Passover - the most family-friendly, festive and stylish holiday in the Hebrew calendar.
On this special night, Jews from all over the world gather around the holiday table and read the Haggadah, the story of our people who came out of slavery to freedom. Seder night embodies the unique tradition and essence of each family. The atmosphere of rejuvenation in the air, holiday gifts, people we are happy to see (and even less so), new clothes, your moms new table decorations alongside everything that is good.
Let's start with the question that concerns many of us these days.
What Do You Put On The Passover Plate?
“Third time Matzah” - Why do we put three matzahs on the Passover plate?
If on Shabbat we bless two challahs during the Kiddush, why on Pesach do we bless three matzahs?
Well, the answer is in "Yachatz" (יחץ) - The action of breaking the middle matzah in two parts. We must break the matzah to use for the Afikoman. Two more complete matzahs are needed for blessing the bread on every Shabbat or holiday celebration. So this is the reason why on Seder night three matzahs are placed in total.
The egg symbolizes the "festive offering" (Korban Chagigah, קורבן חגיגה) that the people of Israel would sacrifice on holidays during the Three Pilgrimage Festivals. (Passover, Shavuot, Sukkot) during the temple period.
Passover is a holiday of freedom and redemption for the people of Israel. The role of the egg is to remind us of great happiness as well as the sacrifice of the victims and the great mourning for the destruction.
The arm of a lamb or a roasted chicken commemorative statements for the "Passover offering”. This lamb is sacrificed and also eaten on Passover during the Temple period.
One of the customs of Seder night is to place an arm on the Passover plate in which God redeems the people of Israel from the life of slavery in Egypt. Taking them out with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm.
“Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm”. (Book of Deuteronomy, chapter five, verse fourteen).
The bitterness is usually lettuce or other bitter leaves (chicory, the bitterness of decency, chervahina) and is eaten on Seder night in memory of the hard labor and bitter bondage of how our ancestors were enslaved in Egypt. It is customary to eat it during the Seder. The minimum amount that each person should consume is 'as of an olive' (19 grams). It’s customary in Ashkenazi testimony that ground horseradish root is added to the maror and eaten as a spread on the matzah.
"And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roasting with fire and unleavened bread upon bitterness shall they eat" (Exodus, chapter twelve, verse eight).
The Charoset mixture is used to remind us of the clay and materials that the people of Israel used for the construction of Egypt while still being enslaved. The wine was used as a reference to the blood that marked the front doorways of their houses and helped the people of Israel survive the plague of the firstborn.
The preparation of the Charoset varies according to the customs of each community. In Ashkenazi cuisine, the jar contains crushed fruit along with wine and various spices. In Sephardi cuisine, raisins and dates are added to this mixture, giving it sweetness. The main role of the Charoset is to alleviate the bitterness of the herbs.
Moroccan Charoset (Haroset) recipe:
2 cups of pitted dates
1 cup of coarsely chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon (optional)
½ A piece of ginger (optional)
½ teaspoon of ground clove (optional)
1 tablespoon kosher sweet red wine
Put all the ingredients except for the walnuts - in a food processor and mix for 1-2 minutes or until all the ingredients are finely chopped and start to stick to each other, transfer the charoset into a jar or vessel and let it cool, mix in the walnuts.
The celery is usually dipped in salt water and its job is to wake up the children's curiosity on Seder night to ask
"Why is tonight different from all the other nights"? This gives an opening to begin the story of the journey of what the Israeli people had to go through.
Why would vegetables make children curious you ask?
Well, the custom of Judaism is to start the meal by eating bread while on Seder night, which is different from all nights, the meal is opened with the celery.
If there is no celery, what other vegetable can be used instead of celery?
Each house has a different tradition, but the most common alternatives to celery are potatoes, onions, parsley, lettuce.
In fact, any fresh or cooked vegetable that can be blessed with the blessing "בורא פרי האדמה" (Borei Pri Ha'Adamah: The Blessing on Vegetables) and is not used as a bitter herbs can be made as the substitute.
In every generation a person must regard himself as though he personally had gone out of Egypt, as it is said: “And you shall tell your son in that day, saying: ‘It is because of what YHVH did for me when I came forth out of Egypt.’” (Exudos chapter 13 verse 8)
On Passover we celebrate the freedom and redemption we won after a long period of slavery in Egypt, and therefore on the night of Seder we are obligated to see ourselves as if we had left Egypt, and now we are free.
And in the spirit of our time, who is a free man?
I see a free person as one who is not limited to a particular place or property, and on a deeper level as a person who does not let his thoughts or past experiences define who he is today or who he still may be in the future. To me the privilege of being a free human being in this world, artist and creator, is the most beautiful gift I could have received and I strive to see the wonder of creation in every little detail in the world.
For me design is far beyond the ability to express my ideas in the form of material (gold, brass, silver, stone and more), but something more spiritual and deep. My design is my interpretation of freedom, creation and connection with the traditions of my people.
If it is said that God is in the small details then I feel it in my fingers, in my heart and also in the jewelry. Each product is a meeting point between the majesty and splendor of the abundance in the Land of Israel and the Israeli landscape as I see it and hence the natural choice to decorate the Passover plate with elements from the 7 species in which the land is blessed.
Want to see more special dishes for the holiday table? To view the Pesach collection, click here.