Sweetening the Bitter: Spending Time With Maror

Rabbie Elie Lehmann

Pesah Reader 5784

I can still taste it in my mind: white sticks, freshly cut from the whole horseradish root, and stacked like a Lincoln Log tower on the Seder plate. This is the maror, the bitter herb (the real stuff; not the stuff from the jar) of my childhood. I remember watching my father chew several pieces slowly and carefully before, inevitably, getting red in the face and coughing. Every year the question would arise in my mind: why is he doing this to himself?