The Passover Symbols
  • The 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 the Israelites in Egypt when visiting plagues upon the oppressors. On vegetarian seder plates, a roasted beet is used in place of the shank bone. Today, the symbol of the Paschal sacrifice reminds us of the grace of God to preserve us from the modern plagues which assault us, and the sacrifice required for freedom from the bondage of our "narrow places."
  • The matzah reminds us that when the Israelites were finally free to leave Egypt, there was no time to pack or prepare. God's people grabbed whatever dough was made and set out on their journey, letting their dough bake into matzah as they fled. Today, the matzah challenges us to act with a sense of urgency.
  • The bitter herbs provide a visceral reminder of the bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor that the children of Israel experienced in Egypt, and the hard lives and bitter circumstances that so many people still experience today.

haggadah Section: -- Cup #2 & Dayenu