In the Siddur of Rav Saadia Gaon on page 136, where he discusses the Pesach Seder, he says that when we do Orchatz we are supposed to make a bracha, and after Karpas to say Borei Nephashot. However, Ashkenazim and Sefaradim do either. If to do this was the norm then, why do Ashkenazim and Sefaradim deviate, and if what they are doing is correct, why does the Rasag deviate? And if there is an inconclusive machloket, what are rationales of each side?

  • Why do you vocalize it as Orchatz?
    – Seth J
    Mar 24, 2014 at 22:31
  • I think you may mean "transliterate"? And I don't really know, there's no set rules and that was what came naturally to me. Mar 24, 2014 at 22:51
  • 1
    No, I meant vocalize, because you are employing a vowel I would not associate the vocalization that I thought was standard, leading me to conclude that your vocalization is different from mine.
    – Seth J
    Mar 24, 2014 at 23:01

1 Answer 1


As explained in Shulchan Aruch HaRav the majority opinion among Rishonim is to say a bracha on washing when dipping vegetables the way we are with Karpas. Tosfos כל שטיבולו disagrees, and therefore we don't say a blessing (as it is a safek). There is a common practice to rely on this opinion completely and not wash at all for dipped vegetables.

So in this one, Rav Saadia Gaon is well understood. The justification for the practice of not washing is a bit harder, but it has been discussed in Achronim (see e.g. the Magen Avraham on S.A. O.C. 158 s.q. 8).

Regarding the Borei Nefashos after Karpas, Shulchan Aruch HaRav explains that this opinion is part of a larger machlokes rishonim if the blessing of Borei Peri Ha'Adama on the Karpas is needed to include the Morror later or not - in other words is the Morror anyway exempt because it is considered part of the meal, or not.

According to the opinion that the Morror is part of the meal and does not require its own blessing of Borei Peri Ha'Adama, then the Borei Peri Ha'Adama on the Karpas is not connected to the Morror, so the Karpas requires its own, seperate Bracha Achrona - final blessing - and cannot be fulfilled with the blessing after the meal. This appears to be Rav Saadia Gaon's opinion.

Here again we are concerned with the other opinion, and thus not saying a blessing (at least) out of doubt. Although Rav Saadia Gaon clearly expected that a person would eat a Kezayis of Karpas (as this is the standard amount of eating), I don't know if he holds that this is a requirement. There is a practice to eat less than a Kezaiyis of the Karpas in order to not be required to say an after blessing according to all opinions.

  • There is also a practice to eat at least a Kezayis of Karpas because there is a Mitzvas Achilah.
    – Double AA
    Mar 24, 2014 at 18:00
  • @DoubleAA, see the sources here. You can't dance at all weddings.
    – Yishai
    Mar 24, 2014 at 18:04
  • Not sure what your point is. Both practices exist and deserve mention in your post which highlights different practices.
    – Double AA
    Mar 24, 2014 at 18:06
  • @DoubleAA, but that practice completely disregards Rav Saadia Gaon's opinion (by not saying the after blessing). I was only speaking to those practices which lean towards his opinion, as that was the opinion under discussion.
    – Yishai
    Mar 24, 2014 at 18:10
  • ??? RSG's practice was specifically to eat a kezayis! You can't say an after bracha on less than that.
    – Double AA
    Mar 24, 2014 at 18:11

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