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Wednesday, Nissan 12, 5779 / April 17, 2019


Q.  What does the bone and hard boiled egg at the Seder represent?


A. At the time of the Beth HaMikdash (Holy Temple), Jews would offer two sacrifices in honor of the Passover holiday -- the Peasch sacrifice ("Korban Pesach") and the Chagigah sacrifice ("Korban Chagigah").  The bone on the Seder plate recalls the Pesach sacrifice; the hard-boiled egg symbolizes the Chagigah sacrifice. 


Q.   Why was an egg chosen to represent the Chagiga sacrifice at the Seder?"


A.  A mourner eats an egg at the first meal when starting Shiva. The egg is a symbol of mourning.


Our Sages tell us that at the time of our rejoicing, we must also remember the destruction of the Holy Temple.  Our happiness is not complete without the Temple.  Although we have gathered at the Seder table to rejoice and celebrate our freedom, at the same time, we also remember our Holy Temple and its destruction. 


It is interesting to note that the night of the 9th of Av ("Tisha B'Av"), when both Temples were destroyed, always falls on the same night as the first Seder. 


Rabbi Meir Shapiro was a leader of pre-WWII Polish Jewry and a member in the Polish Seim (parliament). One of the members of the Seim once asked him for the reason why Jews place a hard boiled egg on the Seder Plate.


Rabbi Meir replied, "Other foods, the longer they are cooked, the softer they become.  But the longer you cook eggs, the harder they get.  The egg at the Seder symbolizes the Jewish people. Just like the egg, the sufferings and pain inflicted on the Jewish people have not broken us. Rather, they have made us harder and stronger. As the Torah tells us, “The more the Jewish people were afflicted in Egypt, the more they multiplied and became exceeding mighty.


On the lighter side:  In the Shtetl, the tailors would work day and night to prepare new suits and dresses for Pesach.  Often, their yearly livelihood depended on the holiday season.  Before Passover, the people would find Motke, the lazy one, fast asleep next to his neighbor - the tailor.


"Motke, why don't you go home to sleep?" the people would ask.


Motke replied, "The tailor is so busy now, working day and night that he doesn't have time to sleep.  I had pity on him so I decided to help him out.  I'm sleeping for him!"




In loving memory of Moshe Altman - Moshe Aharon ben Chaim Yehuda - of blessed memory

Yartzeit was yesterday, Nissan 11. May his soul rest in peace in Gan Eden.

From his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren