World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Passover Seder Plate

Article Id: WHEBN0002692197
Reproduction Date:

Title: Passover Seder Plate  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Passover, Passover seder, Charoset, Maror, Matzo farfel granola
Collection: Jewish Ceremonial Art, Jewish Ceremonial Food and Drink, Passover, Passover Seder
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Passover Seder Plate

Passover Seder plate

The Passover Seder Plate Hebrew: ke'ara (קערה) is a special plate containing symbolic foods eaten or displayed at the Passover Seder.

Contents

  • Significance 1
  • Symbolic foods 2
  • Variants 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5

Significance

Each of the six items arranged so on the plate has special significance to the retelling of the story of the exodus from Egypt, which is the focus of this ritual meal. The seventh symbolic item used during the meal — a stack of three matzos

Symbolic foods

The six traditional items on the Seder Plate are as follows:

  • Maror and chazeret — Bitter herbs, symbolizing the bitterness and harshness of the slavery the Hebrews endured in Egypt. In Ashkenazi tradition, either horseradish or romaine lettuce may be eaten in the fulfillment of the mitzvah of eating bitter herbs during the Seder. Sephardic Jews often use curly parsley, green onion, or celery leaves.
  • Charoset — A sweet, brown mixture representing the mortar used by the Hebrew slaves to build the storehouses or pyramids of Egypt. In Ashkenazi Jewish homes, Charoset is traditionally made from chopped nuts, grated apples, cinnamon, and sweet red wine
  • Karpas — A vegetable other than bitter herbs, which is dipped into salt water at the beginning of the Seder. Parsley, celery or boiled potato is usually used. The dipping of a simple vegetable bounces into salt water (which represents tears) mirrors the pain felt by the Hebrew slaves in Egypt. Usually in a Shabbat or holiday meal, the first thing to be eaten after the kiddush over wine is bread. At the Seder table, however, the first thing to be eaten after the kiddush is a vegetable. This leads immediately to the recital of the famous question, Ma Nishtana — "Why is this night different from all other nights?" It also symbolizes the spring time, because Jews celebrate Passover in the spring.
  • Z'roa — Also called Zeroah, it is special as it is the only element of meat on the Seder Plate. A roasted lamb or goat shankbone, chicken wing, or chicken neck; symbolizing the korban Pesach (Pesach sacrifice), which was a lamb that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem, then roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night. Since the destruction of the Temple, the z'roa serves as a visual reminder of the Pesach sacrifice; it is not eaten or handled during the Seder. Vegetarians often substitute a beet, quoting Pesachim 114b as justification; other vegetarians substitute a sweet potato, allowing a "Paschal yam" to represent the Paschal lamb.
  • Beitzah — A roasted hard-boiled egg, symbolizing the korban chagigah (festival sacrifice) that was offered in the Temple in Jerusalem and roasted and eaten as part of the meal on Seder night. Although both the Pesach sacrifice and the chagigah were meat offerings, the chagigah is commemorated by an egg, a symbol of mourning (as eggs are the first thing served to mourners after a funeral), evoking the idea of mourning over the destruction of the Temple and our inability to offer any kind of sacrifices in honor of the Pesach holiday. Since the destruction of the Temple, the beitzah serves as a visual reminder of the chagigah; it is not used during the formal part of the seder, but some people eat a regular hard-boiled egg dipped in saltwater as the first course of the meal.
Sterling silver seder plate

Many decorative and artistic Seder Plates sold in Judaica stores have pre-formed spaces for inserting the various symbolic foods.

Table set for the seder with a seder plate, salt water, matza, kosher wine and a copy of the Haggadah for each guest

The sixth symbolic item on the Seder table is a plate of three whole matzot, which are stacked and separated from each other by cloths or napkins. The middle matzah will be broken and half of it put aside for the afikoman. The top and other half of the middle matzot will be used for the hamotzi (blessing over bread), and the bottom matzah will be used for the korech (Hillel sandwich). Matza is flat bread and symbolises the yeast less bread that was eaten by the Hebrews after they were set free.

A bowl of salt water, which is used for the first "dipping" of the Seder, is not traditionally part of the Seder Plate, but is placed on the table beside it. However, it sometimes is used as one of the six items, omitting chazeret.

Variants

  • Orange. — Some Jews include an orange on the seder plate. The orange represents the fruitfulness for all Jews when all marginalized peoples are included, particularly women and gay people.[1] An incorrect but common rumor says that this tradition began when a man told Susannah Heschel that a woman belongs on the bimah as an orange on the seder plate; however, it actually began when in the early 1980s, while when speaking at Oberlin College Hillel, Susannah Heschel was introduced to an early feminist Haggadah that suggested adding a crust of bread on the seder plate, as a sign of solidarity with Jewish lesbians (as some would say there's as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there is for a crust of bread on the seder plate).[2] Heschel felt that to put bread on the seder plate would be to accept that Jewish lesbians and gay men violate Judaism like chametz violates Passover.[2] So, at her next seder, she chose an orange as a symbol of inclusion of gays and lesbians and others who are marginalized within the Jewish community.[2] In addition, each orange segment had a few seeds that had to be spit out – a gesture of spitting out and repudiating the homophobia of traditional Judaism.[2]
  • Olive - In 2008 Jewish Voice for Peace proposed adding an olive to the seder plate to symbolise olive trees that have been uprooted in Palestine[3] and this has now become a regular addition for some Jews.[4][5]

Some Jews do practice one of the above variants. Over the years, Pesach has often been used as an occasion for political or social commentary. This was often the case when the departure of Soviet Jews was compared to the departure of the Jews from Egypt.

See also

References

  1. ^ Tamara Cohen. "An Orange on the Seder Plate". Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  2. ^ a b c d Jewish Rituals for On the Seder Table. Ritualwell.org. Retrieved on 18 October 2011.
  3. ^ "Non-traditional items showing up on Seder plates". Jerusalem Post. 04/05/2011. Retrieved 3 April 2015. 
  4. ^ "Tales of Freedom and Imagination". Jewish Quarterly. 
  5. ^ "From oranges to artichokes, chocolate and olives, using seder plate as a call to action". 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 


Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.