We do this to represent the body, which comes from the dust, and we immerse it in salty tears. Salt is a cleanser, and tears are an expression of the soul. We cleanse our bodies with our soul’s tears. Freedom comes when we realize that the material world is like a ‘vegetable’ that needs to be dipped in spiritual “salt water.” Karpas reminds us that the body is only a means, not an end in itself. Like the vegetable dipped in salt water, the body’s purpose is to transcend the world it lives in, by connecting itself to the soul, and so elevating and freeing both the body and the soul.
The tears also remind us of our ancestors, who cried many tears while being slaves in Egypt. We dip in remembrance of their hardships under the yoke of slavery and their bravery in leaving when commanded.
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