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The Union Haggadah, ed. by The Central Council of American Rabbis [1923], at

p. 33 p. 34

The Passover Symbols

Should enemies again assail us, the remembrance of the exodus of our fathers from Egypt will never fail to inspire us with new courage, and the symbols of this festival will help to strengthen our faith in God, who redeems the oppressed.

Therefore, Rabban Gamaliel, a noted sage, declared: "Whoever does not well consider the meaning of these three symbols: Pesaḥ, Matzo and Moror, has not truly celebrated this Festival".


One of the company asks:

What is the meaning of Pesaḥ?

The leader lifts up the roasted shank-bone and answers:

Pesaḥ means the Paschal Lamb, and is symbolized by this shank-bone. It was eaten by our fathers while the Temple was in existence, as a memorial of God's favors, as it is said: "It is the sacrifice of the Lord's Passover, for that He passed over the houses of the children of Israel in Egypt, when He smote the Egyptians and delivered our houses". As God in the ancient "Watch-Night" passed over and spared the houses of Israel, so did He save us in all kinds of distress, and so may He always shield the afflicted, and for ever remove every trace of bondage from among the children of man.

p. 35 p. 36


One of the company asks:

What is the meaning of Matzo?

The leader lifts up the Matzo and answers:

Matzo, called The Bread Of Affliction, was the hasty provision that our fathers made for their journey, as it is said: "And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they brought out of Egypt. There was not sufficient time to leaven it, for they were driven out of Egypt and could not tarry, neither had they prepared for themselves any provisions." The bread which of necessity they baked unleavened, thus became a symbol of divine help.


One of the company asks:

And what is the meaning of Moror?

The leader lifts up the bitter herbs and answers:

Moror means Bitter Herb. We eat it in order to recall that the lives of our ancestors were embittered by the Egyptians, as we read: 'And they made their lives bitter with hard labor in mortar and bricks and in all manner of field labor. Whatever task was imposed upon them, was executed with the utmost rigor." As we eat it in the midst of the festivities of this night, we rejoice in the heroic spirit which trials developed in our people. Instead of becoming embittered by them, they were sustained and strengthened.

Next: The Watch-night of the Eternal