Maror

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One of the unique mitzvot of Pesach is to eat the Maror (Hebrew. מרור; tr. bitter herbs) which signifies the bitterness of the slavery in Egypt.[1]

Obligation

  1. One must ensure to chew the Maror, and to not just swallow it without tasting it; otherwise, one doesn't fulfill his obligation. [2].

Which Vegetable?

  1. Even though Chazal enumerated five types of vegetables to satisfy the obligation of Maror, because we can't identify them one should use either Romaine lettuce or horseradish.[3] Some say that horseradish is absolutely not maror.[4]
  2. One shouldn't eat the Romaine lettuce together with horseradish.[5]
  3. The Gemara Pesachim 39a enumerates five types of maror.
    1. The first is chazeret and is identified as חסא. In many rishonim and achronim it is clearly identified as lettuce.[6] The gemara is clear that out of all five types of maror chazeret is most preferable[7] and one should even spend more to get Romaine lettuce than to get horseradish.[8] It is noteworthy that although the Romaine lettuce is accepted by the rishonim and poskim, the Chazon Ish questioned it.[9]
    2. The second is תמכא and is identified as horseradish according to Rashi, Hagahot Maimoniot, Nemukei Yosef, Ri Mlunil, Maharil, Mahari Vayil, Orchot Chaim, Magen Avraham, Chatom Sofer, Shulchan Aruch Harav, Mishna Brurah, and Aruch Hashulchan.[10] Virtually none of the classic poskim rejected this identification of horseradish.[11] Some poskim have reservations about using it since it is hard to eat a kezayit and potentially dangerous.[12] Nonetheless, because its identification isn’t clear some recommend eating the types of maror separately so that each type doesn’t invalidate the taste of the other.[13]
    3. The fourth is עולשין and is identified by many as endives.[14]

How much Maror?

  1. One must eat 1 Kezayit of Maror with a Bracha of Al Achilat Maror.[15]

Charoset

  1. The Maror should be dipped into the Charoset. One should wipe off the charoset and not dip it for too long otherwise it’ll remove the taste of the Maror. [16] Some only dip it partially.[17]

