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Is there any halachic reason why we do the seder in the order that we do? It seems that many of the components of the seder are halachically mandated, but is there any halachic mandate that we do them in a particular order, or is this just a custom that has arisen?

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    Well, the different seder parts have a nice rhyming: Kadesh uRchatz - Karpas Yachatz, Magid Rachtza - Motzi Matza etc. – yair Apr 22 '13 at 23:25
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    @yair That's probably post facto to the decision to have it in roughly that order. – Double AA Apr 23 '13 at 2:36
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    Comment on my previous comment: Actually, kadesh before rochtza isn't obvious to all. (Some usually wash hands before kidush rather than after.) – msh210 Apr 23 '13 at 7:06
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    @ShmuelL Well I would say the fact that we make such a big deal about the order of the Seder makes me wonder why we do it in that order at all. It is called the Seder after all. – Daniel Apr 14 '14 at 13:39
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    Can you edit to include some detail of which steps seem out of order? The whole thing is pretty reasonable to me. What are you confused about? Kiddush Questions Story Eat Hallel. I wouldn't have had it any other way. – Double AA Apr 3 at 15:36
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The order of the seder is discussed in Shulchah Aruch, see Simon tuf-ayin-beis Dinei Haseva and Daled Kosus (472, laws reclining and the four cups), tuf ayin-gimmel, dinei kos rishon v'seder hapesach until kos sheni (473, laws of the first cup and seder of pesach until the second up), and so forth until tuf-peh-aleph, sh'lo l'shtot achar arbeh kosos (481, not to drink after the four cups).

See Shulchan Harav (the same simonim), now available in English, for a concise presentation. Note also, that in some instances, doing an item out of order, can create a halachic issue.

Here is a short explanation of the order:

Kadesh is necessarily the first thing, in any yom tov or shabbos meal.(Shulchan Aruch 472:1 and Magen Avraham, Sulchan Aruch Harav, 472:1)

Urechatz - we have to wash before handling wet food (without making the beracho netilas yadayim, see the discussion in Shulchan Aruch 473:6, T"z 7, Sh. HaRav 473:4).

Karpas - we awaken the child's curiosity before we start the story,

Yachtza - we tell the story over a poor man's bread, we need that the others remain whole to make the berachos later

Maggid - we are obligated to tell the story, fulfilling the passage when your child asks, and while the Matzoh is in front of us (See Mishnah Pesachim 10:4 regarding the questions and outline).

Rachtzah - now we are going to eat the matzo, we have to wash with a beracha

Motzi - we have to make a beracho hamotzi to eat the matzo

Matza - we make a beracho on the mitzvoh we are about to perform, eating the matzo, it is not an interruption after hamotzi, because it is required for the eating.

Maror - another obligation, matzo and maror

Koreh - we are still working on the requirement matzo and maror

Shulchan Aruch - now we can eat, and we need to eat a festive meal because it is yom tov

Tzafun -this is in place of the lamb, which is to be eaten on a full stomach

Beirach - benching after the meal

Hallel, Nirtzah - we started this in the haggada. The first part refered to the redemption from Egypt. Here we say the part that refers to the miracles that will happen in the future (Pesachim 118a, Zevach Pesach) and again, we sing praises over a cup of wine, and finally, pray that our service be accepted.

  • What about all the different steps you grouped into the title "maggid"? – Double AA Apr 3 at 16:36
  • Rambam writes that one does make a Bracha even at Urchatz. – DonielF Apr 3 at 16:38
  • You don’t explain why we have to do Maggid (and everything required for Maggid) before the meal. Maybe we should do Kiddush, Matzah and Marror, then Maggid, then Shulchan Orech? – DonielF Apr 3 at 16:39
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    This still doesn't explain why it must be in this particular order. For example, maggid and matzah are both obligations that we don't delay until after eating. But why not do matzah before maggid? – Daniel Apr 3 at 19:11
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    There is no obligation to ask four questions. In fact some manuscripts of the Mishna only had 3 and the Talmud allows just saying 1. – Double AA Apr 4 at 14:20

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