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Quiz about Symbols and the Seder
Quiz about Symbols and the Seder

Symbols and the Seder Trivia Quiz


Of all the Jewish festivals, Passover is my favourite, especially when it comes to the Seder, the celebratory meal held on the first night. This quiz is about the various foods on the Seder plate, and what they represent.

A multiple-choice quiz by Kankurette. Estimated time: 5 mins.
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Author
Kankurette
Time
5 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
371,724
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
7 / 10
Plays
366
Awards
Top 20% Quiz
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Question 1 of 10
1. The six foods on the Seder plate are karpas, maror, beitzah, charoset, z'roa, and matzah. Karpas is a vegetable, such as parsley or celery, that sits on the left side of the Seder plate. We dip it in a certain liquid at the beginning of the Seder and eat it as an appetizer. In which liquid do we dip the karpas? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. One of the four questions customarily asked by the youngest child at the beginning of the Seder is: "On other nights, we eat many vegetables. Why, on this night, do we eat bitter herbs?" The Hebrew term for the bitter herbs is 'maror'. Which herb, sometimes eaten as a condiment with beef, is often used for the maror? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Beitzah represents the festival sacrifice carried out in the Temple in Biblical times. Some interpretations also see it as a fertility symbol, or a symbol of the destruction of the Temple. What type of food is the beitzah? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. Z'roa is a bone which represents the Passover sacrifice. Although some Jews use chicken bones for the z'roa, you're more likely to find a shank bone from an animal which was offered as a sacrifice in the days of the Temple before being roasted and eaten at home. Which animal is this? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Charoset is a sweet paste made up of various ingredients such as chopped dates, kosher wine, nuts and honey (although there are tons of different recipes out there). What does charoset represent? Hint


Question 6 of 10
6. The sixth item, the matzah, is made of flour and water - it's basically a very large cracker. It represents the exodus from Egypt, when Jews on the run had to eat unleavened bread instead of their usual bread, as they did not have enough time to wait for it to rise. It is customary to make a 'sandwich' out of pieces of matzah, charoset and maror, and eat it before the meal. What is the name for this sandwich? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. After we've eaten the Seder meal, the children (or the youngest person present, if there are no kids) will hunt for the afikoman, or kidnap it and hold it for ransom. It is a piece of matzah that is broken in two. What does the word 'afikoman' mean? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. As well as food, wine features very heavily throughout the Seder. At one point, we dip our fingers into our cups and spill drops of wine on the table. How many times do we do this, and what does it represent? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. Which of these foods would you NEVER eat at a Seder meal? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Some Jews may put an orange on their Seder plate. Which group of people does the orange represent? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The six foods on the Seder plate are karpas, maror, beitzah, charoset, z'roa, and matzah. Karpas is a vegetable, such as parsley or celery, that sits on the left side of the Seder plate. We dip it in a certain liquid at the beginning of the Seder and eat it as an appetizer. In which liquid do we dip the karpas?

Answer: Salt water

There's a handy poem for remembering the order of the seder:
'Kadesh, urchatz,
Karpas, yachatz,
Maggid, rachtzah,
Motzi matzah,
Maror, korech,
Shulchan orech,
Tzafun, barech,
Hallel, nirtzah.'

Roughly translated, it means: blessing over wine; washing hands; green vegetable; breaking bread (or rather, matzah); telling the story of the Exodus, washing hands again in preparation for blessing over bread (as you would at a traditional Friday night dinner); blessing over bread; bitter herbs; eating bitter herbs with matzah and charoset; the big meal; hunting the Afikoman; grace after meals; psalms; end of the Seder.

The salt water represents the tears of the Israelite slaves. Dipping the karpas into it is supposed to act as a prompt for the children present to ask questions about the festival, as dipping vegetables in salt water is not usually done at mealtimes. All the Sedarim I've been to have used parsley, but other traditions may use a piece of onion or potato.
2. One of the four questions customarily asked by the youngest child at the beginning of the Seder is: "On other nights, we eat many vegetables. Why, on this night, do we eat bitter herbs?" The Hebrew term for the bitter herbs is 'maror'. Which herb, sometimes eaten as a condiment with beef, is often used for the maror?

Answer: Horseradish

Some interpretations of the maror have it down as representing the bitterness of slavery. It is also an allusion to Exodus 12:8: "They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it." Some shops sell bottles of red horseradish dyed with beetroot juice, which, in my opinion, makes it slightly more palatable.

The four questions - which also ask why we eat reclining instead of sitting, and why we only eat matzah instead of matzah and bread - act as a prompt for the adults present to tell the story of the Exodus from Egypt, which is laid out in the haggadah, the book containing the order of the Seder.
3. Beitzah represents the festival sacrifice carried out in the Temple in Biblical times. Some interpretations also see it as a fertility symbol, or a symbol of the destruction of the Temple. What type of food is the beitzah?

Answer: A roasted egg

The egg can also be seen as a symbol of the circle of life (because of its shape), or a symbol of death, after the custom of eggs being eaten by Jewish mourners as part of the 'meal of condolence' after the death of a loved one. One interpretation of the egg as mourning symbol states that just as an egg becomes harder the longer it is cooked, so the mourner learns to cope with their grief as the days go by. Sometimes the egg will be peeled and placed in a bowl with the salt water used for dipping the karpas.
4. Z'roa is a bone which represents the Passover sacrifice. Although some Jews use chicken bones for the z'roa, you're more likely to find a shank bone from an animal which was offered as a sacrifice in the days of the Temple before being roasted and eaten at home. Which animal is this?

