Why is it necessary to eat a vegetable that requires HaAdamah for Karpas? Why not an onion, parsley, or other herb that might require SheHaKol (for not being normally eaten that way), or a fruit that requires Ha'Etz?

  • Not your fault, but your linked question doesn't source its assertion that it HAS to be haadamah – Double AA Mar 5 '13 at 3:14
  • @DoubleAA Source is P'sachim 114b: פשיטא היכא דאיכא שאר ירקות מברך אשאר ירקות בורא פרי האדמה – Fred Mar 5 '13 at 4:06
  • @Fred Is that l'ikuva? – Double AA Mar 5 '13 at 4:14
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    @DoubleAA At least according to Tosafos (ad loc. s.v. Zos Omeres), it seems to be necessary so that the borei p'ri ha'adama will cover the maror. According to some other rishonim, it must be a certain vegetable called karpas which happens to require a bp"h. – Fred Mar 5 '13 at 5:06
  • @Fred But see Tosafos on the next page (115a sv. Vehadar) who disagrees that the goal is to exempt the Maror. – Double AA Mar 5 '13 at 5:20

Chazal do not give a definitive answer to this question. Rishonim do start to discuss it (see above comments, which cite Tos. Pesachim 114b, 115a, credit to Fred and DoubleAA), and I present the opinions of two recent Rabbis that provide summaries of why we do use Haadamah vegetables.

According to Rav Eliezer Melamed here (see fn 15, h/t to Gershon) the Beracha must be Haadama according to those who hold that the Hamotzi will not exempt the Maror from requiring a Haadamah to be made on it. Therefore, we make Haadamah on the Karpas to exempt the Maror. According to those who say it is exempt because of the Hamotzi, there is no need to have a Haadamah vegetable for Karpas.

Rav Moshe Taragin here suggests something slightly different, that the purpose of the Haadama is because we are unsure if one can make Haadama on the Maror, due to the Halacha that the Hamotzi may cover it. Therefore, in order to avoid missing the Haadamah, we make it on the Karpas specifically.

Rav Taragin also notes that there are those that view Karpas as an extension of Maror, and according to those opinions, specifically vegetables must be used. See the full article for details.

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  • We are unsure, but certainly Chazal were sure. Were they able to thus use fruit? Or was there a reason they too had to use a vegetable? – Double AA Mar 12 '18 at 22:52
  • @DoubleAA I believe that Rav Taragin is understanding (as you are) that all we know from Chazal is that they used certain vegetables for Maror, and we are not sure why - it's possible there was some reason, and it's possible that there was not any reason, and they just happened to use that. The OP asked about us nowadays, not about Chazal. You are welcome to ask that as a separate question. (Also, I will admit that I was quite confused by your editing of your comment an hour later, rather than writing a new one, as it gives the impression that the comment was old and I missed it.) – רבות מחשבות Mar 13 '18 at 1:14
  • I wouldn't say it's abundantly clear which the question was asking about. IMO best to clarify explicitly what question you are answering and what that answer leaves unanswered (and why you are ok with that). – Double AA Mar 13 '18 at 1:19
  • @DoubleAA any better now? Feel free to edit further, I'm done with this answer for now. – רבות מחשבות Mar 13 '18 at 1:38

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