Tag Archives: mah nishtanah

Our Pesach So Far


As I sit here typing the house is silent. But the walls echo with the hustle and bustle and noise that four rambunctious and healthy boys generate. They left not too long ago to stay the second half of Pesach with their other parent, and while part of me relishes the silence, a bigger part of me misses them so much already.


Erev Chag was a maelstrom of preparation – laundry needed to get done, cooking needed to be done, and all the extra stuff for the Seder had to be prepared. I knew what needed to be done, but kept the list in my head as it would just have been way too overwhelming to see it written down in print! It is so incredible that no matter how much time you have to prepare for Shabbat or a holiday you are always busy until the last minute.


But the eggs got boiled (2 dozen), the potatoes peeled and mashed, two types of baked chicken, the chicken soup with matzah balls was cooking by 7 am. (well the soup was, the matzah balls didn’t get boiled till much later). Vegetables were chopped, horseradish was grated (OMG it was a killer on the eyes but boy did it clear out those stuffy sinuses!!), charoset prepared…. And the pyromaniac in me totally enjoyed burning the shank bone and the egg for the Seder plate.


Slowly but surely the whirling dervish in the kitchen got it all together, and even managed to take a nap like everyone else in the household before the holiday. (well, until the phone rang – but it was time to get up anyway I guess.) I would like to say that I wasn’t cranky or tetchy or anything at all remotely resembling those states of mind, but I am sure I was just a teeny bit stressed….(KoD you can weigh in here….or perhaps not lol)


I was convinced that I had gained myself some time by setting the Seder table the night before, but I don’t think it made the slightest bit of difference logistically. It did however make me feel good Tuesday night that something was accomplished.


SO finally, everyone was showered and dressed in their Yom Tov suits, and all the boys happily trooped off to shul with the KoD. [Yes, even Hopalong Squigs went with. He is now walking unassisted, no cane nor crutches, and has been doing amazingly well.]


I actually had 60 minutes of time to myself to just sit and decompress before the crazy evening ahead. It was to be just the 6 of us for Seder, so there was less pressure.


They arrived home from shul pumped up and ready to start. Prince HockeyFan had been practicing his Mah Nishtanah all day long – he said it in Pig Latin. (for more languages go here), so he was chomping at the bit to get started.


The KoD took his place at the head of our table, and it just seemed so right and natural for him to be there, as if he had been there every year since the beginning of time. He sat there in his kittel that he wore for our wedding – that added to the joy I felt at that moment. We hadn’t had a Seder in our house in a few years, and it was just so awesome to have my KoD lead two Sedarim chez nous this year.


We were not interested in rushing the Seder, but we didn’t want to drag it out too long – the kids still find it tough to stay up past 11 o’clock. But they had all made Haggadot in school, and learned hundreds of Divrei Torah that they had wanted to share with us. The KoD had plenty that he wanted to share too, as he had spent hours in the days before the holiday with his head in the sefarim (books) that deal with Pesach and the Seder and the laws and traditions etc. Luckily for me I didn’t have to change my way of doing things, I just learned more through him. And luckily for the both of us our Pesach traditions are more or less the same. (oh and my matzah brei passed the test too, phew!!)


KoD instituted a point system that he had the kids prepare Erev Chag. For every question they answered correctly they got either 5, 10 or 15 points depending on difficulty of question. (and yes apparently I got bonus points for my soup). This really helped in keeping them motivated and involved.  Prince Chatterbox was so excited with every point he earned.


Every child said the Mah Nishtanah in the language of their choice. I said it in Ladino, Prince HockeyFan in Pig Latin (how kosher is that at the seder table??), Prince ChatterBox said in Hebrew, Prince Lenny said it in Vietnamese (did an admirable job) and Prince Squiggy sang a different tune in Hebrew that was just beautiful. The second night more languages were attempted – and much hilarity ensued!


(I still have to write my own version of the Four Sons, obviously personalized to my bunch. Somehow, “Wise, Evil, Simple, Unable to Ask”, don’t apply to them – they are all WISE (and don’t tell me I am a biased Jewish Mama!!!))