Leaning

  1. One doesn’t have to lean when eating the Maror[18] but if one wants to one may do so. [19]

Links

Sources

  1. Rashi Pesachim 39a s.v. lamah
  2. Pesachim 115b
  3. Mishna (Pesachim 39a), Shulchan Aruch 473:5, Piskei Teshuvot 473:15. See also Definition of Maror by Rav Zvi Sobolofsky. Chazon Ish OC 124 writes that maror has to be left in the ground so that it is actually bitter.
  4. Rav Schachter (Inyonei Pesach 4 5778 min 10) quotes Rav Aharon Kotler who ate iceberg lettuce and Rav Soloveitchik who held it was specifically Romaine lettuce since that is what chazal had in Israel at that time. He explained that horseradish isn't considered maror. Rabbi Gornish quotes some who think that iceberg lettuce is acceptable. Rav Shlomo Amar (Motzei Shabbat Tzav 5778 min 2) also agrees that horseradish isn't maror at all.
  5. Rav Schachter (Inyonei Pesach 4 5778 min 11) explained that one shouldn't eat the Romaine lettuce together with horseradish since the horseradish isn't a mitzvah its taste nullifies the taste of the maror and one doesn't fulfill one's obligation.
    • Lettuce: The Mishna Pesachim 39a identifies that the primary example of maror is חזרת, chazeret. The gemara translates it as חסא. The Aruch and Rif cite this translation of the gemara. Yerushalmi (חסין) agrees. Rashi 39a s.v. chasa translates chazeret as ליטוגא. The Aruch (לטוגא), Raavan (לייטוגא), Nemukei Yosef (ליטוגא), Or Zaruah 2:256 (לוטיגא), and Ri Mlunil (ליטרגא) agree. Hagahot Maimoniot 7:13:20 translates chazeret as לטב"א in German and לטוג"א in French. Rambam Pirush Mishnayot (R' Korach, 2:6) translates it as אלכ"ס. Rabbi Korach fnt. 46 writes that חסא means the modern Hebrew חסה, lettuce. Rabbenu Yerucham 5:4 translates חזרת as חסא and כסא in Arabic.
      • Poskim which accepted lettuce as maror: Magen Avraham 473:9 (לאטיך), Chok Yakov 473:18 (לטוגא, לאטיך), Chacham Tzvi 119 (לטוגא, סאלאט), Mishna Brurah 473:34 (שאלאטין), Aruch Hashulchan 473:12 (לאטיך), Shulchan Aruch Harav 473:27 (סאלאט), Kaf Hachaim 473:72 (סאלאט), Nitai Gavriel 2:54:1 (חסה, סאלאט), and Torat Hamoadim 24:3 (כס, ליגונא, לגוטא, סאלאט, לטוס). Levush 473:5 identifies the chazeret as זערזיך in Polish, while the Eliya Zuta 473:6 argues that לאטיך is chazaret and זערזיך is incorrect. Chok Yakov 473:18 and Shulchan Aruch Harav 473:27 quote this.
      • Rav Yosef Henkin in Gevurat Eliyahu 126:9 writes that a person should specifically use horseradish and not lettuce since there are those who question whether our lettuce is the one of the gemara. Rabbi Gornish quotes that the botanists claim that all modern lettuce are derivatives of the Egyptian lettuce, however, this does not necessarily mean that halachically they're all acceptable.
      • Or Letzion 3:15:18 says that a person should use Romaine lettuce (חסה ערבית) and not iceberg lettuce (חסה אירופית) or celtuce (חסה סינית) since we have a long standing mesorah to use Romaine lettuce and there's no mesorah for the others.
  6. Gemara Pesachim 39a, Shulchan Aruch O.C. 473:5
  7. Chok Yaakov 473:22, Mishna Brurah 473:42, Shulchan Aruch Harav 473:30, Nitai Gavriel 2:54:2
  8. Chazon Ish questioned using Romaine lettuce since it is sweet and not bitter. Therefore, the Chazon Ish would eat horseradish and when he wasn't able to do that would eat lettuce that was left longer in the ground so it was bitter (Dinim Vehanhagot 13:37, Chut Shani 17:15 cited by Dirshu 473:47). Bet Yosef 473:5 clearly thought it was acceptable as he writes that indeed the chazeret is sweet. Levush 473:5 and Rav Asher Weiss (Haggadah p. 212) agree. Furthermore, Chazon Ovadia p. 95 answers that from many rishonim and poskim it is evident that the Romaine lettuce is acceptable since if left in the ground longer would turn bitter.
    • Horseradish: The second example of maror in the Mishna Pesachim 39a is תמכא, tamcha.
      • Rashi s.v. tamchata defines it as מרוביי"א. Rashi on the Rif 11b translates it similarly (מירטיך). Aguda (מירטי"ן) and Maharil (מערטיךת, Haggadah n. 34) agree. Aruch quoting some mefarshim (מרובי"ו), Talmid Harashba (מרוב"י), Nemukei Yosef (מריבי), Orchot Chaim (מרובי, Hilchot Leil Haseder), Baal Haitur (מריב"י), and Ri Mlunil (מכובי) agree. Hagahot Maimoniot 7:13:20 translates tamcha as מיריטיך in German and מרבויא in French. The word מירמיך in German means horseradish to this day as does the Yiddish חריין.
