I am going to share the foods that go into a Passover Seder but am happy to report that I was able to attend a Shabbat Service at Temple Beth El in San Antonio. It’s a beautiful temple, belongs to the Reform movement of Judaism, and the people there seemed warm and reflected the beauty of the Jewish religion that I’ve come to love.
Now the elements of a Passover Seder:
The Seder Plate - on which the elements of food are placed as we remember the Israelite exile from slavery in Egypt.
Matzo bread (unleavened bread) - According to the Hebrew bible, at the time of the Exodus, the people left Egypt in such a hurry that they did not wait for the bread to rise. Three Matzot are placed under the Seder plate, symbolising the three castes of Jews - the Israelites, Priests and Levites.
Skank bone - The Skank bone on the Seder plate represents the spring lamb, which had been sacrificed on the Passover night. Usually a roasted chicken neck is used in this position, which is prepared by roasting on an open fire. It is not eaten, but used a second time on the Seder plate on the next day.
Bitter Herbs - The bitter herbs or marror, represents the bitterness of slavery of the enslaved Hebrews. Usually, horseradish, which has been peeled and dried carefully, is used in the place of the bitter herbs. It is grated, so it can be used later as part of the Korech sandwich and placed on the Seder plate over a few Romaine lettuce leaves.
The Vegetable - The vegetable here marks the meager rewards given for the back-breaking work of the enslaved Jews under the Pharaoh. It is a non-bitter root, usually a shelled onion, or a boiled potato, of which a small piece is placed on the Seder plate. During the Passover meal, all members of the family receive a very small portion of this piece.
The Lettuce - The Lettuce, or the Romaine lettuce, marks the hard and bitter times of the slavery, for the cruel and forced labor. Romaine lettuce is used for this part, as its stem becomes hard and bitter when left to grow in the ground.
Judaism is deeply rooted in tradition and Passover customs are an example of that.
To all who take the time to read my column, thank you. Have a blessed Passover or Easter, my friends!