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Introduction to the Seder Plate

Introduction to the Seder Plate


Preparing the items for the Seder plate requires some time. It is best to prepare all the Seder foods before the onset of the holiday, in order to avoid halachic questions.

Three matzot are placed on top of each other on a plate or napkin, and then covered. (Some also have the custom to separate the matzot from each other with interleaved plates, napkins, or the like.)

The matzot are symbolic of the three castes of Jews: Priests, Levites, and Israelites. They also commemorate the three measures of fine flour that Abraham told Sarah to bake into matzah when they were visited by the three angels (Genesis 18:6).

On a practical level, three matzot are needed so that when we break the middle matzah, we are still left with two whole ones to pronounce the hamotzi blessing (as required on Shabbat and holidays).

On a cloth or plate placed above the three matzot, we place the following items:

The special foods we eat on Passover are also food for thought. Every item on the Seder plate abounds in meaning and allusion. Click on the links above for descriptions of each of the foods, the reason why it is included, the method of preparing it, and its role in the Seder meal.

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Discussion (15)
March 23, 2015
Very useful! :)
March 16, 2015
The halachic answer is as follows. The first blessing we say on the matzah - "hamotzi lechem min ha'aretz" - needs to be said over a whole matzah, and should be said on the first available matzah. Thus, we leave the first one whole and break the next one.

On a deeper level, the three matzahs represent the three Patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, with the middle matzah being Isaac. Isaac personified the attribute of strength, sometimes expressed as severity. Since we don't want G-d to express His severity in full measure, we break the middle matzah to "break" that strictness.
Malkie Janowski for
March 10, 2015
Please tell my why the middle piece of Matzos is broken and not the other two,pieces.
Thank you.
PS I also want to tell you that I am grateful for your response to my first question.
Yours faithfully,
brian Andrews
South Africa
April 8, 2014
Hello my friends on the device's of the 21st century this is a very good website now I know what to tell my butcher about my lamb shank
March 31, 2014
This was really helpful thanks for the web thank you very much
February 1, 2014
Very useful for my RE homework
November 16, 2013
very helpful
May 19, 2013
This was so useful for my homework
BOT England
April 17, 2013
Thank you for your website it helped me a lot
Queensland ,Australia
November 14, 2012
I am a Year 7 and I had R.E homework on the Seder Plate, we had to name some foods given on a sheet, give their meaning and how they're used. This website was very helpful and seemed to come up regularly! Thank you :)
Newark, England