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The Shulchan Aruch (475:1) says

ואח"כ יקח כזית מרור וישקענו כולו בחרוסת ולא ישהנו בתוכו שלא יתבטל טעם מרירתו ומטעם זה צריך לנער החרוסת מעליו ויברך על אכילת מרור ויאכלנו בלא הסיבה - take a kezayis of maror and dip it in charoses, dip it in without leaving it in order not to nullify the bitter taste, and for this reason shake off the charoses and then make the beracha

Although I've seen many articles mention to shake off the charoses from the maror, is there a halachic reason why people seem not to do so?

Update: Rav Jachter writes "Many who follow the mimetic tradition eat the Charoset along with the Matzah and Maror." (Not saying most people do eat them together, but at least a noteworthy minority)

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  • 1
    The gemara does not mention it, nor does the Rambam
    – wfb
    Apr 5, 2020 at 20:54
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    I always do this. Why do you say people seem not to do so?
    – Double AA
    Apr 5, 2020 at 21:22
  • 7
    A word of caution: most people have been to very few different people's sederim, so for most people their view of what's normal is very untrustworthy
    – Double AA
    Apr 5, 2020 at 21:24
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    As @DoubleAA said. In our house we DO shake off the Charoses.
    – Avi M
    Apr 5, 2020 at 23:20
  • 2
    I've been to sedarim at at least 6 different families throughout my life and only one shook it off. Not sure if that's good enough statistics for you @DoubleAA
    – robev
    Apr 6, 2020 at 0:03

3 Answers 3

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The Ran in pesachim 115a asks that how come we have charoses on maror and we're not concerned that it will be mivatel the taste of the maror. He answers since its just a dip it's not chashuv since it's the way of eating with this.

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    +1. but I would perhaps put the comma after "chashiv." May 3, 2021 at 17:14
  • @josh waxman I hear.
    – Shlomy
    May 3, 2021 at 18:18
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Rav Jachter suggests a possibility:

The Mishnah Berurah (475:16) codifies the ruling of the Ma’amar Mordechai that one should remove the Charoset from the Maror before he consumes the Korech sandwich. However, many who follow the mimetic tradition eat the Charoset along with the Matzah and Maror. We can defend the mimetic tradition by noting that the Shulchan Aruch does not explicitly state that one should remove the Charoset from the Maror used for the Korech sandwich. Thus, the mimetic tradition seems to be in harmony with the straightforward reading of the Shulchan Aruch. Moreover, a TABC student suggested that perhaps the mimetic tradition seeks to accommodate the approach that the Rambam articulates in his Peirush HaMishnayot, that it is a Mitzvah to eat Charoset just as it is a Mitzvah to eat Maror and Matzah at the Seder.

Perhaps this is where those who eat charoses with maror extend their tradition from eating charoses with the korech sandwich.

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  • What does he mean mimetic tradition
    – robev
    Apr 6, 2020 at 22:00
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    @robev Popularized by R. Dr. Haym Soloveitchik in “Rupture and Reconstruction”.
    – Alex
    Apr 6, 2020 at 22:37
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In order to answer such a question, we first must clarify the reason and source for shaking it off.

In theory, there could be two bases for not having the charoset as part of what one eats.

One is the gemara in Pesachim 115a about having first matza, then maror, then korech, because otherwise the rabbinic maror would nullify the Biblical matzah. By implication in Tosafot's discussion there, there is a third level of reshut, which could nullify either of the other two levels. Perhaps the charoset, if reshut, would nullify the maror, which is Rabbinic. If this is the concern, see Shlomy's answer where the Ran dismisses the concern.

However, to understand Rav Yosef Karo in Shulchan Aruch, you need to read the Tur and then Rav Yosef Karo's Bet Yosef commentary on the Tur. This forms the background from which he extracts the simple statements in Shulchan Aruch.

