Setting a proper table can be hard to get right under normal circumstances but special occasions, like religious holidays, can be trickier. The Passover Seder is more than a festive meal. It is a journey back in history, a reaffirmation of Jewish identity, and a passing of Jewish traditions on to the next generation. Participants will spend many hours at the table, retelling the story of the Exodus, following a prescribed set of prayers, and eating symbolic foods.
Creative thought and positive energy should be invested when setting the table for such a special occasion. Since holidays like Passover bring families together around the dinner table, which makes setting a nice one important.
What Is a Haggadah?
The Passover Seder includes the fulfillment of a scriptural commandment for the Jews to "tell your sons" about the liberation of the Jewish people from bondage in Egypt. The Haggadah is a book that is set beside each place setting so that each attendant can participate and follow along. There are all sorts of Haggadahs that you can purchase for your Seder.
How to Set a Table for Passover Seder
- Cover the table with a festive tablecloth of your choosing. Given the Seder is an active and interactive experience, centerpieces if you have any should be low and easy to move off the table when needed. Centerpieces are not a necessary table decoration but they can create a beautiful ambiance.
- Each place setting should include a plate, flatware, a water glass, a wine glass, and a Haggadah. Festive napkins are a nice touch. Soup spoons can be next to the place settings, but it is best to keep soup bowls in the kitchen.
- Spread salt water dishes and wine or grape juice bottles out on the table so they are within easy reach.
- Place an empty wine glass in the middle of the table for Elijah.
- The setting of the Seder leader must include a plate with three pieces of matzah, covered, and a Seder Plate. You can place the matzah plate on top of the dinner plate, and then the Seder Plate on top of that. Or you can put the plate with the three matzah pieces to one side of the place setting and the Seder Plate to the other side.
A Glass of Wine for Elijah
An important part of Passover Seder is when the family opens the front door and invites the prophet, Elijah, in. It is seen as a sign of trusting in God's protection. There was a question in the Talmud about whether four or five cups of wine should be poured during the seder. To solve this problem it was decided that a fifth cup would be poured but not drank. This glass of wine is said to be set aside for the Prophet Elijah.