(Raise dish containing Karpas) The word Karpas comes from the Greek, Karpos, meaning fruit of the soil. Though the historical origins of dipping Karpas at the seder simply reflect the accepted cuisine of the Greco-Roman symposium, the Rabbis added their own symbolic interpretations in order to connect dipping to the Pesach story. Passover, like many of our holidays, combines the celebration of an event from our Jewish memory with a recognition of the cycles of nature. As we remember the liberation from Egypt, we also recognize the stirrings of spring and rebirth happening in the world around us. The symbols on our table bring together elements of both kinds of celebration.
Poets throughout history have written songs of joy at the wonder of nature's beauty. It is traditional on Passover, to read from the Song of Songs.
For lo, the winter is past,
The rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on Earth.
The time of singing is come,
And the voice of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puttest forth her green figs,
And the vines in blossom give forth their fragrance.
My beloved's voice! Look, it's come
Skipping over the mountains, leaping over the hills!
My beloved is like a gazelle, a young deer,
Look! Standing behind our wall, watching at the window,
Peering through the lattice.
My beloved responds to me: Arise my companion,
My splendid one, come away!
For look, winter has passed,
The rain, it has transformed the earth and gone away,
Now buds appear on the earth, the time of singing has come,
The voice of the turtledove is heard in our land!
The fig tree presents her figs,
The blossoming vines uncork their fragrance,
Arise my companion, my splendid one,
~ Song of Songs, 2:8-13
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