Why do we eat maror or a bitter herb?

A common interpretation is that the bitter herb reminds us of the time of our slavery. We force ourselves to taste pain so that we may more readily value pleasure. A second interpretation of the bitter herb, which was eaten at spring festivals in ancient times, is that the sharp taste is meant to awaken the senses and make people feel at one with nature's springtime revival. In this interpretation, maror is the stimulus of life, reminding us that struggle is better than the complacent acceptance of injustice.

While there are many Jewish dietary laws, the way in which someone goes about consuming (kosher) food is generally not proscribed. The bitter herb is an exception. The rabbis claim: "[One who] swallows the matzah [without chewing] has fulfilled the obligation [of eating matzah]. [However, one who] swallows the maror [without chewing] does not fulfill the obligation [of eating maror]" (Talmud Bavli Pesachim 115b). The rabbis explain that even though one would ideally taste the matzah, even swallowing without tasting is a form of eating and thus fulfills the obligation to eat matzah on Passover. Maror is different. Actually tasting the maror , and not just eating it, is the essence of the commandment.

Take some maror and eat it with a piece of matzah

haggadah Section: Maror