FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM APRIL 11, 2019 • PASSOVER • THE QUEENS COURIER 53
The makings of the Seder plate
Th e Seder plate is the focal point of the
proceedings on the fi rst night of Passover.
Whether it is an ornate silver dish or a
humble napkin, it bears the ceremonial
foods around which the Seder is based:
matzoh, the zeroa (shankbone), egg, bitter
herbs, charoset paste and karpas vegetable.
Preparing these items requires some
time. It is best to prepare all the Seder
foods before the onset of the holiday, in
order to avoid halachic questions.
Th e special foods eaten on Passover
are also food for thought. Every item on
the Seder plate abounds in meaning and
Th ree matzot are placed on top of each
other on a plate or napkin, and then covered.
Some also have the custom to separate
the matzot from each other with
interleaved plates, napkins or the like.
Th e top matzah is referred to as Kohen,
as it takes precedence in all matters.
Th e middle matzah (Levi) is broken
into two at the beginning of the Seder.
Th e smaller piece is left on the plate and is
later eaten along with the Kohen matzah
to fulfi ll the matzah blessing; the larger
piece is put away for use as the afi koman.
Th e bottom matzah (Yisrael) is used for
korech, so that every one of the matzot is
used for the performance of a mitzvah.
It is ideal to use handmade shmurah
matzah, which has been zealously guarded
against moisture from the moment
of harvest. You can purchase shmurah
matzah on websites such as Amazon.
On a cloth or plate placed above the three
matzot, the following items are placed:
The Zeroa (shankbone)
A piece of roasted meat represents the
lamb that was the special paschal sacrifi ce
on the eve of the exodus from Egypt, and
annually on the aft ernoon before Passover
in the Holy Temple.
Some use a forearm of a lamb, but many
communities use a roasted chicken neck.
Called the zeroa, it alludes to the verse
which states, “I will redeem you with an
outstretched arm (zeroa).”
Preparation: Roast the neck on all sides
over an open fi re on the stove. Aft erwards,
some have the custom to remove the majority
of the meat of the neck (but not all of it).
Role in the Seder: Th e zeroa is not
eaten at the Seder. Aft er the meal it can be
refrigerated, and used again on the Seder
plate the following night.
A hard-boiled egg represents the
pre-holiday off ering (chagigah) that was
brought in the days of the Holy Temple.
Th e meat of this animal constituted the
main part of the Passover meal. Th e
Aramaic word for “egg” is bei’ah, which is
similar to the Aramaic word for “desire,”
expressing that this was the night when
God would redeem the Jewish people.
Preparation: Boil one egg per Seder
plate, and possibly more for use during
Role in the Seder: Place one egg on the
plate. As soon as the actual meal is about
to begin, remove the egg from the Seder
plate and use during the meal.
A popular custom is to eat these eggs
together with the saltwater which was set
on the table.
Maror and chazeret
Bitter herbs (maror) remind us of the
bitterness of the slavery of our forefathers
in Egypt. Fresh grated horseradish, and
romaine lettuce (or endives), are the most
Th e leaves of romaine lettuce are not
bitter; but the stem, when left to grow in
the ground, turns hard and bitter. Th is
represents the Jewish people’s enslavement
Preparation: Peel the raw horseradish
roots, rinse and dry well. Next, grate the
horseradish with a hand grater or food
processor. Th is must be done before the
holiday begins. Whoever will be grating
the horseradish may begin to shed
tears or cough. Shielding the mouth and
nose with a cloth may help. No beets or
other condiments should be added to the
Romaine lettuce is oft en very sandy.
Wash each of the leaves separately, checking
very carefully for insects. Take care
that they do not soak for 24 hours. Th ose
who are particular not to eat matzah
that becomes moist should pat the lettuce
gently with a towel and let it sit until
completely dry, so that there will be no
moisture to come in contact with the
Place a few cleaned, dried leaves of
romaine lettuce on the Seder plate, topped
with the horseradish. Since this will be
used twice, it actually takes two spots on
the Seder plate. Th e top pile (in the center
of the plate) is called maror (bitter
herbs), while the pile that sits beneath it
is referred to as chazeret (lettuce).
Role in the Seder: Aft er the recital of
most of the Haggadah comes the ritual
hand-washing. Th en matzah is eaten,
followed by some maror (taken from the
maror pile), followed in turn by a sandwich
of matzah and maror (this time
taken from the chazeret pile).
A mixture of apples, pears, nuts and
wine, which resembles the mortar and
brick made by the Jews when they toiled
Preparation: Shell nuts and peel apples
and pears, and chop fi nely. Mix together
and add a small amount of wine.
Role in the Seder: Th is is used as a type
of relish, into which the maror is dipped
(and then shaken off ) before eating.
Many have the custom to use parsley,
called karpas in Hebrew. Th is vegetable
alludes to the backbreaking work of the
Jews as slaves.
Preparation: Prepare your vegetable, an
onion or (boiled) potato in many Eastern
European traditions. Cut off a slice and
place on Seder plate. On the table, next
to the Seder plate, place a small bowl of
Role in the Seder: Aft er recital of kiddush,
the family goes to the sink and ritually
washes their hands, but without saying
the usual blessing.
Everyone then takes a very small piece
of the vegetable and dips it in saltwater.
Aft er the appropriate blessing is said, the
karpas is eaten.
From Chabad.org; edited for format.