It seems as I get older the Maggid section of the Haggadah indeed gets shorter, no matter how much explanation goes on. I remember being a kid and counting the pages until the maror, because that meant it was a few short minutes until FOOD!! By that point I was starving because there was never anything decent to eat Erev Yom Tov. Before I knew it we were at the Maror part, and my biggest boy wanted to have a lot of grated horseradish – I guess because he is now “a man” he wanted a man-size portion. He did well. But I think even though grating the horseradish caused tremendous distress to yours truly, it was a weak one. Nobody’s face turned puce during the eating of it. One thing I hadn’t known that KoD brought to my attention is that it is actually forbidden to eat actual chunks of Horseradish as it can be very dangerous to a person. It cannot be a mitzvah if it is dangerous. That’s why we grate it. I hadn’t known that. (From the Mishnah Brurah)


Soon enough it was meal time and by the end of the meal there were only 2 boys left at the table. The others stayed up for soup and matzah balls – filled their bellies, and trotted off to bed.


We finished both Sedarim by 12:30 – with one kid making it through. First night it was Prince ChatterBox (amazing) and second night was Prince Lenny.


First day Yom Tov when I got to shul the KoD approached me and told me that Prince HockeyFan appeared to have a fever. On closer inspection I ascertained that he indeed was burning up. Poor thing, to be sick on Pesach. I took him over to where we would be eating lunch, just down the street, and we dosed him up with Advil. Within half an hour he had been reborn – he was chatting and being his normal self. Incredible what that medicine can do. He had fever for most of the rest of Yom Tov, unfortunately, but so long as we kept him on the Advil he was ok. He got to have extra cuddles from his Ima while the rest of the male people were at shul – that can’t be all bad can it?


The rest of Yom Tov passed in a blur of food, delicious yummy food – we ate out the rest of the meals. We spent a lot of time visiting with friends and family, and plenty of going to shul.


In the past, a three day Yom Tov / Shabbat was cause for me gnashing my teeth and wringing my hands. This year it was just totally awesome, to spend it with five of my favourite men. The KoD made the Sedarim just totally amazing and meaningful, and my boys reminded me again of just how well behaved they are, and how loving and caring and just sweet they can be.


Because of their good behaviour and the points they scored during the Seder we rewarded them with a trip to the War Museum in Ottawa – something that they had been begging for for days and days. They had been there before – but had wanted to go again. KoD loves that kind of stuff too – so it was a great idea for all the boyz to have the fun that they wanted.


It was a two hour drive from our home, but the kids had fun watching their new favourite series on the DVD players in the car. Hogan’s Heroes. I have never watched it in my life, but apparently I missed out. We spent a great amount of time in the war museum, the kids were just so fascinated with everything they saw. Boys, war, tanks, guns, soldiers…….they were in heaven. Our last stop in the war museum was the tank room. This vast room housed dozens of military vehicles – tanks, self-propelled howitzers, motorcycles, etc. I think the kids would have been happy to move in there for week. By this point I was beyond bored – it is so not my thing, but I was thrilled that 5 of my favourite males were having such a great time. Each one of the boys thanked both the KoD and me profusely for taking them there. They had a great time!


That is our Pesach so far – another 3 and a half days left, days which for the KoD and I will be a lot quieter, but still very special, for we will be together.




Mah Nishtanah – multilingually!

The Mah Nishtanah is usually recited at the Pesach Seder by the youngest able participant. It’s very cute when a little kid stands on his chair in front of the assembled relatives and friends and belts out from memory what he learned in school. The purpose, some say, of getting the youngest to do it, is to keep them interested in the proceedings and feel like they are part of the whole seder. I was never the youngest, being an older twin, but we shared the responsibility, from what I remember.

These questions actually originate in the mishnah, however, the original format was a little different. Written at the time of the temple, there was a question about why we only eat roasted meat (ie from a sacrifice). These days the question about reclining was put in its place, a substitution made by the Rambam and Rav Saadia Gaon. (I read that on Wikipedia, so I am not sure how true that is). It has been suggested that instead of just dropping the question about roasted meat, that a substitution had to be made, in order to keep the theme of FOUR at the seder – 4 questions, 4 cups of wine, 4 sons etc.

