Before beginning the Seder, it is important to make certain that everything necessary is available. No Seder table is complete without the following:
1) Three Unbroken Matzot (Kosher for Passover) -- One should try to use shmura (specially supervised) matzah for the Seders.
2) Wine/Grape Juice (Kosher for Passover) and Wine Glasses -- All participants should be given a glass or cup (minimum size of 3.3 ounces) from which to drink the required four cups of Wine/Grape Juice.
3) The Seder Plate -- It is traditional to place the following items on a special Seder plate:
--Bay'tza / Roasted (hardboiled) Egg, symbolic of the cycle of life because of its round shape and representative of the Jewish character - the more you boil them, the harder they get. The egg also represents the missing chagiga sacrifice that was offered on Passover, Sukkot and Shavuot.
--Z'roa / Shank Bone (of a lamb or the bone of another kosher animal or fowl), representing the Passover lamb offering that we cannot bring today because of the absence of the Temple.
--Maror / Bitter Herbs, reminding participants of the bitterness and pain of slavery.
--Karpas / Vegetable (usually a piece of celery, parsley or potato), which is dipped in salt water as part of the Seder ritual.
--Charoset, a tasty mixture of chopped walnuts, wine, cinnamon and apples, representing the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build Pharaoh's cities (recipes may vary by community).
--Chazeret / Bitter Vegetable (like romaine lettuce or celery), which is sometimes placed on the Seder Plate to remind us of the bitter lives of the Israelites as slaves.
4) Salt Water -- The karpas (vegetable) is dipped in salt water as a reminder of the tears of the Jewish slaves. Usually, the salt water is not placed on the Seder Plate, but near it.
5) Elijah's Cup -- This cup, filled with wine, is used to invite Elijah the Prophet, the harbinger of the Messianic age, to come to the Seder, and hopefully, begin our final redemption.
*This Treat was published on March 23, 2010. It is being re-Treated to help us better understand the holiday of Passover.
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