It's Time to Dip: Renaissance, Rebirth and Revival

Spring is the renaissance, the rebirth of life, after a winter of discontent:

" For now the winter is past,

The rains are over and gone.

The blossoms have appeared in the land.

...Arise, my darling,

My fair one, come away!"

(Song of Songs 2:11-13)

On a national level, the Jewish people lay dormant in Egyptian slavery until G!d awakened their desire for freedom and led them out in the springtime. On the individual level liberation is often experienced as a gift of new options, a sudden expansion of possibilities. However, the fresh taste of new found freedom symbolised by Karpas is still mingled with memories of bitterness, the salt water of tears.

Metaphorically, Karpas , the spring vegetable, represents both the historic birth of Israel born our of the womb of Egypt in the Exodus and the rebirth of nature renewed each spring. According to Philo and to Rabbi Joshua the original birthday of nature - the Creation - occurred at Pesach time, not Rosh Hashanah. Similarly, the Italian name for Spring - Prima-vera - and the French - printemps - preserve the sense of the return to the original "first time" of the world.

Spring (old English) is originally applied to the place of origin from which steam arises. Later it was applied to the season, the "Spring of the year".

We dip the Karpas in the salt water and say the bracha :

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יי אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם, בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha’olam, borei p’ri ha’adamah.

Blessed are You, Lord, our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruit of the earth.

haggadah Section: Karpas
Source: A Different Night - The Family Participation Haggadah, by Noam Zion and David Dishon, pp.29-31