As my son mentioned in his Pesach piece, the idea of kids reciting the Four Questions, the Mah Nishtanah, in different languages, is a cool thing. At our family sedarim in the past (haven’t made a seder in a few years, post divorce, but now we are looking forward to having both at home this year) we tried to say them in at least three languages – English, Hebrew and Yiddish. We added French over time. I am looking high and low for translations into different languages WITH transliteration, but it seems transliterations are hard to come by.

But so far, we have found (and I take NO responsibility for the accuracy of the translations)


What makes this night different from all [other] nights?

1) On all nights we need not dip even once, on this night we do so twice!

2) On all nights we eat chametz or matzah, and on this night only matzah.

3) On all nights we eat any kind of vegetables, and on this night maror!

4) On all nights we eat sitting upright or reclining, and on this night we all recline!


Mah nishtanah halyla hazeh mikol halaylot

1) She’bechol halaylot ain anu matbilin afilu pa’am echat, halyla hazeh shtei pe’amim?

2) She’bechol halaylot anu ochlim chametz o matza, halyla hazeh kulo maztah?

3) She’bechol halaylot anu ochlim she’ar yerakot, halyla hazeh maror?

4) She’bechol halaylot anu ochlim bain yoshvin bain mesubin, halyla hazeh kulanu mesubin?


Tate ich vil bei dir fregen di fir kashes:

Vos iz Anderesh fun der Nacht fun Pesach fun ale necht fun a gants yor?

1) Di ershte kashe iz,

Ale necht fun a gants yor tunken mir nisht ayn afileh eyn mol, ober di nacht fun peysach, tunken mir ayn tsvey mol — ayn mol karpas in zaltz vasser, di tsveyte mol maror in charoses.

2) Di tsveyte kashe iz,

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir chomets ader matseh, ober di nakht fun peysakh, esn mir nor matseh.

3) Di drite kashe iz,

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir alerlay grintsen, ober di nacht fun peysach, esn mir nor bitere grintsen.

4) Di ferte kashe iz,

Ale necht fun a gants yor esn mir say zitsndikerheit un say ongeleynterheit, ober di nakht fun peysach, esn mir nor ongeleynterheit.

Tate ich hob bei dir gefrekdt di fir kashes yetzt gib mir a teretz.


Pourquoi cette nuit se différencie-t-elle de toutes les autres nuits?

1) Toutes les nuits, nous ne sommes pas tenus de tremper même une seule fois, cette nuit nous le faisons deux fois!

2) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons du ‘Hametz ou de la Matzah, cette nuit, seulement de la Matzah!

3) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons n’importe quel sorte de légumes, cette nuit, du Maror!

4) Toutes les nuits, nous mangeons assis ou accoudés, cette nuit, nous sommes tous accoudés!


¿Qué hace diferente a esta noche de todas las [demás] noches? ¿Ma nishtaná haláila hazé micól haleilót…

1) En todas las noches no precisamos sumergir ni siquiera una vez, ¡y en esta noche lo hacemos dos veces! …shebejól haleilót éin ánu matbilín afílu paám eját, haláila hazé shtéi peamím?

2) En todas las noches comemos jametz o matzá, ¡en esta noche solamente matzá! …shebejól haleilót ánu ojlín jamétz umatzá, haláila hazé kuló matzá?

3) En todas las noches comemos cualquier clase de verdura, ¡esta noche maror! …shebejól haleilót ánu ojlín sheár ieracót, haláila hazé marór?

4) En todas las noches comemos sentados erguidos o reclinados, ¡esta noche todos nos reclinamos!


Perché è diversa questa sera da tutte le altre?

1) Perché tutte le sere non intingiamo neppure una volta questa sera lo facciamo due volte?

2) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo chamètz e matzà questa sera soltanto matzà?

3) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo qualsiasi verdura questa sera maròr?

4) Perché tutte le sere noi mangiamo e beviamo sia seduti e sia adagiati, ma questa sera siamo tutti adagiati?


