seems to have been designed by Chazal to keep bored children interested in what is going on.

    Many families personalize their Seders with “shtick” like toy frogs, turning it into a beloved family tradition that grown children remember happily, and want of their own volition to come back to even years later when they are free to choose not to.

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