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EROAH (shank bone) -- This
represents the korban pesach,
the mae tJewssacri-
time th e
Exodus until the Second Temple was
destroyed in 70 C.E.
Families would bring a lamb to be sac-
rificed at the Temple, then take it home
to be eaten. When the Temple was
destroyed, animals were no longer sacri-
ficed, though we continue to remember
those days with the inclusion of the
roasted bone on our seder plate.
Interestingly, zeroah actually means
"arm," referring to God's "outstretched
arm" when he saved the Jews at the Red
(Note: Some families prefer using a
chicken bone, such as a wing or even a
neck. In any case, the bone must be
roasted under the broiler, recalling the
sacrifice at the Temple.)
BEITZAH (egg) — A roasted egg repre-
sents the korban chagigah, the sacrifice
brought to all three pilgrimage festivals
(Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot).
In the times of Temple, the meat from
this sacrifice was eaten, together with
matzah and bitter herbs, at the begin-
ning of the seder.
Aside from this, the egg also is a fre-
quent symbol of life in Jewish tradition.
(Note: Eggs may be roasted by placing
them, either hard-boiled or raw, under
the broiler, until the shell is brown. The
egg, with shell intact, is placed on the
MAROR (bitter herb) — The maror
recalls the bitterness of slavery in Egypt.
Families have various traditions as to
what constitutes the most appropriate
maror, ranging from romaine lettuce to
endive to raw horseradish.
While the idea of raw horseradish
might sound a bit off-putting (it can be
potent), rest assured it is not quite as hot
as you may think. You can find horse-
radish root at local grocery stores before
Simply grate and set on the seder
plate. (It does lose a bit of its sting as it
sits there during the reading of the
(Note: Read more about the maror in
Charoset is a mixture
that represents the mortar that held
together the bricks with which our slave
ancestors built the cities of Egypt.
Among Ashkenazic Jews, a common
charoset recipe calls for chopped or
minced apples, nuts (walnuts, almonds,
pecans, etc), cinnamon and wine, blend-
ed to form a paste that resembles mortar.
Many Sephardic Jews use dates instead
of apples. Although most Jews make
charoset according to their family tradi-
tion, there are no rigid rules regarding
Some people add other spices, such as
ginger or mace; another recipe features
raisins or fruits that lend themselves to
the required consistency for charoset.
Since charoset is eaten, it should only
look like mortar, not taste like it.
KARPAS — This is a vegetable, usually
green, that will be used in the first part
of the seder for dipping in salt water.
Some say the green vegetable repre-
sents springtime and rebirth. Others
believe ancient Jews placed soothing
green leaves on the wounded backs of
slaves whipped by Egyptian taskmasters.
The salt water, it is said, represents the
tears shed by our ancestors in slavery. It