Passover, like many Jewish holidays, combines the celebration of an event from Jewish history and memory, as well as the continued cycle of our natural world. As we remember the Israelites’ liberation, we also welcome the beginning of spring, the budding of new plants and rebirth happening in the world around us. We now take a vegetable, representing our joy at the dawning of spring after our long, cold winter. Many use a green vegetable such as parsley or celery, but some people, primarily from Eastern Europe, have a tradition of using a boiled potato since greens were harder to come by at Passover time. Whatever symbol of spring and sustenance we’re using, we now dip it into salt water, a symbol of the tears the Israelites shed as slaves. Before we eat it, we recite a short blessing:

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ, אֱלֹהֵינוּ מֶלֶךְ הָעוֹלָם
בּוֹרֵא פְּרִי הָאֲדָמָה:     

Baruch Atah Adonai, Eloheinu Melech ha-olam, borei p’ree ha-adama.

We praise you, Adonai, our God, Ruler of the universe, who creates the fruits of the earth.

We look forward to spring and the reawakening of flowers and greenery. They haven’t been lost, just buried beneath the snow, getting ready for reappearance when we most need them. 

Discussion Question

We all have aspects of ourselves that sometimes get buried under the stresses of our busy lives. What has this winter taught us? What elements of our own lives do we hope to revive this spring?

haggadah Section: Karpas