Seder Plate

We have now told the story of Passover. There are still some symbols on our seder plate we need to explain:

The shank bone represents the Pesach, which reminds us of the sacrifice which the Israelites made to God before he took them out of Egypt. 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.

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.

The egg.  It is customary to begin the meal with hard-boiled eggs flavored with salt water.  This was the practice in Roman times.  The egg has come to be symbolic of new growth, of new life, of hope.  The roasted egg on the Seder plate has come to represent the ancient Temple service in Jerusalem, the holy city. 

You may now eat the egg, dipped in salt water.

haggadah Section: Introduction