There is a Sephardic tradition from Afghanistan and Iran that before the song begins, each seder participant stands, takes a spring onion and starts whacking the other members of the feast. In some families, one scallion is passed around the table while each person takes a turn whipping. There is some debate about where the custom originates. Many believe it is a way to mimic the whips of slave drivers in Egypt. But others say it's a reference to Bamidbar 11:5-6, a passage that describes the Israelites' longing for Egyptian onions while eating manna during their 40 years wandering in the desert. Seder participants whip one other as a way to scold one another for desiring any aspect of their lives of enslavement.
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