During the Seder, near the end of the maggid, we learn about the manner in which the Korban Pesach, the matzah, and the maror were consumed. In reference to the latter two, the haggadah reads:

?זוֹ שֶׁאָנוּ אוֹכְלִים, עַל שׁוּם מָה…

Roughly translated:

…This we eat, with garlic?

Why were the matzah and maror consumed with garlic, and why is garlic not specified also for the Pesach?

This question is Purim Torah and is not intended to be taken completely seriously. See the Purim Torah policy.

  • 2
    I groaned just from the title, even before opening it. – Scimonster Feb 23 '15 at 19:58
  • @Scimonster, if it makes you feel better, this one is from my father's Seder stock jokes. – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 23 '15 at 19:59
  • It's a family groan-worthy classic for me. – Ken Zein Feb 24 '15 at 14:25

In Devarim 17:15 it says:

שום תשים עליך מלך

Garlic you shall place upon yourself, king

Now, on Pesach night we are all like royalty (as seen by leaning and dipping our food).

Since it would be wasteful to put garlic on ourselves, we put it on the ritual food. We only need to mention it by matzah and marror because it's unusual there. Everyone puts garlic on meat. [citation needed]


Actually, each time the phrase means something different:

About the Pesach offereing, we say, "The Pesach that our forefathers ate when the Beis Hamikdash was around, for garlic what [did they do]!" This means, if not for the garlic the Jews in the Wilderness complained about, (and the other sins), the Beis Hamikdash would still be around. What were they willing to give up, just for a bit of garlic!

For the Matzah, we recite, "This Matzah that we eat, what garlic?" That is, the Matzah is made of just flour and water, with not even a bit of salt or garlic.

Regarding the Marror, we say, "This Marror that we eat, more than what is garlic?" That is, garlic isn't sharper than the Marror.


We eat garlic to remind us of how the Mitzrim tried to interrupt family life. Much like this garlic which, when eaten, creates an impenetrable stench that separates husband and wife.

As garlic is a vegetable being used as tavlin, we worry that using garlic while roasting your korban could lead to the moisture from the garlic being mevashel the flesh of the pesach, thereby rendering it unfit.


There are a few problems with the quote that you cite.

  • The quote makes no mention at all of maror.
  • This is actually the question that the She'eno Yode'ah Lish'ol (The one that doesn't know how to ask) would have asked if we had let him. How do we know? Because of the pause in the question. I.e., translate it this way:

"This matzah that we eat on top of garlic." - He was about to explain why, except that everyone else at the Seder was so stunned by his statement that they responded Mah??? - What????

Here's what really happened - the child was already in the process of eating the matzah with the garlic and the garlic odor was so strong that it stunned everyone, that they responded "Mah????"

Sadly, we will never discover the real reason why we eat it with garlic.

  • For a second I was worried that you were being serious – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 23 '15 at 23:21
  • My father just commented that this is how he does it at the seder. – Noach MiFrankfurt Feb 24 '15 at 2:59

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