We place a Seder Plate at our table as a reminder to discuss certain aspects of the Passover story. Each item has its own significance.
Maror – The bitter herb. This symbolizes the harshness of lives of the Jews in Egypt.
Charoset – A delicious mix of sweet wine, apples, cinnamon and nuts that resembles the mortar used as bricks of the many buildings the Jewish slaves built in Egypt
Karpas – A green vegetable, usually parsley, is a reminder of the green sprouting up all around us during spring and is used to dip into the saltwater.
You’ll hear more about Maror, Charoset, and Karpas later in the Seder.
Beitzah – The egg symbolizes a different holiday offering that was brought to the temple. Since eggs are the first item offered to a mourner after a funeral, some say it also evokes a sense of mourning for the destruction of the temple. At Passover, we often dip these eggs in saltwater to symbolize this sadness.
Olives – In vegetarian homes, the traditional roasted lamb bone is sometimes replaced with olives, which represents the olive branch, an international symbol of peace.
These are traditional foods eaten during the Seder meal, but of course, our Seder plate can serve as the plate for all of us today. And some of us will eat traditional meals tonight, some of us will eat very nontraditional meals, and some others might not eat as part of the Seder at all.
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