The Passover Seder is not a Passover Seder without a Seder Plate in the center of the table. Learn how to prepare the Passover Seder plate.
Time Required: 45 minutes
- The Plate
The plate itself can be as fancy as a purchased specialty Seder Plate or as simple as a styrofoam plate on which your children have drawn the Passover symbols.
The Seder Plates contain the following items:
- Chazeret (optional)
- Shopping List
At the grocery store, buy the following kosher for Passover food: apples, walnuts, red wine, cinnamon, sugar, shankbone or poultry neck, egg, parsley or potato, celery, horseradish root or prepared horseradish.
Charoset, a mixture of apples, nuts, wine and spices, is symbolic of the mortar the Jewish slaves made in their building for the Egyptians. To make charoset, prepare 1 cup of walnuts, 1 granny smith green apple, 2 tsp. cinnamon, 2 tsp. sugar, and red wine to moisten. Chop the nuts and apples to the consistency you want (a food processor can be used). Sprinkle with spices, and moisten with wine. The texture of the charoset should remind us of mortar.
Zeroa, a shankbone or neck of poultry, is a reminder of the "mighty arm of G-d" as the Bible describes it. It is also symbolic of the Paschal lamb offered as the Passover sacrifice in Temple days. Roast the shankbone in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Baytzah, a hard-boiled egg, is symbolic of the regular festival sacrifice brought in the days of the Temple. Some authorities have interpreted this as a symbol of mourning for the loss of the two Temples (the first was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 B.C.E., the second by the Romans in 70 C.E.). With the Temples destroyed, sacrifices could no longer be offered. The egg symbolized this loss and traditionally became the food of mourners.
Karpas, a vegetable (parsley or potato is generally used), is dipped in salt water to represent tears. The custom of serving karpas dates back to Jerusalem of the 1st and 2nd centuries when it was common to begin a formal meal by passing around vegetables as hors d’oeuvres.
Maror, bitter herbs (horseradish root or prepared horseradish is generally used), represents the bitter life of the Israelites during the time of their enslavement in Egypt.
Chazeret is a bitter vegetable (celery or lettuce can be used). Those who do not put chazeret on their Seder Plate sometimes put a dish of salt water in its place.
- Prepare the Seder Plate long before the Seder meal so you are not pressured to get it ready at the last minute.
- Allowing children to help you prepare the Seder Plate is a fun and effective way to teach them about the symbolism of the food and their connection to the Passover story.