Was unterscheidet diese Nacht von allen anderen Nächten?

In allen anderen Nächten brauchen wir nicht ein einziges Mal einzutunken, in dieser Nacht zweimal.

In allen anderen Nächten können wir Gesäuertes und Ungesäuertes essen, in dieser Nacht nur Ungesäuertes.

In allen anderen Nächten können wir verschiedene Kräuter essen, in dieser Nacht nur bittere Kräuter.

In allen anderen Nächten können wir freisitzend oder angelehnt essen, in dieser Nacht sitzen wir alle angelehnt.


O que torna esta noite diferente de todas as [outras] noites ?

1) Em todas as noites não precisamos imergir nada nenhuma vez, nesta noite fazemos isto duas vezes !

2) Em todas as noites comemos chametz ou matzah, e nesta noite comemos apenas matzah.

3) Em todas as noites comemos qualquer tipo de vegetais e nesta noite comemos maror !

4) Em todas as noites comemos sentados em posição ereta ou reclinada e nesta noite todos nós nos reclinamos !


from Phyllis who posted on my FB page – she got it from here




Y DIP X2 7


CUZ . 🙂

By: Ruthie Ben-Mayor; Kibbutz Ein-Shemer, Israel

(I am loving that one!!)

Phyllis also told me about this book that has different languages for the Mah Nishtanah in them : 300 ways to ask four questions



 Quanto fue demud’ad’a la noce la esta, mas ke tod’as las noces?

Ke en tod’as las noces, non nos entinientes afilu ves una, i la noce la esta doz vezes.

Ke en tod’as las noces, nos komientes levdo o sesenia, i la noce la esta tod’o el sesenia.

Ke en tod’as las noces, nos komientes resto de ved’ruras, i la noce la esta licuga.

Ke en tod’as las noces, nos komientes i bevientes tanto asentad’os i tanto areskovdad’os, i la noce la esta tod’os nos areskovdad’os.


 Wat is het verschil tussen deze avond en alle andered avonden?

Op alle andere avonden mogen vij zowel gezuurd als ongezuurd brood eten, op deze avond eten we alleen maar angezuurd brood.

Want op alle andere avonden mogen vij allerlei soorten groenten eten, op deze avond alleen bitterkruid.

Want op alle andere avonden dopen v eons eten zelfs niet een keer in, op deze avond doen we het zelfs zwee mal.

Want op alle andere avonden eten we terwijl we zitten of leunen, op deze avond leune we de hele tijd.

 *Pedantic Belgian alert!  Correcting the Dutch version

Wat is het verschil tussen deze avond en alle andere avonden?

Op alle andere avonden mogen wij zowel gezuurd als ongezuurd brood eten, op deze avond eten we alleen maar ongezuurd brood.

Want op alle andere avonden mogen wij allerlei soorten groenten eten, op deze avond alleen bitterkruid.

Want op alle andere avonden dopen we ons eten zelfs niet een keer in, op deze avond doen we het zelfs twee maal.

Want op alle andere avonden eten we terwijl we zitten of leunen, op deze avond leunen we de hele tijd.

It really was pretty accurate, only I get excited when I see Dutch on the Internets.


Afrikaans (with thanks to Kerstin)

Hoe verskil dié nag van alle ander nagte?

1. Op alle nagte ons makeer nie dryf selfs gelyk eenmaal,op hierdie nag ons doen so tweekeer

2. Op alle nagte ons eet chametz of matzah, en op hierdie nag alleen matzah

3. Op alle nagte ons eet enige soort van groente, en op hierdie nag maror

4. Op alle nagte ons eet sittend regop of lê terug, en op hierdie nag ons almal lê

and I have Pig Latin (from the English – working on the Hebrew)

Atwhay akesmay isthay ightnay ifferentday omfray allway [otherway] ightsnay?

1) Onway allway ightsnay eway eednay otnay ipday evenway onceway

, onway isthay ightnay eway oday osay icetway!

2) Onway allway ightsnay eway eatway ametzchay orway atzahmay,

andway onway isthay ightnay onlyway atzahmay.

