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How do I arrange my Seder plate?

by Mrs. Shaina B. Lipskier


Library » Holidays » Passover » Seder | Subscribe | What is RSS?


The Seder plate requires a considerable amount of preparation, and it is best if all preparations are done before the Seder begins...

The foundation of the seder plate are the three Matzot. We place the three matzot, separated from each other by either a plate, napkin or handkerchief, one on top of the other (see Why do we have three matzot on the Seder plate on Passover?), and cover the top Matzah as well. For convenience sake, you can purchase a classy, embroidered, specially made cloth matzah tash, which contains three pockets, one for each matzah. These are available at your Judaica store, are not too costly, and make for a nice Passover present for your spouse! 

We are now ready to prepare the Ka'ara (Seder Plate.) There are various customs as to the location of the different items on the seder plate. We bring you the Chabad custom, which is based on mystical tradition.The Ka'ara consists of the following items:

Zeroa: The "Shank Bone"; on the upper right-hand side of the plate.

Although it is called "the shank bone," any piece of meat will suffice. We prepare the zeroa, by roasting the piece of meat -- usually the neck of a chicken is used -- on all sides. Some have the custom of removing most of the meat before placing it on the plate. The shank bone is on the seder plate to commemorate the roasted Paschal Offering which was sacrificed when the Holy Temple stood in Jerusalem. (See Why does the Torah command the Jews to roast the Paschal Offering?). 

Beytza: The Egg; on the upper left-hand side of the plate.  

We prepare the beytza, by boiling an egg. (Actually, several eggs should be prepared -- one for each Seder plate, and several more, for they will be eaten by all later on at the start of the Seder meal.) See Why is there an egg on the Seder plate?

Maror: The Bitter Herbs; in the center of the plate.

Horseradish, a sharp tasting vegetable is grated to produce the Maror. It almost goes without saying that this represents the suffering of our forefathers enslaved in Egypt. Grating the horseradish and inhaling the strong gasses which are emitted can cause a strong reaction -- like dicing onions, but much worse. As a kid, when I was summoned to do this job along with my siblings, swimming goggles did the trick! The horseradish is placed in a bed of Romaine lettuce. We use romaine lettuce, because it is soft and sweet, but when left in the ground becomes bitter and tough. So, too, at first the Egyptians sweet-talked the Jews into building cities for Pharaoh, appealing to their sense of patriotism, and offering them pay for their work. In the end, however, they were enslaved and forced to perform harsh, backbreaking labor.


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Holidays » Passover » Seder » The Seder Plate

(pl. Matzot). Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
A Biblically mandated early-spring festival celebrating the Jewish exodus from Egypt in the year 1312 BCE.
Chabad, an acronym for Wisdom, Knowledge, and Understanding, is the name of a Chassidic Group founded in the 1770s. Two of the most fundamental teachings of Chabad are the intellectual pursuit of understanding the divine and the willingness to help every Jew who has a spiritual or material need.
Festive meal eaten on the first two nights of the holiday of Passover (In Israel, the Seder is observed only the first night of the holiday). Seder highlights include: reading the story of the Exodus, eating Matzah and bitter herbs, and drinking four cups of wine.
(Pl.: Matzot) Unleavened bread which is eaten on Passover, especially at the Passover Seder (feast), commemorating the Matzah which the Jews ate upon leaving Egypt. It consists of only flour and water and resembles a wheat cracker.
Established by King David to be the eternal capital of Israel. Both Temples were built there, and the third Temple will be situated there when the Messiah comes.
Bitter herbs consumed at the Passover Seder, commemorating how the Egyptians embittered the lives of our ancestors.
A mixture of ground fruit and nuts, flavored with a splash of red wine. During the Passover seder, the maror (bitter herbs) are dipped into the Charoset.
1. Usually a reference to the Holy Temple which was/will be situated in Jerusalem. 1st Temple was built in 825 BCE and was destroyed in 423 BCE. The 2nd Temple was built in 350 BCE and was destroyed in 70 CE. The 3rd Temple will be built by the Messiah. 2. A synagogue.