Monday, April 10, 2006

Maror in the middle

Want proof the Hasidim are taking over the world? Look no further than your seder plate. If yours is like 999 out of 1000 it's arranged with the maror in the middle, but did you know that this arrangment is not the one originaly used by the Jews of Europe?

That's right. If you're a Jew of European descent it's likely your alter zadie arranged his plate according to the opinion of the Ramah, the posek of Europe. The Ramah's seder plate has nothing in the middle. On the right side, from top to bottom, are egg, charoses, karpas; on the left from top to bottom are bone, marror, salt water.

Nowadays, though, you can follow this original and authentic European tradition at your own risk. When I do it, people stare.

In fact, in my experience, the people who babble the most about the very great threat presented by "modern" Judaism are also the least likely to recognize that their very own seder plates are arranged in a manner many of their own ancestors would have probably dismissed as a newfangled fad. The same Jews who today inveigh against modernity, are themselves (probably) the great-granchildren of men and women who once inveighed against the new ideas and the new practices spread by the hasidim.

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