Jewish Life in Your Life

Search and the other Reform websites:

What does "seder" mean?

What does "seder" mean?
Answer By: 
Rabbi Daniel B. Syme

The Hebrew word seder means “order” and most often refers to the religious service and festive meal observed in Jewish households on Pesach. Seder derives from the same root as the Hebrew word siddur (prayer book).

Just as the siddur contains the order of prayers for daily, Shabbat, and festival services, so is the Passover seder - and, in many Sephardic and Mizrahi communities, the Rosh HaShanah seder - a prescribed order of prayers, readings, symbolic explanations, and songs related to the holiday. The Pesach seder is the only ritual meal in the Jewish calendar year for which such an order is prescribed, hence its name.

A seder can and should be interactive – encourage questioning, fun, and learning to ensure everyone from the youngest to the oldest at your table comes away with something new!