Take the 2-minute tour ×
Mi Yodeya is a question and answer site for those who base their lives on Jewish law and tradition and anyone interested in learning more. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've participated in only 3 different families' Passover Seders, so my experience is limited in terms of different families' traditions.

How widespread is the custom of eating a hardboiled egg in salt water at the Seder, and what are the source and reason behind it?

EDIT: Is it codified anywhere?

share|improve this question
My family does it. –  Double AA Apr 30 '12 at 19:14
what is the difference between this and this? –  Shmuel Brin Apr 30 '12 at 19:29
@ShmuelBrin, two distinct Minhagim (at least in my family). One is a roasted egg on the Seder plate. One is hardboiled eggs eaten with saltwater as a sign of mourning for the loss of the Beith HaMikdash (first thing eaten as part of the meal - after Korech). –  Seth J Apr 30 '12 at 19:31

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

The Encyclopedia Yehudit suggests the salt water is for the following reasons, though I don't know what the source is for what is written there or if the suggestion offered is their own. This does relate to the reason given for the egg as having to do with the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash - http://www.daat.ac.il/encyclopedia/value.asp?id1=2351):

1) Salt water symbolizes the tears that were wept over the destruction of the Beis HaMikdash


2) It symbolizes the crying of the B'nei Yisrael due to extent of the slavery in Egypt.


3) It symbolizes a remembrance of our crossing the Yam Suf (which was salt-water).

את הביצים טובלים במי מלח, המסמלים את הדמעות, שאנו שופכים על חורבן בית המקדש, או זכר לבכיית בני ישראל מרוב העבודה והסבל, או כזכר למעבר בים המלוח.

share|improve this answer

The Remah (Shulchan Aruch Orach Chaim 576:2) says that some people have the custom to eat eggs at the Seder, as a sign/remembrance of mourning. He posits two reasons:

  • The first night of Pesach is always the same day of the week as Tisha Be'av
  • To remember the destruction of the Temple. Where it not for the destruction we would be eating the Korban Pesach.

The Mishna Berurah (:11) brings a third reason, from the GR"A:

  • As a remembrance for the Chagigah (generic holiday offering) offering that was also brought and eaten that night. [Therefore the egg from the seder plate should be taken and eaten]

We do not make a difference between the first night and the second night - Mishna Berurah S"K 11 and 13 and Be'er Hetiv S"K 2.

No mention of dipping the salt water is made. Askmoses.com mentions that it is a tradition.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.