The Four Answers
Matzah unleavened bread
On all other nights we eat leavened bread,
but on Passover we eat only Matzah.
As the people of Israel fled from Egypt, they did not have time for their dough to rise. Instead, the hot desert sun baked it flat. But even more than that, the scriptures teach us that leaven symbolizes sin.
Don’t you know the saying, “It takes only a little khametz to leaven a whole batch of dough”? Get rid of the old khametz, so that you can be a new batch of dough, because in reality you are unleavened. For our Pesach lamb, the Messiah, has been sacrificed. So let us celebrate the Seder not with leftover khametz, the khametz of wickedness and evil, but with the Matzah of purity and truth.
(First Corinthians 5:6-8)
(Raising the matzot, the leader declares)
This is the bread of affliction which our fathers ate in the land of Egypt. Let all who are hungry come and eat. Let all who are needy come and celebrate the Passover. At present we are here; next year may we celebrate it together in Isarel.
The Maror, Bitter Herbs
We read in Shemot/Exodus 1:12-14,
The Egyptians came to dread the Israelites, and worked them ruthlessly. They made their lives bitter with hard labor in brick and mortar and with all kinds of work in the fields."
The maror reminds us of the bitterness of slavery, and the pain of life without a relationship with the living G-d, in the bitterness of slavery to sin and selfishness.
We Dip Twice
We have already dipped the parsley into the salt water, that symbolizes new life emerging from the tears of Egypt. Later, we will dip Matzah into the bitter herbs and kharoset, which speak of the sweetness of redemption in overcoming the bitterness of our lives.
Tonight, We Recline
In the Middle East, the style of dining was to recline on one's left side, around a U-shaped table, feet pointing outward. But the people of Israel could not do that since they were instructed:
Today, we can all recline (relax) and eat the Passover in the leisure of free people. For ceremonial fulfillment of this precept, the leader is provided with a pillow.
And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the Lord's Passover. For I will pass through the land of Egypt on that night, and will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment: I am the L-rd . . . And the Egyptians urged the people, that they might send them out of the land in haste. For they said, "We shall all be dead." So the people took their dough before it was leavened, having their kneading bowls bound up in their clothes on their shoulders.
(Shemot/Exodus 12:11-12, 33-34)
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