We have now told the story of Passover, but we’re not quite done. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we haven’t talked about yet. The rabbis would say that whoever didn’t explain the shank bone, matzah, and marror (or bitter herbs) hasn’t done Passover justice. 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 our ancestors in Egypt when visiting plagues upon our oppressors. On our table we have chosen to substitute beets to represent the red blood of the Pesach while honoring the vegetarians at our seder table. 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.
[Possible topics for discussion]
What sacrifices are we willing to make to invite G-d's grace in our lives?
How have we been hurried or rushed during opportunities for freedom or liberation?
What bitterness have we experienced when perpetrating, witnessing, or being subjected to slavery, oppression, or persecution.
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