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Seder Verse: Arba Hakushio | The Four Questions and the Four Answers

“Institutional cruelty does everything it can to conceal the fact that it is destroying its victims, and in doing this it keeps its spectators from feeling disgust and from being confused by the paradox of trying to justify the unjustifiable, of trying to praise the smashing of the weak.”

—Philip P. Hallie, The Paradox of Cruelty

Seder Verse: Arba Hakushio
The Four Questions and the Four Answers

Why is this night different from all other nights?

On all other nights we may eat leavened or unleavened bread,
but on this night we eat only unleavened bread.
Why is this so?

On all other nights we eat all kinds of herbs,
but on this night we especially eat bitter herbs.
Why is this so?

On all other nights we do not dip herbs at all,
but on this night we dip herbs twice.
Why is this so?

On all other nights we sit upright at the table.
But on this night we recline.
Why is this so?

We eat matzoh tonight in memory of our flight from Mitzrayim.

We left in such haste that the dough in our ovens did not have time to rise,
and when we came into the desert our bread was flat.
The desert’s sun baked our bread of freedom into flat bread.

We eat bitter herbs tonight because maror represents the bitterness of slavery.

Karpas: We dip greens twice, once to remember our past in Gan Eden as vegetarians
and once to remember the future when we will be vegetarians again.
We dip greens twice to bind the past and the future, remembrance and renewal.
We also dip greens once in salt water to remember the bitterness of slavery.
But we dip greens a second time in renewal of life and freedom.

We recline at the table because we eat at ease as free people,
and not in alarm as on the night we fled Mitzrayim.

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