|Meaning of Items on Seder Plate
There are several items placed on the Seder plate. We would like to give you the traditional and the
messianic meaning behind each item:
Lamb Shank bone:
Traditional: The shank bone (zeroa in Hebrew) is a reminder of “the mighty
arm” of God, as the Bible describes it, which encouraged Pharaoh to release
the Children of Israel from bondage. It is also symbolic of the Paschal lamb
offered as the Passover sacrifice in Temple days.
Messianic: The shank bone reminds us of the sacrificial lamb. The lamb
reminds us of the way of redemption and the blood of the sacrifice which
Traditional: The middle of the three Matzahs is broken and then hidden to be found later during the
service. The hidden Matzah is called the “afikomen”, a Greek word meaning “that which comes last”. On
Passover, since bread is not to be eaten, two Matzahs are baked instead. A third Matzah is added as a
reminder of the joyous nature of this holiday of freedom. Some authorities interpret the use of the three
Matzahs as representing the three groups in Jewish religious life: Priests, Levites, and Israelites.
Messianic: We believe the three Matzahs represent the tri-unity of God – Father, Son and Rauch
HaKodesh (Holy Spirit). The afikomen represents Yeshua, who was broken for our sins, wrapped in a
white cloth of burial, placed in a tomb (hidden), and then rose from the dead (was found again).
Maror (Bitter Herbs):
Traditional: Maror symbolizes the bitter lot of the Israelites during their enslavement in Egypt.
Messianic: We believe the bitter herbs also symbolize the bondage and burdens we experience while
living in the world before we accepted Yeshua into our life.
Karpas & Salt Water:
Traditional: The custom of serving karpas dates back to Jerusalem of the first and second centuries,
when it was common to begin a formal meal by passing around vegetables as hors d’oeuvres. The
vegetable was dipped into salt water before eating. The salt water is also used to symbolize the tears the
Israelites shed while in slavery.
Messianic: The karpas also reminds us of the time when Moses went before Pharaoh asking for the
Israelites to go into the wilderness for three days to worship God (Exodus 8:16).
Traditional: The egg is symbolic of the regular festival sacrifice brought in the days when the Temple
stood in Jerusalem. Some authorities have interpreted the roasted egg as being a symbol of mourning for
the loss of the two Temples that once stood in Jerusalem. With the Temple destroyed, sacrifices could no
longer be offered. The egg symbolized this loss and traditionally became the food of mourners.
Messianic: This represents new birth in Messiah Yeshua.
Traditional: Kharoset is symbolic of the mortar the Children of Israel were compelled to make for their
Egyptian taskmaster during their period of enslavement in Egypt. Aside from the token amount placed on
the Seder tray, a small amount is served together with the bitter herbs (maror) to reduce the bitter taste of
Messianic: To the Believer, the Kharoset reminds us that even the worst of circumstances can be
sweetened when have the hope of Messiah in our lives.
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