The items on the seder plate are symbols of the past. By placing the seder plate on our table, we link the past with the present and look with hope toward the future.
The matzo is a symbol of suffering and affliction but also of liberation.
The bitter herbs symbolize the bitterness of our lives as slaves in Egypt and the bitter lives of those exploited today.
The parsley and the salt water we will dip it in remind us that both the tender greens of the earth and the salt of the sea are joined together to sustain life. They also remind us of the tears of despair shed by Jews as slaves in Egypt and all the oppressed in the world.
The shankbone symbolizes the animals sacrificed during the Exodus, the story of which we will recount later tonight.
The charoset reminds us of the days when our ancestors had to make bricks and mortar for Pharaoh's cities and it symbolizes all those who labor today. It also reminds us that in the most bittertimes of slavery, our people have always remembered the sweet taste of freedom.
The egg at the table symbolizes the sacrifices brought to the Temple in Jerusalem.
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