The ke’ara (Seder plate) holds many symbolic foods that we use throughout the Seder, such as charoset, a shank-bone, an egg, and several others. Some of these are eaten during the course of the Seder, while others we simply look or point at. What is the meaning of these simanim? Is there a deeper meaning behind displaying them on our Seder tables?
The simple answer is that we display these foods in order to engage the children, to encourage their curiosity and questions. We use simanim to accomplish this because children are not capable of grasping conceptual or intellectual ideas. They live within the world of the finite, and they require something concrete and tangible, something they can see and touch, in order to relate to a concept. Therefore, in order to include our children in the concepts and ideas that are taught and developed at the Seder, we use physical simanim to actively engage them.
There is a deeper idea which can be learned here as well, one that is applicable not only to children but to those of all ages. The most essential principle to internalize in this world is that there is always something deeper than that which appears on the surface. Living in a physical world can compel one to forget to seek out the spirituality inherent within every object, event, and person in this world. Seder night is when we instill within ourselves the pillars of emunah and our mission as the Jewish People. On this night, we must all learn this powerful principle. Each physical object on the ka'arah represents a world of profundity, but this is not limited to the Seder plate alone. There is spiritual depth within everything, we need only look for it.
Our goal and mission as the Jewish People is to grow, develop ourselves, and fulfill our potential. On the Seder night, as we focus on whom each of us can become, we ask questions - creating holes that we then yearn to fill with additional knowledge, insight, and growth.
The Revolutionary Online Course that Will Transform the Way You Engage in Self-Development