Passover is a Jewish holiday and festival. It celebrates the story of the Exodus, when the Israelites were freed from slavery in Egypt. The Jewish people celebrate Passover for seven or eight days. It is one of their most widely observed Jewish holidays.
Even though the ingredients included in the Passover recipes are kosher, each community follows its own customs. One community may use something for Passover and another may not. I hope I haven’t missed any. Any processed food must have a reliable “Kosher for Passover” certification.
Preparing the Seder plate requires several hours of work. It is advisable to get other members of the house to help so that the work will be completed before the Seder begins. It is best to prepare all the seder foods before the onset of the Holiday in order to avoid halachic questions.
The special foods we eat on Passover are also food for thought. Every item on the Seder plate abounds in meaning and allusion. The Seder plate has six items on it, arranged in a special order. The plate is placed on top of the covering of the three matzot and is placed in front of the head of the household. I listed the foods of the Seder plate below, with the reason each is included.
Shank Bone is a piece of roasted meat represents the lamb that was the special Paschal sacrifice on the eve of the exodus from Egypt, and annually, on the afternoon before Passover, in the Holy Temple.
A hard-boiled egg represents the holiday offering brought in the days of the Holy Temple. The meat of this animal constituted the main part of the Passover meal.
Bitter herbs (maror) remind us of the bitterness of the slavery of our forefathers in Egypt. Fresh grated horseradish, romaine lettuce, and endive are the most common choice.
The Paste is a mixture of apples, nuts and wine which resembles the mortar and brick made by the Jews when they toiled for Pharaoh.
A non-bitter root vegetable alludes to the backbreaking work of the Jews as slaves.
The lettuce Kosher 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.
We all have symbols in our faiths. It’s exciting to learn why and what the symbols of the Passover meal mean. It helps us be considerate of another’s religion. I attended a Sedar meal with a friend of mine. I was a very prayerful and special time for them to share with us. I hope one day you will get to share this special holiday, too.