3) Onway allway ightsnay eway eatway anyway indkay ofway

egetablesvay, andway onway isthay ightnay arormay!

4) Onway allway ightsnay eway eatway ittingsay uprightway orway

ecliningray, andway onway isthay ightnay eway allway eclineray!

and the Hebrew Pig Latin

Ahmay ishtanahnay alylahay azehhay ikolmay alaylothay

1) Eshay’echolbay alaylothay ainway anuway atbilinmay afiluway

apay’amway echatway, alylahay azehhay eishtay epay’amimway?

2) Eshay’echolbay alaylothay anuway ochlimway ametzchay oway

atzamay, alylahay azehhay ulokay aztahmay?

3) Eshay’echolbay alaylothay anuway ochlimway eshay’arway

erakotyay, alylahay azehhay arormay?

4) Eshay’echolbay alaylothay anuway ochlimway ainbay oshvinyay

ainbay esubinmay, alylahay azehhay ulanukay esubinmay?


Ano ang iba’t-ibang mga gabi na ito mula sa lahat ng [iba] gabi?

1) Sa lahat ng gabi kailangan namin ng hindi sawsaw kahit isang beses, sa gabi namin gawin ito ng dalawang beses!

2) Sa lahat ng gabi namin kumain ng chametz o matzah, at sa gabi lamang matzah.

3) Sa lahat ng gabi namin kumain ng anumang uri ng gulay, at sa gabi ito maror!

4) Sa lahat ng gabi namin kumain ng upo nang tuwid o reclining, at sa gabi namin na ito ang lahat ng isandal!


El que fa aquesta nit diferent de totes les [altres] nits?

1) En totes les nits no tenim bany ni una sola vegada, en aquesta nit ho fem dues vegades!

2) En totes les nits que mengem o chametz Matzah, i en aquesta nit només Matzah.

3) En totes les nits mengem tot tipus de verdures, i en aquesta nit maror!

4) En totes les nits es menja assegut o recolzat, i en aquesta nit tots reclinables!


Ono što čini ovu noć drugačija od svih [drugih] noći?

1) Na svim noćima mi ne treba potopiti čak jednom, na ovu noć mi to dvaput!

2) Na sva noćenja jedemo chametz ili matzah, a na ove noći samo matzah.

3) Na sve noći smo jesti bilo koje vrste povrća, a na ove noći maror!

4) Na sve noći jedemo ili zavaljen sjedi uspravno, a na ove noći svi smo poduprijeti!


Čím se liší tato noc od všech [ostatní] nocí?

1) Na všech nocí jsme nemusí omočí ještě jednou, na tuto noc jsme to dvakrát!

2) Na všech noci jíme chametz nebo matzah, a na tuto noc jen matzah.

3) Na všech nocí jíme jakýkoli druh zeleniny, a na tuto noc maror!

4) Na všech nocí jíme posezení ve vzpřímené poloze nebo reclining, a tuto noc jsme všichni lehnout!


Hvad gør denne nat anderledes end alle [andre] nætter?

1) På alle nætter vi behøver ikke dukkert endnu en gang, om denne nat gør vi det to gange!

2) På alle nætter vi spiser chametz eller matzah, og på denne aften kun matzah.

3) På alle nætter vi spiser alle slags grøntsager, og på denne aften maror!

4) På alle nætter vi spiser sidder oprejst eller reclining, og på denne aften vi alle ligge!


Mis teeb selle öö erineb kõik [Muu] ööd?

1) kõik ööd me ei pea dip isegi üks kord, on see öö me seda kaks korda!

2) kõik ööd me sööme chametz või matzah, ja selle õhtu ainult matzah.

3) kõik ööd me sööme igasugused köögi-ja puuviljadest, ja sel ööl maror!

4) kõik ööd me sööme istungi püstises või lebamis ning see öö me kõik nõjatuda!


Mikä tekee tästä yö erottuu kaikki [muut] yötä?

1) Kaikkien yötä meidän ei tarvitse dip vielä kerran, ja tämän yö teemme niin kahdesti!

