The order of the night of Pesach printed in Haggadot is as follows: Kadesh, Urchatz, Karpas, Yachatz, Maggid, Rochtza, Motzi, Matzah, Maror, Korech, Shulchan Orech, Tzafun, Barech, Hallel, Nirtzah.
Upon reaching the point of the Seder entitled “Maggid,” the entire household should read the Haggadah with enthusiasm and concentration. The custom of Maran Rabbeinu Ovadia Yosef zt”l was that each member of the household (in the order they were seated around the table) would read a paragraph of the Haggadah out loud while everyone else read along in an undertone. Every so often Maran zt”l would offer some beautiful insights on the text of the Haggadah based on Midrashim and other teachings of our Sages.
One should not spend too much time on “Maggid,” for one must take care to eat the “Afikomen” before halachic midnight (which is at approximately 12:58 AM in New York City) and because there are those who are quite hungry by this point and wish to eat. One should therefore be organized and not let “Maggid” become too drawn out and the majority of the Torah thoughts and insights should be left for during the meal, while people are eating.
The Matzah used to fulfill one’s obligation on the Seder night must be made of wheat that was guarded from leavening from the time it was harvested. This is what we call “Shmura Matzah” or Matzah made from wheat which was guarded from coming in contact with even a drop of water from the time it was harvested. It is especially worthy that this Matzah be hand-made for the purpose of this Mitzvah of eating Matzah on the first night of Pesach. Since there are many serious questions that can arise about the Kashrut of Matzah quite easily, it is imperative that one purchase Matzah made under the strict supervision of reliable Kashrut agency. Nowadays, thank G-d, hand-made (round) Shmura Matzah with a respectable Kashrut certification is readily available and one should use these for the Mitzvot of the Seder night.
The “Al Achilat Matzah” Blessing
One may only recite the “Al Achilat Matzah” blessing before eating Matzah on the Seder night (both Seder nights outside of Israel). However, on the subsequent days of Pesach, eating Matzah is not compulsory and this blessing may therefore not be recited.
The Amount of Time During Which One Must Eat the Matzah
The Matzah must be eaten within an allotted amount of time called “Achilat Peras.” Preferably, one should eat the entire “Kezayit” of Matzah within a maximum of four minutes. (If one cannot eat the entire portion of Matzah during this amount of time, one should make sure to eat it within a maximum of seven-and-a-half minutes.) In the next Halacha, we shall discuss how much Matzah one must eat on the Seder night.