Answer: Lamb

In the days of the Temple, a lamb or a kid (as in, baby goat) would be sacrificed and then eaten as part of the Passover meal. The Torah states that the first sacrifice of an animal occurred on the night when the Israelites fled Egypt. The criteria for a sacrificial lamb or kid were that it must be male, a year old, and without any blemishes or deformities. After it was slaughtered, its blood would be sprinkled on the altar at the Temple. Any leftovers from the meal had to be burned the following day. After the Temple was destroyed, the practice of animal sacrifice ended.

The shank bone is the only item on the Seder plate we do not eat. Vegetarian or vegan Jews prefer to use a vegetable instead, such as beetroot.
5. Charoset is a sweet paste made up of various ingredients such as chopped dates, kosher wine, nuts and honey (although there are tons of different recipes out there). What does charoset represent?

Answer: The mortar used by the Hebrew slaves

Charoset is delicious, and there are many, many ways to make it. The recipe I used one year for a friend's Seder contained cooking apples, dates, cinnamon, kosher grape juice, mixed nuts, and honey - it was a mixture of Claudia Roden's recipe from 'The Book of Jewish Food', and a recipe I found on the internet.

It comes from the Hebrew 'cheres', or 'clay', hence the mortar resemblance. An Iranian variation, halegh, uses forty ingredients to symbolise the forty years spent wandering in the desert.
6. The sixth item, the matzah, is made of flour and water - it's basically a very large cracker. It represents the exodus from Egypt, when Jews on the run had to eat unleavened bread instead of their usual bread, as they did not have enough time to wait for it to rise. It is customary to make a 'sandwich' out of pieces of matzah, charoset and maror, and eat it before the meal. What is the name for this sandwich?

Answer: Hillel sandwich

Three matzah are laid on a plate and covered by a cloth. The number three is open to interpretation in this context; the three types of Jew (Kohen, Levite and Yisrael), the three patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) and the three measures of meal used by Sarah to make cakes have all been suggested. The blessing over bread is said over the top matzah, while the middle one is used for the afikoman. Regarding the Hillel sandwich, it is an allusion to Rabbi Hillel eating the bitter herbs, the meat of the sacrificial lamb and matzah together rather than separately, to represent the meal eaten during the Temple era. The charoset is a modern substitute for the lamb.

While the matzah used in Western countries such as the UK resembles a big cracker, there are Yemenite and Iraqi varieties which are softer, and more like pita bread.
7. After we've eaten the Seder meal, the children (or the youngest person present, if there are no kids) will hunt for the afikoman, or kidnap it and hold it for ransom. It is a piece of matzah that is broken in two. What does the word 'afikoman' mean?

Answer: Dessert

A piece of matzah might not sound like the best choice for a dessert, but that's what the word 'afikoman' means! The word is Greek in origin. Once the afikoman is found and eaten, Birkat Ha'Mazon (the grace after meals) is recited, and no more food can be eaten. The breaking of the afikoman happens during the breaking of bread, or 'yachatz', the fourth part of the Seder.
8. As well as food, wine features very heavily throughout the Seder. At one point, we dip our fingers into our cups and spill drops of wine on the table. How many times do we do this, and what does it represent?

Answer: 13 times for the 10 plagues, and the 3 acronyms with their initial letters

The ten plagues that G-d inflicted upon the Egyptians were: water turning into blood, frogs, lice, flies, a disease which afflicted livestock, boils, burning hail, locusts, darkness, and killing of the first born (both children and animals). Before the arrival of the tenth plague, G-d told Moses to tell the Israelites to make a mark above their doors with lamb's blood, so that G-d would know to spare them.

The drops of wine also represent the blood spilled when the Egyptian army drowned in the Red Sea while chasing after the Israelites. By diminishing the amount of wine in our cups, we are also diminishing our celebration, as the Egyptians were G-d's creatures too.
9. Which of these foods would you NEVER eat at a Seder meal?

Answer: Oatcakes

During Passover, we are not allowed to eat chametz, or leavened foods containing rye, barley, wheat, spelt or oats - hence why oatcakes are off the agenda. Foods made with any of these grains mixed with water and left for over 18 minutes fall under the chametz prohibition - although matzah contains wheat, the type that is specifically made for Passover is made in less than 18 minutes. Before Passover starts, it is customary to get rid of all the chametz in your house, including crumbs, which can mean quite a lot of cleaning.

Some Jews might sell their chametz to a non-Jewish friend or neighbour for the duration of the festival.
10. Some Jews may put an orange on their Seder plate. Which group of people does the orange represent?

Answer: LGBT Jews

Reform and liberal Jews place an orange on the Seder plate to represent the LGBT community.

Contrary to popular belief, the orange is not there to represent Jewish women; the quote about a woman belonging on the bimah as much as an orange does on the Seder plate is an urban legend. What actually happened was that Dr Susannah Heschel found a story about a girl who asked a rabbi if there was any room for a lesbian in Judaism, and the rabbi replying that there was as much room for a lesbian in Judaism as there was for a crust of bread on the Seder plate. Heschel was inspired by this story, but could not use bread due to it being chametz, so she chose an orange instead. Her explanation: "I chose an orange because it suggests the fruitfulness for all Jews when lesbians and gay men are contributing and active members of Jewish life."
Source: Author Kankurette

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor agony before going online.
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