2) kaikkien yötä syömme chametz tai matzah, ja tässä yö vain matzah.

3) kaikkien yötä syömme kaikenlaista vihannekset, ja tämä yö maror!

4) kaikkien yötä syömme istuu suorassa tai Siellä he saavat levätä, ja tässä yö me kaikki loikoa!


Mi teszi ezt az éjszakát különbözik minden [más] éjszaka?

1) Minden éjszaka nem kell még egyszer bemerülő, e este kétszer is!

2) Minden éjszaka eszünk chametz vagy matzah, és ez az éjszaka csak matzah.

3) Minden éjszaka eszünk bármilyen zöldség-, és ezen az éjszakán maror!

4) Minden éjszaka eszünk ülő vagy álló helyzetben fekvõ, és ebben fekszik minden este!


Hva gjør denne natten annerledes enn alle [andre] netter?

1) På alle netter vi trenger ikke dukkert enda en gang, på denne kvelden vi gjøre det to ganger!

2) På alle netter vi spiser chametz eller matzah, og på denne kvelden bare matzah.

3) På alle netter vi spiser alle slags grønnsaker, og på denne kvelden maror!

4) På alle netter vi spiser sitte oppreist eller reclining, og på denne kvelden vi alle hvile!


Co sprawia, że ta noc różni się od wszystkich [innych] noce?

1) Na wszystkie noce musimy nawet nie włożymy raz, w tej nocy to dwukrotnie!

2) Na wszystkie noce jemy chametz lub matzah, i na tej nocy tylko matzah.

3) Na wszystkie noce jemy wszelkiego rodzaju warzywa, i na tej nocy maror!

4) Na wszystkie noce jemy posiedzenia pionowej lub geda oni, i na tej nocy wszyscy kimś!


Ce face ca această noapte diferite de la toate [celelalte] nopţi?

1) La toate nopţi nu avem nevoie de înmuia chiar şi o dată, în această noapte vom face acest lucru de două ori!

2) La toate nopţi am mânca chametz sau matzah, şi pe această noapte doar matzah.

3) La toate nopţi am mânca orice fel de legume, şi pe această noapte maror!

4) La toate nopţi am mânca şedinţei în poziţie verticală sau reclining, şi pe această noapte toţi se întinde!


Vad gör denna natt annorlunda än alla [andra] nätter?

1) På alla nätter vi inte behöver dopp ännu en gång, denna natt vi göra det två gånger!

2) På alla nätter vi äter chametz eller matzah, och på denna natt endast matzah.

3) På alla nätter vi äter någon form av grönsaker, och på denna natt maror!

4) På alla nätter vi äter sitter upprätt eller tillbakalutande, och på denna natt vi alla sitta!


Bu gece tüm [diğer] gece farklı kılan nedir?

1) hatta bir kez, bu kadar iki kez bu gece bandırmak değildir bütün geceler’nin Açık!

2) biz chametz veya hamursuz ekmek yemek bütün geceler’nin Açık ve bu gece sadece hamursuz ekmek.

3) biz sebze her türlü yemek bütün geceler’nin Açık ve bu gece maror üzerinde!

4) biz dik veya reclining bakimi yemek bütün geceler’nin Açık ve bu gece hepimiz yatmak!


Điều gì làm ban đêm này khác với tất cả các [khác] đêm?

1) Trên tất cả các đêm, chúng tôi không cần phải dip, ngay cả một lần, vào ban đêm này, chúng tôi làm như vậy hai lần!

2) Trên tất cả các đêm, chúng tôi ăn chametz hoặc matzah, và vào ban đêm này chỉ matzah.

3) Trên tất cả các đêm, chúng tôi ăn bất kỳ loại rau quả, và ban đêm này maror!

4) Trên tất cả các đêm, chúng tôi ăn không ngồi thẳng đứng hay leaning, và vào đêm nay tất cả chúng ta đều nạc!

Please feel free to add some that you have picked up – I really would love a Ladino version (thanks got that one by now, posted above) as well as other languages – Latin perhaps? (Why should a seder be boring? this can certainly spice it up!)