The lettuce symbolizes the bitter enslavement of our fathers in Egypt. The leaves of romaine lettuce are not bitter, but the stem, when left to grow in the ground, turns hard and bitter.
So it was with our enslavement in Egypt. At first the deceitful approach of Pharaoh was soft and sensible, and the work was done voluntarily and even for pay. Gradually, it evolved into forced and cruel labor.
Preparation: Romaine lettuce is often very sandy. Wash each of the leaves separately, checking very carefully for insects. (Pat gently with a towel and let sit until completely dry, so that there will be no moisture to come in contact with the matzah.)
Depending on how much romaine lettuce is needed, it can take several hours to prepare. This task should be completed before candle-lighting time on the first night. Prepare enough leaves for both nights and store in the refrigerator. Soaking of the romaine leaves may not be done on the holiday.
Role in the Seder: The lettuce is used in conjunction with horseradish. It is used when eating the maror and when eating the matzah-and-maror sandwich.
Place the leaves in two piles on the Seder plate, one under the maror and one separately at the bottom.
Keep a stack of extra cleaned leaves handy in the refrigerator in case additional leaves are needed.