Messiah in Pesach Chapter 28

  1. Korech
  2. Remembrance of the Korban Pesach

#9. Korech:

Eating the Hillel Sandwich. In keeping with the custom instituted by Hillel, the Talmudic sage, a sandwich of matzah and maror is eaten. Break off two pieces of the bottom matzah, which together should be at least one ounce. Again, take at least one ounce of bitter herbs and dip them in the charoset. Place this between the two pieces of matzah, say “kein asah Hillel…” and eat the sandwich while reclining. The Seder Leader calls out Korech. Hillel, the Rabban who lived in Jerusalem during the time of King Herod, invented the “Hillel sandwich,” a combination of the three elements given in the Torah command: “They shall eat the flesh that night, roasted on the fire; with unleavened bread and bitter herbs they shall eat it” (Exodus 12:8).

Remembrance of the Korban Pesach:

Today, the charoset is eaten as a substitute for the Pesach lamb. So you take some matzah and smear some maror (horseradish) on one end of it and some charoset on the other. Then top off the matzah with another piece (two pieces). When we eat, we begin with the bitter side then move to the sweet side. This brings to remembrance that though the slavery of the children of Israel was indeed bitter, their redemption was sweet. This ninth step of Korech was developed to accommodate the belief of Rabbi Hillel that the Matzah and Maror (and lamb) should be eaten together; whereas other sages thought they should be eaten separately. Therefore Jewish tradition opted to do both, first to eat them separately (the Motzi Matzah seventh step followed by the eighth Maror step), and then to do it again when we eat them together in the Korech ninth step. The Korech step is optional, since it is of rabbinic origin (mitzvah D’rabbanan). However, the eating of unleavened bread and bitter herbs is a ‘mandatory’ commandment of the Torah (mitzvah D’oraita).

This concludes the first part of the Seder. It is now time to eat dinner (shulchan orech) and then the Seder is continued after the meal is completed.

Messiah in Pesach Chapter 29 >>