Taking a very small piece of vegetable, less than the size of an olive, we dip it in salt
water and eat it.
This whets our appetite physically and intellectually. Even the child in us wakes up
asking to be told the meaning. The KARPAS signals our bodies it is time to eat, it is after
all an hors d'oeuvre. We snap alert, then tax all our powers of concentration in the Seder
that follows. The child has a short attention span and so we use tricks to keep the focus
on the real message.
Taking food and dipping it in condiments is itself the essence of wealthy eating habits.
Only people with quantities of food and the time to enjoy it indulge in the practice of
fiddling with bits of food. Is it not contradictory then to pretend we are poor slaves whilst
playing with food? Are we pretending to be slaves tonight? Are we playing?
It is possible to identify with feelings we had when we were slaves. We can contrast our
present situation with that we endured as slaves, abusing and being abused ourselves. The
Seer is our qualification to be here. We are determined to identify our feelings, we are not
about to compare stories.
Let the salt water point to the tears we have shed to earn our seat at the seder table.
Let the salt point to the eternal bond of Hashem's covenant with Abraham and us.
Let it point to the profoundest longing, the clutching sensation in our stomach, that we
experience in our longing for fulfillment. It is this which drives us onwards.
We break the middle Matzo.
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