Simanei HaSeder – Components and Mnemonics

This topic is still being developed and updated

Introduction

The Seder opens with a table of contents for the evening in the form of "סימני הסדר".  There are many variations of this list with the earliest attributed to R. Yosef Tuv Elem of the eleventh century.1 The most familiar version2 contains fourteen or fifteen3 sections:

קַדֵשׁ | וּרְחַץ | כַּרְפַּס | יַחַץ | מַגִּיד | רָחְצָה | מוֹצִיא-מַצָּה | מָרוֹר | כּוֹרֵךְ | שֻׁלְחָן עוֹרֵךְ | צָפוּן | בָּרֵךְ | הַלֵּל | נִרְצָה

Others versions are quite verbose, containing explicit directions and halakhot for each component,4 while several are concise mnemonics containing just a few words,5 enigmatic to those unfamiliar with the rites.  The differences between the lists often reflect varying customs of the Seder.  For a comparison of three of the different versions, click on the table and see the analysis below.

Open Comparison Table

Simanim of the Maharam

R. Meir of Rothenburg's listSeder Maharam in Hagahot Maimoniyot Chametz UMatzah varies in several respects from today's standard list:

Simanim of the Maharshal

The Maharshal's signs Teshuvot Maharshal 88are more elaborate than either of the above:
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