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Shulchan Orech: Eating the Festive Meal

Shulchan Orech: Eating the Festive Meal

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It is customary to begin the festive meal by eating the egg from the Seder plate after it is dipped in salt-water to recall the Chagigah sacrifice offered in the Beis HaMikdash. The shankbone should not be eaten. There is no need to recline while eating the festive meal.

Particular care should be taken to avoid wetting the matzah. For this reason, the matzos on the table are kept covered, so that no drop of water should fall on them, and so that no matzah crumbs should fall into any water or soup. Likewise, before pouring water or liquids containing water into a cup or plate, one should check for any crumbs of matzah. The prevailing Lubavitch custom is not to eat matzah together with fish or meat lest it become wet.

Matzah may be eaten together with wine. One may drink wine between the second and third cup without reservation.

The Festive Meal

The Rabbis state1 that on the second Seder night, it is proper to commemorate in some way the feast of Esther which was held at this time, because it was at this feast that Haman was hanged. One might ask: Why should the miracles of Purim be remembered on Pesach? The miracles of Pesach were far greater, for the Purim miracles were enclothed in the natural order, and did not free the Jews entirely from Persian rule.

There is, however, a superior quality to the Purim miracles. They, in contrast to the Pesach miracles, came as a result of the Jews’ Divine service. As our Sages commented,2 it was as a prelude to the Purim miracles that “The Jews accepted what they had already begun,”3 giving renewed expression to the commitment to the Torah made on Mount Sinai.

The Future Redemption will combine the positive dimensions of both the redemption from Egypt and the redemption of Purim. There will indeed be miracles transcending the natural order, and yet they will follow the Divine service of the Jewish people, and hence will be internalized within the natural order. On Pesach, as we prepare for Eliyahu HaNavi to announce the coming of the Redemption, we emphasize both these dimensions (the Rebbe).4
Footnotes
1.
Magen Avraham, Shulchan Aruch HaRav, sec. 490.
2.
Shabbos 88a with regard to Esther 9:27.
3.
Esther 9:23. Note the maamarim of the Previous Rebbe (5687) and the Rebbe Shlita focusing on this verse.
4.
Likkutei Sichos, Vol. III, p. 1016.
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