If we examine Tur Orach Chaim 475 (with Bet Yosef on the side), we see the Tur writes:

אח"כ יקח כזית מרור וישקענו כולו בחרוסת ולא ישהנו בתוכו שלא יתבטל טעם מרירתו ומטעם זה כתב ה"ר יונה שצריך לנער החרוסת מעליו שלא יתבטל טעמו

That the concern is about steeping maror in charoset for a long while, such that the taste would dissipate. And the Rabbenu Yona writes, for the same reason that therefore one needs to shake the charoset from upon it so that the taste should not be nullified. Nullified in this case is not the halachic nullification of earlier, of reshut nullifying derabbanan or derabbanan nullifying deorayta, but of the dissipation of the bitterness in the sweet charoset.

Bet Yosef points us to the source:

ומ"ש וישקענו כולו בחרוסת בפרק ע"פ (קטו.) אמר רב פפא ש"מ האי חסא צריך לשקועי דאי ס"ד לא צריך לשקועי נטילת ידים למה ומיהו התם בגמרא דחינן ליה דדלמא לעולם אימא לך לא צריך לשקועי וקפא מריחא מיית אלא למה לי נטילת ידים דלמא משקעו ליה וא"כ לא קי"ל כרב פפא ולכן הרי"ף והרמב"ם והרא"ש השמיטוהו אבל הרוקח הביאו ולכן כתבו רבינו:

That gemara, despite the single dot in the quote, is actually a bit later, on Pesachim 115b:

וְאָמַר רַב פָּפָּא: לָא נִישַׁהֵי אִינִישׁ מָרוֹר בַּחֲרוֹסֶת, דִּילְמָא אַגַּב חַלְיֵיהּ דְּתַבְלִין מְבַטֵּיל לֵיהּ לִמְרוֹרֵיהּ, וּבָעֵינַן טַעַם מָרוֹר, וְלֵיכָּא. אַדְבְּרֵיהּ רַב חִסְדָּא לְרַבָּנָא עוּקְבָא, וּדְרַשׁ: נָטַל יָדָיו בְּטִיבּוּל רִאשׁוֹן — נוֹטֵל יָדָיו בְּטִיבּוּל שְׁנֵי. And Rav Pappa said: A person should not leave bitter herbs in the ḥaroset for a lengthy period of time, lest the sweetness of the spices in the ḥaroset nullify its bitterness. And the bitter herbs require a bitter taste, and they are not bitter when marinated in ḥaroset. The Gemara reports: Rav Ḥisda authorized Rabbana Ukva to deliver a lecture, and he taught: If one washed his hands for the first dipping, he should wash his hands again for the second dipping.

So when Rav Yosef Karo writes what he writes in Shulchan Aruch, he is echoing the specific chumra expressed by Rabbenu Yona.

Now, let us turn to mimetic traditions, as referenced in NJM's answer. Basically, this is a minhag. There is a trend nowadays to look in Shulchan Aruch and explicit texts, and reason out what should be done. But at the time Shulchan Aruch was introduced (and at the time Mishneh Torah was introduced), it was controversial, because it seems to centralize ruling of halacha and delegitimizing the practice of learned rabbis in each community going through the sources and seeing what appears most correct, and ruling in such way.

While Shulchan Aruch said this, endorsing the position of Rabbenu Yona that leaving the charoset on during eating would nullify the bitterness, it is quite possible that other Rishonim, or even other Acharonim, would not find this stringency persuasive or in line with Rav Pappa's idea. Just as cooking, or steeping in water (kavush kemevushal) transforms an inherent taste, so could steeping the maror in charoset for a long period. However, simply leaving the charoset on top of the maror would not cause the intrinsic bitterness to leave. You would taste the bitterness of the maror, and you would taste the sweetness of the charoset.

It could be that in certain communities, following an understanding of halacha that was not in the particular text we are examining, they held otherwise. (And, for the reason described above.) And, despite the arising of the Shulchan Aruch to prominence, they kept their halachic practices as a mimetic tradition.

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  • This is highly speculative
    – Double AA
    May 3, 2021 at 21:42

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