The ceremonial dinner, Seder is considered as an auspicious and sacred eve of the Passover with its major significance lying in the maggid (telling the story of Exodus from Egypt). It begins with asking four crucial questions called Mah Nishtanah, to the youngest child at the Seder gathering.
Through these questions, Jewish communities aim to encourage traditional inquisitiveness amongst their children.
To be noted the order of the questions doesn’t remain the same for Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish. Since the answer to each question holds some meaningful message and awareness regarding the Pesach rule. Thus, parents consider it to be the test of their religious teachings.
The earliest version of the Ma Nishtana is found in Mishnah Pesachim. The Mishnah says that after pouring the second cup of wine a son questions his father. In case the son is unable to figure out the question, a father is allowed to help his son with a question to recite. In this version of Ma Nishtana, the last question was missing.
Later, in order to ensure consistency with four sons, four glasses of wine, the fourth question was included too. Each question signifies how Seder’s dinner is different and special from any other meal. So, now let’s understand what these four scripted questions are.
Passover Seder Question 1 – Why is food dipped twice on this night?
On this night, the vegetables are dip in the saltwater to rejuvenate the idea of simplicity and being grounded to the roots. The fundamental focus is not on getting caught up in oneself when God bestows you with wealth. The teaching indicates that one shouldn’t upgrade his standard of living but the standard of giving. The inclusion of the saltwater aims to remind Jewish of all the tears their ancestors shed while being slaves to Egypt. It is believed the true essence of the Peach is to remember all the sufferers and pay homage to them.
Passover Seder Question 2 – Why only Matzah is preferred this night instead of leavened bread?
According to Jewish belief, Matzah (unleavened bread) is considered as the symbol of humility, and leavened bread symbolizes ego. Matzah is made out of plain flour (which is not allowed to rise) and water in a little amount of time. It indicates the rush with which Jewish left Egypt and didn’t get time to let the dough rise. Thus, on this auspicious day, Matzah is preferred over leavened bread.
Passover Seder Question 3 – Why are bitter herbs eaten on this night?
Bitter herbs become an essential part of the Seder plate because it reminds the entire community of the sacrifices made by ancestors. Here, the idea is to celebrate freedom with joy without forgetting the pain and suffering it came through. The main types of bitter herbs are:
- Hazzeret (lettuce)
- Uleshin (chicory/endive)
- Harhavina (melilot, eryngium) ,
- Maror ( sowthistle, Sonchus oleraceus)
Passover Seder Question 4 – Why do we only recline this night and not sit upright?
The idea behind the question is to let people feel comfortable by leaning to the comfortable side. It is considered as an expression of comfort that comes from hard-earned freedom. An interesting behavior explains the fact that despite personal problems a person always has the responsibility to lean towards the free nation and soul.
Besides, staying closer to roots one shall have the knowledge of where he is heading towards and ensure living a positive and healthy life.
For more questions and clarifications, you can contact https://vacationspassover.com/