The Passover Symbols

Contributed by Jewish Boston and Christie Santos

We have now told the story of Passover…but wait! We’re not quite done. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet. Rabban Gamliel would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice.

Avocado Pit (Shank Bone) represents the Pesach, the special lamb sacrifice made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. It is called the pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God passed over the houses of our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors. We picked an avocado pit, the seed of the fruit that the Mexican people have thrived off of for many generations and graciously shared with others to honor indigenous contributions to our passover meal, their sacrifice in the face of colonialism, and to respect that our seder is vegetarian. 

The matzah reminds us that when our ancestors were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. Our ancestors grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled.

The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors experienced in Egypt.


haggadah Section: -- Cup #2 & Dayenu