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Chazal say that the reason we dip the karpas at the seder is so the children will ask (Pesachim 114b). Meaning, it will spark their curiosity and they will then end up asking other questions about the evening, leading to discussion about the Exodus (see Tosafos to Pesachim 115b s.v. kedei).

However, a major theme of the evening is being benei cheirus, free from slavery. Some understand this to mean we should act like royalty or aristocrats, which is why we lean. Some say that this is also why we clean the house and make the seder table look beautiful (see Rashi to Pesachim 99b).

I have heard from a contemporary Rabbi that this is another reason for dipping karpas. It is "royal" to serve a vegetable dip as an entree. I didn't see this in any classical sources. I was wondering if it appears anywhere?

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I don't know if this the earliest source, but Don Yitzchak Abravanel in his commentary Zevach Pesach on the Haggadah uses this idea:

כי הנה בכל הלילות אין אנו חייבין לטבל אפילו פעם אחת. והלילה הזה אנו מטבילין בחובה שתי פעמים או אין אנו נוהגין לטבל קודם הסעודה וזה מורה על היותינו בני חורין ושרים ונדיבי עמים כיון שאנחנו אוכלים המאכל עם תקוני הטבולים כי זהו ממעדני השרים.‏

For behold, on all other nights we are not obligated to dip our food, not even once. But on this night we are obligated to dip twice. Alternatively, we are not accustomed to dip food before the meal. And this shows that we became free people, princes and nobles, since we are eating our food accompanied by a dip, which is one of the luxuries of princes.

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  • I think it is the earliest source.
    – N.T.
    Commented Mar 7, 2021 at 9:03

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