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I was reading a Haggadah and it says that the head of the seder is the only one required to have a plate with all the necessary foods on it. Is it praiseworthy to have each member have all these foods on their own plates too?

Please cite sources.

  • I don't know about praiseworthy or not, but they have the plates anyway and they're going to need the food anyway so it seems quite prudent to just put it there from the outset and save time. – Double AA Mar 28 at 21:01
  • @DoubleAA everybody needs 3 (or 2) whole matzos? – robev Mar 28 at 23:20
  • @robev how else will everyone have a kezayis from both the top and middle one? Modern matzas usually have 2-3 kezaysim per load. If you have old fashioned laffas then you might have a point – Double AA Mar 28 at 23:23
  • From experience it takes ages to dish out Matza Maror Korech and Afikomen to all the members of the table. So many people could be eating the Afikomen before midnight which is the halacha if this time could be saved by everyone having their own Matza and maror and charoset in front of them. – user15464 Mar 29 at 0:38
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Actually if you read Pesachim 115b, you can see that in the old days each guest was reclining on a sofa, therefore each of them were provided with a small table and a seder plate with the required foods. Rashbam comments that nowadays we are rather sitting around one big table, so only the leader has a plate with all these foods and distributes them to the guests to eat:

מצה לפני כל אחד ואחד - מנהג שלהן היה להסב על המטות והיה שלחן לפני כל אחד ואחד הלכך צריך מצה ומרור לפני כל אחד ואחד על שולחנו אבל לדידן אין צריך כי אם לפני מי שעושה הסדר והוא יחלק לכל אחד מצה ומרור:‏

See also Artscroll Pesachim 115b2, footnote 23 for further details. The Tur writes also that it is unnecessary to provide all the participants with a plate and the necessary foods:

ואין צריכין להביא מכל אלו לפני כל אחד ואחד, אלא לפני בעל הבית והוא יחלק לכולם.‏

So eventually this single seder plate version was codified in Shulchan Arukh Orach Chayim 473:4:

מביאין לפני בעל הבית קערה שיש בה שלש מצות ומרור וחרוסת וכרפס או ירק אחר (וחומץ או מי מלח) ושני תבשילין

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    While this explains why we don’t have individual Seder plates, this doesn’t answer the question as asked, if it’s praiseworthy for each member to have his own. Even the OP admits there’s no strict obligation to do so. – DonielF Mar 28 at 19:52
  • I don't understand what the big table has to do with anything. Are you suggesting that no one have foods on their plate and just have a big serving dish in the middle of the big table? What is the relevance of who the leader is? (DonielF's point notwithstanding) – Double AA Mar 28 at 20:08
  • @DonielF If you bring multiple plates, you're going against the OC. – Kazi bácsi Mar 28 at 20:30
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    OC says אין צריכים, not אסור. You still haven’t demonstrated that it’s not praiseworthy, just that it’s not obligatory, which, again, the OP concedes. – DonielF Mar 28 at 20:45
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    @Yosef Don't know. Maybe ask the OP of this answer who invented that requirement what he was thinking – Double AA Mar 28 at 20:52

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