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Can I serve roast chicken at the seder?

Can I serve roast chicken at the seder?



Someone mentioned to me that we don't eat roast chicken by the seder meal. Is this correct? And if so, what is the reason for this injunction?


In the times of the Holy Temple, the Paschal lamb was offered on the afternoon preceding the seder, and then consumed at the Seder. As per biblical directive (Exodus 12:9), the lamb was roasted whole over an open fire. We commemorate the Paschal offering by speaking about it during the Haggadah, and the shank bone on the Seder plate serves as a symbolic reminder of this biblical command that we are unable to observe today, in the absence of a Holy Temple.

We hope and pray that we will soon see the rebuilding of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem, at which time we will once again offer the Paschal offering. Until then, though, most communities do not serve roasted meat or poultry at the seder, so that it doesn't appear that we are trying to "replace" the Paschal lamb.1 Even those who would eat roasted meat or chicken during the meal would not eat an entire roasted lamb or kid.

Meat or poultry roasted in a pan should also be avoided—if it was cooked in its own juices and no other liquid was added.

Click here to find recipes for delicious Passover dishes. Enjoy!

Wishing you a joyous and liberating Passover!

All the best,

Rochel Chein for

Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 476:1.
Mrs. Rochel Chein is a member of the Ask the Rabbi team.
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Anonymous April 6, 2016

to: Another advocate for the Sepharadim 1) Please note the source of this custom (as quoted in the article) comes from the Shulchan Aruch composed by Rabbi Yosef Karo, himself an eminent Sephardic sage.
2) The article does mention that some do have this custom Reply

Anonymous Plainview, New York April 5, 2012

Sephardim Some Sephardim eat lamb on Pesah. I am Sephardic and my mother made roasted lamb on Pesah and it was delicious. What if I am Sephardic and I become a Chabadnik? Do I abandon my Sephardic customs? Reply

Yael New York, NY April 21, 2011

Another advocate for the Sepharadim My family is Sephardic and we have roasted lamb shank at every seder. It is delicious and something everyone looks forward to all year, and I don't think it's right for you to discourage others from having that as well just because it's your minhag not to. Reply

SB Petrack Brookline, MA March 18, 2010

Can I serve chicken at Seder? When I saw this question on your web site, my instinctive, immediate reaction was "What sort of crazy animal lover is this person?? With all the family and guests and little children who need to be served, who could possibly worry about serving their chickens too?"

I'm so tired from cleaning that it wasn't until I clicked on the question that I realized the actual meaning of the question. I apologize that I thought (even if just for a moment) that you were a little bit weird.

Wishing you a kosher and joyous holiday, Reply

Anonymous April 4, 2009

How about for Sephardim??? What a surprise (note the sarcasm), Chabad presented the Ashkenazi opinion and minhag as halacha and ignored the actual halacha and minhag of Sephardim/Mizrachhim. Reply

Justin March 24, 2009

Roasted meat at Seder This is a widespread custom; there are Mizrachi communities that do allow it. I suspect that your readership deserves a more correct rendering. Reply

Boris/baruch Tuman cleveland, ohio April 29, 2008

it's ok sorry to be rude i am sorry if i sounded rude. also when understanding halacha u must realize the torah is only half the puzzle. there was an oral tradition as well, like in the torah it just make a sign on your arm. the oral tradation was that a sign meant tephllin for example. Reply

Anonymous Maumee, OH April 29, 2008

Re: Torah commandment Thanks very much for clarifying regarding the sacrifices. After deeper study my wife and I found the same things you mentioned. That sacrificies were to be brought only to HaShem's altar. I apologize for "popping" off before I studied the entire matter. We were not raised in Torah and therefore have much catching up to do! We wish we were raised properly and/or could afford to be properly educated but we can only do the best we can. We thank you for this website of learning and being able to ask questions and get answers in a respectful manner. Barukh haShem! :-) Reply

Boris/Baruch Tuman Cleveland, ohio/ usa April 29, 2008

Reply to what about the Torah What u said is not 100% accurate the holy temple was an upgrade, not anything new. the Mishkan was the original site that the sacrifices would take place. and so when it referred to roasted lamb it meant on the altar. The only time it was roasted but not on an altar was before it was constructed. however we can not use this logic to say hey since we don't have an altar means she should do it ourselves. big mistake: for the following reasons.
1. the commandment to roast it with no altar was a one time deal. G-d has told us no such thing today
2. attempting to give a sacrifice (that's what the roasted lamb was ) your self is paganism, in fact this is like the "bammot" often mentioned in the prophets. and it is not acceptable
3. if ur source and reason where correct then the rabbis (who know the torah and halacha more then anyone today) would have said so, but as u can see our tradition doesn't have it so the rabbis did not put it in.
And on your quote: it's out of context. Reply

Anonymous Maumee, OH April 19, 2008

what about the Torah? The Torah tells us that Moshe and the Hebrews were commanded to have roasted lamb and to observe this festival throughout our generations. Shemot 12. This was before a temple ever stood or before we ever entered the land. Why does Jewish law say the opposite? HaShem is still in charge as far as my family is concerned regarding this or any other law. HaShem's Torah comes first, otherwise we are following man. Reply

Avraham April 17, 2008

Thanks Thank you, that cleared everything up. Have a great pesach! Reply

Rochel Chein, author April 17, 2008

Source The source for this halacha is in the Shulchan Aruch, Orach Chaim, 476. See also the Magen Avraham there. Reply

Anonymous Oakland, CA April 17, 2008

Same question, slightly rephrased "This isn't custom, it's actually prohibited according to Jewish law." Please clarify. The only Halacha you mentioned was about preparing and eating the Korban Pesach. Where does it say that you can't eat other _roasted_ meat at the seder until we have the Korban Pesach again? If you could please cite a source. Reply

Avraham New York, NY April 17, 2008

clarifying for anonymous Dear Anonymous:
The issue in question isn't about eating meat in general but about roast meat. Many (probably most) people have a practice to refrain from eating roast meats at the seder as a reminder of the lost korban pesach. As Ms. Chein explains, this includes meats roasted in the traditional sense or meats cooked only in their own juices (as was required of the korban pesach).
Happy passover! Reply

Naftali Silberberg, Editorial Team April 17, 2008

Re: Our Passover Recipes All the poultry recipes in the above-linked section call for additional liquids -- as such they are not considered roasted.

Though, in truth, there's nothing wrong with having Passover recipes that call for roasted chicken or meat. They can be enjoyed all holiday long -- just not at the Seder. Reply

Anonymous Waldwick, NJ April 16, 2008

Roasted chicken Following your your response is a link to Passover recipes which include poultry recipes to be baked in an oven or cooked in dutch oven - isn't that roasting? Reply

Natan Ft. Worth, TX April 16, 2008

Asur I think she was referring to the fact that it's asur to look like we are trying to replace the korban Pesach. She did indicate that it's okay to roast it in a pan, so long as it's not cooked in it's own juices. Reply

Avraham NJ April 15, 2008

אסור? you write that this is not a custom but an actual halakhic prohibition. Can you please give a source for that? Reply

Anonymous Oakland, CA April 15, 2008

I don't get this "This isn't custom, it's actually prohibited according to Jewish law." Please clarify. The only Halacha you mentioned was about preparing and eating the Korban Pesach. Where does it say that you can't eat other meat at the seder until we have the Korban Pesach again? Reply

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