Why do we eat unleavened bread (Matzo)?
to recall the fact that Jews had to leave Egypt before they had been able to add yeast to bread.
Why do we eat bitter herbs?
to recall the bitterness of slavery
Why do we eat in a reclining position?
to recall comfort over the discomfort of slavery- NB, nowadays we use cushions instead!
we dip potateo into salt water to recall the tears of slavery
- We each drink Four Cups of wine, at various intervals, to remember and celebrate the fourfold promises to us that G-d made for our freedom and to represent liberty and joy.
- Matzo (unleavened bread) which is eaten symbolically three times during the meal.
- A bone of a lamb to represent the last plague, in which Jews had to paint their doors with the blood of a lamb, so that death would pass.
- An egg, also to represent sacrifice, but also because unlike other foods an egg gets harder when it is heated up. This represents Jews and our determination not to abandon our faith, even in slavery .
- Greenery (usually lettuce) to represent new life.
- Salt water to represent a slave's tears.
- Charoset (a paste made of apples, nuts, cinnamon and wine) to represent the mortar used by the Israelites to build the palaces of Egypt.
- An extra cup of wine is placed on the table and the door is left open for Elijah- this is because we Jews believe that the prophet Elijah will reappear to announce the coming of the Messiah and will do so at Pesach (we conclude by saying "next year in Jerusalem").