Passover Seder Plate – Passover celebrates the journey of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery, probably in the 1200s B.C.E. The story of Passover (Pesach in Hebrew) is told in the Bible in Chapter 12 of the Book of Exodus. It begins with the death of Joseph and the rise of a new Egyptian Pharaoh, which brings in an era of slavery for the Israelites.
There are special symbols on the Passover seder plate. Each symbol has special significance to the theme of religious freedom for the Jewish people. Matzah – otherwise known as unleavened bread. According to the Bible, when the Israelites fled from religious persecution, they did not have time to let their bread rise. They made a flat, unleavened bread instead. Therefore, Jews eat matzot. (plural form for matzah). Horseradish – This food underscores the bitterness of the Jewish experience.
Haroset (Hebrew) – A combination of chopped nuts and apples (called Haroset in Hebrew) symbolizes the building mortar used by the Hebrew slaves in their forced labor. Karpas is a vegetable, usually, parsley is set in salt water and eaten. The vegetable symbolizes the beginnings of the Jews; the green ‘Parsley’ represents the fields of Goshen while the salt water symbolizes the tears due to the years in bondage. Maror – or bitter herbs. Sometimes romaine lettuce is used but most Jews use raw horseradish to symbolize the bitterness of slavery. The Maror is dipped in charoset for building the hope for sweeter times for the Jewish people.
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