      • Rif 11b translates it in Arabic as אל שלים. Rosh 2:19 (של"ה) agrees with the Arabic translation. Maharam Chalavah agrees and says that this translation (מרובי) is the same as that of the Rif (אל שלום).
      • Alternative translations: However, Meiri translates tamcha as קרישפילא"ה (which is what Rashi translated as ulshin). Rambam Pirush Mishnayot (R' Korach, 2:6) translates it as אלסרי"ס. Avudraham (Haggadah) quotes this from the Rif (סריס). Yerushalmi translates it as גנגידין. Both Peni Moshe (חרין) and Korban Haedah (מרוביא) assume that the translation is like that of Rashi on the bavli. Aruch's first translation of tamcha is קרד"ו. Avudraham (Haggadah) quotes the two translations of the Aruch.
  9. Mahari Vayil 193 (מירעטיך), Magen Avraham 473:12 (מערטיך) and also cites this from the Shlah Pesachim 3a and Masat Binyamin 3, Olat Tamid 473:4 (קרין), Chok Yakov 473:18 (חריין), Shulchan Aruch Harav 473:27 (קרין and מערעך in German, and מרובייא in French), Chatom Sofer 132, Mishna Brurah 473:36 (חריין), Aruch Hashulchan 473:12 (חריין and קריין), Torat Hamoadim 24:3, and Nitai Gavriel 2:54:1.
  10. The Chacham Tzvi 119 argues that the best option of Maror is lettuce, while horseradish is both dangerous and most people don't eat a kezayit because of its bitter taste. Otzrot HaNetziv p. 195 quotes that the Netsiv held that maror is lettuce (סאלאטין) and not horseradish. Rabbi Dr. Zivotofsky doubts the identification of horseradish as maror because it is sharp and not bitter, it is a root and not a leaf, and the Yerushalmi has another translation. Therefore, he concludes that the Romaine lettuce is the best option and not horseradish. Although, it is certainly the case that Romaine lettuce is superior to horseradish as it is listed earlier in the Mishna, none of his questions are compelling. Almost all of the rishonim and achronim accepted horseradish as the translation of tamcha. The Mahari Vayil 193 and Magen Avraham 473:12 address the issue of it being a root since it is a large root and like a stalk and not a minor branching root. See the student of the Trumat Hadeshen, Leket Yosher OC 92b and 83e, who discusses whether the roots of קריין and מירעטיך are acceptable for maror. He quotes that the Mahari Vayil permitted it and in 92b he quotes his teachers as having forbid it.
  11. Rav Shlomo Zalman Auerbach in Halichot Shlomo 9:48, Rav Schachter (Inyonei Pesach 4 5778 min 11), Rav Yizchak Weiss (cited by Dirshu 473:47 from Haggadah). Rabbi Dr. Zivotofsky quotes that the practice of Rav Yosef Dov Soloveitchik was to have horseradish and then Romaine lettuce.
    • Endives: Fourth on the list of acceptable vegetables for Maror is עולשין, ulshin. The gemara translates ulshin as hindivi.
      • Rashi 39a s.v. hindivi translates it as קרישפל"א. Raavan (קרשפילא) agrees. The Hagahot Maimoniot 7:13:20 translates ulshin as קירבי"ל in German, and קרישפיל"ה in French, הונדבי in Arabic, and שלוש in Spanish. Rambam Pirush Mishnayot (R' Korach, 2:6) translates it as אלהנדב"א. Aruch quotes two opinions: some who say like Rashi (הנדבא) in Arabic, and others who say it is סינצוני.
      • Alternative Translations: However, Talmid Harashba translates it as ליקצונ"ש. Nemukei Yosef (ליטיצינו"ש), Meiri (לייטיצונא"ס), and Ri Mlunil 39a (צונ"ש) agree. Baal Haitur (130c) writes that ulshin is הנדבא in Arabic and ליטשינ"ש in French. Maharam Chalavah 39a s.v. chazeret disagrees with this translation (ליקסונש) and instead translates it as אנדבי, like Rashi and the Hagahot Maimoniot. Orchot Chaim quotes two translations: ליסטו"ש and אישריולה which is ליטוגא.
      • Yerushalmi translates it as טרוקסימון.
  12. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 475:1. see also Amount of Maror by Rav Zvi Sobolofsky
  13. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 475:1
  14. Mishna Brurah 475:13
  15. Shulchan Aruch O.C. 475:1
  16. Mishna Brurah 475:14. Magen Avraham (475:6) writes that if one did indeed lean while eating maror one nonetheless fulfills his obligation. Rabbi Shmuel Loew in Machatzit Ha-Shekel finds support for this from the fact that Hillel must have leaned while eating maror since he ate it together with the matzah. However, Mishna Brurah (475:14) writes that if one so desires one may lean while eating the maror. Rabbi Hezekiah Silva in Pri Chadash (475:1) defends this approach by arguing that leaning is not a contradiction to slavery, for after all even the matzah and the first two cups of wine serve as partial symbols of slavery and are nevertheless leaned for.