|Seder questions linger after Passover|
|Written by Rabbi Herbert Mandl, Special to The Chronicle|
|Thursday, April 19 2012 11:00|
QUESTION: Even though Passover (Pesach) is just over I would like to ask a seder question. Why do we use a roasted lamb bone on the seder plate? Some people have the tradition of eating lamb and others of not eating lamb at the seder.
A whole variety of traditions have evolved over the years regarding the lamb and the seder. For most people the lamb is strictly a lamb bone, it is roasted or barbecued prior to the seder and simply a plate symbol.
There were traditions in Europe where in some communities people went out of their way to eat lamb at the seder. I must say, however, that these communities were in the minority. Generally speaking most communities forbade eating lamb at the seder because we no longer have a Temple, there is no longer a paschal lamb offering and mixed signals could be picked up by eating lamb at the seder.
Some individuals have gone way beyond that and since the lamb bone is roasted actually do not eat roasted foods at the seder. I have always felt that this is excessive. The tradition is, generally speaking, not to eat roasted lamb and actually it is more a barbecued kind of lamb that was offered at the Temple. To forbid all roasted meats, and some people do, seems quite an extreme interpretation from what was originally just not eating roasted lamb. Nevertheless, I know people that eat only boiled chicken and the like at the seder because of this interpretation.
These are all customs and traditions and not law. They vary from community to community in Europe in that today the grandchildren and great-grandchildren of people with those traditions have carried these customs to our modern day seder.