What's on the Seder table*? 

3 pieces of Matzah wrapped in a cloth

Candles for Kadesh

Wine/Grape Juice


(In non-COVID-19 years)

The Six/Seven Parts of the Seder Plate

  • ביצה Beitzah : The Roasted Egg is symbolic of the festival sacrifice made in biblical times. It is also a symbol of spring - the season in which Passover is always celebrated.  For vegan/vegetarian seder plates, the egg can be substituted with a flower (a potent symbol of renewal), a decorative egg-shaped object, a wooden egg, or any such object symbolic of spring, renewal, and/or a temple offering.
  • זרוֹע Zeroa:  The Shankbone is symbolic of the Paschal lamb offered as the Passover sacrifice in biblical times. Some communities use a chicken neck as a substitute.  Beets are a common vegan/vegetarian option- first suggested by the Rashi in the 11th century!
  • חרוסת Charoset:  Apple, nuts, and spices ground together and mixed with wine are symbolic of the mortar used by Hebrew slaves to build Egyptian structures. There are several variations in the recipe for charoset. The Mishna describes a mixture of fruits, nuts, and vinegar.
  • כרפס Karpas:  Parsley is dipped into saltwater during the seder. The saltwater serves as a reminder of the tears shed during Egyptian slavery. The dipping of a vegetable as an appetizer is said to reflect the influence of Greek culture.
  • מרור Maror:  Bitter Herbs (usually horseradish) symbolize the bitterness of Egyptian slavery. The maror is often dipped in charoset to reduce its sharpness. Maror is used in the seder because of the commandment (in Numbers 9:11) to eat the paschal lamb "with unleavened bread and bitter herbs"
  • חזרת‎ Chazeret:  Greens are often used in addition to the maroras. The authorities are divided on the requirement of chazeret, so not all communities use it. Since the commandment (in Numbers 9:11) to eat the paschal lamb "with unleavened bread and bitter herbs" uses the plural ("bitter herbs") most seder plates have a place for  chazeret (Some do not include Charetz, making the tapooz the 6th segment)
  • תפוז Tapooz:  Orange Dr. Susannah Heschel began this tradition as a symbol of inclusion of gays and lesbians and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community. She offered the orange as a symbol of the fruitfulness for all Jews when LGBTQ Jews are contributing and active members of Jewish life. In addition, each orange segment has a few seeds that had to be spit out — a gesture of spitting out, repudiating the homophobia, racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression.

haggadah Section: Introduction