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Rabbi Yose the Galilean says: How does one derive that, after the ten plagues in Egypt, the Egyptians suffered fifty plagues at the Sea? Concerning the plagues in Egypt the Torah states that "the magicians said to Pharaoh, it is the finger of God." However, at the Sea, the Torah relates that "Israel saw the great hand which the Lord laid upon the Egyptians, and the people revered the Lord and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses." It reasons that if they suffered ten plagues in Egypt, they must have been made to suffer fifty plagues at the Sea.
According to Rabbi Yose, the destruction of the Egyptian army at the Sea was five times worse than the plagues (one finger of the magicians verses five fingers in God’s hand).
You can use your finger to make the Sea split and then everyone will believe in your ability to perform miracles. Simply take a bowl filled with water. Put ground pepper all over the surface of the water. Then put a little bit of liquid soap on your finger and run it across the water. Watch as your guests are amazed!
What is a Bitter Herb?
When most of us think of bitter herbs, that maror, we think of khreyn (Yiddish for horseradish). But when you think about it, horseradish is not really bitter. It is pungent or spicy. According to the Talmud, the correct vegetable to use is lettuce, probably a variety of Romaine lettuce. Indeed, this is what many Sephardi Jews use for maror. Of course, Romaine lettuce is not really bitter either. According to Dr. Joshua Kulp, “our pleasant tasting lettuce is the result of two thousand years of cultivation to improve its taste. In the time of the Mishnah, it was probably far more bitter.”
Bitter Foods Taste Test
Have some of the following foods in bowls for your guests to taste during the Maror section of the Seder (you can also use arugula, broccali rabe, or any other bitter food you can think of).
Which of these foods is the most bitter?
Mark your answer on a scale of 1 to 5 (1 being the least bitter, 5 the most bitter)
_______ Unsweetened Chocolate
_______ Swiss Chard
_______ Romaine Lettuce
_______ Tonic Water