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How to Have a Vegetarian Passover Seder

Updated on January 21, 2020
Eating Grass
Eating Grass

Passover Lamb

The Passover lamb is one of the three most important symbols of the Passover seder. Before the 10th plague, G-d instructed the Jews to sacrifice a lamb and smear its blood on our front doors. That evening, the Angel of Death moved through Egypt, visiting every house with no blood on the doors and taking with her the life of every first-born child. She passed over the houses of the Jews, sparing our first-born. We escaped Egypt that morning while the Egyptians mourned.

Today, in place of an actual sacrifice, there is a lamb shank bone on the seder plate. This is both to remind us of the sacrificial lamb as well as to symbolize that G-d took us out of Egypt with a strong arm. (The bone represents the strength of the limb.)

Today, many of us are vegetarian, for both health and humanitarian reasons. This begs the question: May we have a truly vegetarian seder? While in the end that is a question that must be asked of the community's Rabbi, these suggestions have been used and are accepted in some circles.

Red Beets
Red Beets

Seder Plate

Many vegetarians may object to the use of a lamb bone on the seder plate on the table. It is considered acceptable to use a broiled red beet in place of the bone. One of the explanations is that the blood-red color reminds us of the blood of the sacrificial lamb.

Haggadot

It is easy for vegetarians to use traditional haggadot, but for those who are looking for vegetarian haggadot there are plenty of choices. Anyone using a vegetarian haggadah, however, must be mindful that the seder is neither kosher nor complete if the three things are not mentioned:

Passover Lamb

Matzah

Maror.

The "Haggadah for the Liberated Lamb", for example, omits the sacrifice. Following this haggadah will result in an incomplete, non-kosher seder. The mitzvah of celebrating Passover will not be completed. For those who wish to use any haggdah that omits the sacrifice, you must add and include the sacrifice and the blood on the front door when telling the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Passover Meal

Once the red beet is used on the seder plate, the meal no longer must be fleishig or pareve. Without a bone on the table, we may have a festive seder meal that is dairy.

Chametz-Free vegetarian lasagna is flavorful and delicious. It can be made with matzo, but try making vegetarian lasagna with eggplant in place of the noodles. Chametz-Free vegetarian lasagna makes a wonderful entree at any dairy Passover seder.

Happy Passover!

Comments

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    • Brainy Bunny profile image

      Brainy Bunny 

      9 years ago from Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania

      I hadn't heard of using a broiled beet, either. My parents have had vegetarian seders before, serving fish for the main course and veggie soup with matzo balls, but since they aren't actually vegetarians, using the bone never bothered them.

    • deblipp profile image

      deblipp 

      10 years ago

      I had never heard of the broiled beet. That's interesting.

    • betcaro profile imageAUTHOR

      Samantha Hanly 

      11 years ago from Vermont

      @cat: glad I can be helpful :-)

      @the voice, thanks for the comment and you are welcome!

    • thevoice profile image

      thevoice 

      11 years ago from carthage ill

      smart hub good to know thanks

    • catalystsnstars profile image

      catalystsnstars 

      11 years ago from Land of Nod

      Thank you. I've been trying to be a vegetarian, its hard. You're helping in making it easier.

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