Parsley or  Karpas

“…the people of Israel still groaned under the yoke of slavery and they cried out; their cry for rescue from slavery came up to HaShem…” Exodus 2:23

The word karpas is a reminder of the sale of Joseph into slavery, an act which led to the descent of the people of Israelinto Egypt. Therefore, karpas is an appropriate introduction to the events wer read aboutin the Haggadah.

The Patriarch Jacob gave his son Joseph a כתנת פסים [ketonet passim -- a colorful striped garment] inciting envy of hisother sons. In angry reaction to their father's shameful favoritism, the brothers removed Joseph's striped garment, threw him into a pit, then sold him to a passing Ishmaelite caravan. They dipped the striped garment into blood and brought it to Jacob for identification. Knowing Jacob would recognize the garment, they counted on his conclusion that his beloved son Joseph had been destroyed by a wild animal (and not kidnapped and sold into slavery, violating thelaw).Gen. 37:31-36.

A curious tradition acknowledges this link. Rabbi Shlomo Kluger (19th century) quotes in the name of another 16th century rabbi: "He should take the afikoman as it is wrapped in a cloth, put it behind his back, walk four cubits in his house and say, 'Our forefathers walked so. '" He goes on to explain that this ceremony was to recall the way the Ishmaelites walked in a caravan when Joseph was sold to them by his brothers. He then suggeststhisis how we came to Egypt.

In the Talmud, it is written, “Just as lettuce tastes sweet at first, then bitter, so did the Egyptians treat our ancestors….in Egypt. At first they settled them in the best part of the land, but later they embittered their lives.” (Yerushalmi Pesahim 29c.)

In our modern day many say Passover is a holy day which comes in the spring when the earth is becoming green with life, therefore we eat karpas whichrepresents life, created and sustained by Almighty God.

(Raise salt water)

Life in Egypt for Israel was a life of pain, suffering, and tears, represented by this salt water. Let us take a sprig of karpas,dip it in the water, and remember sometimes life is immersed in tears.

So also our Messiah came to bear our griefs from sin. “He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief…surely, He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Isaiah 53:3,4

Baruch atah Adonai Elohaynu Melech ha’olam borey pri ha’adamah.

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

Leader: Now let us eat karpas together.

haggadah Section: Karpas