What We Do

Grab some of that bitter herb, enough to make the size of a small egg if you would crunch it into a ball. Some have the custom of using both horseradish and romaine lettuce (though either/or is also okay).

Dip the bitter herb in the charoset. Shake off any excess.

It’s a careful balance: You want bitter herbs, but you want to sweeten the bitterness a little. But it’s still got to be bitter herbs—not a sumptuous charoset hors d'oeuvre. Look, you can try that later at the meal. We’ll get there—don’t worry.

Say the blessing: "Blessed be You… and commanded us concerning eating bitter herbs."

Eat it. All of it. No funny faces now.

What It Means

What's so great about the bitterness? Why do we want to remermber that?

Actually, our bitterness in Egypt was/is the key to our redemption. We never got used to Egypt. We never felt we belonged there. We never said, “They are the masters and we are the slaves and that’s the way it is.” It always remained something we felt bitter about, something that was unjust and needed to change.

If it hadn’t been that way, we probably would never have left. In fact, tradition tells us that 80% of the Jews said, “This is our land. How can we leave it?” And they stayed and died there.

But as for the rest of us, when Moses came and told us we were going to leave, we believed him. It was our bitterness that had preserved our faith.
Everyone has his Egypt. You’ve got to know who you are and what are your limitations. But heaven forbid to make peace with them. The soul within you knows no limits.

This is the sweetness we apply to the bitter herb: Bitterness alone, without any direction, is self-destructive. Inject some life and optimism into it, and it becomes the springboard to freedom.

Read: What is Maror?