This post covers questions and answers for the following topics:

  • Rochtzah
  • Motzi
  • Matzah
  • Maror
  • Koreich
  • Shulchan Orech

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4 Answers 4


The Beitzah for the Seder Plate

Seth J asked: Why do we use an egg [Beitzah] specifically on the Seder Plate to represent the Festival offering [Korban Haggigah]? What is the appropriate way to prepare the Beitzah for the Seder Plate?

Double AA said: The Taz (OC 473:4) suggests the reason is so that we can eat it, because it is forbidden to eat roasted meat on the Seder night.

The Mishna Berura there quotes two other reasons. First, that we use an egg, which is commonly served at a meal to mourners, to represent our mourning the loss of the Beit HaMikdash and the Korbanot. Second, the word for egg in Aramaic is ביעא which is symbolic of the phrase בעי רחמנא למפרק יתנא (a plea for redemption).

The Shulchan Aruch there says that the custom around him was to cook the egg in liquid. The Mishna Berura there explains that this is because the egg represents the Korban Chagigah which, unlike the Korban Pesach, could be either roasted or cooked in liquid. The Rama there notes that the custom in his city is to have the egg roasted, as was certainly a permissible way of preparing the Korban Chaggigah.

The Aruch HaShulchan (:9) suggests that the custom in Ashkenaz developed out of deference to the rejected opinion of Ben Teima (Pesachim 70a) that required the Korban Chaggigah to be roasted as well.

Original questions:
Preparing the Beitzah for the Seder Plate
Why a Beitzah on the Seder Plate?


  • Shulchan Orech, egg
    – Double AA Mod
    Mar 12, 2013 at 5:26
  • I hope it's ok that I combined two questions.
    – Double AA Mod
    Mar 12, 2013 at 5:27
  • I think combining questions is fine if everyone is properly credited, which they are. Mar 12, 2013 at 13:12

Why do we say Pesach seder brachot both nights?

Monica Cellio asked: During the Pesach seder, but not during the rest of Pesach, we say the mitzvah b'rachot (asher kidshanu b'mitzvotav) for matzah and maror. So it seems that we are only commanded in this for the night of the seder. But in the diaspora we have two seder nights and we say these b'rachot both nights. Doesn't that mean that one of those nights is the wrong time and thus we're saying blessings in vain? Why is this ok?

Shalom said: Good question. The same question comes up with all the blessings regarding a second-day yom tov on the Diaspora; e.g. kiddush and shehechiyanu on the second night of Sukkot, Shavuot, and Shmini Atzeret.

Until the Jewish calendar was fixed in place (around the year 500 or so), those in the Diaspora were keeping two days, going "maybe yom tov is really Tuesday, maybe it's really Wednesday" (or whatever days of the week). However, past that point in time, the two-day-Diaspora practice became established rabbinically as the formal requirement -- "keep two days as full yom tov in the Diaspora."

So we say all the yom tov blessings because we're obligated, rabbinically, to treat it as full yom tov (or as full seder).

As for blessings in vain, the problem is saying a blessing that's not needed. Once it was established as obligatory, then it's no longer in vain! (For instance, using G-d's name for the sake of teaching how to do prayer is not "in vain", and I know of one cantorial recording that in fact does so.)

Original question: Why do we say Pesach seder brachot both nights?


What is the source of netilat yadayim before eating bread?

nute asked: Where do we learn that we need to wash hands before eating bread? Why? And why bread and not other food?

YDK answered: The Aruch haShulchan 158:1-2 brings the 2 main reasons:

  1. To protect against defiling Teruma (on a rabbinical level), we are careful to wash for regular food as well.

  2. Cleanliness leads a person to purity and holiness. Based on where the Torah says "v'hiskadishchem"- sanctify yourselves (Vayikra 11:44), we wash our hands and dry them prior to eating.

There is an argument as to which is the main reason. The Aruch haShulchan (158:4) says that according to Tosafos on Pesachim 115, the main reason for Netilas Yadayim is cleanliness, with the Trumah protection idea being secondary. (Based on the Tos. that we don't have a mitzva to wash on wet foods.)

Accordingly, the reason we only wash on bread is because the rabbinical mitvah of washing was only mandated where cleanliness was noticeable (Aruch haShulchan 158:3). That is by a bread which is not done with a quick bracha-eat-bracha, but is done as a meal with a long bentching. (The idea of cleanliness always applies, but without a specific mitzva.)

Original question: What is the source of netilat yadayim before eating bread?

  • Section: Rochtza
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Mar 17, 2013 at 16:42

Why do we quote the pasuk from Pesach Sheni for Korech?

vulcandeathgrip asked: At the seder, by Korech (the sandwich) we state

So did Hillel do. When the Temple was standing he would bind [meat from the} Pesach [offering] Matzah and Marror and eat them as one. As the verse states (Bamidbar 9:11) ...on Matzah and Marror you shall eat it [the korban Pesach].

My question is why do we cite a verse from Pesach Sheni instead of the very similar verse (Shemos 12:8 - "... roast with fire, and Matzah - on Marror you shall eat it") from the original Pesach commandment?

Michoel found multiple answers:

The Lubavitcher Rebbe explains in his Haggada (Likkutey Taamim Uminhagim):

The verse regarding the original Korban Pesach (Shemos 12:8) - "ואכלו את הבשר גו' ומצות על מרורים יאכלוהו" (They shall eat the flesh, roasted over the fire, and unleavened cakes; with bitter herbs they shall eat it) would seem to come as a counter-proof to Hillel's opinion that one must bind the Pesach, Matza and Maror together. The Mechilta there deduces from the superfluous word "they shall eat it", that even if one does not have Matza or Maror, he should still eat the Korban Pesach. Thus, the verse is emphasizing how each Mitzva is independent, the opposite to the point Hillel wants to make. Additionally, the simple reading of the verse seems to be (as the Ramban there renders it) that only the Maror needs to be eaten with the Pesach but there is no evidence that the Matza must as well. It is only from the later verse regarding Pesach Sheini that we derive this obligation, which we apply to Pesach Rishon as well.

[He notes at the end that there are those who have an alternate text that substitutes the verse from Pesach Rishon].

Rabbi Menachem Mendel Kasher deals with this question at great length in Torah Shleima (vol. 11 pg. 97-100, and pg. 210-213). From a quick glance through it, it seems as if he tries to prove that the correct text should cite the verse from Pesach Rishon.

One of the Belzer Rebbes (quoted in Hagadas Kol Yehudah) explained that the words "לקיים מה שנאמר" (to fulfill that which is written) are not merely coming to bring Scriptural evidence to the previous statement (for if so it should have used the more common expression "כמו שכתוב" - "as it is written"). It is also a prayer that we should speedily merit to fulfill that which is written with an actual Korban Pesach when Moshiach comes. Being that we already missed the first Korban Pesach, we pray that we should at least make it in time for the Pesach Sheini (and not have to wait a full year), and thus we bring a verse regarding the Pesach Sheini.

Original question: Why do we quote the pasuk from Pesach Sheni for Korech?

  • Section: Koreich
    – Isaac Moses Mod
    Mar 17, 2013 at 21:09

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