During the course of a holiday about the joy of freedom, we make a special effort to turn the story of our bitter history into a sweet celebration. We recognize this by dipping our bitter herbs into the sweet charoset. We don’t totally eradicate the taste of the bitter with the taste of the sweet… but doesn’t the sweet mean more when it’s layered over the bitterness?
The bitter herbs serve to remind us of how the Egyptians embittered the lives of the Israelites in servitude. When we eat the bitter herbs, we share in that bitterness of oppression. We must remember that slavery still exists all across the globe. When you go to the grocery store, where does your food come from? Who picked the sugar cane for your cookie, or the coffee bean for your morning coffee? We are reminded that people still face the bitterness of oppression, in many forms.
Together, we recite,
Blessed are You, Eternal our God, Sovereign of the universe, who has sanctified us with mitzvot and ordained that we should eat bitter herbs.
ָבּרוּךְ ַאָתה יי ֱאלֹ ֵהינוּ ֶמֶלךְ ָהעוָֹלם, ֲא ֶשר ִקְד ָשנוּ ְבּ ִמ ְצווָֹתיו, ְו ִצָוּנוּ ַעל ֲאִכיַלת ָמרוֹר
Baruch atah, Adonai Eloheinu, Melech Ha'Olam, asher kid’shanu b’mitzvotav v’tzivanu al achilat maror.
Eat one kezayit of maror, dipped in the charoset but not overwhelmed by the sweetness of the charoset,
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