The Symbols of the Passover (Pesach) Seder Plate

Haggadah Section: Introduction

At the head of the table is the beautiful Seder Plate. In Hebrew, we call the plate a “ka’arah."

Before the Seder, we set the Seder Plate by placing three whole Matzot under a covering beneath the plate, then we arrange six items on the plate, each one reminding us of the Passover story:

Zeroah: The Zeroah, a roasted bone, reminds us of the offering the ancient Jews used to make in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The shank bone represents the Pesach, the lamb sacrifice, made in the days of the Temple for the Passover holiday. In fact, the holiday is called Pesach, from the Hebrew word meaning “to pass over,” because God "passed over" the houses of the Jews in Egypt when visiting plagues upon their oppressors. The Israelites were instructed to smear the blood of a lamb across the door of their homes so God would not afflict them with plagues delivered to the Egyptians.

Beitzah: A beitzah is a hard-boiled egg. It reminds us of the festival offering which was brought to the Holy Temple on Pesach and the rebirth of the Earth at Springtime.

Maror: The maror (bitter herbs) provide a visceral reminder of the harsh suffering and bitterness of slavery, the life of hard labor our ancestors endured in Egypt.

Charoset: Charoset is a mixture of chopped apple, walnuts and red wine. Ground up together, it represents the mortar that laid between the stones of the pyramids the Hebrews built, and reminds us of how hard we were forced to work when we were slaves in Egypt. It also reminds us of the sweetness of that freedom.

Karpas: This non-bitter vegetable can be a sprig of parsley, a small slice of onion or even a slice of boiled potato. We dip the karpas, representing nature and its annual regeneration, into salt water, representing the salty tears the Jews cried when they were slaves.

Chazeret: Chazeret is a leafy green, like a piece of lettuce, and is the second portion of bitter herbs which we eat during the Seder. The lettuce symbolizes the bitter enslavement of our fathers in Egypt: The leaves of romaine lettuce are not bitter, but the stem, when left to grow in the ground, turns hard and bitter. So it was with the Jews enslavement in ancient Egypt: At first the deceitful approach of Pharaoh was soft and sensible, and the work was done voluntarily and even for pay. Gradually, it evolved into forced and cruel labor. This bitter herb is eaten in a matzoh sandwich (korech) with maror.

Source:  
Adapted from Beth Winters

Inspired to create
your own Haggadah?

Make your own Haggadah and share with other Seder lovers around the world

Have an idea
for a clip?

People like you bring their creativity to Haggadot.com when they share their ideas in a clip

Support Us
with your donation

Help us build moments of meaning and connection through
home-based Jewish rituals.

OUR TOP CONTRIBUTORS

Esther Kustanowitz
4 Haggadahs38 Clips
contributor image
JQ International
1 Haggadah40 Clips
contributor image
MAZON: A Jewish Response to Hunger
5 Haggadahs109 Clips
contributor image
18Doors
1 Haggadah13 Clips
contributor image
JewishBoston
1 Haggadah78 Clips
contributor image
Truah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
1 Haggadah36 Clips
contributor image
American Jewish World Service
1 Haggadah44 Clips
contributor image
JewBelong
3 Haggadahs57 Clips
contributor image
Repair the World
12 Clips
contributor image
HIAS
5 Haggadahs48 Clips
contributor image
Be'chol Lashon
2 Haggadahs27 Clips
contributor image
PJ Library
1 Haggadah17 Clips
contributor image
Jewish World Watch
3 Haggadahs42 Clips
contributor image
Secular Synagogue
10 Clips
contributor image
SVIVAH
1 Haggadah9 Clips
contributor image
The Blue Dove Foundation
12 Clips
contributor image
ReformJudaism.org
24 Clips
contributor image
Jewish Emergent Network
1 Haggadah22 Clips

Passover Guide

Hosting your first Passover Seder? Not sure what food to serve? Curious to
know more about the holiday? Explore our Passover 101 Guide for answers
to all of your questions.

Haggadot

Haggadot.com by Recustom, is a free resource for all backgrounds and experiences. Consider making a donation to help support the continuation of this free platform.

Copyright © 2024 Custom and Craft Jewish Rituals Inc, dba Recustom, dba Haggadot.com.
All Rights Reserved. 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization. EIN: 82-4765805.