Anyone have a clue as to why we are washing our hands for vegetables?

We know what you are thinking. We have it on our minds as well: “When do we Eat?” knowing this from past seders, you may feel the need to munch down on as much Carpas as humanly possible. (Carpas Eating Champion Seder ’88-’89) but tonight you are a free man, you are not a slave. That includes being a slave to your stomach! So we push off our appetizer, and wash our hands first to demonstrate that we are not slaves to our impulsive eating habits! (R’ Richard Simmons) But Rav Nachman of Breslov says the Hebrew word “Rachitz” in Aramaic means “Trust”, because we should trust in Hashem, as we wash now, that no matter what our meal consists of - even if its just a little parsley twig - that G-d’s “got our back” when it comes to the nourishment and survival of the Jewish people, and there is more in store for us.

Why Wash our Hands? Why not just give out those nice hot facial towel you get at the end of a long flight?

The Maharal of Prague says that there is deep symbolism involved when one washes his hands for the purpose of a Mitzvah. Hands represent the beginning of the human body, for when one stretches out his hands to reach forward or above, it is the hands that are at the front or at the top of the body. The Maharal explains that that the way one begins an action greatly influences the direction and tone of all that follows from that point, and therefore, even a seemingly insignificant sin, but one involving the “bodily leader,” is particularly wrong, for a misguided beginning will lead to an incomplete and incorrect conclusion. On Pesach, the Maharal continues, we should be extremely careful in our observance of this idea, for Pesach is the annual point of beginning for everything that exists, in all times.

At this time of beginning and renewal, R’ Mirsky concludes, it is essential to remind ourselves of the importance of a correct beginning in any action and endeavor we undertake- something which is symbolized by the additional washing of our hands at the Seder. (R’ Matt Kreiger, Monroe, NY)

Why does someone else wash my hands, pour my wine, steal my jokes?

Like everything at the seder this has double symbolism too. On the one hand you are king tonight, so everything is taken care of you (including wine pouring, hand washing, joke making) On the other hand, you are a slave tonight as well, so you need to serve the person next to you as well! Freeman and Slave. A night of duality!

haggadah Section: Introduction