Leader: The Passover Seder Plate is the centerpiece of the Passover meal and is the heart of the Passover Seder. The foods that are placed on the Seder Plate are integral to the telling of the Passover story. There are eight different foods on the plate and each serving a purpose in the retelling in the story of the Exodus..
Leader:Why matzah? Why do we eat unleavened bread? (holding up matzah)
Participant: Matzah is one of the most iconic elements of Passover. During the Exodus from Egypt, the Jews fled so quickly that there was no time to waste waiting for bread to rise. Instead, they ate unleavened matzah in their desperate escape from slavery. What was once an act of necessity is now celebrated in triumphant, everlasting joy. Jews choose to eat matzah in honor of their ancestors, and to celebrate their freedom. This special bread is included on the Seder plate, or next to it.
Leader: Why maror? Why do we eat these bitter herbs? (pointing to maror)
Particpant: Maror are bitter herbs, such as endives or horseradish, which are eaten to remind us of how the Egyptians made the lives of our forefathers bitter. As it is written in the Bible: "And they embittered their lives with hard labor, with mortar and bricks with all sorts pf work in the field, with all the tasks ruthlessly imposed upon them."
Leader: Why charoset? Why do we eat this sweet mixture? (pointing to charoset)
Participant: Charoset is a sweet-tasting mixture of apples, cinnamon, wine, and nuts. Charoset is symbolic of the mortar that the Jewish slaves used when being forced to build Egyptian storehouses.
Leader:Why karpas? Why do we eat these vegetables? (pointing to karpas)
Participant : Karpas is a vegetable, often celery or potatoes, which is dipped into salted water or vinegar. The plain, bitter taste of this food also reinforces the brutal life of the Jewish slaves, which was frought with scarcity and pain. The participants at the Passover Seder meal taste the pain of their ancestors. The vegetable serves a secondary purpose - the promise that spring is on its way. Like many of the elements of the Passover dinner, the dual nature of the dish both reminds us of the past struggles of our ancestors, and celebrates their successful journey to freedom. The salt water we dip it in is to remind us of the tears that the slaves had while they were forced to work.
Leader:Why pesach? Why did our forefathers eat the Passover lamb in the days of the Holy Temple? (pointing to pesach)
Participant : They ate is so as to remember that God, blessed be He, passed over the houses of our ancestor in Egypt. As it is written in the Bible: "And you shall say it is the Passover sacrifice for God who passed over the houses of the Children of Israel in Egypt, when He killed the Egyptians and spared our houses. And the people bowed their heads in worship."
Leader:Why beitzah? Why do have this roasted egg? (pointing to roasted egg)
Participant: Beitzah is and egg, which symbolic the Spring, renewal, and rejuvenation.
AN ORANGE - A NEW ADDITION TO THE PASSOVER SEDER PLATE
Leader: Why do have this orange? (pointing to the orange)
Participant:The origin of the orange comes from an interesting, though unverified story, that the orange earned its way onto the Seder plate after a stuffy rabbi said, "A woman belongs on the bimah like an orange belongs on the Seder plate!"
The symbolic foods of the Passover Seder Plate each have an interesting and layered meaning. They come together to create an atmosphere which reflects upon, sympathizes, and celebrates the tragedies and triumphs of our Jewish ancestors and the Exodus from Egypt.
OLIVES- A NEW ADDITION TO THE PASSOVER SEDER PLATE
Leader: Why do have these olives? (pointing to the olives)
Participant: These olives represent the hope and possibility of peace in the Middle East and world wide.
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