Passover prayers

Passover Prayers: Master the Important Pesach Blessings

Brush Up on Your Passover Prayers and Blow Away the Seder Guests With Your Mad Hebrew Skills

Are you leading the seder and want to brush up on the Passover prayers and blessings you will be in charge of reciting? Or, are you attending a seder for the first time and want to have an idea of what Hebrew will be spoken? Below are the most common Passover seder prayers found in the Haggadah, the Jewish text that sets forth the order of the Passover Seder and includes the story of the Israelite slaves journey to freedom. We’ve included the Passover prayers in English, Hebrew, and also have audio recordings so you can listen to how the prayers are spoken and chanted.

You don’t have to learn all of these Passover seder prayers, especially if you are a guest simply trying to make a good impression. Since the blessing over the wine is guaranteed to be said more than once, I would definitely take a look at the one. Also, Passover prayers #4, 7, 9, and 10 are spoken not chanted, so that should simplify the learning of those blessings a bit.

#1: Lighting the Yom Tov (Holiday) Candles

Before the official start of the seder, it is customary to light two candles in honor of the holiness of the day.

The audio recording of the Passover candle blessings is chanted with the same melody that we use to recite the candle blessings on Shabbat. We have simply gone ahead and switched out the final word, Shabbat, with the word for holiday, Yom Tov.

 בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ לְהַדְלִיק נֵר שֶׁל יוֹם טוֹב

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu l’hadlik ner shel Yom Tov. 

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm AH-shEHr KEEd-shAH-nOO BEH-mEEtz-vOH-tAHv V-tzEE-vAH-nOO L-hAHd-LEEk NAYr ShEHL YOHm TOHv.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who sanctified us with the commandment of lighting the holiday candles.

Passover Candle Lighting Prayer Audio

There is actually a more specific melody that is used for candle lighting on Yom Tov, and while it is not my custom to do so, I wanted to make sure to include an example of the chant. You can listen to the melody in this Youtube video.

#2: Kiddush: Blessing Over the Wine

Hold up the cup in your right hand and recite the blessing over the wine. But, don’t get ahead of yourself! Before you go ahead and drink this first cup, say the Shehecheyanu prayer (#3) below.

בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הַגָּפֶן

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, borei p’ri hagafen.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm BOH-rAY PEH-rEE hAH-gAH-fEHn.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.

Passover Kiddush Audio

#3: Shehecheyanu Blessing

We also say the Shehecheyanu blessing to give thanks for this happy moment. Once you say the blessing, drink your first cup of wine and refill!

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, שֶׁהֶחֱיָנוּ וְקִיְּמָנוּ וְהִגִּיעָנוּ לַזְּמַן הַזֶּה

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, shehecheyanu v’kiy’manu v’higiyanu laz’man hazeh

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm ShEH-hEH-chEH-yAH-nOO VEH-kEEy-mAH-nOO VEH-hEE-gEE-AH-nOO LAHz-mAHn HAH-zEH

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this season.

Learn the Shehecheyanu Chant

#4: Dipping Parsley Into Salt Water

You’ll notice that the Hebrew for this Passover blessing is the same as the blessing over the wine, except for the last word. Instead of hagafen (vine), you say ha’adamah (earth).

Take a piece of parsley from the seder table and dip it into the salt water provided. The parsley symbolizes Spring and renewal as Passover always takes place in the Spring and the salt water represents the tears the Israelites shed as slaves. Recite the blessing before eating the vegetable.

בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, borei p’ri ha’adamah.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm BOH-rAY PEH-rEE HAH-AH-dAH-mAH.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.

Karpas Blessing Audio

#5: The Four Questions

I have a FULL post on how to recite the Four Questions on Passover in English and in Hebrew and with both the translation and transliteration for all of the questions. You can also download a PDF printable with the Four Questions if you click to read the post.

#6: The Ten Plagues in English and in Hebrew

There isn’t exactly a Passover prayer involved in calling out the 10 plagues as is typically customary at the seder. But, there is Hebrew involved if you decide to recite the names of the 10 plagues in Hebrew. That is why I decided to include the list of plagues in English and in Hebrew and with the Hebrew transliteration.

10 Plagues in English10 Plagues in Hebrew10 Plagues Transliteration10 Plagues: Hebrew Letters
BloodDamDAHm דָם
FrogsTzefardeiyaTzEH-fAHr-dAY-AHצְפָרְדֵעַ
LiceKinimKEE-nEEmכִּנִים
Wild AnimalsArovAH-rOHvעָרוֹב
Cattle DiseaseDeverDEH-vEHrדֶבֶר
BoilsShechinShEH-chEEnשְׁחִין
HailBaradBAH-rAHdבָּרָד
LocustsArbehAHr-bEHאֲרְבֶּה
DarknessChoshechChOH-shEHchחֺשֶךְ
Death of First BornMakat BechorotMAH-kAHt
BEH-chOH-rOHt
מַכַּת בְּכוֹרוֹת

10 Plagues in Hebrew: Audio

#7: Second Ritual Seder Handwashing

If you saw that this was the second ritual hand washing of the seder and thought to yourself, “hmmm, I must have missed the first one,” you didn’t. There is a first ritual washing between the Shecheheyanu and the blessing before eating the parsley dipped in salt water, but there is no prayer recited.

