Great question. In fact, on a basic
level, that is exactly why we do itБso you should ask the question Бwhy? Б, it phrases the commandment as a hypothetical conversation between parent and child: БIf your son asks you in time to come. you shall say to your son, БWe were slaves to Pharaoh in Egypt, and the LБrd took us out of Egypt with a strong hand. ББ The sages thus understand that the telling over of the story of the Exodus is meant to be in a question-and-answer format. (And even if there is no child to ask the questions, you do so yourself. ) The sages therefore instituted a number of rituals during the Seder for the sole purpose of arousing the child\’s curiosity and prompting questions. One of these rituals is the dipping of the. We take a vegetable that would normally only be eaten as part of a meal, dip it and eat it before the mealБthus prompting the child to ask why we are doing things differently tonight. The common custom is to dip the vegetable into salt water (or vinegar), symbolizing the tears the Jews shed during their servitude. By dipping the vegetable, we also get a bonus questionББWhy are we washing our hands before eating the karpas? Б WeБre only used to washing our hands before eating bread, so this step of the Seder, seems unusual. However, it may be surprising to learn that this ritual is not limited to the SederБaccording to the, Бany food that is dipped into a liquid requires washing of the hands before it is eaten. \” The commentaries explain that even those who arenБt particular about washing for dipped foods year-round (for reasons beyond the scope of this article) do so at the Seder night since a) this dipping is more significant, since it is done as part of the Seder and is therefore treated with more respect and stringency; and b) this night is all about arousing questions, and therefore, the very fact that you are doing something different will lend itself to an additional question.
Now, technically, you only need to wash if you will be eating wet food with your hand, so it is ideal to eat your karpas with your hands, thus warranting the washing that precedes it. Nevertheless, if for whatever reason you use a fork, you should still wash your hands. The Talmud does not specify which vegetable should be dipped, and in fact any vegetable may be used, other than those that may be used for the. However, many have the custom to use a certain vegetable by the name of karpas,since the word karpas (ввЕвв), when reversed, can be read as в\’ ввЕв. The letter has the numerical value of 60, and perach means Бhard labor,Б so the word karpas alludes to the sixty myriads of Jews (600,000) who were enslaved with hard labor.
But which vegetable is identified as karpas? Some say it is a leafy green like parsley or celery. Yet, many have the custom to use root vegetables such as potatoes, radishes and onions. The custom is to use onions or potatoes. When we make the blessing of haБadamah on the karpas, we have in mind that the blessing be for the maror as well. Therefore, when we eat the karpas, we should make sure to eat less than an ounce (or a whole vegetable), which may require one to make an after-blessing. (Nevertheless, if one did eat more than an ounce -as some have the custom to do- one should still not make an after-blessing. ) On a mystical note, dipping food is an act of negationБsome of the foodБs own taste is negated in order to receive the taste of the dip. In fact, the Hebrew word for Бdipping,Бввввв, is an anagram for the Hebrew word ввввв, Бnullification or negation. Б Conversely, the act of dipping food demonstrates that one is a connoisseur who understands that the food on its own is lacking and knows just what to add to get the right flavor. However, the dipping on the night of the Seder is Бdifferent than all other nights. Б For on this night, even our act of dipping is a sign of negation and humility. Although we are celebrating our freedom, we are at the same time celebrating our birth as a nation in service of.
And as we celebrate the exodus from one exile, we pray for our exodus from this one as well. The ( Pesahim 2:6) specifically mentions five types of bitter herbs eaten on the night of Passover: azeret ( ), ouleshЫn ( ), temakha (believed by Rabbi, in his Tosafot Yom-Tov, to be \”cren\” ( ), an opinion disputed by other rabbinic scholars), arabina (Sweet clover [ ssp. ; ssp. ; ssp. ], others saying that it is, and maror (a type of ). The most common vegetables used as bitter herbs are and. Romaine lettuce is not initially bitter, but becomes so after the first taste, which is symbolic of the experience of the Jews in Egypt. Wild or, found in Israel, is a bitter vegetable that fits all descriptions of Chazeret in the Talmud. Other suitable vegetables include and charchavinah (variously identified as a vine growing around palms, a type of thistle, or a type of acacia), both of which are mentioned explicitly in the (Pesachim 2:6). Some families use green, while \”karpas\” is thought to be either curly or, eaten for the requirement of \”maror. \” Although many Jews use condiment (a mixture of cooked horseradish, beetroot and sugar) the Code of Jewish Law requires that maror be used as is, that is raw, and not cooked or mixed with salt, vinegar, sugar, lemon, or beets.