Before beginning the Seder, it is important to make certain that everything necessary is available. No Seder table is complete without the following:
1) Three Unbroken Matzot (Kosher for Passover) — Many have the custom to use shmura (specially supervised) matzah for the Seders.
2) Wine/Grape Juice (Kosher for Passover) and Wine Glasses — All participants should be given a glass or cup (minimum size of 3.3 ounces) from which to drink the required four cups of Wine/Grape Juice.
3) The Seder Plate — It is traditional to place the following items on a special Seder plate:
—Bay’tza / Roasted (hard-boiled) Egg, symbolic of the cycle of life because of its round shape and representative of the Jewish character – the more you boil them, the harder they get. The egg also represents the missing chagiga sacrifice that was offered on Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot.
—Z’roa / Shank Bone (of a lamb or the bone of another kosher animal or fowl), representing the Passover lamb offering that we cannot bring today because of the absence of the Temple.
—Maror / Bitter Herbs (often horseradish), reminding participants of the bitterness and pain of slavery.
—Karpas / Vegetable (usually a piece of celery, parsley or potato), which is dipped in salt water as part of the Seder ritual.
—Charoset, a tasty mixture of chopped walnuts, wine, cinnamon and apples, representing the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build Pharaoh’s cities (recipes may vary by community).
—Chazeret / Bitter Vegetable (like romaine lettuce), which starts out sweet but becomes more bitter the longer it stays in the ground.
4) Salt Water — The karpas (vegetable) is dipped in salt water as a reminder of the tears of the Jewish slaves. Usually, the salt water is not placed on the Seder Plate, but near it.
5) Elijah’s Cup — This cup, filled with wine, is used to invite Elijah the Prophet, the harbinger of the Messianic age, to come to the Seder, and hopefully, begin our final redemption.
This Treat was published on April 14, 2014.
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