Maror: The Blessing On The Bitter Herbs Is Recited
The next step of the Seder is to fulfill the mitzvah of eating bitter herbs (usually fresh ground horseradish or romaine lettuce). Maror is symbolic of the bitterness of slavery. We do not, however, eat the maror alone, but temper it with a small amount of charoset*. Some people have the custom of dipping the maror into charoset and then shaking off the charoset. (*A tasty mixture of chopped walnuts, wine, cinnamon and apples that represents the mortar the Jewish slaves used to build Pharaoh’s cities--recipes may vary by community).
Everyone takes some maror and dips it in the charoset. All then recite the following blessing, after which everyone should immediately eat their maror without leaning to the left.
Ba’ruch Ah’tah Ah’doh’nai Eh’lo’hay’nu Melech ha’o’lam ah’sher kidishanu b’mitz’vo’tav v’tzee’vanu al ah’chee’laht ma’ror. Blessed are You, L-rd our G-d, King of the universe, who has sanctified us in His commandments and commanded us to eat bitter herbs.
***POINTS TO PONDER***
How Much Maror? In order to fulfill the commandment of eating maror, the rabbis determined that one must eat a k’zayit (“like an olive”) of maror. Depending on what one chooses to use for maror, this measurement translates into: --For those eating grated horseradish: a little more than one ounce. --For those eating romaine lettuce leaves: enough leaves to cover an area roughly the size of a sheet of paper. --For those eating stalks of lettuce: an amount comparable to an area equal to a 3x5 photograph.
One may look at this mixture of the bitter herbs (a reminder of slavery) with the sweet charoset as symbolic of the fact that not all that one considers bitter lacks sweetness, and vice-versa. It was only through the bitterness of slavery that the Jews were able to recognize and accept the freedom inherent in the Torah and to unite into one nation.
As you eat the maror, reflect on what significance maror has to you: