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Halakhot of the Seder: Korekh

Pesach Seder Plate

Pesach Seder Plate
Photo Credit: Nati Shohat/Flash 90

The Shulchan Arukh (475:1) added:

…Afterwards he takes the third matza and breaks it and wraps it with the maror… and he says: A remembrance of the Temple practice according to Hillel and eats it while leaning.

The Bei’ur Halakha (s.v. ve’omair) expressed surprised regarding this: after all, the Shulchan Arukh himself writes that one is not to interrupt himself between the blessing of the matza and korekh, so how can one say, “A remembrance…”? He rejects the solution that this statement is part of the meal and is therefore not considered to be an interruption (evidently because there is no instruction being given here which practically serves the needs of the meal, but is rather providing background for the consumption). The Bei’ur Halakha gives two answers:

a) It is possible that the sequence which the Shulchan Arukh wrote here was not precise, and he meant that one must eat the korekh and then make this declaration. However this answer is difficult given the language of the Shulchan Arukh: “He says ‘A remembrance of the Temple practice according to Hillel,’ and then eats it.”

b) One can emend the language in the Shulchan Arukh and delete the words “he says.” According to this, what Shulchan Arukh means is that one eats the korekh as appears in the Gemara and the poskim, but without making any statement. In the end, the Bei’ur Halakha leaves the question unanswered.

One might be able to understand the Shulchan Arukh based on the view of the Bach which we saw above, that the entire eating of korekh is only as a remembrance of the Temple practice, even according to Hillel. According to this view, when one recites the blessings on matza and maror, there is no reason to have korekh in mind, but at the outset one tries not to interrupt between them, so that the “remembrance” will be fulfilled in a true way. As this is only an enhancement but not required by law, one can say “A remembrance of the Temple practice according to Hillel,” and explain the significance of the combination, even though this is an interruption.[6]

One can explain this matter slightly differently. On the night of the seder we attempt to emulate the way the seder was celebrated in Temple times, as if the Temple still stood. As we saw, according to the Bach and most Acharonim, in our times, Hillel, too, would agree that there is no obligation to eat matza together with maror, so why do we eat korekh?

The answer is that we try to have the entire seder as a “remembrance of the Temple,” and we therefore make a point of eating the korekh, as if the Temple still stood. It follows that our declaration is not merely symbolic. The declaration is part of the obligation of korekh. That declaration imparts all the significance to the korekh in our time! It announces: we are now eating korekh, because we want to act as if the Temple still stands! (It is obvious that even without this declaration we have fulfilled the obligation of korekh, but the declaration is an integral part of the fulfillment of the obligation, and is not merely a symbolic and external statement.) This also emerges from the words of the Bach (475, s.v. u-ma she-katav ve-khatav od), who wrote that one should not speak until after the korekh even though it is only a remembrance, for we are acting “as if the Temple still stood”:

If so, as a matter of course, we act in regard to the blessing as if the Temple still stood, and one is not to divert his attention until he performs the korekh as Hillel ruled, so that the blessing of matza and maror will apply to the korekh. Bei’ur Halakha wrote that reciting “A remembrance of the Temple practice according to Hillel” is not mentioned by any rabbinic decisor except for Shulchan Arukh, but in reality it is mentioned by a number of poskim: Hilkhot Pesach de-Rabbi Shmuel mi-Palaiza (one of the Tosafists, p. 138), the Darkei Moshe (475:3) in the name of the Maharil, and others. And indeed the custom today is to say, “A remembrance of the Temple practice according to Hillel,” before eating the korekh (Kitzur Shulchan Arukh, 119:7; Shulchan Arukh ha-Rav , 475:18), and others).[7]

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6 Responses to “Halakhot of the Seder: Korekh”

  1. when MOSHIACH comes we’ll rebuild the Temple

  2. the practice of the seder did not exist during the days of the Temple. wtf, does this page ever check with history, is it even written by a real Jew? in the days of the Temple the sacrifice was done the night bbefore and then you would get some of it to eat. there was no seder or home ritual with bitter herbs etc.

  3. Stephen Boak says:

    Wish I was Celebrating this in Israel.

  4. WISHING YOU AND ALLTHE PEOPLE A WONDERFUL PESSACH AND PEACE CHAG SAMEACH .SONIA ZAGARODNE FROM BRAZIL

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