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Pesach Terminology

A piece of matzoh which is broken off at the beginning of the seder meal and eaten at the very end. In between, it may be hidden or "stolen" and held for ransom, depending on the family's custom. Sometimes a prize will be given to the person who finds the afikomen and returns it to the seder leader.
B'dikat Chametz
This ceremony is performed on the night before the first seder. The purpose is to find any chametz still lingering in the house. We light a candle and go from room to room searching for even the smallest crumbs. After the search, we say a formula declaring any chametz that we may have inadvertently overlooked is now "dust of the earth". Most families hide a few pieces of chametz around the house to be sure of finding something on their search. All chametz found during the search is set aside for the biur chametz which is performed the following morning.
Biur Chametz
Early in the morning before the first seder, we take any chametz found during the b'dikat chametz the previous night and any other chametz we still have in our possession, take it outside, and burn it. Once again, we say a formula renouncing all chametz we may have missed in our cleaning and searching, then we light the fire and say good-bye to chametz for eight days.
The strict rabbinical interpretation of chametz is any food prepared from five specific grains (wheat, spelt, oats, barley, rye) that has been allowed to leaven (ferment). The rabbis determined that leavening takes place when the grains have been in contact with water for more than 18 minutes. In practice, chametz refers to all grain products like cereals, flours, mixes, crackers, cookies, cakes, breads, rolls, etc. Additionally, any food that contains any of the five grains in any amount is considered chametz. The only grain products allowable during Pesach are those that have been stricly controlled and supervised by a Mashgiach (kashruth supervisor) and are accordingly certified as kosher for Passover. See the explanation of kitniot below for a further interpretation of chametz.
A mixture of fruits, nuts, wines, and spices that is placed on the seder plate to represent the mortar Hebrew slaves used to build cities for the Egyptian Pharoahs. Jews who trace their ancestry to Eastern Europe usually make charosets from apples, nuts, wine, and cinnamon. Jews from the Middle East make charosets from dates, figs, raisins, oranges, almonds, and other fruits and nuts associated with Middle Eastern cuisine.
Four Cups
During the seder, four cups of wine are drunken. Each cup has a special significance and a special verse that is read in explanation.
Four Questions
It is customary for the youngest child capable of it to recite/chant four ritualized questions as a start to the discussion of the Passover story. The questions begin with "Why is this night different from all other nights of the year?" - 1) Why do we eat only matzoh tonight? 2) Why do we eat bitter herbs tonight? 3) Why do we dip certain foods tonight? 4) Why do we recline while we eat tonight? These questions are intended to be a springboard for discussion and should be answered by the seder.
This is the text we use for the seder. There are thousands of versions of the haggadah and dozens more are written every year.
Ashkenazic Jews (those from Eastern Europe) also classify the following foods as chametz: rice, millet, corn, and legumes.
A green vegetable eaten at the seder.
The bitter herbs we eat at the seder in remembrance of the bitterness of slavery. Typically, maror is represented by horseradish.
The flat unleavened bread we eat during Pesach.
More than a meal - the seder is a Jewish ritual that entails prayer, singing, discussion, story-telling, some special ritual appetizers, four cups of wine, a full meal, more singing. The order and meaning of the seder is presented in a haggadah.
Seder plate
A special plate used to hold certain ritual items of food during a seder. The special foods are: a roasted egg, a shankbone (vegetarians often use beets), charosets, maror, and karpas.
Ten Plagues
Outlined in Exodus, the ten plagues are ten bad things that G-d caused to happen to the Egyptians. These plagues are recited during the seder. During this recitation, it is customary to remove a little wine from our glasses for each plague. G-d's creatures suffered through these plagues and therefore, we must diminish our joy in our freedom by mourning those who suffered so that we could enjoy it.
Why is this night different?
See the Four Questions.