So, we wash our hands again, this time with a blessing, in preparation for eating the matzah. Because this can take up a lot of time, Jewish families have different customs. For example, you can send just one person to be the hand washing representative.

The Hebrew is quite similar to the Passover candle lighting prayer. However, we say al netilat yadayim after v’tzivanu instead.

בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ עַל נְטִילַת יָדָיִם

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu al netilat yadayim.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm AH-shEHr KEEd-shAH-nOO BEH-mEEtz-vOH-tAHv V-tzEE-vAH-nOO AHL NEH-tEE-LAHt YAH-dEYE-EEM.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His laws and commanded us to wash our hands.

Rachtzah Blessing Audio

#8: Blessing Before the Seder Meal

Even though we don’t eat bread on Passover and the Hamotzi blessing literally translates to thanking God for binging forth bread from the earth, we still say the blessing over the bread (matzah) during our seder. It’s because traditionally, we say the Hamotzi at the start of every meal. We do also recite another blessing to fulfill the commandment of eating matzah on Passover. That blessing is below.

Raise the matzah and recite the following two blessings (#8 and #9).

בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, הַמּוֹצִי לֶחֶם מִן הָאָרֶץ

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, hamotzi lechem min haaretz.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm HAH-mOH-tzEE LEH-chEHm MEEn HAH-AH-rEHtz.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.

Hamotzi Chant Audio

#9: Blessing Over the Matzah

After this blessing is recited, the matzah is passed among the Seder participants. You can eat the matzah now or wait for the maror and charoset to be passed around after blessing #10.

The Hebrew for blessing #9 and #10 are incredibly similar. Only the last word of each is different as the word represents the item that is being blessed, the matzah and the maror, respectively.

בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילָת מַצָּה

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu al achilat matzah.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm AH-shEHr KEEd-shAH-nOO BEH-mEEtz-vOH-tAHv V-tzEE-vAH-nOO AHL AH-chEE-LAHt MAH-tzAH.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His laws and commanded us to eat matzah.

Matzah Prayer Audio

#10: Blessing Over the Maror (Bitter Herbs)

This is the final prayer before the Passover meal, and the best part of the seder thus far. That’s because after the blessing is recited, the charoset, a mixture of fruits and nuts, is passed around. Make a Hillel sandwich using the matzah, maror, and charoset, a delicious amuse bouche we eat right before the gefilte fish and matzo ball soup is served.

 בָּרוּךְ אַתַּה יְיָ אֱלֹהֵיתוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, אֲשֶׁר קִדְּשָׁנוּ בְּמִצְוֹתָיו, וְצִוָּנוּ עַל אֲכִילָת מָרוֹר

TRANSLITERATION

Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech haolam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tsivanu al achilat maror.

TRANSLITERATION #2: BMA STYLE

BAH-rOOch AH-tAH AH-dOH-nEYE EH-LOH-hAY-nOO MEH-LEHch HA-OH-LAHm AH-shEHr KEEd-shAH-nOO BEH-mEEtz-vOH-tAHv V-tzEE-vAH-nOO AHL AH-chEE-LAHt MAH-rOHr.

TRANSLATION

Blessed are You, Adonai our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has sanctified us with His laws and commanded us to eat bitter herbs.

Maror Blessing Audio

Dinner is Served

The Passover seder continues after dinner with a few more rituals, but you have pretty much already learned the important Passover prayers you need to know.

You can recite the blessing after the meal, Birkat Hamazon; but, it is quite long, so depending on your tradition, you may or may not say the entire thing. We tend to skip this in my family. Then, a blessing is recited over the third cup of wine (see Hebrew above #2). We open up the door for Elijah, the prophet, and sing the song Eliyahu Hanavi. Don’t forget to include a cup for Miriam too! We remember Miriam for her bravery and courage. Finally, the fourth and final cup of wine is consumed.

We conclude the seder with a final prayer said altogether in either Hebrew or English:

L’shanah Haba’ah Birushalayim

Next year in Jerusalem!

Do you feel ready to lead your Passover seder in prayer? Let us know if you have any questions in the comments below! And, if you are looking for more Passover content, make sure to check out these other BMA blog posts.

11 Fun Passover Seder Ideas to Enrich Your Pesach Meal

Passover Zoom Backgrounds for Your Virtual Seder

Passover Table Decorations: Beautiful Seder Decor

Michael Aram Seder Plates: Which is Best for Your Seder?

Learn Passover Greetings in English, Hebrew & Yiddish

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