Why on the pesach seder do we eat the matzah which represents freedom before we eat the maror which represents slavery?

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    Welcome to MiYodeya. Hope to see you around!
    – mbloch
    Feb 2, 2018 at 4:25
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    I think the main idea is that at that point in the Seder, we are ready for the meal. All meals start with Hamotzi. Another reason may have to do with the verse al matzot umerorim yochluhu. Matzo is mentioned first in the verse.
    – DanF
    Feb 2, 2018 at 4:31
  • Matzo symbolises both slavery (הא לחמא עניא, דאכלו אבהתנא בארעא דמצרים) and freedom! Feb 2, 2018 at 12:06

1 Answer 1


I have seen in a number of hagados that one cannot fully appreciate the maror that he has gone through until after he has entered the salvation sent by Hashem and is looking back. Matza symbolizing the slavery, lechem oni and the freedom thus needs to come first before we can look back and try to understand what we have gone through.

This is why Rabban Gamliel says that we must say Pesach, Matza, Maror and in that order.

While we are in slavery, we cannot appreciate what we are going through, nor can we look forward to freedom, as it says in the pasuk Vaeirah 6:9.

Moses spoke thus to the children of Israel, but they did not hearken to Moses because of [their] shortness of breath and because of [their] hard labor.

Excerpted from haggadah with extensive commentary, The Royal Table: A Passover Haggadah by Rabbi Norman Lamm

All of Jewish history is, in a manner of speaking, a long record of freedom lost and regained; a drama of galut and ge’ullah (exile and redemption); of herut and ‘avdut (freedom and slavery). It is as if Jewish history were really a large Seder table, where sometimes we drink the Four Cups and are heady with freedom — and then bite into the bitter herbs and experience the agony of subjugation; where now we practice hessebah, inclining in a manner of aristocracy (in addition to health reasons as mentioned in the Talmud), and then taste the humiliation of the haroset. And sometimes, perhaps most times, life is more like the matzah — a peculiar and paradoxical blending of both motifs, of freedom (for matzah is the sign of that bread which did not rise because we were in a hurry to leave Egypt and emerge from servitude) and slavery (the “bread of affliction”).

Only after we have matza can we look back on maror and be able to thank Hashem.

We take this maror, this morsel of misery, and we recite a berakhah over it, as if to say, “Thank you, God, for the miserable memory!” We then take this bitter herb and dip it into haroset, the sweet paste of wine and nuts and fruit. Life, we say in effect, is neither all bitter nor all sweet. With rare exceptions, it is bittersweet, and we ought not to bemoan our fate but to bless God for it.

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